Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Petrofac Suspends COO Amid Fraud Probe

Oilfield services provider Petrofac has suspended Chief Operating Officer Marwan Chedid until further notice after Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) questioned him as part of an investigation into Monaco-based Unaoil. The SFO launched a criminal investigation into Unaoil, its officers, employees and agents in July last year in connection with suspected bribery, corruption and money laundering. As part of its investigation…

Oregon County Mulls LNG Terminal Ban

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A coastal Oregon county will vote Tuesday on a ballot measure to block a proposed natural gas terminal, the latest in a series of efforts to thwart energy projects across the Pacific Northwest. The measure would ban transport of fossil fuels not intended for local use through Coos County, located about 200 miles (322 kms) south of Portland. Backers have called the initiative a response to a $7.6 billion proposal by Calgary-based Veresen Inc…

ETP: U.S. Drilling Ban Won't Delay Ohio Gasline

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Completion of the Rover pipeline, the biggest natural gas pipe under construction in the United States, is not expected to be delayed by a U.S. federal order to stop new drilling to install pipe, Energy Transfer Partners LP said on Thursday. The company spilled more than 2 million gallons of drilling fluid - mostly water and clay - in Ohio wetlands in April during construction of Rover, prompting regulators to halt drilling in certain areas.

Options Bulls Betting on U.S. Energy Rebound

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Some U.S. equity options traders are betting that the recent rebound in the price of crude oil spells good news for the battered energy sector. The S&P energy index is still down about 9.9 percent this year, making it the second worst-performing sector among S&P's tracking indexes. That contrasts against the broad benchmark S&P 500 stock index, which is up 6.9 percent for the year. Recent trading in the options market…

Oil & Gas Stakeholders Drop Climate Change Case

Two fossil fuel industry groups dropped their attempts to intervene in a court case over climate change this week after failing to reach an agreement on a unified legal position on climate science, court filings show. The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), prominent trade groups in the oil and gas industry, along with the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), intervened in a federal case in which a group of teenagers sued the U.S.

Total CEO: Iran Gas Deal Should be Done Before Summer

French oil major Total still plans to conclude the Iran South Pars gas deal before summer, its chief executive Patrick Pouyanne told journalists on the sidelines of the company's annual general meeting. Pouyanne said the signing of U.S. sanctions waivers, among other hurdles, cleared the path for the deal to be signed. Total said earlier in February that a final decision on the deal hinged on the new U.S. administration renewing the waivers.

Vietnam to Approve Coal Power Plants

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Vietnam expects to grant investment licences for three coal-fired power plants worth a combined $7.5 billion, the country's investment minister said. Although Vietnam wants to boost renewable energy output amid resources scarcity and environmental issues, it has been mostly reliant on coal-fired and hydro power plants to meet its annual electricity demand growth of around 11 percent. Two of the projects by Japanese, South…

Oil Rises on Supply Cut Extension Hopes

Kuwait says it supports Saudi/Russian push to extend curbs; rising supplies elsewhere undermine output cuts. Oil prices extended gains on Tuesday after top producers Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait supported prolonging supply cuts until the end of March 2018 in an effort to drain a global glut. Brent crude oil was up 20 cents at $52.02 a barrel by 1010 GMT. U.S. light crude also gained 20 cents at $49.05 a barrel. Both benchmarks have risen more than $5 since hitting five-month lows 10 days ago.

Petrobras to Use 'Priority Rights' in Brazil Oil Auctions

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Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA will exercise its preferential rights in two offshore pre-salt oil auctions scheduled for this year, the company said in a statement on Thursday. Petrobras, as the company is known, said it will exercise its rights to explore an area adjacent to the Sapinhoá field, as well as the Peroba and the Alto de Cabo Frio Central areas. The company said it will acquire…

Venezuela Struggles to Manage Crushing Debt

Venezuela is considering several options to repay its debts, the oil minister said on Thursday, after a deep recession and low crude prices hit output and prompted Caracas to seek funds from China and Russia. Venezuelan oil production has slipped to its lowest levels in about 20 years, hurting a nation which relies almost solely on crude exports for revenues. Oil minister Nelson Martinez, speaking at a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries…

