Recent Articles

WTI Drops as Global Manufacturing Misses Estimates; Brent Steady

Filed in Prices by on 1 September 2014

West Texas Intermediate crude fell on speculation that weakening manufacturing from Germany to China will cap demand for oil. Brent was steady in London. Futures dropped as much as 0.5 percent in New York from the Aug. 29 close. Floor trading in the U.S. was closed for the Labor Day holiday and transactions will be booked with today’s for settlement purposes. Purchasing Manufacturing Indexes for Germany, Italy, the U.K. and China all came in below estimates for August. Brent slid yesterday as OPEC production rose to a one-year high last month. WTI for October delivery lost 20 cents to $95.76 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:04 a.m. Sydney time. Prices decreased 2.3 percent last month and are 2.7 percent lower this year. Brent for October settlement was down 7 cents at $102.72 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The [...]

Libyan Militias Seize Control Of Capital As Chaos Rises

Filed in Libya by on 1 September 2014

 The government of Libya said Monday that it had lost control of its ministries to a coalition of militias that had taken over the capital, Tripoli, in another milestone in the disintegration of the state. “The government reiterates that these buildings and the public headquarters are not safe and inaccessible, because they are under the control of armed men,” the government said in a statement. It was issued from the eastern city of Tobruk, where the recently elected Parliament has convened in territory controlled by a renegade general who has tried to stage a coup d’état. The statement indicated the emergence of two rival centers of government — one in Tripoli and the other in Tobruk — each all but powerless. Over the last two months, the fractious militias that have dominated the country since the ouster of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi three years ago — variously local, [...]

Germany to Arm Kurds Battling ISIS

Filed in Iraq by on 1 September 2014

Chancellor Angela Merkel told lawmakers on Monday that her government had decided to break with a taboo on delivering weapons to conflict zones because Germany and all of Europe faced a security threat from the extremists of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Ms. Merkel and top ministers decided Sunday to deliver thousands of machine guns, as well as antitank missiles and armored vehicles, to Kurdish forces battling ISIS in northern Iraq. The deliveries — from existing German Army stocks, and worth an estimated 70 million euros, or almost $92 million — will take place in stages in the coming weeks, the Defense Ministry said. On what was the 75th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland, Ms. Merkel went before Parliament on Monday to justify the arms decision. She evoked scenes of mass terrorism and killings in the Middle East, and said of ISIS, “Anything [...]

Better Technologies Needed for Emissions to Start Falling

Filed in China by on 1 September 2014

What does this recent (possible) dip auger for future emissions and energy trends in China? I think it’s safe to say the answer is far more complicated than “clean energy is the future,” as Guay and Myllyvirta write at the end of their post. First things first: it’s far from agreed upon that coal consumption has peaked in China. The International Energy Agency does not expect Chinese demand to peak this decade. The US Energy Information Administration projects Chinese coal consumption rising through 2035. Wood Mackenzie expects coal consumption in China could double by 2030. And Bloomberg New Energy Finance , despite a bullish posture towards renewables, expects China to add between 340 and 450 gigawatts of coal-fired power plants over the next 15 years – an addition larger than all of America’s coal plants combined. And yet, there are signs that growth in Chinese coal consumption could be [...]

Ukraine Warns of Europe’s Worst Conflict Since World War II

Filed in Ukraine by on 1 September 2014

Ukraine warned of an escalating conflict in its easternmost regions as a rebel leader said talks this week may include negotiations for a truce. The country’s military will take on Russia’s “full-scale invasion,” Defense Minister Valeriy Geletey said on Facebook today, a shift away from the government’s earlier communication that focused on an offensive against insurgents. Ukraine “must urgently build up defenses against Russia,” which is seeking “to advance to other areas in Ukraine,” Geletey said. Ukraine and its allies in the U.S. and Europe are accusing Russia of dispatching troops and backing militias to open a new front in the conflict that the United Nations estimates has claimed 2,600 lives. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied involvement in the unrest. Talks today between representatives from Russia, Ukraine, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the separatists will continue Sept. 5. “We can truly imagine some very dark [...]

Salmond Tells Cameron Support Gaining for Scots Breakaway

Filed in United Kingdom by on 1 September 2014

Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland. Scottish nationalist leader Alex Salmond said U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron is right to be nervous ahead of this month’s independence referendumm, as support grows for the Yes campaign. With little more than two weeks before the Sept. 18 ballot and postal voting already under way, Salmond told Sky News in an interview yesterday that the pro-independence campaign is gaining momentum and “a huge number of Labour voters are supporting Yes.” “The Yes support is rising in this campaign,” Salmond said. “We’re still the underdogs, we’ve still got a distance to travel, but if we’re making the prime minister nervous, I suspect we’re doing something right.” Polls have narrowed since Salmond’s performance on Aug. 25 in the second televised debate against Alistair Darling , the former chancellor of the exchequer who heads the anti-independence Better Together campaign. While support for [...]

