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Brent crude oil prices fall as OPEC production soars

Filed in Prices by on 18 April 2015

Brent crude oil prices fell on Friday, ending a run of rallies earlier in the week, after OPEC said that its output surged in March, adding to a global glut. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said that its March production jumped 810,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 30.79 million bpd, which is equivalent to a third of global supply. “It seems Saudi Arabia has not had enough of low oil prices,” Singapore-based Phillip Futures said. Front-month Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 37 cents at $63.61 a barrel at 2.59 a.m. EDT, recovering from a fall of more than $1 in earlier trading. U.S. crude CLc1 was down 43 cents at $56.28 a barrel. Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said that Brent could fall further to slightly above $61.20 a barrel before finding market support. Dipping output from the United States and other […]

Oil Fades on Lack of ‘Belief’

Filed in Prices by on 18 April 2015

Oil prices faded, undoing a small rally Friday as traders showed skepticism that a surge of U.S. production is leveling off. Several banks and analysts are warning that oil’s steady gains this month came from a false premise of sputtering production. U.S. producers aren’t shutting down rigs as quickly as they once were and several countries around the world are trying to put more of their crude onto the market. “There’s not necessarily a lot of belief in the front of the market,” said Ric Navy, senior vice president for energy futures at brokerage R.J. O’Brien […]

Oil Firms, Nations Agree to End Gas Flaring

Filed in Natural Gas Supply by on 18 April 2015

Twenty-five major oil companies, oil-producing nations and development institutions agreed Friday to end the practice of routine flaring of natural gas by 2030 at thousands of oil production sites around the world. Royal Dutch Shell , Statoil , Kuwait Oil Co., Russia, Norway and the Asian Development Bank are among those making the commitment, which was announced by the World Bank and United Nations at an event in Washington Friday. No U.S.-based companies have signed onto the initiative. Many producers regularly burn off natural gas as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when producing oil for a variety of reasons, including lack of infrastructure to move the gas and low economic incentive to use the gas. Andrei Lushin, World Bank Group Executive Director for Russia, said in […]

OPEC should consider return to oil quotas: delegate

Filed in OPEC by on 18 April 2015

OPEC should consider re-introducing individual output quotas, shuffled quietly to one side in 2008, to prevent oversupply hitting prices should Iran increase its oil exports following a deal over its nuclear work, an OPEC delegate said. A proposal to reintroduce quotas would spark a fierce debate in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as national prestige and market share are at stake. After refusing to cut output last year, OPEC is pumping much more than its overall output target of 30 million barrels per day (bpd) because of record Saudi Arabian output, higher Iraqi exports and a partial return of Libyan crude. “Iraq is increasing each month and if that is so and if Iran is back, then either the price has to go down or there has to be some sort of arrangements,” said a senior OPEC delegate from a non-Gulf OPEC member who […]

Obama Urges ‘Creative’ Talks to Bridge Divide With Iran on Sanctions

Filed in Iran by on 18 April 2015

President Obama on Friday directed his diplomats to use “creative negotiations” to bridge a sharp divide with Iran over the fate of sanctions if it agrees to curb its nuclear program , signaling flexibility in hopes of keeping a tentative agreement from unraveling. Iranian leaders have insisted in recent days that the punishing sanctions be lifted as soon as a written accord is signed, a position that the country’s foreign minister reinforced on Friday. Mr. Obama did not repeat past American assertions that sanctions […]

Humanitarian Crsis Grows as Iraqis Flee Anbar Province and ISIS

Filed in Iraq by on 18 April 2015

In an intensifying humanitarian crisis in Iraq’s embattled Anbar Province, thousands of residents are fleeing a pitched battle between Islamic State militants and pro-government forces around the provincial capital. Checkpoints on the main approach to Baghdad from western Anbar Province are choked with cars, as the Iraqi authorities refuse entry to people who do not have a resident of Baghdad to vouch for them and provide them shelter. In normal times, a drive between the provincial capital, Ramadi, and Baghdad takes little more than an hour. Those lucky enough to reach Baghdad on Friday said they had been traveling for two days. On the edge of Baghdad on Friday, just past a government checkpoint, Saad al-Thiabi, a police officer in Ramadi who has […]

Thousands of Iraqis flee as Islamic State makes gains in Sunni heartland

Filed in Iraq by on 18 April 2015

Thousands of families fleeing Iraq’s western city of Ramadi choked checkpoints leading to Baghdad on Friday, after an Islamic State advance spread panic and left security forces clinging to control. A column of traffic several vehicles wide snaked for miles at a checkpoint in Sadr al-Yusufiyah, on the edge of Baghdad province, as minibuses, cars and trucks picked up families who crossed by foot carrying their possessions in bags and wheelbarrows. Suhaib al-Rawi, the governor of Anbar province, of which Ramadi is the capital, described it as a human disaster on a scale the city has never witnessed. U.S. and Iraqi officials have warned that the city is at risk of falling to the Islamic State despite seven months of airstrikes by U.S. planes in Anbar. Such a loss would be a serious blow to Iraq’s government, which recently announced a military campaign for the province […]

