Recent Articles

Oil rises as dollar dips, eyes on U.S. stocks data

Filed in Prices by on 28 May 2015

Oil prices recovered on Thursday after a two-day slide as the dollar weakened, making fuel less expensive for holders of other currencies. The dollar has risen more than 4 percent against a basket of currencies .DXY over the last 10 days, helping accelerate a fall in oil prices from a five-month high early in May. But the surge in the U.S. currency paused on Thursday, encouraging some oil buying, traders and analysts said. “Much depends on the U.S. dollar,” said Carsten Fritsch, senior oil and commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. “If the dollar resumes its rise, oil will probably test new lows again,” Fritsch added. Front-month Brent LCOc1 was up 65 cents at $62.71 a barrel by 0815 GMT. U.S. crude futures CLc1 were up 30 cents from their last settlement at $57.81 per barrel. Investors awaited oil inventory data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) […]

Oil Prices Up as Market Awaits U.S. Oil Supply Data

Filed in Prices by on 28 May 2015

Oil prices rose in a volatile session Thursday as investors brace themselves for key U.S. oil supply data. Brent crude for July delivery recently rose 0.7% to $62.48 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures for July were trading up 0.3% at $57.67 a barrel. Late Wednesday, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, reported a surprise 1.3-million-barrel rise in U.S. crude stockpiles for last week. The more closely watched data by the U.S. Energy Information Administration is due later, and markets expect weekly supplies to have decreased by 1.1 million barrels, according to analysts polled by The […]

Nigerian govt paying $800 million to oil suppliers to end fuel crisis crippling economy

Filed in Nigeria by on 28 May 2015

Nigeria’s outgoing government has agreed to pay a debt of $800 million to resolve a months-long fuel crisis crippling the economy days before the inauguration of a new president in the country, oil suppliers said Wednesday. Chaos reigned Tuesday at Nigerian airports where most flights were cancelled. Foreign airlines flew to other African countries to refuel. Cars and other vehicles formed queues two and three deep blocking roads for more than 2 kilometers (a mile) outside of gas stations. Attendants turned away people carrying yellow cans to buy kerosene for cooking. There was none. Banks started closing at lunchtime on Monday and cell phone companies warned they would be forced to shut down service countrywide for lack of diesel to fuel generators. Nigeria — Africa’s biggest oil producer— generates more than 2 million barrels of petroleum a […]

Saudi Arabia’s summer oil demand for power generation to climb

Filed in Saudi Arabia by on 28 May 2015

Saudi Arabia’s demand for oil products could increase by up to 20 percent this summer from last year as soaring temperatures stoke demand for power generation, but new refineries will limit the need for imports, traders and analysts said. Requirements for fuel oil, the cheapest form of oil to burn to generate electricity, could climb by up to 20 percent this year, although demand for pricier gasoil is likely to be unchanged from last year. Imports of the middle distillate into the country are expected to hit a record low this year due to new refineries’ ability to meet demand, potentially curbing Asian gasoil margins as this removes a major outlet for barrels, traders said. Saudi Arabia has added 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) of new capacity in its refineries of Yanbu and Jubail over the past two years, reducing its reliance on imports and stalling term talks […]

OPEC sees rivals boosting oil output despite weak prices

Filed in OPEC by on 28 May 2015

The North American oil boom is proving resilient despite low oil prices, producer group OPEC said in its biggest and most detailed report this year, suggesting the global oil glut could persist for another two years. A draft report of OPEC’s long-term strategy, seen by Reuters ahead of the cartel’s policy meeting in Vienna next week, forecast crude supply from rival non-OPEC producers would grow at least until 2017. Sluggish global demand for oil means the call on OPEC’s crude will fall from 30 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2014 to 28.2 million in 2017, effectively leaving the group with two options – cut output from current levels of 31 million bpd or be prepared to tolerate depressed oil prices for much longer. “Since June 2014, oil prices have experienced a significant reduction, reaching levels even lower than the crisis experienced in 2008, yet non-OPEC supply is […]

June OPEC meeting won’t cut output: Saudi paper quotes source

Filed in OPEC by on 28 May 2015

OPEC is not expected to cut oil production at its meeting in June, and the meeting is expected to be a short one, Saudi Arabia’s Al Hayat newspaper quoted an unnamed OPEC source as saying on Thursday. Saudi Arabia will continue producing oil to meet customer demand, and its output is now at about 10.3 million barrels per day in light of growth in demand from China and India, the source added. He said Saudi Arabia would not sacrifice its market share for other people’s interests, especially if there was no cooperation on oil policy from outside OPEC – a line which has been stated repeatedly by Saudi officials in recent months. Al Hayat is a major Saudi newspaper with a strong reputation for covering oil policy. (Reporting by Reem Shamsedine, Writing by Andrew Torchia)

Obama’s Chief Negotiator in Iran Nuclear Talks Plans to Depart After Deadline for Deal

