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Oil Up on Ukraine, Slow Libya Return

Filed in Prices by on 24 April 2014

Crude oil prices were finding support Thursday from continuing tensions in Ukraine and the slow return of Libyan crude to the market, but plentiful supply in the U.S. is likely to limit any rises. Brent crude for June delivery was up 19 cents at $109.30 on ICE Futures Europe, while WTI crude for June delivery was up 28 cents at $101.72 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Libyan crude is not returning quickly to the market despite a deal to reopen oil terminals in the restive country, noted Commerzbank . “Even three weeks after the agreement to gradually open the rebel-occupied oil terminals, oil production in Libya has so far increased only negligible,” it wrote in a note to clients. Tensions in Ukraine that have underpinned some energy prices are also likely to increase further now that the Easter holiday has ended, Commerzbank said. The government in Kiev is [...]

Oil prices recoup earlier losses on Ukraine woes

Filed in Prices by on 24 April 2014

U.S. crude for May delivery added 31 cents to close at $101.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, it fell by about the same amount. Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, rose 22 cents to $109.33 on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Oil prices fell overnight when a U.S. government report showed a bigger-than-expected rise in oil supplies. The U.S. Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration said oil supplies rose 3.5 million barrels in the week that ended April 18. That exceeded the expectations of analysts surveyed by Platts, who forecast an increase of 3.1 million barrels. At a record 397.7 million barrels, supplies are now 2.3 percent above year-earlier levels. Ukraine is going through its biggest political crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union, sparked by months of anti-government protests and President Viktor Yanukovych’s flight to Russia. President Barack Obama, while visiting [...]

WTI Trades Near Two-Week Low as Stockpiles Climb; Brent Steady

Filed in Prices by on 24 April 2014

West Texas Intermediate traded near the lowest in more than two weeks as crude inventories increased to the highest level in 83 years in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer. Brent was steady in London. Futures were little changed in New York after two days of losses. Crude stockpiles expanded by 3.52 million barrels to 397.7 million last week, the Energy Information Administration reported yesterday. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country would defend its citizens in Ukraine as a truce faltered, while the U.S. prepared to send hundreds of troops for military exercises in four nations bordering Russia. “There’s not great appetite for selling right now, given what else is happening,” Ole Hansen, the head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said by phone today. “There’s Ukraine on one side providing support to prices and high U.S. inventory on the other that’s capping [...]

Natural Gas Inches Up on Questions about Supply

Filed in Prices by on 24 April 2014

By Timothy Puko Natural-gas futures are rising for the third time in four sessions Wednesday as cool spring weather across the U.S. reinforces concerns about gas supply levels. Natural gas for May delivery rose 3.4 cents, or 0.7%, to $4.773 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices shot up 21.1 cents Thursday morning on reports that stockpiles have been refilling from the winter more slowly than expected and have mostly hovered above $4.70/mmBtu since then. “There’s nothing to move the market one way or another, so it’s just slowly drifting higher as a result of having a colder” year that has pushed demand for home heating, said analyst Dominick Chirichella of the Energy Management Institute. “Natural gas is just not the commodity to trade in this 10 seconds.” Spring is usually a tepid time in the natural-gas market. Demand to heat homes wanes as [...]

EIA’s International Energy Statistics Updated

Filed in Oil Supply by on 24 April 2014

The EIA has finally updated their International Energy Statistics . They were a month behind so they caught up by updating two months of data. The last update had data through October. This update has the data through December 2013. They also updated their annual data page. If you click on the link, then mouse over “Petroleum, Production” and click, you will get “Total Oil Supply”. That data is everything including ethanol, biodiesel, NGLs and even refinery process gain. I never use that data. After that page comes I go to the box labeled “Total Oil Supply” then click on the down arrow, then click on “Crude Oil including Lease Condensate” That is the data I use, that is all I use. From the annual data I found total World C+C was up a mere 167 kb/d. US production was up 967 kb/d. That means that the World less [...]

Iran putting final touches on new energy contracts

Filed in Iran by on 24 April 2014

The Iranian government said Wednesday it would revise how it governs oil and natural gas contracts, though sanctions must be lifted for full utilization.Mehdi Hosseini, the director of a committee tasked with contract revisions, said Iran will be switching from a buy-back system to one based on joint ventures in the oil and natural gas sector. Iran under the terms of the previous buy-back contracts paid contractors a set price for oil and natural gas produced. Under the planned new system, state-run energy companies will establish joint ventures with their international counterparts, who will be paid with a share of the output. Hosseini said the new contract system was designed to bring more foreign investments into the Iranian energy sector. “In order for international companies to be able to invest in Iran projects, the sanctions must be lifted so that they would be able [...]