Brent Oil Extends Two-Month Slump Amid OPEC Expansion; WTI Falls

Filed in Prices by on 1 September 2014

Brent crude dropped, extending a two-month slide, as OPEC’s oil production was seen increasing to the highest level in a year. West Texas Intermediate fell in New York . Futures slid as much as 0.4 percent in London, having retreated more than $9 in July and August. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries boosted output by 891,000 barrels a day to 31 million in August, estimates compiled by Bloomberg show. Iraqi forces entered the town of Amirli, ending a siege imposed by Islamic State militants that lasted for more than two months, a senior Shiite-Muslim cleric said. Floor trading in the U.S. is closed for the Labor Day holiday today. “Representatives of OPEC countries have been surprisingly quiet following the $10-per-barrel drop in oil prices over the last two months,” JBC Energy GmbH, Vienna-based analysts, said in a report today. The organization will contemplate output cuts in the coming [...]

Sources: Saudi Aramco Seeks Interest For Work On Unconventional Gas

Filed in Saudi Arabia by on 1 September 2014

Four companies have expressed interest in bidding for work on unconventional gas in Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil exporter pushes ahead with plans to develop challenging shale deposits, industry sources said. The companies are South Korea’s GS Engineering and Construction, Italy’s Maire Tecnimont, Japan’s JGC and Canada’s SNC-Lavalin, the sources told Reuters. State-run Saudi Aramco’s project will involve building processing facilities, wellheads and pipelines for the gas in Turaif in the northern part of Saudi Arabia where the big mining project Waad al-Shamal is under development, the sources said. Saudi Aramco, SNC-Lavalin, JGC and GS declined to comment, while Maire Tecnimont was not available for comment. The search for gas has been a priority for Saudi Arabia as it struggles to keep pace with rapidly rising domestic demand. Aramco plans to produce as much as 200 million cubic feet per [...]

U.S. and Iran Unlikely Allies in Iraq Battle

Filed in Iraq by on 1 September 2014

With American bombs raining down from the sky, Shiite militia fighters aligned with Iran battled Sunni extremists over the weekend, punching through their defenses to break the weekslong siege of Amerli, a cluster of farming villages whose Shiite residents faced possible slaughter. The fight in northern Iraq appeared to be the first time American warplanes and militias backed by Iran had worked with a common purpose on a battlefield against militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, even though the Obama administration said there was no direct coordination with the militias. Should such military actions continue, they could signal a dramatic shift for the United States and Iran, which have long vied for control in Iraq. They could also align the interests of the Americans with their longtime sworn enemies in the Shiite militias, whose fighters killed many United States soldiers during the long occupation [...]

Oil Futures Rangebound on Ukraine Tensions, China Data

Filed in Prices by on 1 September 2014

Crude-oil futures traded in a narrow price range in Asia Monday as markets weighed events in Ukraine and China’s manufacturing data that pointed to further slowing of the economy. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in October traded at $95.79 a barrel at 0424 GMT, down $0.17 in the Globex electronic session. October Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange fell $0.02 to $103.17 a barrel. Nymex crude ended 2.25% lower in August and Brent crude lost 2.67% during the month. Both oil benchmarks are down for two consecutive months but recovered slightly in the final week of August on the back of positive U.S. economic data and Russia-Ukraine tensions. Amid reports of further incursions by Russian soldiers into Ukraine over the weekend, the European Union is considering further sanctions against Moscow unless it scales back its intervention in Ukraine. [...]

Kurd Rebels Fighting Islamic State Boost Hand for Turkey Talks

Filed in Kurdistan, Turkey by on 1 September 2014

After fighting the Turkish army for decades, the Kurdistan Workers Party is now confronting a foe that’s shared by its erstwhile enemy, strengthening the group’s hand in talks on a political settlement. Fighters linked to the PKK, as the group is known, are battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, according to Turkish and Kurdish officials and media. The PKK, branded a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and European Union, is also in talks with the Ankara government to end a 30-year armed struggle for autonomy. Moves toward Kurdish self-rule elsewhere in the Middle East have accelerated during the crisis spurred by the Islamic State advance. The Kurds who rule a semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq, are receiving U.S. and European weapons to aid [...]

Iraqi Forces Free Besieged Shiite Town After U.S. Strikes

Filed in Iraq by on 1 September 2014

Related Iraqi forces entered the town of Amirli, breaking a siege imposed by Islamic State militants that lasted for more than two months, a senior Shiite-Muslim cleric said. “People are celebrating the arrival of the forces by firing in the air,” Sheikh Jaafar Jasim, representative of Iraq ’s top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, said by phone from Amirli, 182 kilometers (114 miles) north of Baghdad . Seven Iraqi government troops and two members of the Kurdish forces known as the peshmerga were killed in the attack, according to the health office in the northern city of Kirkuk. The offensive to free the town was preceded by U.S. airstrikes at Islamic State positions. U.S., U.K., Australian and as well Iraqi forces also dropped aid to the residents of the Shiite-dominated town. Iraqi government forces and peshmerga fighters are pushing back against the al-Qaeda breakaway group with the help [...]