Filed in Iran by on 28 May 2015

President Obama ’s chief negotiator with Iran , Wendy R. Sherman, said on Wednesday that she planned to leave the administration shortly after the June 30 deadline for a final deal on limiting the country’s nuclear program . “It’s been two long years,” Ms. Sherman, the under secretary of state for policy, said in her office on Wednesday. With her departure, all the top officials who have negotiated with Iran over those two years will have left the administration, leaving questions about who will coordinate the complex process of carrying out a deal if one is struck by the deadline. On Wednesday night, Secretary of State John Kerry, who has relied on Ms. Sherman to conduct the high-stakes negotiations, said that her “mentoring of colleagues, her experience, her passion for diplomacy, her calm in the storm set her apart as a great under secretary of state.” Her […]

Sunnis Fleeing ISIS Find Few Doors Open Elsewhere in Iraq

Filed in Iraq by on 28 May 2015

On one side of a rickety bridge that spans a narrow stretch of the Euphrates River were panicked families on the run from Islamic State forces, hoping to escape Anbar Province and reach safety in Baghdad. On the other side were Iraqi Army officers and Shiite militiamen, under orders to keep the bridge closed because of fears that militants could slip in among the displaced civilians. “It’s like the other side is Europe and this is Asia,” said Ehab Talib, 27, who was waiting to meet relatives fleeing the fighting in Anbar, the Sunni-dominated region whose capital, Ramadi, recently fell to the Islamic State . With new waves of civilians fleeing violence in Anbar there are now more internally displaced Iraqis, nearly […]

Oil workers continue protest for shift changes

Filed in Iraq by on 28 May 2015

Workers at Rumaila as well as other southern oil fields are pressing foreign oil companies and Iraqi oil officials to reverse their stance and adopt a non-industry standard work rotation. This is not the only demand from oil workers, who have for years put forward a series of union-backed demands to improve working conditions and receive bonus pay. Following a March protest at South Oil Company headquarters, the issue of shift scheduling now appears to be at the top of the agenda through…

Saudi Arabia Sanctions Two Hezbollah Commanders, Alleging Terrorist Activities

Filed in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia by on 28 May 2015

Saudi Arabia sanctioned two top Hezbollah commanders allegedly involved in regional terrorist operations, in a sign of the kingdom’s growing coordination with the U.S. Treasury Department. Riyadh on Wednesday blacklisted Khalil Yusif Harb and Muhammad Qabalan for activities the Saudis alleged were designed to destabilize the kingdom’s close strategic allies in Yemen, Egypt and Lebanon. The U.S. Treasury sanctioned the same Lebanese men in August 2013. Hezbollah is a militia and political party based in Lebanon. “The Saudi government will continue to combat Hezbollah’s terrorist activities with all available tools and will continue to work with partners around the world to make it clear that Hezbollah’s militant and extremist activities should not be tolerated by any nation,” Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of the Interior said in a statement. The Treasury Department’s top counterterrorism official praised the action as a sign of increased cooperation between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia in […]

Libyan Prime Minister Escapes Assassination Attempt

Filed in Libya by on 28 May 2015

Libya’s internationally recognized prime minister escaped an assassination attempt, the latest sign of a widening security vacuum that is complicating European Union efforts to stem the flow of illegal migrants from the country. Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni was targeted Tuesday night when several unidentified gunmen shot at his motorcade as he left a parliamentary session in the eastern city of Tobruk, according to a member of parliament and security officials. Libya’s internationally recognized government is based in Tobruk while a rival administration opposed to Mr. Thinni is based in the capital Tripoli and controls the country’s west. Human smugglers have exploited Libya’s deep political crisis and insecurity to use the country as a launching ground for thousands of migrants —mostly African and Middle Eastern—making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea. […]

Venezuela, Russia’s Rosneft agree on $14 billion oil, gas investment

Filed in Russia, Venezuela by on 28 May 2015

Venezuela and Russia’s top oil producer, Rosneft, have agreed on around $14 billion in investment in the South American OPEC country’s oil and gas sector, President Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday evening. Maduro said he met with the chief executive of state-owned Rosneft, Igor Sechin, earlier on Wednesday, in the company of PDVSA [PDVSA.UL] President Eulogio del Pino and National Assembly boss and Socialist Party No. 2 Diosdado Cabello. “We had a great meeting and agreed on investment of over $14 billion,” said Maduro during a televised broadcast, adding the funds would go toward doubling Venezuela’s oil production. PDVSA has formal ambitious targets to double national production to 6 million barrels a day by 2019, with 4 million of that projected to come from the Orinoco Belt, but few industry experts or foreign investors expect those goals to be met. Speaking at a Socialist Party event broadcast on […]