Airstrikes target Islamic State near Iraqi refinery

Filed in Iraq by on 18 April 2015

Islamic State fighting positions and artillery were destroyed near the Beiji oil refinery in Iraq by coalition airstrikes, the U.S. Defense Department said. The Islamic State at its peak was said to be generating about $2 million per day on pilfered oil. The militant group claimed a brief hold over the Beiji oil refinery north of Baghdad last year and heavy fighting has been reported recently in and around the area. “Near Beiji, nine airstrikes struck two large and six smaller tactical units, destroyed two Islamic State fighting positions and an Islamic State heavy machine gun,” the U.S. Department of Defense said Thursday. The strikes come as Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi is in Washington discussing the fight against the terrorist group that […]

Car bomb kills three outside U.S. consulate in Iraq’s Kurdish capital

Filed in Iraq by on 18 April 2015

A car bombing claimed by the Islamic State killed three people on Friday outside the U.S. consulate in Erbil, in a relatively rare attack in the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan region. No U.S. personnel were hurt in the blast, according to the U.S. State Department, which said a “vehicle-borne improvised explosive device” exploded right outside the entrance to the heavily fortified compound. Iraq’s Kurdish region is an important partner for the U.S.-led coalition in its campaign to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State group, which overran large parts of Iraq last summer and threatened to reach Erbil. A Reuters witness heard the blast, which was followed by gunfire and a column of black smoke high above the Ankawa district, a predominantly Christian neighborhood packed with cafes popular with foreigners. “It seems the consulate was the target,” Nihad Qoja, the mayor of Erbil’s city center, told Reuters. […]

Saudi Arabia Oil Output Rises To Highest In 30 Years As US Output Levels Of

Filed in Saudi Arabia by on 18 April 2015

Saudi Arabia Oil Output Rises To Highest In 30 Years As US Output Levels Of thumbnail Saudi Arabian oil production has increased to its highest level in three decades, just as U.S. output is expected to drop from its 30-year high. Fearing a loss of global market share, the oil-rich kingdom has kept its crude oil spigots open despite a U.S. oil boom that’s contributed to a glut driving prices to about half what they were a year ago. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said Thursday that Saudi Arabia’s March daily crude oil output averaged 10.29 million barrels per day, an increase from the previous month of 658,800 barrels per day. The increase is equivalent to more than half of the oil coming out of the northern Bakken formation that’s at the center of the U.S. oil extraction boom, according to Bloomberg . “Crude oil output increased mostly […]

Is Saudi Arabia Setting The World Up For Major Oil Price Spike?

Filed in Saudi Arabia by on 18 April 2015

Saudi Arabia produced 10.3 million barrels per day in the month of March, a 658,000 barrel-per-day increase over the previous month. That is the highest level of production in three decades for the leading OPEC member. On top of the Saudi increase, Iraq boosted output by 556,000 barrels per day, and Libya succeeded in bringing 183,000 barrels per day back online. OPEC is now collectively producing nearly 31.5 million barrels per day, well above the cartel’s stated quota of just 30 million barrels per day. The enormous increase in production comes into a market that is still dealing with extraordinarily low prices. The move could be interpreted as a stepped up effort on behalf of Saudi Arabia to maintain market share at all costs. More output will prolong the slump in oil prices, which will force even more U.S. shale production out of the market. The signs of success […]

Oil Search decides on complete exit from Yemen

Filed in Yemen by on 18 April 2015

Sydney and Port Moresby-based Oil Search Ltd. has decided on a complete exit from its acreage in Yemen. The company has sold its 34% interest in the onshore Block 7 Al Barqa permit, which lies in the Shabwa basin about 340 km east of the capital Sana’a, to fellow joint venture partner Petsec Energy Ltd. The terms of the purchase were not disclosed, but Petsec joined the permit group last year by purchasing 21.25% from AWE and 8.5% from Mitsui for a total of about $1.5 million (Aus.). The purchase of Oil Search’s interest means Petsec now has a 63.75% interest in Block 7 and the company will take over as operator. The block contains the Al Meashar oil discovery made in 2010, however the political unrest in Yemen prompted Oil Search to declare a force majeure in 2011 and no work on the find, or […]