Oregon County Won't Block LNG Terminal

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A coastal Oregon county overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure aimed at blocking a proposed natural gas terminal dealing a blow to what was the latest in a series of efforts to thwart energy projects across the Pacific Northwest. The measure, had it passed, would have banned transport of fossil fuels not intended for local use through Coos County, located about 200 miles (322 kms) south of Portland. Around 76 percent of votes were cast against the measure…

Nigerian Strike Spreads to Chevron, Agip and Shell

Nigerian workers from an oil labour union have extended a strike to oil majors Chevron , Shell and Eni subsidiary Agip in protest over the sacking of members from Exxon Mobil Corp , the union's general secretary said on Tuesday. Nigerian labour unions have held a number of strikes in the last few months in protest at the sacking of workers by oil companies. Members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) began a strike at Exxon Mobil last week.

Japan to Buy 100,000 Tons of LPG

Japan will likely conduct a tender in the autumn to buy up to 100,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for national stockpiles, a trade ministry official with direct knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday. The fuel, often referred to as butane or propane, will be stored at a stockpiling base in Kurashiki in the country's west by the end of November. The step comes as Japan looks to boost its LPG state stockpile to at least 50 days' worth of national imports, or about 1.38 million tonnes.

Elliott Presses BHP to Shed Petroleum

BHP petroleum business has value of more than $20 billion. Activist investor Elliott Management raised the pressure for strategic changes at BHP on Tuesday, calling for an independent review of the mining giant's petroleum business. Elliott, which has built up a 4.1 percent stake in BHP's London-listed arm and is urging changes to boost shareholder value, said there were clear signs the market was receptive to a new strategy for BHP.

BP Accuses Former Analyst of Stealing Trade Secrets

BP Plc has sued a former U.S. oil analyst for allegedly stealing trade secrets and other confidential information, according to court filings. BP's oil trading division alleged that Joseph Giljum, a crude oil analyst who left the company in April, compiled over 950 business files containing confidential and valuable information and uploaded the files to his personal Amazon Cloud Drive. Giljum did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Wind Consortium Weighs in on MD Offshore Developments

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The Maryland Public Service Commission Finances Two Offshore Wind Projects. The Business Network For Offshore Wind commends the Maryland Public Service Commission for awarding financing for two offshore wind projects. The Maryland Public Service Commission’s (MD PSC) approval and financing of US Wind and Skipjack Offshore Energy, LLC’s combined 368 MW projects solidify offshore wind as a US industry. Maryland has more…

Noble Group's Shares Plunge, Elman Steps Down

Decline in shares is biggest on record. Noble Group Ltd reported a quarterly loss that pummelled its shares by a record 33 percent, stoking worries the Singapore-listed commodity trader was failing to recover from a crisis-wracked two years despite a deep restructuring. As previously flagged, founder Richard Elman, 77, said on Thursday he was stepping down as executive chairman to take on a non-executive board role as chairman emeritus.

Suncor to Grow Oil Sands as Oil Majors Flee

Even as the world's largest energy companies exit Canada's high-cost oil sands the country's top producer Suncor Energy is lining up its next phase of growth in the world's third largest crude reserves. The preliminary plans for new projects in remote northern Alberta follow a stream of multi-billion dollar deals in which international oil majors sold off oil sands assets to Canadian producers, who are betting technology and economies of scale will make the region competitive with other plays globally.

Workers Strike at Exxon Mobil in Nigeria

Nigerian workers at U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil Corp have gone on strike in protest over the sacking of workers, oil labour union officials said on Thursday. Nigerian labour unions have criticised oil companies for sacking workers in the last few months and held a number of strikes. Abel Agarin, who chairs the Lagos zone of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), said members of his union were on strike in protest at the sacking of 150 workers in December.