Total reaches production milestone in Angola

Filed in Angola by on 28 May 2015

With 2 billion barrels of cumulative production from an offshore block in Angola, French energy company Total said Wednesday it set the global gold standard. Total announced it reached the milestone at its offshore Block 17 reserve area, located about 90 miles off the coast of Angola in deep waters. “Block 17 is a global benchmark in the deep offshore and represents a unique industrial adventure, with 15 discoveries and a very high level of production,” Arnaud Breuillac, Total’s president of exploration and production,” said in a statement. With more than 700,000 barrels of oil equivalent in production at the start of 2015, the French energy company said it’s the lead operator in Angola. Apart from Block 17, the company holds a 30 percent stake in […]

China May official factory PMI seen lackluster despite stimulus moves

Filed in China by on 28 May 2015

China’s factories struggled to expand in May despite recent interest rate cuts and other policy stimulus, a Reuters poll showed, suggesting the government may have to do more to halt a protracted slowdown in the economy. The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, is forecast to inch up to 50.2 from April’s 50.1, according to the median forecast of 14 economists in the poll. A reading above 50 points indicates an expansion in activity while one below that shows a contraction on a monthly basis. “Although the government has unveiled a series of policy stimulus measures, the effect has yet to show up,” said Nie Wen, an economist at Hwabao Trust in Shanghai. The flash HSBC/Markit PMI released last week showed factory activity contracted for a third month in May and output shrank at the fastest rate in just over a year, indicating persistent weakness in the […]

Plains defends California pipeline infrastructure

Filed in Pipelines by on 28 May 2015

Plains All American defended pipeline infrastructure in California after last week’s spill, saying automatic shutoff valves were not the best safety option. Plains is working with state, local and federal regulators to remove part of its Line 901 from a region near Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara. A unified command center established for the spill said the worst-case estimate is that 2,500 barrels of oil was released from the […]

Bill is wrong way to speed gas pipeline approvals, House panel told

Filed in Natural Gas Supply by on 28 May 2015

A bill that would give the US Department of the Interior authority to approve natural gas pipelines crossing National Parks Service land is unnecessary and unwanted, a US Bureau of Land Management official told a House Natural Resources subcommittee. “Most of the authorizations of HR 2295 are already within the scope of existing [Interior] authorities, and consistent with current priorities and activities,” Timothy Spisak, BLM’s senior advisor for energy, minerals, and realty management, said during the Energy and Minerals Subcommittee’s May 20 hearing. “Additionally, the department strongly opposes the bill’s provisions that would authorize the secretary to issue natural gas pipeline rights of way on NPS lands,” Tpisak said. The bill’s sponsors, Reps. Tom McArthur (R-NJ) and Cedric Richmond (D-La.), said their measure, the National Energy Security Corridors Act, is necessary to reduce federal bureaucratic roadblocks. “All along the East Coast, families are paying higher […]

EU officials dismiss Greek statement on aid agreement being drafted

Filed in Greece by on 28 May 2015

Greece’s government on Wednesday said it is starting to draft an agreement with creditors that would pave the way for aid, but European officials quickly dismissed that as wishful thinking. Greece and its European and International Monetary Fund lenders have been locked in tortuous negotiations on a reforms agreement for four months without a breakthrough in sight. Without a deal, Athens risks default or bankruptcy in weeks. A new round of talks begin on Wednesday in Brussels, and a Greek government official said the two sides would start drafting a technical-level agreement there, along the lines of Athens’ longtime demands for no wage or pension cuts and a lower target for a primary budget surplus. But European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said the two sides still had some way to go before any agreement could be drawn up. “We are working very intensively to ensure a staff-level […]

How Russia was warned against oil output cut as prices dived

Filed in Russia by on 28 May 2015

MOSCOW/LONDON As Russia prepares to meet OPEC next week, a briefing paper from a Moscow think tank has shed light on how the government was warned against cutting oil output late last year even though global prices were plummeting. Speculation was rife that Russia and the oil exporters’ cartel might strike a production deal to arrest the slide when Energy Minister Alexander Novak met his Saudi Arabian counterpart last November. However, the think tank had already advised Novak that OPEC would not cooperate and unilateral action would be costly at a time when Russian state finances were in a dire state. “If Russia cuts output, OPEC will take our market share in Europe,” a team led by energy expert Grigory Vygon said in the previously unpublished paper, commissioned by the Energy Ministry before the Nov. 25 meeting in Vienna. The paper was prepared by the Skolkovo Institute’s energy team, […]

Oil Marginally Higher but Strong Dollar Weighs

Filed in Prices by on 27 May 2015

Oil prices were marginally higher in Asian trade Wednesday, attempting a rebound after sharp losses of nearly 3% in the previous session on the back of a strong U.S. dollar. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in July traded at $58.35 a barrel at 0324 GMT, up $0.32 in the Globex electronic session. July Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange rose $0.15 to $63.87 a barrel. However, strength in the greenback continues to weigh on oil prices. Market participants have raised concerns about the inability of the oil market to sustain its latest price rally. “At least for the time being, the strength in the U.S. dollar has called attention away from declining U.S. petroleum inventories,” analyst Tim Evans at Citi Futures said. He said while the upcoming meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in early […]