Aid Agencies Increasingly Alarmed by Yemen Crisis

Filed in Yemen by on 18 April 2015

International aid agencies expressed rising alarm Friday over the humanitarian disaster consuming Yemen , as airstrikes and street fighting have intensified and nearly paralyzed essential services. Air assaults by the Saudi-led coalition struck Sana, Yemen’s capital, on Thursday night and Friday, said Cedric Schweizer, head of delegation for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Sana. According to the United Nations, 18 of Yemen’s 22 provinces now have been hit by airstrikes, in which an American-backed alliance of Arab states led by the Saudis has been bombing the Houthis, a northern Yemen militia organization supported by Iran . The Houthis and their allies in Yemen’s armed forces have […]

Argentina to sue Falkland Islands oil drillers

Filed in Falklands by on 18 April 2015

Argentina has started legal proceedings against five companies drilling for oil and gas in the disputed Falkland Islands, raising tensions over the islands’ sovereignty in part because three of the companies are based in Britain. The spat is the latest between Britain and Argentina, who fought a short war over the Falklands — or Las Malvinas, as the islands are known in Argentina — in 1982 which Britain won. The war killed more than 600 Argentine and 255 British soldiers. The islands, which lie 300 miles off the Argentine coast and 8,000 miles from Britain,  are claimed by both countries. Daniel Filmus, Argentina’s minister for the Falklands, announced the start of the lawsuit in London on Friday, saying a judge in Rio Grande, Argentina, had agreed to take on the case. The main companies involved in oil drilling in the Falklands are Premier Oil, Falkland Oil and Gas and Rockhopper, which […]

China Raises Red Flag on Its Stock Markets

Filed in China by on 18 April 2015

China’s securities regulator issued its strongest warning yet about the country’s soaring stock markets and tightened rules on margin lending, while the country’s two stock exchanges said they would make it easier to bet against stocks, spurring worries that the world’s best-performing markets could tumble. The announcements late Friday by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges and two industry associations raised fears of a selloff in China, where the main market index has doubled over 12 months and the riskiest index is up 70% this year. A selloff in China could affect markets around the world, analysts said. “If China is down 5%, it’s going to weigh on global sentiment,” said David Welch, head of equity distribution at brokerage firm Reorient Group. The CSRC warned […]

China Cracks Down on Water-Polluting Industries

Filed in China by on 18 April 2015

China plans to close numerous small-scale enterprises in nearly a dozen industries, including dyeing plants, oil refineries and pesticide producers, in an effort to clean up its water supply. The goal is to significantly improve water quality by 2020, according to a plan released Thursday by the State Council, China’s cabinet. It aims to ensure that at least 70% of the water quality of major river basins reaches Grade 3 on a five-point scale–considered good enough to use as drinking water. The plan also aims to make 93% of water supply for China’s several hundred largest cities reach the same level of quality. From the factory-discharged wastewater that turns China’s rivers into a rainbow […]

Schlumberger to lay off 11,000

Filed in Shale Oil by on 18 April 2015

Most of the decrease in the quarterly revenue for the first quarter of the year came from the “severe” decline in North America, Schlumberger said. The oil services company said it would cut another 11,000 from its workforce, bringing the total to 20,000 since trimming expenses earlier this year to offset lower oil prices. That represents about 15 percent of the company’s staff. “Schlumberger first-quarter revenue decreased 19 percent sequentially driven by the severe decline in North American land activity and associated pricing pressure,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Pall Kibsgaard said in a statement. Baker Hughes last week reported 988 active rigs in the United States for the week ending April 10, down nearly 4 percent from the previous week and 46 percent lower […]

Regulators Urge Railroads to Make Changes to Improve Oil-Train Safety

Filed in Railroads by on 18 April 2015

U.S. regulators are urging railroads to change the way they deal with wheel defects, saying the problem may have caused a fiery oil-train derailment in Illinois last month. Despite multiple warning signs, a train carrying crude oil from North Dakota to Philadelphia continued to travel on a potentially faulty wheel, according to a preliminary federal investigation. Twenty-one cars of a BNSF Railway Co. oil train derailed near Galena, Ill., 160 miles west of Chicago. Several cars ruptured during the accident and the oil inside caught fire, generating large explosions. On Friday, the Federal Railroad Administration issued a safety advisory pointing to a broken wheel and telling railroads to act more aggressively to fix […]

New maps highlight geologic characteristics of U.S. tight oil, shale plays

Filed in Shale Oil by on 18 April 2015

EIA is currently in the process of updating maps of major tight oil and shale gas plays , including the Eagle Ford and Marcellus plays, which will help to better characterize the geology of key areas of production in the United States. EIA’s most recent maps focus on shale and tight oil plays, and characterize plays based on geologic characteristics, including rock type and age. Understanding geologic history and processes helps exploration and production companies reduce the risk of drilling dry, nonproducing wells and better understand hydrocarbon resource potentials. Production of crude oil and natural gas occurs in two classes of rock: source rocks and reservoir rocks. Source rocks are sedimentary rocks in which hydrocarbons (organic chemical compounds of hydrogen and carbon) form. Reservoir rocks are both porous, meaning that there are open […]