Pipeline attack causes Tigris oil slicks, water crisis

Filed in Iraq by on 24 April 2014

The April 16 bombing of pipelines near the Tigris has sent oil spilling into the river and endangered the water supply for millions of Iraqis. Diyala province has closed water intakes along the Tigris River, as oil slicks attributed to the April 16 bombing of pipelines feeding the Baiji refinery are heading toward Baghdad.Preventative measures were taken the morning after the attack on the oil and gas pipelines in the al-Fatha area along the Tigris River in Salahaddin province.Oil in the water and on shore was set ablaze to reduce the amount of pollutants in the water, initially causing massive black clouds and then persistent…

Suicide attack in Iraq kills at least 11 people

Filed in Iraq by on 24 April 2014

A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a police checkpoint south of Baghdad on Thursday morning, killing at least 11 people, officials said, the latest episode in an uptick in violence in the run-up to next week’s parliamentary elections. The attack struck during the morning rush hour, when the checkpoint at one of the entrances to the city of Hillah, about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, was crowded with commuters. Among the 11 killed were seven civilians and four policemen while 27 people were wounded in the bombing, a police officer said. The blast also damaged about 15 cars nearby. A medical official confirmed the casualty figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The Shiite-dominated city of Hillah has seen sporadic violence recently. Last month, a suicide car bomber hit another checkpoint [...]

Maliki Looks to Iraq’s Oil Gusher for Election Edge Amid Strife

Filed in Iraq by on 24 April 2014

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is banking on sales from the highest crude oil output in 35 years to earn him a third term even as he struggles against an emboldened al-Qaeda and a surge in political violence. Maliki, 63, is seeking a majority in April 30 parliamentary elections to extend his hold on power in the nation of 33 million people, where he first took office in 2006. The new parliament will also choose a president to replace Jalal Talabani, who has been receiving medical treatment in Germany since suffering a stroke in December 2012. “Maliki is still the front-runner, but he has lost support,” Robin Mills, the head of consulting at Dubai-based Manaar Energy Consulting and Project Management, said by phone on April 20. “For a new government to be successful, it has to go much beyond the energy sector, and it will have to actually start [...]

Libya’s oil output falls amid uncertainty

Filed in Libya by on 24 April 2014

Libya’s oil production is currently around 220,000 barrels a day as several western oilfields remain closed due to protests, a spokesman for state-run National Oil Corp (NOC) said on Tuesday. The El Sharara, El Feel fields and oil condensates production at the Wafa field were still shut down, NOC spokesman Mohammed El Harari said. Libya’s oil production was 1.4 million bpd until July when a wave of protests at oilfields and ports started across the North African country. There were indications that a protest at the 340,000 bpd-El Sharara field might end but there were still issues with the pipeline where a separate protest had taken place in the past, El Harari said. A decision has also yet to be made on when the eastern Zueitina port might reopen, he said. The government reached an agreement with rebels in the east to reopen the 70,000 bpd-Zueitina and three [...]

Militant group in Egypt says it killed officer

Filed in Egypt by on 24 April 2014

An Islamic militant group in Egypt has claimed responsibility for a bombing that killed a senior police officer the day before. It says the attack was in retaliation for the killings and arrests by government forces of supporters of the country’s ousted Islamist president. Thursday’s statement by Ajnad Misr, or “Egypt’s Soldiers,” a group which first appeared in January, was posted on its Facebook page. It carried photographs of the slain officer, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Zaki, a commander in the riot police, showing him riding in a blue pick-up truck. The group claimed Zaki used a truck with no police insignia as a “disguise” for fear of being targeted. Attacks against Egyptian forces have escalated since the military last summer removed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

China Lifts Ban on New Refining Projects — Update

Filed in China by on 24 April 2014

China’s environmental watchdog lifted ban on new projects at its two largest refining companies after determining they met pollution targets last year. The ban, in effect for nearly eight months, had been imposed as concerns about air pollution in China rose and Beijing came under increasingly public pressure to address the problem. China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection said in an online statement posted Wednesday but dated April 18 that it was lifting the ban, which had applied to China National Petroleum Corp. and China Petrochemical Corp., known as Sinopec. Between them the two make up more than three quarters of China’s refining capacity. The ministry said both companies boosted spending, fixed problems and accelerated the construction of key projects that helped reduce emissions of four major pollutants in 2013 when compared with 2012. The ministry didn’t provide further details. CNPC’s listed PetroChina Co. unit referred questions [...]

Japan Protests Planned Limits on Panama Canal Ships

Filed in Panama by on 24 April 2014

Japan has protested to Panama about planned limits on the size of ships in the Panama Canal, saying they could prevent some U.S. natural gas from reaching customers in Asia. The issue has cast a pall over hopes for expanded trade in natural gas after the widening of the canal, scheduled for completion in early 2016. The U.S., enjoying a newfound abundance of natural gas thanks to technological advances, has opened the door to exports, and Japanese companies have eagerly signed up for U.S. supplies to make up for idled nuclear power after the March 2011 accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co. ‘s Fukushima Daiichi complex. The widening of the canal will open the way for the first time to liquefied-natural-gas carriers. Currently the LNG carriers must take a more circuitous route from eastern North America to Asia. But Panama has set a width limit of 49 meters for [...]