Oil rebounds 1 percent, U.S. crude stocks in focus

Filed in Prices by on 27 May 2015

Crude futures rose about 1 percent on Wednesday to recover some ground after steep drops in the previous session, boosted by expectations that U.S. crude stocks could fall for a fourth straight week. Prices were also supported by comments from western diplomats that a nuclear deal with Iran was unlikely by a June 30 deadline, and the oil producer would not get sanctions relief before the end of the year in the best of cases. July Brent crude LCOc1 rose 60 cents to $64.32 a barrel by 0651 GMT, while U.S. crude was up 75 cents at $58.78 a barrel. Both contracts fell more than 2 percent on Tuesday after a stronger greenback curbed buying interest in dollar-denominated commodities such as oil. U.S. commercial crude inventories likely decreased by 2 million barrels last week, a preliminary Reuters survey showed. Declining U.S. stockpiles of crude and oil products in […]

Oil Price Hurt by Dollar Strength

Filed in Prices by on 27 May 2015

Oil prices fell Tuesday as the U.S. dollar strengthened and market participants continued to question the sustainability of the recent price rally. Light, sweet crude for July delivery recently fell $1.27, or 2.1%, to $58.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, fell $1.12, or 1.7%, to $64.40 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of other major currencies, rose 0.7% on Tuesday. As it is priced in dollars, oil becomes more expensive for holders of other currencies as the greenback appreciates. “Oil prices are fighting exceptional strength in the dollar,” said Phil Flynn , analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago, in […]

Natural Gas Futures Fall as Demand Outlook Weakens

Filed in Prices by on 27 May 2015

Natural gas futures extended losses Tuesday as forecasts for an East Coast heat wave faded, dashing expectations for a bout of gas-fired cooling demand. Natural gas for June delivery settled down 6.5 cents, or 2.3%, at $2.822 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The June contract expires Wednesday. The loss prolonged last week’s slide, as concerns about robust production and more than adequate supplies prompt the market to give back gains made in early May. The May rally was driven by hotter-than-average temperatures that were expected to provide a boost for natural gas demand to generate power and run air conditioning. But the most recent forecasts show that trend beginning to moderate, with a spate of much-above normal temperatures in the Northeast fading in the coming days and predictions for renewed heat into early June losing strength, according to forecaster Commodity […]

Return of crude/dollar trade fuels oil market dilemma ahead of OPEC

Filed in Prices by on 27 May 2015

A once-popular pair trade pitting the U.S. dollar against oil prices has re-emerged in recent weeks, injecting a new wildcard into the market just as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries prepares to meet. Through the second half of 2014, oil slid while the dollar rose, though market watchers viewed this inverse correlation as a coincidence. Oil’s rout was fueled by a swelling global glut, the dollar’s rise driven by European monetary easing and expectations of higher U.S. interest rates. In recent weeks, however, oil market analysts and traders said it looked as though foreign exchange markets were jerking oil prices around. Oil market players are now paying closer attention to currency markets than they have since the European financial crisis. About two weeks ago, Morgan Stanley analysts said an “uncanny” relationship has developed between the dollar index and benchmark Brent crude oil. The inverse correlation between the […]

Nuclear Move Stands to Lift U.S.-Israel Ties

Filed in Israel by on 27 May 2015

Israeli officials criticized the Obama administration last week when they thought the U.S. was about to support a United Nations conference on nuclear weapons in the Middle East—with or without Israel’s participation or consent. But by Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Secretary of State John Kerry and praised the White House for instead blocking the proposed meeting, which might have pressured Israel to disclose its presumed nuclear-arms program. “The United States kept its commitment to Israel by preventing a Middle East resolution that would single out Israel and ignore its security interests,” said a senior Israeli official briefed on the call, which was confirmed by U.S. officials. Israel’s diplomatic U-turn over the weekend shined a […]

Iran denies military role in Iraqi oil fight

Filed in Iran, Iraq by on 27 May 2015

An Iranian deputy foreign minister denied allegations that Iranian forces were fighting in Iraq to regain control over the Beiji oil refinery. U.S. military strikes have supported Iraqi troop activity against the group calling itself the Islamic State in many of the country’s western Sunni-dominated provinces. The militant group claimed a brief hold over the Beiji oil refinery in Saladin province, north of Baghdad, last year and heavy fighting has been reported recently in and around the area. The Islamic State has claimed control over Ramadi, the capital of neighboring Anbar province. U.S. defense officials said last week there were a small number of Iranian forces working on the ground in coordination with Shiite militias to retake the […]

Iraq launches operation to retake Ramadi from Isis

Filed in Iraq by on 27 May 2015

Iraqi state media announced the launch of an operation on Tuesday to retake the strategic city of Ramadi from jihadis. The move is aimed as much at allaying international and domestic worries about the ability of its much-criticised military to wrest back control of territory.  No official announcement was made from either the office of prime minister Haider al-Abadi or the ministry of defence. Instead, the Popular Mobilisation Forces, a volunteer armed division led by Shia militias, heralded the start of the campaign to retake what is the capital of Anbar province from the Islamic State of Iraqi and the Levant, the group known as Isis.