AEO 2015, The EIA’s Crude Production Expectations

Filed in Oil Supply, USA by on 18 April 2015

The EIA came out with its final update of Annual Energy Outlook 2015 . It seems that the EIA is extremely optimistic concerning future US crude oil production. Here is a comparison with AEO 2014. The EIA still expects US crude production to peak in 2019 but at 10,472,000 bpd or 824,000 barrels per day higher than the expected last year. But the biggest difference is in the EIA’s change in decline expectations. They now expect the US to be producing 9,329,000 bpd in 2040 or 1,812 higher than they had 2040 production last year. This is the EIA’s reference, or most likely case. Production from tight formations leads the growth in U.S. crude oil production across all AEO2015 cases. The path of projected crude oil production varies significantly across the cases, with total U.S. crude oil production reaching high points of 10.6 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in […]

BHI: US rig count cut in more than half since Dec. 5

Filed in USA by on 18 April 2015

The US drilling rig count fell 34 units—all on land—to 954 rigs working during the week ended Apr. 17, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc. The slide has now lasted 19 consecutive weeks, during which time the count has plunged 966 units ( OGJ Online, Dec. 5, 2014 ). The total of 954 is the lowest since the week ended July 31, 2009, and 877 fewer units compared with this week a year ago. The impact of more and more rigs going offline on US oil production is showing, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s monthly Drilling Productivity Report (DPR), which expects overall output from US shale plays to decline 57,000 b/d in May compared with April to 5.56 million b/d ( OGJ Online, Mar. 10, 2015 ). The first declines in major US shale plays were projected by EIA to […]

API: US demand for petroleum rose in March, first quarter

Filed in Energy Demand by on 18 April 2015

Total US petroleum deliveries, a measure of demand, averaged 19.2 million b/d in March, up 3.4% from a year ago and the highest level for the month since 2011, according to the American Petroleum Institute’s monthly statistics for March. Total demand in the first quarter gained 2.2% year-over-year. “Production of both oil and natural gas liquids last month remained at the highest levels in decades even as rig counts reached a 5-year low,” said John Felmy, API chief economist. “Demand for petroleum continued to show healthy growth compared to early last year,” he said. According to API data, US gasoline demand rose 2.2% last month from the prior year to average 8.9 million b/d—the highest deliveries for the month in 6 years. Deliveries of gasoline in the first quarter increased 2.9% vs. last year. Distillate deliveries in March averaged just below 4 million b/d, down 1.7% […]

US Oil Rigs Slide For 19th Week As Record Retreat Drags On

Filed in USA by on 18 April 2015

Oil explorers idled rigs in U.S. fields for the 19th straight week, prolonging an unprecedented retrenchment in drilling. Rigs targeting oil in the U.S. declined by 26 to 734, Baker Hughes Inc. said on its website Friday, a four-year low. Those seeking gas slipped by eight to 217, the Houston-based field services company said. The total U.S. count, which includes three miscellaneous rigs, fell by 34 to 954, the fewest since 2009. The six-month retreat in oil drilling is bringing the U.S. shale boom to a halt, with crude production falling twice in three weeks and the government projecting a decline in output from tight-rock formations next month. The country has lost more than half of its oil rigs since October as drillers cut spending and let go of thousands of workers following the worst collapse in prices since 2009. The spending curbs “are starting to impact […]

The Keystone XL debate is highly partisan — unless you live near the proposed pipeline route

Filed in Pipelines by on 18 April 2015

Our mental snapshot of the politics of the Keystone XL pipeline is pretty straightforward — Republicans and most independents want it built; so do some Democrats, but most Democrats and the environmental left are opposed. A new study in Energy Policy, though, suggests that this assumption about pipeline politics mainly holds on the national level — but not so much locally. Rather, the research finds, as you get closer to living near the proposed pipeline route, liberals and conservatives look less different in their views — and liberals as a whole become more in favor of the pipeline. The result suggests that anti-pipeline advocates may be losing the framing war to those who endlessly cite the pipeline’s alleged economic benefits. The research , conducted by Timothy Gravelle of the University of Essex and Erick Lachapelle of the University of Montreal, drew upon data from a series of three large Pew polls of […]

Emergency Shut Down Of West Coast Fisheries: “Populations Have Crashed 91 Percent”