Fighting erupts between Syrian army, rebels on Golan Heights

Filed in Syria by on 1 September 2014

 Heavy fighting between the Syrian army and Islamist rebels erupted on Monday on the Golan Heights, where the militants have wrested control of a key frontier crossing which had been operated by the United Nations. It was not clear whether the forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had managed to retake control of the Quneitra crossing from the rebels of the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front. Persistent gunshots and explosions from mortar shells and other munitions could be heard on the Israeli-controlled side of the frontier and combatants could be clearly seen targeting each other with their weapons. At least one tank belonging to the Syrian army was also involved and some rebels could be seen a few meters (yards) away from the frontier fence. A large Syrian flag that had been flying for days between the Quneitra crossing and the abandoned town [...]

China manufacturing slowdown ripples through region

Filed in China by on 1 September 2014

 Growth in China’s vast factory sector slackened in August as foreign and domestic demand slowed, stoking speculation that further policy easing would be needed to prevent the economy from stumbling once more. The surveys of purchasing managers (PMI) from across Asia told a tale of underwhelming new orders and faltering exports, overshadowing brighter spots such as India and Taiwan. That was a taster for a feast of euro zone PMIs due later Monday where any weakness would only add to pressure on the European Central Bank to at least open the door to more monetary stimulus at its policy meeting this week. ECONEUROPE The Chinese surveys come in both official and private sector flavors. The National Bureau of Statistic’s version fell from a 27-month high to 51.1 in August, as factories shed jobs for at least the 24th consecutive month. More worrying was the HSBC/Markit PMI, [...]

A Big Summer Story You Missed: Soaring Oil Debt

Filed in Oil Supply by on 1 September 2014

 Some of the summer’s biggest news stories took place in the bombed schools of Gaza, the abandoned hospitals of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the wheat fields of eastern Ukraine and the bloody mountains of northern Iraq. But one of the most important made virtually no headlines at all, and seemed to only appear on the website of the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Last July the government agency, which has collected mundane statistics on energy matters for decades, quietly revealed that 127 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are running out of cash. They are now spending more than they are earning. Profits have lagged as expenditures have risen. Overburdened by debt, these firms are selling assets. The math is simple. [...]

Kemp: Why The Shale Revolution Is Not About To End

Filed in Shale Oil by on 1 September 2014

Doubts about the sustainability of the North American oil and gas boom centre on rapidly declining output from many shale wells after they are initially drilled. Shale sceptics point to the need to drill an ever-increasing number of new holes just to replace the declining output from existing wells, let alone expand production. At some point it will become impossible to keep up, they argue. The problem has been likened to the Red Queen’s Race in Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking-Glass” where the chess piece warns Alice that “it takes all the running you can do, just to keep in the same place”. Geologists have worried about the problem of replacing declining output from old wells for more than a [...]

Putin Suggests Statehood for Southeast Ukraine

Filed in Ukraine by on 1 September 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested “statehood” for battle-torn southeastern Ukraine as further European Union sanctions loom. “We must immediately commence substantive talks and not only on technical issues, but also on the political organization of society and the statehood status of southeast Ukraine in order to serve the interests of people living there,” Putin said in a television interview broadast yesterday. Ukrainian troops killed about 100 pro-Russian rebels in the last 24 hours, Defense Ministry spokesman Leonid Matyukhin said in a video statement on Facebook today. Government troops are fighting for control of Luhansk airport and they were shelled three times from the Russian side of the border, according to the statement. Members of a so-called contact group that may include representatives from Russia, Ukraine, the rebels and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were expected to meet in the Belarus capital Minsk today in the latest [...]

Europe Set for Warm September After Coolest August Since ’06

Filed in Ukraine by on 1 September 2014

Temperatures in Europe are forecast to be warmer than average this month after the coolest August in eight years, when Hurricane Bertha brought cold air. Five of seven meteorologists surveyed by Bloomberg predict above-normal temperatures for most of Europe. High pressure is forecast to build in the region’s west from early September, leading to warmer conditions, MetraWeather says. “September is always a tricky month as we transition from summer to fall, with a lot of pattern variability possible,” Mike Thomas, a meteorologist at Bethesda, Maryland-based Commodity Weather Group LLC, said by e-mail Aug. 28. “We generally favor a warm September.” September is the last month before the official start of the winter heating season, when demand for power and natural gas usually rises. Electricity consumption in Europe is set to decline 2.9 percent in 2014 because last winter was the region’s mildest in seven years and economies are in [...]

Russia Signals Hard Line on Ukraine Talks in Minsk

Filed in Ukraine by on 1 September 2014

Russia signaled it would take a hard line during Ukraine talks Monday, calling on Kiev to agree to an immediate and unconditional cease-fire as President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine’s leaders of escalating the violence by refusing to negotiate in good faith. In Kiev, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia of undertaking “undisguised aggression” that has “fundamentally changed the situation in the zone of military action” in the east, where Ukrainian forces have been fighting pro-Russia separatists for five months. Kiev, backed by Western leaders, has accused Moscow of sending more than 1,000 troops into its territory in the last few weeks to support the separatists, a charge Moscow denies even as Ukraine has suffered a dramatic reversal on the battlefield in recent days. The rebel representative to Monday’s talks with Russia [...]