Iraqi Army and Shiite Militias Begin Push to Take Ramadi From ISIS

Filed in Iraq by on 27 May 2015

raqi officials said Tuesday that a combined force of Iraqi soldiers and allied Shiite militias had started moving to retake the city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province, from Islamic State fighters. The officials billed the operation that began Tuesday as the start of a major offensive to liberate all of Anbar Province. But most of the action reported on Tuesday involved pro-government forces maneuvering in the desert areas north and east of Ramadi, and it was unclear when an assault there might begin. The loss of Ramadi more than a week ago was a major setback for the Iraqi government and the United States-led air campaign to contain the Islamic State, also […]

Baiji refinery devastated by IS scorched earth tactics

Filed in Iraq by on 27 May 2015

The Baiji refinery, which was once Iraq’s single largest source of fuel, appears to have been almost entirely destroyed.Militants from the so-called Islamic State (IS) group have detonated explosives and set fire to key infrastructure, including control rooms and processing units, as pro-government forces launched a fresh offensive over the weekend to regain control of the facility, Iraqi security and oil officials said.”The damage to the refinery is huge,” said a senior engineer who use…

Iraq About to Flood Oil Market

Filed in Iraq by on 27 May 2015

Iraq is taking OPEC’s strategy to defend its share of the global oil market to a new level. The nation plans to boost crude exports by about 26 percent to a record 3.75 million barrels a day next month, according to shipping programs, signaling an escalation of OPEC strategy to undercut U.S. shale drillers in the current market rout. The additional Iraqi oil is equal to about 800,000 barrels a day, or more than comes from OPEC member Qatar. The rest of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is expected to rubber stamp its policy to maintain output levels at a meeting on June 5. While shipping schedules aren’t a promise of future production, they are indicative of what may come. The following chart graphs planned tanker loadings (in red) against exports. As in previous months, Iraq might not hit its June target – export capacity is currently capped […]

Gunmen try to kill Libya’s recognized prime minister

Filed in Libya by on 27 May 2015

Gunmen tried to assassinate Libya’s internationally recognized prime minister on his way to the airport in the eastern city of Tobruk on Tuesday, a spokesman for his government said. Arish Said, head of the government’s media department, said that Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni’s motorcade was attacked and one of his guards was lightly wounded but that there were no fatalities. “They managed to escape,” Said said. Prior to the attack, he said armed men who had been protesting outside a session of the Tobruk government’s House of Representatives tried to storm the building, firing shots into the air and demanding al-Thinni be removed from office. They were “threatening to kill the prime minister and force the House to sack him,” Said said. He identified the men as being funded by […]

Eni finds gas offshore Libya

Filed in Libya by on 27 May 2015

Italian energy company Eni announced Tuesday it made its second discovery of the year at an exploration prospect off the coast of Libya. Eni said it made a natural gas and condensate discovery in so-called Area 3, a reserve area about 85 miles off the Libyan coast. “The well represents the second discovery made by Eni in Libyan offshore Area D since the beginning of 2015,” the company said in a statement. Production tests yielded a preliminary flow rate from the well at 1,340 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Eni estimates the well should be able to produce at least 3,000 boe per day at its peak. Before NATO forces intervened in Libyan civil war in 2011, the country was producing more than 1 million bpd. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in its latest market report said production from member-state Libya […]

Libyan Prime Minister Survives Assassination Attempt Amid Protests

Filed in Libya by on 27 May 2015

The prime minister of Libya ’s internationally recognized government survived an assassination attempt Tuesday after facing hostile questioning inside Parliament and demands for his resignation from armed protesters outside. The mayhem and violence broke out amid growing signs of divisions in the faction backing the government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni against a rival faction that has taken over the capital, Tripoli. If the conflicts and discord further threaten the stability of Mr. Thinni’s government, the result could cripple the United Nations-brokered talks aimed at bringing the two factions together and could further compound the chaos that has engulfed Libya since the fall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011. It was unclear who was responsible for the assassination attempt. Armed forces allied with the government, which is based in Tobruk and Bayda, have been battling Islamist militants from Benghazi and Dernah. Last winter, militants hostile […]

Peak Oil Dress Rehearsal?