Filed in Climate by on 18 April 2015

Emergency Shut Down Of West Coast Fisheries: “Populations Have Crashed 91 Percent” thumbnail Earlier this week Michael Snyder warned that the bottom of our food chain is going through a catastrophic collapse with sea creatures dying in absolutely massive numbers . The cause of the problem is a mystery to scientists who claim that they can’t pinpoint how or why it’s happening. What’s worse, the collapse of sea life in the Pacific Ocean isn’t something that will affect us several decades into the future. The implications are being seen right now, as evidenced by an emergency closure of fisheries along the West coast this week. On Wednesday federal regulators announced the early closure of sardine fisheries in California, Oregon and Washington. According to the most recent data, the sardine populations has been wiped out with populations seeing a decline of 91% in just the last eight years. Meeting outside Santa […]

BG Group comes up empty in North Sea

Filed in Norway by on 18 April 2015

A Norwegian energy regulator said Friday a subsidiary of British energy company BG Group came up dry while drilling in the northern waters of the North Sea. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said operator BG Norge was targeting reserves about three miles away from the Knarr prospect in the North Sea. “Extensive data acquisition and sampling has been carried out,” the regulator said in a statement. “The well is classified as dry.” BG Group started production from the Knarr field in March using a floating production, storage and offloading vessel that has a production capacity of 63,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and a storage capacity of 800,000 barrels. The Knarr field is expected to remain in production for at least […]

Energy sanctions economic war, Kremlin says

Filed in Russia by on 18 April 2015

Targeting the Russian oil and gas sector with sanctions is a tacit act of economic warfare, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Friday. “We are in a fundamentally different situation at present: equipment for hydrocarbons production has essentially become a token of political struggle and political bargaining,” the prime minister said. Members of the European Union are considering tightening the sanctions noose on Russia as conflict in eastern Ukraine continues. Political upheaval began in former Soviet republic Ukraine in late 2013 as the government in Kiev moved closer to the EU. Sanctions met a Russian move last year to annex the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine. Medvedev said energy, a prime source of government revenue, was the main target of sanctions . The International Monetary Fund […]

Russia’s economy shrinks 2-4% despite Putin’s positive spin

Filed in Russia by on 18 April 2015

The Russian president focused on domestic issues during Thursday’s phone-in Russia’s economy contracted further in the first quarter triggering a 5 per cent slide in the rouble, a day after president Vladimir Putin sought to reassure the nation that the worst of the crisis was over. Monthly statistics published on Friday showed that consumers turned even more bearish in March despite the currency’s recent stabilisation, and economists estimated that gross domestic product was likely to have shrunk by between 2 and 4 per cent in the first quarter. The figures came a day after Mr Putin spent the first hour of a marathon televised call-in show to reassure citizens over the state of the economy. “Nothing has failed and everything is working,” he said. “We have passed the peak of our problems”. Members of Mr Putin’s economic policy team have been talking up the economy for several weeks as […]

Brent crude oil prices fall as OPEC production soars

Filed in Prices by on 17 April 2015

Brent crude oil prices fell on Friday, ending a run of rallies earlier in the week, after OPEC said that its output surged in March, adding to a global glut. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said that its March production jumped 810,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 30.79 million bpd, which is equivalent to a third of global supply. “It seems Saudi Arabia has not had enough of low oil prices,” Singapore-based Phillip Futures said. Front-month Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 37 cents at $63.61 a barrel at 2.59 a.m. EDT, recovering from a fall of more than $1 in earlier trading. U.S. crude CLc1 was down 43 cents at $56.28 a barrel. Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said that Brent could fall further to slightly above $61.20 a barrel before finding market support. Dipping output from the United States and other […]

Oil Prices Hit a 2015 High on Hopes U.S. Production Will Ease

Filed in Prices by on 17 April 2015

Oil prices hit a high for the year Thursday on continued expectations that U.S. oil production will peak soon and then begin to ease the global glut of crude. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries forecast in a monthly report Thursday that U.S. output of crude oil and natural-gas liquids would start to decline in the third quarter. The report came after U.S. government data released Wednesday showed the second drop in weekly oil production in three weeks. Light, sweet crude for May delivery settled up 32 cents, or 0.6%, to $56.71 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since Dec. 23. Brent, the global benchmark, rose 66 cents, or 1%, to $63.98 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, the highest level since Dec. 10. Both contracts rose for a sixth straight session. Traders have been waiting for signs of a decline in […]

Brent crude hits 2015 highs as U.S. production slows

Filed in Prices by on 17 April 2015

Brent crude oil hit 2015 highs above $63 per barrel on Thursday after a rally of more than 5 percent the previous session, and analysts said more price rises were likely despite market oversupply. Front-month Brent crude futures LCOc1 rose above $63 a barrel for the first time this year on Thursday, although they had dipped back to $62.70 by 0654 GMT (2.54 a.m. ET). U.S. crude CLc1 was at $56.06 after hitting a 2015 high of $56.69 on Wednesday. The price rise means the U.S. oil market has firmed up into its best shape this year, as ebbing fears of an inventory overflow and renewed hedging in far-distance futures flattens the forward curve, a possible sign that a months-long rout might be over. “We turn extremely bullish on oil after yesterday’s 5 percent rally in crude prices,” Singapore-based energy brokerage Phillips Futures said. “This whole […]