China’s legislature adopts revised Environmental Protection Law

Filed in China by on 24 April 2014

The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s top legislature, on Thursday voted to adopt revisions to the Environmental Protection Law. With 70 articles compared with 47 in the original law, the revised Environmental Protection Law, the first change to the legislation in 25 years, sets environmental protection as the country’s basic policy. The new law says that economic and social development should be coordinated with environmental protection and encourages studies on the impact environmental quality causes on public health, urging prevention and control of pollution-related diseases. It says that the country should establish and improve an environment and health monitoring, survey and risk assessment mechanism. The law gives harsher punishments to environmental wrongdoing, and has specific articles and provisions on tackling smog, making citizen’s more aware of environmental protection and protecting whistleblowers. It says citizens should adopt a low-carbon and [...]

Russia China natural gas contract looks likely

Filed in China, Natural Gas Supply by on 24 April 2014

Pricing remains an issue, but negotiations expected to be completed soon Russia and China are highly likely to nail down a natural gas deal during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Beijing in May after years of negotiations, experts from both sides said on Tuesday. Sergey Pikin, director of Russia’s Energy Development Fund, was optimistic about the deal, saying during a video interview that it’s “100 percent” possible that a bilateral agreement will be signed next month. However, Alexy Belogoriev, deputy director-general of the Institute of Energy Strategy in Russia, put the possibility at 50 percent. He said that even if the deal doesn’t happen during Putin’s visit, it might be finished by this autumn. Putin has urged Russian companies to expand their exposure to Asia. Since Russia’s actions in Ukraine have strained relations with the West, the country needs to be less dependent on energy sales to Europe, [...]

Price of Gas in U.S. Rises as Refiners Export More to Other Countries

Filed in Prices by on 24 April 2014

Drivers in the U.S. are facing rising gasoline prices ahead of summer-vacation season, just as refiners here are shipping more gas to other countries. A new pipeline, built to release a glut of crude oil that was stuck in the middle of the country, is now feeding oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast that churn out gasoline and diesel. While these fuels still make their way to the Southeast and the East Coast, growing amounts are being sold to Mexico, the Netherlands, Brazil and other countries. The push into these markets has been spurred by the U.S. oil boom. Rising oil output had been flooding the nation’s oil market in recent years, keeping U.S. crude prices low relative to world prices. Facing tepid fuel demand in the U.S., refiners have been ramping up exports, creating more global competition for U.S.-produced fuel. While the construction of pipelines and other [...]

Canada to Phase Out Rail Cars Tied to Deadly Quebec Fire

Filed in Canada by on 24 April 2014

Canada will require that older rail cars used for carrying crude oil be phased out by May 2017, the government said on Wednesday, moving ahead of the United States to eliminate the cars in light of growing oil-by-rail traffic and a deadly accident last year. The move is a response to recommendations made by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada after a fiery derailment last July in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, which killed 47 people. The ban was among a series of measures outlined by the government to improve the safety of transporting crude oil by rail, an increasingly common practice in North America, where a shortage of pipeline capacity has forced shippers to find alternatives. Canada’s faster time frame raises the possibility that the older cars will be diverted for use in the United States.

Small Wyoming Town Evacuated After Gas Blast

Filed in Natural Gas Supply by on 24 April 2014

Officials at the site of an explosion and fire at a natural-gas-processing facility and major pipeline hub in Opal, Wyo., on Wednesday. OPAL, Wyo.—A small town in southwest Wyoming was evacuated Wednesday after an explosion and fire at a natural-gas-processing facility and major national pipeline hub. There were no reports of injuries. The gas has been shut off, but people who were in Opal, about 100 miles northeast of Salt Lake City, went to an area about 3 miles outside of town as a precaution, said Lincoln County spokesman Stephen Malik. The town has about 95 residents. “They were downwind from the plant,” said Lincoln County Sheriff Shane Johnson. “The fire was still very active, and because of the nature of the processing that goes on there, that was the call that was made for safety reasons.” Mr. Johnson said he didn’t know when people would be allowed back [...]

BP streamlines Alaskan business

Filed in Oil Supply, USA by on 24 April 2014

British energy company BP said it was selling its stake in oil fields in the North Slope of Alaska in order to focus more on gas and the Prudhoe Bay oil field.Lamar McKay, chief executive officer for BP’s upstream operations, said the sale to Hilcorp, an energy company based in Houston, gives BP the opportunity to focus on managing larger oil and gas opportunities in Alaska. “This agreement will help build a more competitive and sustainable business for BP in Alaska,” he said in a statement . “We will now concentrate on continuing development and production from the giant Prudhoe Bay field and working to advance the future opportunity of Alaska LNG.” Alaskan legislators this week passed a measure that would advance a program to develop liquefied natural gas in the state. BP is a co-owner of the LNG development project. BP said its [...]

U.S. East Coast Gasoline at Five-Month High on Imports

Filed in Prices by on 24 April 2014

U.S. East Coast gasoline rose to a five-month high as imports to the area declined and refinery maintenance continued in eastern Canada and New Jersey . Reformulated, 84-octane gasoline, or RBOB, in the New York Harbor strengthened 0.88 cent to 3.88 cents a gallon above futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 3:16 p.m., the highest premium since Nov. 15, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. New York’s gasoline premium swelled for a fourth day. Motor fuel imports to the East Coast dropped 63,000 barrels a day to 402,000 barrels in the week ended April 18, the lowest level since March 14, according to weekly U.S. Energy Information Administration data. Stockpiles of RBOB gasoline fell to 15.8 million barrels, compared with 21 million barrels a year earlier, the data showed. “Imports to New York are limited and there are very few vessels arriving in the near term,” said [...]