Filed in Nigeria by on 27 May 2015

This is extraordinary. Remember all those dire things that were supposed to happen when Peak Oil hit? All the stuff in The Long Emrgency? Cars queuing up for miles to buy petrol, public transportation jacking up rates, cell phones not working, banks closing their doors, planes grounded for lack of fuel, supermarkets stripped bare, scalpers selling gas in jerry-cans, factories shutting down, stations going off the air, people losing their jobs, political disorder, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria… Turns out all of it is happening…In Nigeria: Nigeria is facing a prolonged fuel-supply crisis that is taking a severe toll on the country’s economy, living conditions, and basic services, reports say. The shortage in Africa’s leading oil producer has forced an increasing number of drivers in Lagos to stop using their personal vehicles, but prices for commuters on public transport have more than doubled. Black market […]

Report: South Sudan’s fate hinges on oil

Filed in Sudan by on 27 May 2015

The political unity holding South Sudan together may hinge on battles over oil-producing regions along the country’s northern border, an analyst said. When it gained independence from Sudan in 2011, the landlocked country gained control over much of the oil-producing regions, but Sudan maintained its grip on export infrastructure. Conflict erupted in South Sudan in 2013 when Salva Kiir, the country’s president, accused former Vice President Riek Machar of staging a coup. Rebel forces two years on are waging battle for control over Paloch near the Sudanese border, the only part of South Sudan still producing oil. “Oil is South Sudan’s bread and butter,” Luke Patey, a researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies in Copenhagen, told […]

Nigerian gas shortage resolved but new leader still faces major challenges

Filed in Nigeria by on 27 May 2015

Nigeria’s gasoline scarcity was resolved Monday, but only after the shortages had damaged the economy, canceled or diverted commercial flights, shut down radio stations and put mobile phone networks at risk. With incoming President Muhammadu Buhari set to be sworn in Friday, the opposition All Progressives Congress accused outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan of sabotaging the new administration. Buhari faces high expectations and myriad problems, including a government financial crisis partly caused by the fall in oil prices, a battle against the militant group Boko Haram in the country’s northeast, electricity outages, widespread corruption and poor infrastructure. In the final days of Jonathan’s term, the country has also faced dire gasoline shortages and millions in unpaid wages of government workers. The gasoline shortage began before the March election that […]

Nigerian unions end strike that shut 100,000 b/d of oil output for week

Filed in Nigeria by on 27 May 2015

Nigerian oil worker unions at state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company have called off a strike that shut about 100,000 b/d of production for a week, union and company officials said late Monday. The Pengassan and Nupeng unions started the strike May 18 to protest the transfer by the government of the operatorship of onshore oil block OML 42, sold by Shell to local firm Neconde. “Since the strike has been called off, other necessary things will follow,” a NPDC spokesman said, referring to the restart of oil production at shut fields, without giving further details. Article continues below… For over 100 years Platts has been at the forefront of pricing and news in the energy markets. Today, we publish the essential information that you need to navigate the rapidly evolving commodity markets that Africa plays a key part in. Here you will find a […]

Nigeria’s Energy Crisis Worsens – Only 5 of 23 Power Plants Functional

Filed in Nigeria by on 27 May 2015

Nigeria’s energy crisis deteriorated Monday, as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the government agency responsible for regulating operations in the electricity sector, reported that only five of the country’ 23 power plants are currently functional. By implication, Nigerians would now have to contend with a biting fuel supply crisis, which has almost grounded the economy for months, and lack of electricity to power. On Friday, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali, had during a meeting with outgoing Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, in Abuja raised the alarm over the epileptic supply of electricity across the country. Mr. Igali, in the company of the Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, said the country’s dwindling electricity supply took a further nosedive to unprecedented all-time low level of 1,327 megawatts (MW) from the 4,800 MW level attained recently. He attributed the damning situation to the epileptic performance of most key power […]

Nigeria: Fuel Crisis Grounds Economy

Filed in Nigeria by on 27 May 2015

By Abel Orukpe, Tunde Opeseitan, Emma Nzomiwu, Chukwujekwu Ilozue And Temidayo Akinsuyi The lingering fuel crises caused by the refusal of oil marketers to lift and supply petroleum products until their demand for payment of oil subsidy is met by the federal government, appear to have affected virtually every sector of the Nigerian economy. Judicial activities at the various courts in Lagos were halted as those who managed to sit adjourned abruptly. In Enugu State, all the roads were deserted as the exorbitant cost of petrol forced motorists who could not afford to pay N200 per litre to either abandon their vehicles and trek or use commercial means of transportation. Also in Anambra State, business and social activities were almost shut down due to the crises. The price of petrol as at yesterday is said to have risen to between N180 to N250 per litre. Unfortunately, Mega stations from […]