Russia, Ukraine Trade Captured Soldiers

Filed in Ukraine by on 1 September 2014

With its forces falling back before onslaughts in eastern Ukraine, Kiev agreed to the release of Russian paratroopers captured inside its borders last week in return for 63 Ukrainians who had crossed into Russian territory to flee fighting. The exchanges appeared to be a modest sign of a willingness to talk on the eve of cease-fire talks in Minsk, Belarus, on Monday that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said could be decisive. Kiev has taken a hard line in previous talks as it sought to regain territory taken by Moscow-backed rebels. But after Russian troops openly intervened, reversing Kiev’s gains and leaving hundreds of its soldiers surrounded, Mr. Poroshenko may be preparing to make concessions. Moscow appeared to be hardening its demands and to be ready to press Kiev to accept outright secession of its two eastern provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk. In remarks broadcast on Russia’s state television, [...]

Germany Steps Up Its Response to Global Security Crises

Filed in Germany by on 1 September 2014

 In an indication of Germany’s growing role on the world stage, the country’s top politicians on Sunday approved the delivery of thousands of machine guns and hand grenades, as well as hundreds of antitank missiles, to Kurdish forces battling Islamic militants in Iraq. Scarred by its militarism and two resounding defeats in the 20th century, Germany once shied away from conflict zones and limited its involvement to deliveries of humanitarian aid. But, although Chancellor Angela Merkel has yet to articulate a clear policy on intervention, she and her top ministers have dominated efforts to ease the Ukraine crisis. And on Sunday, they moved to approve the weapons for the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. A solid majority in Parliament backs sending weapons, while opinion polls indicate that up to two-thirds of Germans — weaned on decades of pacifism — oppose the move. Ms. [...]

EU to decide on more energy sanctions on Russia this week: Merkel

Filed in Ukraine by on 1 September 2014

The EU is to decide on further energy and financial sanctions against Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis within a week, German chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday. “If nothing changes [in Ukraine] then these sanctions will be adopted,” she told reporters after a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels. The move comes after reports of increased Russian military involvement in the conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces in eastern Ukraine. Merkel said the European Commission already has a list of further possible measures ready for EU governments to consider and decide on “within a week.” These further measures are in the areas where the EU has already adopted sanctions, “so financial sanctions are possible, but also other areas in the energy sector for example,” she said. In late July the EU targeted Russia’s oil sector with economic sanctions banning any new contracts with Russia that [...]

Rebounding NYMEX crude settles $1.41/b higher on strong fundamentals

Filed in Prices by on 30 August 2014

NYMEX October crude settled $1.41 higher at $95.96/barrel Friday amid still-strong fundamentals and a repricing-in of geopolitical risk. ICE October Brent lagged slightly, setting 73 cents higher at $103.19/b. Products finished in positive territory as well, led by NYMEX September RBOB, which settled 3 cents higher at $2.7827/gal. September ULSD closed 79 points higher at $2.8569/gal. “Fundamentals here are very strong, as US inventories continue to decline,” Citi Futures Perspectives energy analyst Tim Evans said. “Runs look very strong, and have held up the downtrend in total stocks. And this has persisted longer than many had anticipated.” US commercial crude stocks have fallen steadily over the summer amid record refinery runs, and despite expectations that fall maintenance is coming soon, still-high runs represents real crude demand. “There was talk a month ago about runs having peaked, but that hasn’t happened so quickly,” Evans said. Total US crude runs did [...]

Oil Prices Snap Four-Week Losing Streak

Filed in Prices by on 30 August 2014

NEW YORK—Oil prices posted their first weekly gain in five weeks as rising tension in Ukraine made market watchers nervous about additional sanctions on Russia and positive U.S. economic data lifted demand expectations. Light, sweet crude for October delivery rose $1.41, or 1.5%, to $95.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement price since Aug. 20. Prices rose 2.5% this week but lost 2.3% for the month. Brent settled up 73 cents, or 0.7%, at $103.19 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. Prices rose 0.9% for the week and fell 2.7% this month. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization said Thursday more than 1,000 Russian soldiers are fighting in Ukraine . The death toll has risen dramatically, the United Nations said Friday , with an average of 36 people killed each day between July 16 and Aug. 17 and a total of nearly 2,600 people dead [...]

WTI Crude Oil Caps First Weekly Gain in Six on Economy

Filed in Prices by on 30 August 2014

West Texas Intermediate crude capped the first weekly gain in more than a month on speculation an improving U.S. economy will boost fuel demand. Prices rose for a fourth day after touching a seven-month low on Aug. 25. U.S. consumer confidence rose in August, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final sentiment index showed today. The economy expanded more than previously forecast in the second quarter, the Commerce Department said yesterday. Brent gained on escalating tension between Ukraine and Russia. “Economic numbers continue to point to a slowly improving economic picture, and it means better fuel demand,” said Gene McGillian , an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford , Connecticut . “The market kind of overextended itself when it slid to the seven-month low. We do have new concern surrounding the fighting going on in Ukraine.” WTI for October delivery advanced $1.41, or 1.5 percent, to $95.96 a [...]