El Nino Risk Increases as Pacific Gets Warmer: Carbon & Climate

Filed in Climate by on 24 April 2014

The odds are increasing that an El Nino weather system will form this year, portending drought for Australia and Asia and a warmer winter in the U.S. Northeast. The U.S. Climate Prediction Center now says there’s a 65 percent chance the Pacific Ocean warming pattern will develop after August. It put the odds at 52 percent last month. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology, which expected neutral conditions at the start of the year, says the phenomenon may start as soon as July. The World Meteorological Organization of the United Nations sees an El Nino at midyear. “We should know more clearly in a month exactly whether this is going to wimp out on us or if it’s really going to take off,” Kevin Trenberth , distinguished senior scientist in the climate analysis section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado , said in an April 14 [...]

Very Little Cheap Natural Gas in New York Marcellus Shale, New Report Concludes

Filed in Shale Gas by on 24 April 2014

For years, the shale industry has touted the economic benefits it can provide. An overflowing supply of domestic natural gas will help keep heating and electric bills low for American consumers, they argue, while drilling jobs and astounding royalty windfalls for landowners will reinvigorate local economies. These tantalizing promises have caught the attention of politicians in Washington, D.C. who argue that the rewards of relying on shale gas outweigh the risks, especially because harm can be minimized by the industry or by regulators. But across the U.S., communities where drilling has taken place have found that the process brings along higher costs than advertised. Even when properly done, drilling carries with it major impacts — including  air pollution , truck traffic , and plunging property values  — and when drillers make mistakes, water contamination has left residents without drinking water or cleaning up from disastrous well blow-outs . And as [...]

Obama Warns Russia the U.S. Is Ready to Ramp Up Sanctions

Filed in Ukraine by on 24 April 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama said Russia hasn’t abided by either the spirit or the letter of an agreement to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine, and he warned that the U.S. is prepared to impose additional costs. “There will be further consequences, and we will ramp up further sanctions,” he said during a news conference in Tokyo Thursday. The White House warned earlier this week that it would act if evidence of Russia’s compliance with an agreement reached in Geneva isn’t evident “in the coming days.” Mr. Obama didn’t offer a more specific timeline Thursday, saying only that the timing was a matter of days, not weeks. The president said that the sanctions involve technical work that must be completed before the U.S. can move forward. “The fact that I haven’t announced them yet doesn’t mean that they haven’t been prepared and teed up,” Mr. Obama said. The president also said [...]

Obama Says U.S. Ready to Move on Further Russia Sanctions

Filed in Ukraine by on 24 April 2014

President Barack Obama said the U.S. and its allies have additional sanctions against Russia ready to go as the crisis in Ukraine escalated, with security forces moving against pro-Russian separatists. Russia has yet to act in the spirit or the letter of an agreement reached in Geneva last week to defuse the confrontation, and if there’s no progress in the coming days, “we will follow through,” Obama said in Tokyo today. “We have been preparing for the prospect that we’re going to have to engage in further sanctions,” he told a news conference after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. All that’s required is some “technical work” and coordination with allies, he said. Ukraine continued an offensive against separatists in eastern cities today, Russia warned yesterday it would protect its citizens in Ukrainian territory, raising the prospect of a military move. An accord to disarm rebels signed last week [...]

Light Goes Out on U.K. Coal Industry

Filed in Coal, United Kingdom by on 24 April 2014

The U.K. coal industry is at the point of fizzling out following the planned closure of two of its three remaining deep mines in northern England. Among the beneficiaries: Russian exporters of the commodity. U.K. production of coal—still a major source of power in the country—has been in long-term decline since Margaret Thatcher ‘s government defeated a miners strike in the 1980s. When Mrs. Thatcher came to power in 1979, Britain produced 122 million tons of coal from 219 underground and 58 open-cast mines. Last year production was one-tenth that amount, the lowest to date. A further drop when the closures are completed in 18 months will underline how reliant the U.K. has become on foreign suppliers. Since 2002, annual imports of coal used in U.K. power generation have doubled. The country now imports nearly four times as much coal as it produces domestically. Problems for the U.K. coal [...]

WTI Trades Near 2-Week Low as China Economy Slows; Brent Steady

Filed in Prices by on 23 April 2014

West Texas Intermediate crude traded near a two-week low as a manufacturing gauge added to signs of an economic slowdown in China , the world’s second-largest oil consumer. Brent was steady in London . Futures were little changed in New York after falling the most since Jan. 2 yesterday. A preliminary Purchasing Managers ’ Index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics was at 48.3 for April, signaling a fourth month of contraction. U.S. crude stockpiles probably rose for the 13th time in 14 weeks, a Bloomberg News survey shows before government data today. Ukraine is considering resuming operations to oust militants as an accord to ease tension with Russia faltered. “The market is nervous about China,” said Jonathan Barratt , the chief executive officer of Barratt’s Bulletin in Sydney who predicts investors may sell West Texas contracts if prices advance to $104 a barrel. “The Russian situation remains [...]