Nigerian Oil Dispute Exposes Dysfunction Ahead of Power Shift

Filed in Nigeria by on 27 May 2015

The most oil-rich nation in Africa nearly ran out of gas this week. Airlines grounded flights because they couldn’t find jet fuel in recent days, and gas stations nearly all closed down. The companies licensed to restock Nigeria’s fuel depots refused to do so, saying the government here–defeated in an election in March–owed them more than $1 billion. The result was the worst fuel shortage here since a 1993 military coup, one that could echo for weeks in Africa’s top economy. Television stations, banks, and cellphone towers all went offline. Doctors worried their emergency rooms would go dark, and several soldiers in the north said they considered halting their pursuit of Boko Haram and the women the Islamist terrorist group has kidnapped. Late Monday, the shortage ended, when Nigeria’s government agreed to look into the debts it owed. On Tuesday, gas stations […]

China’s CNPC makes first tight oil find over 100 million tonnes

Filed in China by on 27 May 2015

 Chinese state-owned energy giant China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) has discovered more than 100 million tonnes of tight oil geological reserves in its Changqing field, a company-run newspaper said on Tuesday. The discovery, located in the western province of Shaanxi, is the first Chinese tight oil find to surpass 100 million tonnes, the China Petroleum Daily said. Technically recoverable reserves may be considerably lower. Tight oil production capacity in the Ordos basin, where Changqing is located, is more than 1 million tonnes, the paper said. CNPC is Asia’s largest oil producer and the parent of PetroChina Co Ltd.. In the first quarter of 2015, Changqing produced 6 million tonnes of crude oil, or 487,600 barrels per day, according to the official Xinhua News Agency’s China Oil, Gas & Petrochemicals (OGP) newsletter. (Reporting by Adam Rose; Editing by Alan Raybould )

Bakken Well Completions Spike

Filed in Shale Oil by on 27 May 2015

Bakken Well Completions Spike Bakken well completions rose sharply last month, according to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources (DMR). The DMR reports a preliminary completion count for March was 189, up 350% from 42 the previous month. Related:  Bakken Rigs Decrease to 77 Many oil and gas companies who have been hard hit by low crude prices are postponing well completions as a temporary measure in order to wait out the crisis with plans to resume production when oil prices rebound. But oil prices remain unstable, why would North Dakota experience a spike? Director of DMR Lynn Helms speculates that the increase is likely due to state-mandated time limits and major tax incentives, which forced companies to bring 125 wells online by June to comply with time limits. Nathan Conway, CEO of Fortis Energy Services, told OAG360 that “In the state of North Dakota, a well can only […]

Driving is making a comeback in the U.S.: Kemp

Filed in USA by on 27 May 2015

California motorists consumed an extra 34,500 barrels of gasoline every day in February compared with the same month last year, state tax records show. The state is just part of a nationwide surge in driving that has pushed U.S. gasoline consumption up by more than 300,000 barrels per day compared with last year. California drivers filled their cars with 1.148 billion gallons of gasoline in February, about 40.5 million gallons more than in February 2014, an increase of almost 3.7 percent. The Golden State has the most expensive gasoline in the country owing to its relative isolation, special fuel formulations and high level of tax. The state collects 66 cents per gallon in state and federal gasoline taxes, second only to Pennsylvania on 70 cents, and far above the national average of 49 cents, according to the American Petroleum Institute. But thanks to the plunge in crude oil […]

U.S. rig activity leveling out

Filed in Shale Oil by on 27 May 2015

The number of rigs actively exploring or producing oil and natural gas in North Dakota was 82 as of Tuesday, relatively stable from a week ago, state data show. The state government reported 82 rigs in active service as of Tuesday, down one from May 18. The rig count, a reflection of the health of the exploration and production side of the sector, is at its lowest level since January 2010, but holding steady for North Dakota. Rig counts in the state fell from 93 at the middle of April to 84 by the end of that month. Low oil prices means less cash for energy companies to spend on exploration and production. Oil field services company Baker Hughes reported 885 rigs in active service in the United States in its weekly count last week, down three from the previous week. North Dakota […]

California Oil-Spill Estimate Revised Down

Filed in Pipelines by on 27 May 2015

ENLARGE Animal-care experts at SeaWorld San Diego attend to an oiled sea lion found Friday at Refugio State Beach near Goleta, Calif. Photo: Associated Press The amount of oil believed spilled from a ruptured pipeline off the Santa Barbara County, Calif., coast last week has been revised downward, as cleanup crews worked through the Memorial Day weekend mopping up crude off of eight miles of affected beaches. The pipeline’s owner, Plains All American Pipeline PAA -1.34 % LP, now estimates that the maximum amount spilled when the rupture was detected May 19 is 101,000 gallons, or 4,200 gallons lower than previous estimates officials of a state-federal joint unified command have announced. As of noon Monday, a total of 10,060 gallons of an oil-water mix created by the crude that reached the Pacific Ocean had been skimmed off of coastal waters and beaches, said Tom McKenzie, a U.S. Coast Guard […]