Natural Gas Rises to Six-Week High Ahead of Hotter Weather

Filed in Prices by on 30 August 2014

-Natural-gas prices gained for a third straight session as forecasts for hotter weather drove expectations of higher demand in the coming weeks. Natural gas for October delivery settled up 2.1 cents, or 0.5%, at $4.065 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest price since July 16. Prices gained 4.7% this week and 5.8% this month. Forecasts are calling for a bout of late-summer heat in the southern and eastern U.S. heading into the first week of September, which is expected to boost demand for gas-powered electricity to run air-conditioning units. “Weather patterns have been more favorable recently” to natural-gas demand, said in a note, but “the end of summer is upon us. …Prices are not looking too far into the future.” Storage data released Thursday showed that stockpiles grew by 75 billion cubic feet in the week ended [...]

EIA: Tight Oil Stabilizes Brent Crude Prices

Filed in Prices, Uncategorized by on 30 August 2014

EIA_Tight_Oil_Stabilizes_Brent_Crude_Pricesstability, which contrasts with historic spikes that occurred during periods of strife in other regions, is due largely to the shale revolution, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in a recent report. The price of Brent crude oil has been noteworthy for having fluctuated within a narrow range of $5/barrel (bbl) for 13 consecutive months. This was during a period of significant turmoil in Libya and Iraq. The lack of movement during that time is in sharp contrast with Brent crude oil prices for the period between early 2008 and the middle of 2013, when prices hit a high of $125/bbl in March 2012, and a low of $95/bbl just three months later, the EIA report said. Historically, commodity [...]

IEA: Policy uncertainty hurting renewables

Filed in Renewables by on 30 August 2014

IEA published its third annual mid-term renewable market report , which shows total combined output from renewable energy resources in 2013 was on par with electricity from natural gas. By 2020, renewable energy generation should account for 26 percent of total electricity output, but annual growth in new renewable power begins to stabilize next year. IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said renewable energy resources are a “necessary” part of global energy security measures, though policy and regulatory uncertainty puts new low-carbon power generation at risk. “This calls for a serious reflection on market design needed to achieve a more sustainable world energy mix,” she said in a statement Thursday. Renewable energy in economies outside of North American and Europe are the largest source of growth through 2020, but they only meet 35 percent of the electricity needs. Because some of those economies, notably China, are growing faster [...]

OPEC Oil Output Hits One-Year High in August on Nigeria

Filed in OPEC by on 30 August 2014

OPEC crude oil production increased to a one-year high in August, led by surging output in Nigeria, a Bloomberg survey showed. Production by the 12-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries rose by 891,000 barrels a day to 31.033 million, according to the survey of oil companies , producers and analysts. Last month’s total was revised 80,000 barrels a day lower to 30.142 million because of changes to the Nigerian and Iranian estimates. Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Angola led gains as new deposits came online, security improved and field maintenance programs ended. Iran and Venezuela were the only members to record production declines. “They are letting it rip,” John Kilduff , a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy, said by phone. “The geopolitical scares out there have supported the market some but any resolution would remove that. We’re heading for a definite [...]

Oil-Field Flows to Libya’s Key Port Resume Despite Conflict

Filed in Libya by on 30 August 2014

A view of the anchorage at the Es Sider export terminal in Ras Lanuf, west of Benghazi in Libya. Reuters Libya’s largest oil port Es Sider is now receiving supplies from oil fields after the terminal resumed exports despite intense fighting in the capital of Tripoli. An oil official in Tripoli said late Thursday that the Waha Oil Co. was supplying 22,000 barrels a day to the Es Sider terminal in eastern Libya, after oil in storage at the port started to be shipped last week, ending a one-year stoppage. The Waha Oil Co. is a partnership between Libya’s National Oil Co. and U.S. companies Marathon Oil Corp. , Hess Corp. and ConocoPhillips . It had previously been producing about 3,000 barrels a day used for maintenance and small supplies to the neighboring Brega oil terminal, the official said. But all Waha Oil Co.’s oil flows have now been [...]

Libya’s Acting Oil Minister Says He Has Been Reinstated

Filed in Libya by on 30 August 2014

Libya’s government has cancelled a decision to dismiss its acting oil minister, the official himself and the National Oil Co.’s Facebook page said Friday. The news comes amid mounting political confusion in Libya after a militia that took control of Tripoli’s airport disputed the legitimacy of an interim government now based in the Eastern city of Tobruk. Omar Shakmak, Libya’s deputy oil minister, who was acting as the country’s most senior oil official, said last week he was resigning at the request of Libya’s interim prime minister Abdullah al-Thani. Libyan oil officials said at the time he had been replaced by NOC’s head Mustafa Sanalla on a temporary basis. But Mr. Shakmak, who has headed the oil ministry as a caretaker since the departure of Libya’s former oil minister Abdelbari el-Arousi in January, said he had been asked to return to his position by Mr. al-Thani. [...]

With Iran Talks at Crossroads, U.S. Levels New Sanctions

Filed in Iran by on 30 August 2014

The U.S. imposed a range of sanctions designed to exert new pressure against Iran and deter international business leaders from circumventing Washington’s existing punitive measures as talks continue over the country’s nuclear program. The steps announced Friday come amid growing concern in the Obama administration that Iran isn’t ready to make the concessions needed to clinch a nuclear deal. The U.S. Treasury and State departments said the sanctions will punish a bank that provides U.S. dollar bills to the Iranian government; a group that helped Iran evade sanctions on oil and petrochemicals; several transportation firms that helped deliver weapons and personnel to the Assad regime in Syria; and some individuals and organizations that support Iran’s nuclear program. The new measures put the U.S. in the delicate position of imposing new sanctions at the same time it is rolling back a series of existing measures following initial progress in international [...]