Petrobras Divestment to Include TX Refinery, African Assets

Petróleo Brasileiro SA will include its Pasadena, Texas refinery and its African assets in a divestment plan, the Brazilian state-controlled oil company said in a Wednesday securities filing.   Petrobras, as the company is known, reaffirmed its target of divesting up to $21 billion in assets by the end of 2018. It currently controls half of divesting African venture Petrobras Oil & Gas BV, or Petrobras Africa.   Reporting by Bruno Federowski and Luciano Costa

Goldman Sachs: US border Tax Would Widen Brent/WTI Spread

Goldman Sachs commodity strategist Jeff Currie said on Wednesday if the U.S. government were to introduce a border tax adjustment on crude oil imports, the spread between Brent and U.S. futures would widen dramatically. The principal impact of a border tax adjustment would be to raise the price of domestic crude compared with international grades such as Brent. "It would blow out the Brent/WTI spread. You could see WTI trade $15 above Brent," Currie told the S&P Global Platts Crude conference.

Duke Energy's Q1 Results Beat Street

Duke Energy Corp, the biggest U.S. power company by generation capacity, reported a quarterly profit that edged past estimates, partly helped by its acquisition of Piedmont Natural Gas. Duke Energy announced its $4.9 billion purchase of Piedmont Natural Gas in 2015. The acquisition has helped the company expand its natural gas distribution business. Total operating expenses in the electric utilities and infrastructure segment fell 3.2 percent to $3.72 billion in the first quarter ended March 31…

Idemitsu, Showa Shell Ink Alliance Deal

Japanese oil refiners Idemitsu Kosan Co Ltd and Showa Shell Sekiyu KK said on Tuesday that they have signed a deal to form a business alliance ahead of Idemitsu's stalled merger with Showa Shell. Under the deal, the companies will cooperate more closely on crude purchases and transportation as well as production plans, they said in a statement. Idemitsu Kosan completed the purchase of just under a third of Showa Shell last December…

Repsol Markets Corporate Green Bond

In a fresh landmark for Europe's capital markets, Repsol is poised to become the first oil and gas company to sell a Green bond transaction. The Spanish company started marketing a no-grow €500m five-year at 55bp area over mid-swaps on Tuesday morning - only the third investment-grade corporate Green bond in Europe this year. The company is raising the funds to upgrade its renewable energy functions, such as furnaces and turbines, in a bid to reduce its emissions.

Petrobras Says Bolivia Director Under House Arrest

Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras said the head of its Bolivian operation was under house arrest due to a disputed payment with a local contractor. Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is formally known, said late on Sunday that $2.5 million of a $9.5 million earthworks contract in the San Antonio petroleum bloc was under dispute. A lawyer for the contractor, Vialco SRL, told Bolivian newspaper El Deber that Petrobras owed it more than $2.5 million, while Petrobras says it had paid in full.

Kvaerner Lifts 2017 Forecast

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Kvaerner, the Norwegian builder of oil platforms, lifted its 2017 outlook on Monday as a slump in the oil sector eased with a year-on-year lift in crude prices. Kvaerner's clients, oil companies, have reported forecast-beating earnings so far in this quarter, helped by a 55-percent jump in oil prices from a year ago, including Norwegian major Statoil last week. "Since the oil price started a decline in 2014, the market for both new investment projects and for operation of existing facilities has been turbulent.

Tokyo Gas buys stake in Castleton's Texas Unit

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Japan's biggest city gas supplier Tokyo Gas Co said on Monday it has acquired a 30 percent stake in a subsidiary of Castleton Commodities International LLC, its first equity investment in a U.S. upstream company. Tokyo Gas did not reveal the price for the stake in Castleton Resources LLC, which owns and operates over 160,000 net acres of leasehold in East Texas with access to the Cotton Valley and Haynesville Shale and has a net production of about 238 million cubic feet equivalent per day…

Some BHP Shareholders Want Firm to Shed Shale

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BHP Billiton is facing pressure from two activist shareholders over its $20 billion splurge on U.S. shale oil and gas fields, but may resist calls to dump the business just as oil prices are sliding. Investors grumble that while BHP Billiton is a good operator in deepwater oil and gas, its shale business, first acquired in 2011, has been a capital drain and shareholders would be better off with a sale. But now may not be the right time.