Natural-Gas Futures Rise on Continued Cold Outlook

Filed in Prices by on 23 April 2014

Natural-gas futures climbed Tuesday as new weather forecasts called for lower-than-normal temperatures into May, fueling concerns that extended late-season heating demand could eat into stockpiles needed for next winter. Natural gas for May delivery rose 4.2 cents, or 0.9%, to settle at $4.739 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The market moved higher shortly after the release of the revised weather outlooks, took a brief turn into negative territory and then resumed climbing for the rest of the session, hitting a new high for the day just before settlement. Several forecasts that had already been revised Monday to reflect the extended cold snap were further altered early Tuesday to show even more below-normal conditions. Commodity Weather Group said the Midwest and eastern regions of the U.S., which are key consuming areas for gas-fired heating demand, could see temperatures between 50 [...]

Kurdish government releases energy revenue data

Filed in Kurdistan by on 23 April 2014

“Billions of dollars” generated from the oil and gas sector have benefited the citizens of the Kurdish region of Iraq, the Kurdish government said.The semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government published data on revenue generated from 2007-13. It said its Ministry of Natural Resources created gross revenue of around $9.7 billion. “[The ministry] has presided over the impressive growth of the oil and gas industry in the Region, generating billions of dollars that have benefitted each and every citizen of Kurdistan, and also those of the rest of Iraq,” Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami said in a statement Monday. The KRG and central government in Baghdad are at odds over who controls what aspects of the energy sector. The central government says unilateral activity in the Kurdish energy sector violates the nation’s constitution. KRG said revenues generated from the energy sector have been within limits outlined by a 2007 agreement [...]

Bombing in Cairo kills senior Egypt police officer

Filed in Egypt by on 23 April 2014

Egyptian security officials say a senior police officer has died after an explosive device placed under his car went off in a western Cairo suburb. The officials say Brig. Gen. Ahmed Zaki was heading to work from his home in 6th of October suburb when the bomb detonated on Wednesday morning. The officials say the explosion critically wounded Zaki and he later died in the hospital. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media. Attacks against Egyptian police and military have stepped up as militant groups wage an increasingly violent campaign following the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Since Morsi was removed by the military last July, more than 1,300 protesters, mostly pro-Morsi supporters, and over 450 troops have been killed.

Nigerian Firms Win Big in U.S.$40 Billion Oil Contract Awards

Filed in Nigeria by on 23 April 2014

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has awarded yearly crude oil lifting contracts worth about $40 billion to mostly Nigerian companies, and by so doing, downsizing contracts awarded to international oil traders. In a break with tradition, no contracts were given directly to foreign traders such as Glencore, Trafigura and Vitol, with only Switzerland’s Mercuria winning a contract, according to a list obtained by Reuters news agency. By this development, global traders need to partner with the local companies to access crude from Nigeria, Africa’s top producer. The crude lifting contracts cover around 340 million barrels of oil, worth close to $40 billion annually based on current Brent prices, and run for a year, though they can be renewed. They were allocated to just 28 companies, as against about 50 in 2012. The list, released by the NNPC, according to the newswire is preliminary and subject to revision. A [...]

Ghana’s Oil Exploration Quagmire – Date Published: April 15, 2014

Filed in Ghana by on 23 April 2014

As Ghana strives harder to escape the quagmire of oil curse which is the vile menace of oil and gas producing countries in third world countries across the globe, there are already looming signals that Ghana is virtually losing its gravity and battles to the foreign partners in her oil and gas industry. This is resulting due to the suicidal and legal goof the country made from the start when oil and gas production licenses were issued to International Oil Companies (IOCs) at the time most of necessary regulatory authorities, legal frameworks and policies that would hold them account were absent. The regulatory authorities such as Petroleum Commission, and Ghana Gas Company and regulatory frameworks such as the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill, Petroleum Commission Act, and the very belated Local Content Policy, among others, were put in place, a year or more, after commercial production of oil and gas [...]

China to raise natural gas supply

Filed in China by on 23 April 2014

China will raise its natural gas supply to as much as 420 billion cubic meters per year by 2020 amid rising demand due to urbanization, a government statement said on Wednesday. The increased supply will cater to the rising demand for natural gas in people’s daily lives, schools, nursing homes, home heating, as well as in buses and taxis, a statement on the central government website said. The supply increase is also driven by the nation’s efforts to mitigate air pollution stemming from an over-reliance on coal, the statement said. To expand natural gas production, investment in gas storage facilities as well as their construction and operation will be open to all market players, the statement said. Meanwhile, companies will also have the option to issue bonds to raise capital for the construction of storage facilities. The government will offer favorable land policies for [...]