Tanker of Kurdish Oil in Legal Fight Remains Off Texas

Filed in Iraq by on 30 August 2014

A tanker carrying 1 million barrels of disputed Kurdish oil remains off Texas , according to the vessel’s operator. The United Kalavryta, which left Ceyhan, Turkey , on June 23 and arrived off the coast of Galveston July 26, couldn’t be detected earlier this week, with no updates from the tanker’s Automated Identification System’s transponder from early Aug. 26 until today. The tanker is caught up in a protracted legal fight in Iraq over rights to Kurdish oil production and billions of dollars in overdue payments claimed by the Kurds. The U.S. government recognizes Kurdistan as part of Iraq. While a federal judge this week lifted an order that had authorized the seizure of the cargo if it came into U.S. waters, Iraq has more legal options available. “The M/T United Kalavryta is still anchored off Galveston awaiting charterer’s discharge orders,” Lygia Pirounaki, a spokeswoman for Marine Management Services [...]

Kurds raise oil funds for refugees

Filed in Iraq by on 30 August 2014

The Kurdish government of Iraq said it’s expanding a humanitarian initiative tied to oil operations to address the influx of refugees fleeing the Islamic State. The Sunni-led Islamic State, a terrorist group known also as the Islamic State of Iraqi and Syria, has squared off against Kurdish forces as it tries to expand its claims to territory in the region. The semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government said Friday it was broadening its Kurdistan Oil and Gas Humanitarian Initiative to extend to new refugees and internally displaced persons. “The Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources is pleased that a number of oil companies in the Kurdistan region have already asked how they can support humanitarian efforts for the massive new influx of refugees and IDPs,” it said in a statement. “With the expansion of KOGHI, companies have an already established framework for providing funds.” The Kurdish government says it launched the initiative [...]

Iraqi Kurds Expand Autonomy as ISIS Reorders the Landscape

Filed in Iraq by on 30 August 2014

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has thrown Iraq into crisis, precipitated the ouster of Nuri Kamal al-Maliki as prime minister and brought the American military back to the country it left more than two years ago. But now Obama administration officials are quietly acknowledging another important consequence: a far more autonomous Kurdistan. The United States still officially opposes Kurdish independence, a decades-old policy that seeks to avoid further inflaming the region and provoking Turkey, Iraq and Iran, three countries with large and restive Kurdish minorities. But the ISIS invasion has fundamentally changed the political geography of Iraq, senior American and Kurdish officials said, physically cutting off most of Iraqi Kurdistan from the rest of Shiite-dominated Iraq and encouraging the Iraqi Kurds in their drive for expanded autonomy. Masrour Barzani, the chief of intelligence for the Kurdish region of Iraq, said that the Obama administration, which [...]

Oil field burns after ISIS retreat

Filed in Iraq by on 30 August 2014

 Flames have engulfed oil facilities at the Ain Zalah field, in Iraq’s Ninewa province, after extremist militants fled the area following an offensive by Kurdish Peshmerga forces backed by ongoing U.S. air strikes.The Peshmerga also captured the nearby town of Zummar, just west of the Mosul Dam, which sits along a main road between Ain Zalah and Mosul, according to a Peshmerga officer, local residents, and a senior official from Iraq’s state-run North Oil Company (NOC).Militants have co… This content is for registered users. Please login to [...]

Besieged City Faces Destruction by the Islamic State

Filed in Iraq by on 30 August 2014

Forgotten in Iraq The world took notice when the Yazidis needed help. But since June, a Turkmen city in northern Iraq has been under siege by the Islamic State. The death toll continues to mount but, thus far, the people of Amirli have been left to fight the IS on their own. “Every day I receive about 100 patients. Every day there is shelling. Some of the injuries are very complicated, legs amputated, head wounds. But I don’t have the materials to provide serious treatment. There are cases where I have put patients on the helicopter alive and they die when they get to Baghdad.” Dr. Khaldoun Mahmoud speaks extremely rapidly, and with good reason. There is only a single place remaining in the northern Iraqi town of Amirli where he still has a modicum of mobile phone reception: at the helicopter landing pad above the village. And with [...]

Iraqi Kurds say their fight is against more than just the Islamic State

Filed in Iraq by on 30 August 2014

Kurdish Peshmerga fighter keeps watch at Omar Khaled village near Tal Afar, west of Mosul August 24, 2014. Old hostilities between Arabs and Kurds exacerbate fighting with the Islamic State. (Youssef Boudlal/Reuters) GWER, Iraq — Kurdish fighters are struggling to hold on to recent gains against Islamic State militants in Iraq in the face of constant shelling and sniper fire. But Kurds say the jihadists have another weapon: local Arab sympathizers. The Kurds suspect area Arabs have backed the militants in battles that have raged in Iraq’s north over the past month, including a stunning advance by the jihadists. The fighting has displaced thousands of families in a region long known as a flash point for Arab-Kurdish violence. Now many Sunni Arab residents are barred from coming home. “The Arabs here stabbed us in the back, and now they are threatening us” from the villages nearby, a Kurdish intelligence [...]