NYMEX May gas futures settle 7.4 cents higher at $2.684/MMBtu

Filed in Prices by on 17 April 2015

NYMEX May natural gas futures settled 7.4 cents higher at $2.684/MMBtu Thursday on apparent short covering, sources said, despite a bearish government storage report that showed an inventory build above expectations. US natural gas in storage rose 63 Bcf to 1.539 Tcf for the week ended April 10, the Energy Information Administration said Thursday. This was above Platts consensus expectations of an injection of between 48 Bcf and 52 Bcf. Though May futures were down 4.6 cents as of 10:55 am EDT (1455 GMT) Thursday in response to the bearish storage report, prices rocketed higher during the course of the trading day in a surprising reversal. Some traders and analysts chalked up the move to short sellers exiting the market. “I think what’s happened here is that we triggered another round of short covering,” said Gene McGillian, senior analyst at Tradition Energy. “It’s probably a combination of [forecasts callings […]

OPEC Joins Downbeat Forecasts for U.S. Oil Output

Filed in OPEC by on 17 April 2015

The boom in U.S. oil supplies will end in 2015, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said Thursday, joining other major energy forecasters this week in pointing to an imminent fall in American production. In its closely watched monthly market report, OPEC said U.S. oil supplies would grow to about 13.65 million barrels a day in the second quarter of 2015 and then level off, beginning to decline in the second half of the year. The number includes crude oil and other petroleum liquids such as condensates. OPEC’s report comes after the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecast this week that total crude-oil production from seven key U.S. production regions would decline by 57,000 barrels a day in May from April. The International Energy Agency, which tracks oil data for Western countries, said Wednesday that American output […]

OPEC increases oil production in March; U.S. shale dropping

Filed in OPEC by on 17 April 2015

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will continue increasing output of oil, despite an oversupply, projecting an increased demand 80,000 barrels per day higher for this year than anticipated. For the month of March, OPEC produced an average of about 30.79 million barrels per day — an increase of 810,000 thousand bpd. “Crude oil output increased mostly from Saudi Arabia and Iraq, while Libya saw a return of about 165 [thousand barrels per day] from shut-in wells in active oil fields,” OPEC states in its monthly oil market report . Non-OPEC oil supply is expected to grow by 680,000 barrels per day, up from the previous month. The organization projects U.S. shale oil and Canadian oil sands output is expected to see lower growth due to […]

OPEC oil output surge boosts surplus, despite higher demand

Filed in OPEC by on 17 April 2015

LONDON (Reuters) – OPEC said its oil output surged in March, adding to a global glut, despite more evidence that the producer group’s strategy of letting prices fall to hurt other producers is taking effect. OPEC’s report may reinforce the perception that major producers are staking out market share ahead of a potential rise in Iranian exports following its framework accord with world powers over its nuclear program. Thanks to lower output from the United States and other rival producers due to the oil price drop, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said demand for its oil this year would be 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) higher than previously thought. Its monthly oil market report also confirmed industry estimates of a surge in OPEC production in March, which jumped by 810,000 bpd – ten times the increase in 2015 demand for OPEC crude – led by record output […]

Saudi Arabia Adds Half a Bakken to Oil Market in a Month

Filed in Saudi Arabia by on 17 April 2015

Saudi Arabia boosted crude production to the highest in three decades in March, with a surge equal to half the daily output of the Bakken formation in North Dakota. The kingdom boosted daily crude output by 658,800 barrels in March to an average of 10.294 million, according to data the country communicated to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ secretariat in Vienna. The Bakken formation, among the fastest-growing shale oil regions in the U.S., pumped 1.1 million barrels a day in February, according to data from the North Dakota Industrial Commission. Oil prices have rallied about 16 percent in New York this month on stronger fuel demand and as a record decline in U.S. rigs fanned speculation that the nation’s production will slow from its highest pace in three decades. Prices collapsed almost 50 percent last year as Saudi Arabia led OPEC in maintaining production in the face of […]

Next Round of Nuclear Talks With Iran Set for Next Week

Filed in Iran by on 17 April 2015

The next round of nuclear talks between world powers and Iran is scheduled for next week in Vienna, as the two sides begin to address the issues they left unresolved earlier this month in Lausanne, Switzerland, and try to conclude a comprehensive agreement by the end of June. The European Union, the host of the talks, said in a statement released on Thursday that its senior negotiator, Helga Schmid, will meet with Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi, on Wednesday, to pursue an agreement that would restrict Iran to peaceful research in the nuclear area in exchange for the phased lifting of economic sanctions. After the parties reached a framework agreement in Lausanne, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei , complicated matters by insisting that all sanctions would have to be lifted immediately and that […]