China Manufacturing Gauge Signals Economic Weakness

Filed in China by on 23 April 2014

China’s economy has yet to respond to policy makers’ stimulus efforts, an April manufacturing gauge indicated today, helping send the yuan to a 16-month low. The preliminary Purchasing Managers’ from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics was 48.3 in April, matching the median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. The reading rose from March’s final figure of 48 while remaining below the expansion-contraction dividing line of 50. Sustained weakness in manufacturing would pressure Premier Li Keqiang to expand pro-growth measures beyond a required-reserves cut for rural banks yesterday and what some analysts have dubbed a “mini stimulus” package of railway spending and tax relief. The report followed data last week showing China’s expansion moderated to the slowest pace in six quarters. “We do not believe that this uptick in the HSBC PMI signals any sort of turning point for the economy and continue to believe that growth momentum [...]

China factory activity shrinks for fourth month

Filed in China, Economy by on 23 April 2014

China’s factory activity shrank for the fourth straight month in April, signaling economic weakness into the second quarter, a preliminary survey showed on Wednesday, although the pace of decline eased helped by policy steps to arrest the slowdown. Analysts see initial signs of stabilization in the economy due to the government’s targeted measures to underpin growth, but believe more policy support may be needed as structural reforms put additional pressure on activity. The HSBC/Markit flash Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for April rose to 48.3 from March’s final reading of 48.0, but was still below the 50 line separating expansion from contraction. “It’s generally in line (with expectations), reflecting that growth momentum is stabilizing,” said Zhou Hao, China economist at ANZ in Shanghai. Hao expected economic growth to pick up slightly to 7.5 percent in the second quarter. Annual growth slowed to 7.4 percent in the first [...]

China’s Gasoline, Kerosene Stockpiles Rise to Highest Since 2010

Filed in China by on 23 April 2014

Gasoline and kerosene stockpiles in China , the world’s second-largest oil consumer, rose to the highest levels in at least four years even as exports of the fuels surged last month. Gasoline inventories increased by 1.8 percent in March from a month earlier while kerosene supplies gained 4.5 percent, China Oil, Gas & Petrochemicals, a newsletter published by the official Xinhua News Agency, said today. Stockpiles expanded to an estimated 7.48 million metric tons and 1.87 million, respectively, the highest since January 2010 when Bloomberg started compiling the data. Fuel supplies climbed as refiners boosted operating rates, according to OGP. Companies including China Petrochemical & Chemical Corp. and PetroChina Co. processed 41.9 million tons of crude last month, or about 9.9 million barrels a day, up 2.6 percent from a year ago, data from the National Bureau of Statistics in Beijing showed on April 16. China exported the most [...]

Pacific islands need focus on renewables, EU says

Filed in Renewables by on 23 April 2014

Renewable energy for Pacific island nations will help fight climate change and stimulate the region’s economy, the European development commissioner said.Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully announced plans Tuesday to spend four days touring Pacific islands. The aim of the tour, which begins Wednesday, is to highlight the benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency. “Energy is crucial for education and healthcare, for growth, tourism and even for the supply of water,” PIebalgs said in a statement . “In short, renewable energy is a country’s main route towards growth and development.” Rising sea levels attributing to climate change are endangering low-lying nations in the Pacific region. The situation is compounded further by the high costs of importing fossil fuels to their isolated territories. Solar projects will be the primary source of investment targets for the European and New Zealand officials. [...]

PTTEP to Buy Hess Corp.’s Thailand Assets for $1 Billion

Filed in Thailand by on 23 April 2014

Thailand’s PCL, the country’s flagship petroleum explorer, will buy the Thai assets of Corp. for around $1 billion, in the latest of a string of sales by U.S. energy companies as they switch focus to unconventional oil and gas projects in North America. The Hess properties being bought by PTTET comprise minority shares in one onshore and one offshore Thailand natural gas and condensate field, whose stakes together produce around 17,000 barrels a day of oil equivalent, PTTET said Wednesday. One of the deals has already closed, and the other will be completed in May, said PTTEP’s president and chief executive, Tevin Vongvanich. Other U.S. companies shedding billions of dollars of noncore assets in Asia and elsewhere, or restructuring their portfolios to concentrate on exploiting shale gas and oil reserves in North America, include Corp. , Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Devon Energy Corp. In February, Anadarko [...]

Keystone Uncensored

Filed in USA by on 23 April 2014

Republicans are denouncing President Obama’s latest delay on the Keystone XL pipeline, six long years after it was proposed. But for cold political fury they have nothing on Terry O’Sullivan, who runs the Laborers’ International Union that represents a half-million construction workers. “This is once again politics at its worst,” Mr. O’Sullivan said in a public statement that deserves to be quoted at length. “In another gutless move, the Administration is delaying a finding on whether the pipeline is in the national interest based on months-old litigation in Nebraska regarding a state level challenge to a state process—and which has nothing to with the national interest. They waited until Good Friday, believing no one would be paying attention. The only surprise is they didn’t wait to do it in the dark of night. “It’s not the oil that’s dirty, it’s the politics. Once again, the Administration is making a [...]