Pemex Raises 2015 Oil Output Goal

Filed in Mexico by on 30 August 2014

State-owned oil firm Petróleos Mexicanos said Friday that it is raising its 2015 goal for crude-oil output to 2.4 million barrels a day. The outlook comes after Pemex was forced last week to reduce this year’s production figures to account for water and other impurities pumped from offshore fields that were erroneously counted as oil. “We are looking at an upward tendency for 2015,” said the company’s director of exploration and production, Gustavo Hernández, at a news conference. Pemex, as the company is known, lowered its estimated production for this year to 2.35 million barrels a day from 2.44 million to account for measuring errors at its offshore fields. Equipment at three production areas wasn’t accurately detecting the amount of water and impurities that are a common byproduct of oil production, particularly offshore, Pemex said. Mr. Hernández said its 2015 estimate for next year is for crude that [...]

Athabasca Oil Completes Sale of Stake in Project to PetroChina Co

Filed in Canada, China by on 30 August 2014

Athabasca Oil Corp. on Friday said it completed the sale of its 40% stake in a Canadian oil-sands project to one of China’s largest state-run energy companies, putting an end to months of speculation that the deal might not go through. Athabasca said net proceeds from the sale of the Dover project stake will total 1.184 billion Canadian dollars ($1.09 billion), comprising a C$600 million cash payment at closing and three interest-bearing promissory notes for the remaining C$584 million. The company expects to use the proceeds to develop its core light-oil shale assets in the Kaybob Duvernay area of Alberta as well as its Hangingstone oil-sands project southwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Chief Executive Sveinung Svarte said in a phone interview. The closing of the Dover transaction is a welcome development for the Calgary-based oil-sands developer. The deal with China National Petroleum Corp.’s publicly traded PetroChina Co. subsidiary was [...]

Athabasca Completes $1.1 Billion Deal With PetroChina

Filed in Canada by on 30 August 2014

Athabasca Oil Corp. (ATH) closed a C$1.18 ($1.1 billion) agreement with PetroChina Co. (857) to sell the rest of its Dover oil-sands project, ending weeks of speculation about whether the Chinese company would pay. The shares rose. PetroChina’s payment includes C$600 million in cash and C$584 million in promissory notes due through August 2016, backed by guarantees from HSBC Bank Canada, Athabasca said today. The original agreement was for PetroChina to pay in cash. The settlement comes two months after Calgary-based Athabasca had estimated the deal would close after triggering the sale of its 40 percent stake in Dover earlier this year. The payment was delayed as the Chinese government was investigating PetroChina executives over allegations of corruption, according to reports from publications including Beijing-based Caixin. A report in Canada ’s Financial Post was among several suggesting the state-owned company was trying to delay its purchase or claw back [...]

Gas-Rich Marcellus Drilling Boosts Rigs to 5-Month High

Filed in Shale Gas by on 30 August 2014

Rigs targeting natural gas in the U.S. rose to the highest level in five months after those drilling horizontally for the fuel gained in the Marcellus formation of the eastern U.S. Gas rigs jumped by eight to 338, the highest level since March 14, data posted on Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) ’s website show. The oil count rose by 11 to 1,575 after sliding by 25 last week, the Houston-based field services company said. The Marcellus formation, the nation’s biggest onshore gas play, added the most rigs, gaining five drilling horizontally for gas and raising its total count to a two-month high. The energy rig count is surging in the U.S. as producers use horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to draw record volumes of oil and gas out of shale formations from North Dakota to Texas. The boom has raised domestic crude production to the highest level in 28 [...]

Shell keeps Alaskan arctic options open

Filed in Arctic by on 30 August 2014

“We continue to take a methodical approach to this exploration phase and will only proceed with a program that meets the conditions necessary to proceed safely and responsibly,” a spokesman said in a statement emailed to UPI. The U.S. Coast Guard in April published a 152-page report on Shell’s operations in Alaska . Shell’s drillship Kulluk struck ground off the Alaskan coast in 2012, and the Coast Guard blamed harsh winter conditions and the company’s efforts to escape Alaskan tax laws for the incident. Kulluk’s grounding off the Alaskan coast followed a 2012 exploration season in the arctic waters of Alaska that was complicated by equipment failures. The company in January said it was suspending its efforts to explore Alaskan waters because of costs and court challenges to its exploration campaign. Shell said it submitted revisions to an already-approved plan for the Chukchi Sea to the Bureau of Ocean [...]

U.S. oil pipeline output increasing

Filed in Oil Supply, USA by on 30 August 2014

The U.S. Department of Transportation updated its freight numbers for commodities traded under the U.S. North American Free Trade Agreement. The value of commodities moving through pipelines in June increased 35.2 percent, the largest percentage of any mode of transportation. “This increase is due, in part, to exports of crude oil by pipeline from the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana,” the department said Thursday. The North Dakota Industrial Commission oil production in June, the last full month for which data are available, was 1.09 million barrels per day, a record for the state and a 4.8 percent increase from the previous month. Nearly all of the oil produced in North Dakota comes from the Bakken and Three Forks area. Total U.S. oil production has increased to the point that there’s not enough pipeline capacity to handle the glut. The U.S. Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of [...]