Iran car lovers hope for nuclear deal dividends

Filed in Iran by on 17 April 2015

A tongue-in-cheek TV report this year highlighted just how fed up Iranians are with one of their most well-used cars. A Painful Choice — a segment on a news programme — showed several dozen Kia Prides lined up at the border for export to Iraq. “Now for Iraqi people, the question is whether Pride is more dangerous than Daesh (Isis),” the reporter joked, referring to the Islamic […]

War in Yemen Is Allowing Qaeda Group to Expand

Filed in Yemen by on 17 April 2015

Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen took control of a major airport and an oil export terminal in the southern part of the country on Thursday, expanding the resurgent militant group’s reach just two weeks after it seized the nearby city of Al Mukalla and emptied its bank and prison. Local officials said that fighters belonging to the group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula , also known as AQAP, took control of the Riyan Airport and a nearby military base outside Al Mukalla, the fifth-largest city in Yemen . The group also seized the Dhabah oil terminal on the Arabian Sea coast, which the group had tried to capture before, according to Yemeni officials. Al Qaeda is capitalizing on the expanding multisided […]

Half Yemeni population is going hungry as violence worsens: WFP

Filed in Yemen by on 17 April 2015

Worsening violence in Yemen has made almost half the country’s population “food insecure”, with flour shortages, closed shops and disrupted supply routes driving up food prices, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Thursday. The agency says someone is food insecure if they lack “all-time access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. It estimates 12 million Yemenis are in this category today, up from 10.6 million last year. The United Nations says the conflict in Yemen has killed 600 people, wounded 2,200 and displaced 100,000 since Houthi rebels allied with Iran seized the capital Sanaa in September. The rebels now control most of Yemen and their advance toward the southern port of Aden triggered air strikes by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia to try to drive them back. People face a shortage of wheat flour, […]

Tepco Dispatches Second Robot Inside Fukushima Reactor

Filed in Japan, Nuclear by on 17 April 2015

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has sent a second robot inside one of the nuclear containment vessels at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, five days after losing complete control of the first one . The crawler robot, which started its work Wednesday, is the same model as the one Tepco dispatched last Friday. The initial machine became immovable after recording some footage from inside the reactor and covering about two-thirds of the originally planned route. The utility cut the cables connected to the machine after giving up on retrieving it. It was the first time a robot ventured inside one of the containment vessels following the 2011 nuclear crisis. According to Tepco, the second machine will […]

US still too weak for rate rises, says Fed official

Filed in Economy, USA by on 17 April 2015

The US economy is still too weak for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, a senior official has warned, as he mounted a staunch defence of the central bank against a campaign in Congress to limit its independence . Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston , struck a dovish tone, warning that conditions in the US economy had deteriorated since March and that inflationary pressures were still subdued for the Fed to begin tightening monetary policy. The warning comes only days after minutes from the March meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee showed policy makers were split over the right moment to start tightening monetary policy. “Several” members […]

Schlumberger Profit Falls 39%; 11,000 More Jobs Cut

Filed in Shale Oil, USA by on 17 April 2015

Schlumberger Ltd., the largest oil-field service company in the world, will cut an additional 11,000 workers from its ranks, bringing the firm’s layoffs to 20,000 employees. The company, a bellwether for the energy industry, announced the steep cuts late Thursday as it told investors that profit for the first quarter had plunged by 39% amid a slowdown in drilling for oil and gas. “The abruptness of the fall in activity, particularly in North America, required us to take additional actions,” said Paal Kibsgaard, chief executive of Schlumberger. Schlumberger, which has dual headquarters in Houston and Paris, announced 9,000 job cuts in January this year. The combined workforce reductions amount to a 15% reduction in its world-wide workforce, said Angie Sedita, an analyst at investment bank UBS. Schlumberger helps oil producers […]

Low Prices Cool Boom in U.S. Oil Production

Filed in Shale Oil by on 17 April 2015

 The relentless increases in U.S. oil output appear to be coming to an end. Crude production remains robust, but new data and forecasts, including one Thursday from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, suggest the U.S. is at—or very close to—an oil-output peak. Starting in 2008, drillers raised U.S. oil production from five million barrels a day to 9.3 million barrels a day as of December. The U.S. surge accounted for nearly all the growth in crude output globally, and it contributed to the glut that sent oil prices tumbling 50% last year. Now there are growing signs that lower crude prices are finally prompting American energy companies to cut back their crude output. North […]