Fracking Foes Cringe As Unions Back Drilling Boom

Filed in USA by on 23 April 2014

After early complaints that out-of-state firms got the most jobs, some local construction trade workers and union members in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia say they’re now benefiting in a big way from the Marcellus and Utica Shale oil and gas boom. That vocal support from blue-collar workers complicates efforts by environmentalists to limit the drilling process known as fracking. “The shale became a lifesaver and a lifeline for a lot of working families,” said Dennis Martire, the mid-Atlantic regional manager for the Laborers’ International Union, or LIUNA, which represents workers in numerous construction trades. Martire said that as huge quantities of natural gas were extracted from the vast shale reserves over the last five years, union work on large pipeline jobs in Pennsylvania and West Virginia has increased significantly. In 2008, LIUNA members worked about 400,000 hours on such jobs; by 2012, that had risen [...]

Next disruptive shale technology will improve recoveries: Schlumberger fellow

Filed in Shale Oil by on 23 April 2014

Technologies that will increase the low rate of ultimate recoveries in shale plays are the next disruptive forces in US oil and gas production, experts said Tuesday in Washington. “The revolutionary change will be breaking out of the primary recovery trap,” Schlumberger fellow Robert Kleinberg said. “How do you recover more?” Kleinberg, a physicist who invents geophysical instruments, didn’t know what shape the technology that would upend production in shale oil and gas fields would take, but he predicted it would focus on improving the relatively low rate of ultimate recoveries in shale wells. “We’re basically in the ‘gusher’ era,” said Kleinberg, who was speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in a joint event with the National Capital Area Chapter of the US Association for Energy Economics. “This is where the disruption is going to come.” Conventional wells have primary, secondary [...]

U.S. petroleum product exports increase in 2013

Filed in USA by on 23 April 2014

Exports of petroleum products from the United States averaged 3.5 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2013, 10% more than in 2012. The increase in exports was broad-based, affecting multiple products going to multiple regions. In December 2013, U.S. exports of petroleum products reached 4.3 million barrels per day, the first time exports exceeded 4 million barrels per day in a single month. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly Note: “Other” includes petroleum coke, residual fuel oil, jet fuel, and other hydrocarbon gas liquids. Average exports of distillate fuels exceeded 1.1 million bbl/d in 2013, an increase of 110,000 bbl/d over the level in 2012. Cost-advantaged domestic crude oil and natural gas encouraged near-record-high refinery runs, and 2013 distillate fuel production increased 160,000 bbl/d over 2012. The largest increases in distillate [...]

BP to Sell Interests in Four Alaska North Slope Oil Fields to Hilcorp

Filed in Oil Supply by on 23 April 2014

PLC is selling stakes in four Alaska North Slope oil fields to Hilcorp Energy Co., ratcheting down its investment in a region it helped pioneer as the oil company seeks to raise cash. The London-based company said on Tuesday it would sell interests to the closely held Houston-based company. The companies didn’t release financial terms of the deal, but a BP spokesman said the company “secured good value for these interests.” Hilcorp called the purchase a major acquisition for the company—its third in Alaska since 2012. “Our ability to bring new life to mature basins is a great fit for these assets,” John Barnes, a senior vice president at Hilcorp, said in a statement. For BP, long a major player in Alaska, the sale marks a narrowing focus as it seeks to raise $10 billion in cash, with most funds earmarked to buy back shares. BP’s stock plunged after [...]

Duke Estimates Coal-Ash Cleanup at $2 Billion to $2.5 Billion

Filed in Water by on 23 April 2014

A Duke Energy Corp. executive told a North Carolina environmental commission that plans outlined by the utility to address coal-ash in the state are estimated to cost about $2 billion to $2.5 billion. Duke efforts to address coal ash in the state comes after a metal pipe running underneath a waste-storage pond owned by Duke Energy burst in early February, pouring as much as 39,000 tons of coal ash—the byproduct of burning coal for fuel—into the adjacent Dan River. “Duke Energy is committed to working with policymakers and regulators to implement both short- and long-term solutions to coal ash management in North Carolina,” said Paul Newton, Duke’s North Carolina president. He spoke Tuesday before the state’s joint environmental review commission. Mr. Newton said the plans Duke has outlined include excavating and relocating ash from company sites to a “lined structural” or lined landfill, as well as costs to convert [...]

Ukraine May Resume Push in East as Russian Deal Crumples

Filed in Ukraine by on 23 April 2014

Ukraine considered resuming operations to oust militants from eastern cities as an agreement with Russia to reduce tensions in the region lay in tatters. Acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov yesterday called on security forces to move against the separatists after the discovery of two bodies in the country’s eastern region, saying that “terrorists” backed by Russia had “crossed the line.” He spoke hours after meeting in Kiev with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden , who pledged American support including $50 million in aid. With the April 17 accord faltering, Ukraine is inching closer to a renewed push to dislodge militants in defiance of Russia’s warnings that such a move risks sparking civil war. The “active phase” of the offensive was suspended five days ago as Ukraine’s government pledged to abide by the deal negotiated in Geneva by Ukraine, the European Union, the U.S. and Russia. In a call yesterday [...]