A New Kind of Power From Salt Water

Filed in Renewables by on 30 August 2014

Water is an ancient power source, one usually exploited by harnessing its flow. For decades, though, scientists have been working on another kind of water power—one relying on salt. Yarek Waszul This technique exploits the natural process of osmosis. When fresh water is separated from salt water by a selective membrane, pure water from the fresh side will pass through, leaving the salts behind. The rising water level on the salty side, kept under moderate pressure, can then be siphoned off to run a turbine. This approach is ideal for places where fresh water and salt water come together—where a river meets the sea, for instance. The technology is appealing because it is clean, renewable and reliable. The problem is cost: It takes a vast membrane to obtain any significant amount of electricity. But now researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd University of [...]

U.S. Utilities Push the Electric Car

Filed in USA by on 30 August 2014

As utilities across the U.S. grapple with stagnant electricity sales, many see opportunity in the fledgling need for electric-car charging stations. But some companies’ tactics are spurring complaints from consumer advocates. Electricity companies are asking permission to let them tack on fees to customer bills to fund pilot projects for building networks of charging stations. Critics say the requests are unfair because they would make all customers pay the high cost of experimental equipment even though it would benefit only a few—often affluent—people. In San Diego, Sempra Energy ‘s power utility wants to install 5,500 electric-car chargers at hundreds of office parks, apartment buildings and condominium complexes at a cost of $100 million. The company says convenient, easy-to-use charging stations will encourage more Californians to adopt electric cars, improving air quality for everyone. The utility wants to add a surcharge to all San Diego customers’ bills. The Utility Reform [...]

U.S. retail gasoline prices fall as Labor Day approaches

Filed in Prices by on 30 August 2014

 The U.S. average retail price for regular gasoline was $3.45/gallon (gal) on August 25, the lowest price on the Monday before Labor Day since 2010. The average price at the pump is now $0.25/gal lower than it was at the end of June. Lower North Sea Brent crude oil prices are the main driver of the decline in gasoline prices; the current Brent price is lower than it was last month, and lower than it was on Labor Day weekend last year. The recent decline in gasoline prices largely reflects changes in crude oil prices. In June of this year, the Brent spot price reached its year-to-date high of $115/barrel (bbl), then fell to $102/bbl on August 22. Current Brent prices are below their August average level over the past three years, which ranged between $110/bbl and $113/bbl. Crude [...]

Pennsylvania says 243 private water wells contaminated by gas drilling since 2007

Filed in Shale Gas by on 30 August 2014

More than 200 private drinking water wells have been contaminated by natural gas drilling activity in Pennsylvania since 2007, according to documents released late Thursday by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP released a list of 243 well contamination complaints that led to investigations and, in most cases, some form of resolution. The number of complaints amounts to 2.8% of the 7,536 unconventional wells drilled since 2009. Between 2009 and 2010, during the land rush to the Marcellus, water complaints nearly doubled from 34 in 2009 to 61 in 2010, the record shows. About half drinking water wells were damaged by conventional drilling and half by unconventional, or horizontal, drilling, DEP Deputy Secretary for Oil and Gas Management Scott Perry said in a statement. Complaints declined 41% in 2011 to 36 contaminated wells and remained at that level until dropping again this year to 1.3% of the [...]

Who’s Got Liquids? plus Further to the Bakken

Filed in Oil Supply by on 30 August 2014

This is another Guest Post by David Archibald Who’s Got Liquids? An article by Canadian consultant Mike Priaro in the 7th July, 2014 edition of Oil andGas Journal, “Grosmont carbonate formation increases Alberta’s bitumen reserves”, included the following tables: David 1 Mr Priaro’s estimate of Canada’s recoverable bitumen is 818 billion barrels. Almost all of that is in Alberta. Combined with their coal resources, Alberta has the biggest fossil fuel resource on the planet. I have updated my estimate of what some of the major countries have in the way of fossil fuels in this table: David 2 The highest value fuels are those that can be used as liquids in transport. High quality coal produces 2.2 barrels of liquids through a FT plant. In the following graphic I have used a factor of 2x to convert coal to its oil equivalent. Six thousand cubic feet of gas has the [...]

BHI: US rig count recoups last week’s losses, jumps to 1,914

Filed in Oil Supply, USA by on 30 August 2014

The US drilling rig count jumped 18 units to reach 1,914 rigs working, gaining back the 17 units it lost last week plus one, during the week ended Aug. 29, Baker Hughes Inc. reported. Land rigs, which lost 19 units a week ago, gained 16 back to total 1,838. Offshore rigs were up 2 units to 66. Rigs drilling in inland waters were untouched from a week ago at 10. Oil rigs increased 11 units to 1,575 while gas rigs increased 8 units to 338. Rigs considered unclassified dropped a unit for the second straight week, and now only 1 unit remains. Horizontal drilling rigs were up 9 units to 1,330, more than recouping last week’s 8-unit loss. Directional drilling rigs edged up a unit to 210. For the second consecutive week Canada reported a 4-unit gain to its rig count. A 9-unit jump in gas rigs to 178 [...]