Weekly US coal production estimated at 18 million st, down 7.6%: EIA

Filed in Coal, USA by on 17 April 2015

Weekly US coal production totaled an estimated 18 million st in the week ended April 11, up 3.5% from the prior week but down 7.6% from the year-ago week, the Energy Information Administration said Thursday. Coal production in Wyoming and Montana, which is mostly made up of production from the Powder River Basin, totaled an estimated 7.8 million st during the week, down 6.8% compared with last year. Year-to-date coal production in Wyoming and Montana is estimated to total 114.4 million st, down 3.8% compared with the same period last year. In Central Appalachia, weekly coal production totaled an estimated 2.3 million st, down 16.3% from last year. Year-to-date coal production is estimated to total 34.4 million st, down 9.3% from last year. Weekly coal production in Northern Appalachia totaled an estimated 2.6 million st, down 4.9% from last year. Year-to-date coal production is estimated to total 37.6 million […]

Appeals Court Skeptical of Case Against EPA Climate Rule

Filed in USA by on 17 April 2015

A federal appeals court panel suggested Thursday that it may be too early for a court challenge to an Obama administration proposal to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants. The case against the Environmental Protection Agency, up for oral argument at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is the first test of how well the central component of President Barack Obama’s climate agenda can withstand legal scrutiny. The rules aren’t yet final, however, a development the courts almost always require before allowing challenges to a regulation. “All we have in front of us is a proposed rulemaking,” said Judge Tom Griffith, a judge appointed by Republican President George W. Bush . Judge Griffith also said that ruling on […]

House GOP wants more Atlantic leases in offshore drilling plan

Filed in Congress by on 17 April 2015

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing Wednesday on the Obama administration’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022. The U.S. Interior Department released a draft proposal in January for access to federal waters for exploration and drilling. While an Atlantic Ocean area was included for the first time, the proposal was met with frustration by Sen. Lisa Murkowski , R-Alaska, as the proposal came on the heels of the closure of parts of Alaska’s wilderness area to energy companies. “The Obama Administration often touts that it is committed to promoting oil and gas production on federal lands, including the Outer Continental Shelf,” said Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Chairman Doug Lamborn, R-Colo. “However their draft five year lease […]

The BP Oil Spill Cleanup Isn’t a Disaster

Filed in Environment, USA by on 17 April 2015

In early March a 30,000-pound mat of oily gunk washed up on East Grand Terre, a barrier island in the mouth of Louisiana’s Barataria Bay. It was an ugly reminder of the blowout at BP’s Macondo well, a disaster that spewed millions of barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico starting on April 20, 2010. As BP crews collected the muck, the company issued a five-year report, Environmental Recovery and Restoration , stressing that the spill didn’t do lasting damage to the ecosystem. The 40-page report described the deleterious effects as “limited in space and time, mostly in the area very close to the wellhead.” BP’s U.S. spokesman, Geoff Morrell, told reporters that the state exacerbated contamination on East Grand Terre with a 2010 beach-replenishment initiative that wound up “burying the oil under layers of sand.” Louisiana officials saw it otherwise. “Oh, yeah, this is absolutely […]

U.S. oil curve flattens as drillers hedge, storage fears ebb

Filed in Oil Supply, Prices, USA by on 17 April 2015

The U.S. oil market has firmed up into its best shape this year, as ebbing fears of an inventory overflow and renewed hedging in far-distance futures flattens the forward curve – another possible sign that a months-long rout is really over. On Wednesday, the discount for June U.S. crude oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange versus December jumped 47 cents to settle at $3.21 a barrel, the tightest spread in nearly five months and less than half what it was a month ago. The discount of December 2015 to December 2016 tightened by 58 cents to settle at $2.73 a barrel, its smallest since November. The narrowing spreads will likely be a welcome sign for oil bulls and members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), who often look at the shape of the curve as a clearer indication of fundamentals. U.S. […]

The Oil Industry’s ‘Man Camps’ Are Dying

Filed in Shale Oil by on 17 April 2015

At the peak of the fracking boom a few years ago, Jeff Myers converted his South Texas hunting camp into rental oilfield housing. Little wonder: The industry had an almost insatiable hunger for the grunt laborers—the roughnecks—to work the fields, and employers were happy to spend whatever it took to house and feed them. Today that boomtown demand—and $100-per-barrel prices—is a bittersweet memory, and occupancy at Myers’s once-packed Double C Resort has dropped to 10 percent as job cuts take hold. “There aren’t going to be any winners down here,” he says. “Everybody’s going to have to adjust.” America’s oilfield “man camps”—as the industry calls them—are turning into ghost towns as drillers cut back the free housing, food, and air travel once used to lure shale boom workers. The mini-settlements that sprang up throughout drilling […]