Crimea cut off from gas, leader says

Filed in Ukraine by on 23 April 2014

A pro-Russian leader in the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine said the region was receiving less than its fair share of natural gas.De facto Prime Minister of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov said about 30 percent of the area residents were getting supplied with natural gas. “And this is despite the fact that gas is produced on the peninsula on a scale sufficient to supply the whole population of the peninsula,” he said Monday. Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula after political upheaval in Kiev moved the former Soviet republic closer to the European Union. Last month, Russian energy company Gazprom said it wanted to tap into the more than 50 billion cubic feet of gas available in Crimea. Gazprom says it’s owed billions of dollars from Kiev for unsettled natural gas bills. With Ukraine hosting the bulk of the Russian gas bound for Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the region’s energy [...]

Russia risks further US sanctions over Ukraine, says Kerry

Filed in Ukraine by on 23 April 2014

The US has warned Russia to tone down its aggressive rhetoric on Ukraine, or face further sanctions. US Secretary of State John Kerry told his Russian counterpart over the phone that Moscow must call for pro-Russian gunmen to lay down their weapons. Kiev and the West say Moscow commands the gunmen – claims denied by Russia. The Ukrainian authorities have re-launched an anti-terror operation to take back several towns in the east overrun by pro-Russian militants. Acting President Olexander Turchynov said he had ordered the operation to restart after two men – including local politician Vladimir Rybak – were found dead after being “brutally tortured”. “The terrorists who effectively took the whole Donetsk region hostage have now gone too far,” Mr Turchynov said. Kiev’s military operation to push gunmen out of public buildings began on 16 April but was suspended over the Easter period. In other developments: Some 150 [...]

Peak Oil and Peak Water vs. Peak Network

Filed in Peak Oil by on 23 April 2014

Over the next decade and a half, 2.5 billion people in China, India and other developing countries will join the global middle class. They are going to need skyscrapers to live in and superstores to shop in. They are going to want smartphones, cars, flank steaks, air conditioning, pet clothing, Disneyland vacations, and probably some throw pillows. How is a planet already straining under the pressure of today’s 2 billion middle class consumers going to accommodate 2.5 billion additional ones? For many observers, this unprecedented economic growth foretells a Malthusian meltdown. In this scenario, skyrocketing demand for scarce natural resources will lead to unchecked carbon emissions, water wars, massive deforestation, $100 Big Macs for the rich and cricket-meat Bug Macs for everyone else. McKinsey director Matt Rogers and Stanford professor Stefan Heck have a more optimistic take on the future. In their compelling new book, Resource Revolution , they [...]

GEOG Researchers Address Economic Dangers of ‘Peak Oil’

Filed in Peak Oil by on 23 April 2014

Researchers from the University of Maryland and a leading university in Spain demonstrate in a new study which sectors could put the entire U.S. economy at risk when global oil production peaks (“Peak Oil”). This multi-disciplinary team recommends immediate action by government, private and commercial sectors to reduce the vulnerability of these sectors. While critics of Peak Oil studies declare that the world has more than enough oil to maintain current national and global standards, these UMD-led researchers say Peak Oil is imminent, if not already here—and is a real threat to national and global economies. Their study is among the first to outline a way of assessing the vulnerabilities of specific economic sectors to this threat, and to identify focal points for action that could strengthen the U.S. economy and make it less vulnerable to disasters. Their work, “Economic Vulnerability to Peak Oil,” appears in Global Environmental Change [...]

Brent Trades Near Seven-Week High on Ukraine Tension; WTI Steady

Filed in Prices by on 22 April 2014

Brent crude traded near the highest price in seven weeks amid speculation that escalating tension over Ukraine may disrupt Europe’s energy supplies. West Texas Intermediate was steady in New York . Futures were little changed in London after rising 0.4 percent yesterday. Russia and the U.S. traded blame for failing to rein in extremists in Ukraine as a diplomatic accord, reached last week to ease the crisis, neared collapse. Crude stockpiles in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer, probably increased for the 13th time in 14 weeks, a Bloomberg News survey shows before Energy Information Administration data tomorrow. “There’s some support for the market arising from the situation in Ukraine,” Ric Spooner, a chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, said by phone today. “While that isn’t translating into significant buying, it’s likely to be preventing much active selling.” Brent for June settlement was at $109.75 a barrel [...]

Natural-Gas Prices Fall as Traders Take Profits

Filed in Prices by on 22 April 2014

Natural-gas futures eased Monday as traders took profits from last week’s rally. Natural gas for May delivery fell 4.4 cents, or 0.9%, to $4.697 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The drop came after gas prices climbed almost 5% Thursday–the final trading day of last week–on concerns that stockpiles of the fuel were refilling more slowly than expected. There was no news about supplies or the weather on Monday that would have obviously encouraged a downturn in prices, leading traders and analysts to believe the selloff came from some traders cashing out gains. “It’s just a quiet market now drifting lower. There was no impetus,” said Scott Gettleman, an independent trader in New York. Several Wall Street analysts said it was a bad idea to bet on lower prices when the country’s stockpile is only slowly rebuilding from an 11-year [...]