Hundreds more oil sands staff evacuated on Alberta fire threat

Filed in Canada, Tar Sands by on 27 May 2015

Statoil ASA, MEG Energy Corp and Cenovus Energy Inc evacuated hundreds of workers from three oil sands projects in northeastern Alberta on Tuesday as wildfires raged through the key crude-producing region. The latest evacuations are in addition to project shutdowns by Cenovus and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd over the weekend, as companies rushed to remove staff from potential danger. At least 233,000 barrels per day of oil sands production, 9 percent of Alberta’s total oil sands output, have been suspended because of the fire risk, though none of the projects have been damaged. The Alberta government said there are 70 forest fires now burning in the province, with 20 considered out of control. Lightning storms are forecast for Tuesday evening, increasing the risk of more fires, a government spokesman said. Cenovus evacuated all 90 staff from its Narrows Lake oil sands project on Tuesday, which is not […]

How the ‘Paddle in Seattle’ Plans to Beat Shell

Filed in Arctic, Water by on 27 May 2015

Kayak-tivists gathered in Elliott Bay on Saturday, May 16, where the Polar Pioneer drilling rig is docked. (Flickr / Backbone Campaign) Seattle has become a hub of anti-extraction activism. Protests began on May 14, when Royal Dutch Shell — bucking city residents and officials — docked its Polar Pioneer off the Emerald City coast. The towering 400-by-355-foot oil rig is en route to the Arctic, where it is scheduled to begin drilling operations this summer. The largest demonstration yet happened May 16, as hundreds of “kayak-tivists” swarmed Seattle’s Terminal 5, where the Polar Pioneer is docked. Since then, protests against the rig have been ongoing, and show few signs of letting up. This week, I spoke with Puget Sound resident John Sellers, a global justice movement veteran and […]

Oil prices steady but indications rally running out of steam

Filed in Prices by on 26 May 2015

Crude oil prices were broadly unchanged in early trading on Tuesday, as firm demand supported and ample supply dragged, but analysts said there were signs that a recent rally was running out of steam. Robust demand in Asia as well as due to the driving season in the United States is being met by near record output, especially from the Organization Of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), although U.S. production seems to have been peaked, at least temporarily. Front-month Brent crude prices were up 6 cents to $65.58 per barrel by 0120 GMT. U.S. crude prices were up 16 cents at $59.88 a barrel. Analysts said that big price spikes away from current levels were unlikely. “Crude oil markets were supported by a reported decline in U.S. production and crude oil inventories last week but prices failed to re-test the highs set earlier in the month,” ANZ bank said […]

Oil prices dip below $65 as dollar strengthens

Filed in Prices by on 26 May 2015

Crude oil futures dipped below $65 a barrel as the dollar strengthened on Monday, with a public holiday in the United States and much of Europe keeping oil trading volumes muted. Front-month Brent crude fell 62 cents to $64.75 a barrel by 0828 GMT. U.S. crude was down 46 cents at $59.26 a barrel. The dollar rose to its highest against the euro and yen in nearly two months and reached a one-month high against a basket of currencies. A strong dollar makes crude oil less attractive for holders of other currencies. “The overall fundamentals still point to a well-supplied market, a fact that should continue to put a ceiling on prices,” Barclays said. However, the market drew support from strong demand figures across Asia and the United States. “Global oil demand continues to surprise to the upside, with April data showing no signs of slowdown despite a […]

OPEC according to the EIA

Filed in Oil Supply by on 26 May 2015

OPEC publishes monthly production data for all OPEC nations in their Monthly Oil Market Report . The data crude oil production only and does not include condensate. I have found the data to be highly accurate and any errors are corrected in the next month’s report or the month following that. The OPEC data is from OPEC’s “Secondary Sources”. The EIA also publishes OPEC production data in their  International Energy Statistics . However the EIA does not publish crude only data. Their data includes condensate. All data is in thousand barrels per day. The last EIA data point is December 2014 and the last OPEC data point is April 2015. O v E Algeria Almost 20% of Algeria’s production is condensate if the EIA is correct. Algeria does produce a lot of condensate but I have serious doubts about the accuracy of the EIA data. As you can see […]

Islamic State faces battle in Iraq, bombs in Syria

Filed in Iraq by on 26 May 2015

Islamic State poured more fighters into Ramadi as security forces and Shi’ite paramilitaries prepared to retake the Iraqi city that fell to the Islamists a week ago in a major setback for the government. In Palmyra, the Syrian air force struck at buildings captured by the Sunni militant group, whose arrival has raised fears that the city’s famed Roman ruins will be destroyed. The air force leveled Islamic State “hideouts” and killed a large number of its members around Palmyra’s military air base, Syrian state media said. Islamic State has killed at least 217 people execution-style, including children, since it moved into the Palmyra area 10 days ago, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Another 300 soldiers were killed before the Syrian city was captured, the monitoring group said. The insurgents reinforced Ramadi on Monday, deploying fighters in preparation for battle against security forces and […]