Pemex Seeks Refinery Investors, but Who's Buying?

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Sweeping energy reforms have turned Mexico into one of the world's most attractive offshore prospects, but one segment is getting no love from U.S. investors: the nation's aging refineries. Efforts by Mexico's state-owned oil company Pemex to attract about $5 billion in capital to help modernize its two largest refineries so far have proved futile, according to two people familiar with the process who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Suspected oil thieves kill at least four soldiers in Mexico

Suspected oil thieves killed at least four soldiers in two separate incidents in the central Mexican state of Puebla, the army said on Thursday, as emboldened organized crime moves deeper into the lucrative trade. A group of soldiers went to investigate a report of an oil pipeline theft at around 8:15 p.m. (0115 GMT) on Wednesday night near the village of Palmarito, when they were shot at by a group using woman and children as human shields, the army said in a statement late on Wednesday.

ConocoPhillips to lay off 300 after Cenovus deal

ConocoPhillips will lay off 300 Canadian workers, mostly in the country's oil capital of Calgary, after selling most of its local assets to local producer Cenovus Energy Inc, the Houston-based company said on Thursday. The layoffs will occur by the middle of May, ConocoPhillips spokesman Rob Evans said. It was not immediately clear what percentage of the Canadian workforce would be laid off. The company had more than 2,000 staff as of late-2015 and currently employs around 13,300 globally.

Apache Raises N. American Output Forecast

Oil and gas producer Apache Corp swung to a quarterly profit on higher oil prices, and raised its estimate for production from North America while lowering its cost forecast for the year. The company's forecast reflects an increasing optimism pervading the U.S. shale oil industry with crude prices on the rise and technology improvements, among other factors, helping companies pump more for less. Apache on Thursday raised its forecast for production from North America to 256…

Statoil Profit Jumps on International Ops Growth

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First-quarter operating profit $3.3 bln is firm's first international profit since third-quarter of 2014. Statoil reported a far bigger jump in first-quarter operating profit than expected on Thursday, helped by the first profit from the Norwegian company's international operations since 2014 and higher oil prices. Like rivals such as Royal Dutch Shell, the majority state-owned oil and gas company benefited from a 55 percent increase in crude prices from the same period a year ago and its cost-cutting efforts.

TransCanada sheds Two Gasline Stakes

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TransCanada Corp said on Thursday it would sell its remaining 49.3 percent interest in Iroquois Gas Transmission System LP and an 11.8 percent stake in Portland Natural Gas Transmission System (PNGTS) for $765 million. The Canadian pipeline operator said it would sell the stakes in the two gas pipelines to TC PipeLines LP, its master limited partnership that has investments in seven pipelines capable of moving 9.1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.

Conservationists Sue to Halt Fracking in Ohio National Forest

Four conservation groups on Tuesday sued the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in an attempt to halt fracking plans in a portion of Ohio's only national forest. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus, argues that the federal agencies failed to sufficiently analyze risks to watersheds, public health, climate and endangered species including Indiana bats, before auctioning 670 acres (270 hectares) in December of the Wayne National Forest in southeast Ohio for eventual hydraulic fracturing…

Rosneft Files Lawsuit Against Sistema

Russian oil major Rosneft filed a lawsuit on Tuesday seeking 106.6 billion roubles ($1.87 billion) from business conglomerate Sistema over assets Rosneft says were removed from oil company Bashneft, Russian news agencies reported. Rosneft bought a controlling stake in Bashneft last year from the Russian government in a multibillion-dollar deal. Bashneft had been controlled by Sistema, but the government seized Sistema's stake in Bashneft in 2014 because it said Bashneft's privatisation had been illegal.

Norway Offers 87 Offshore Blocks in Mature Areas

File Image: An existing offshore Norway oil installation (CREDIT: Statoil)

Norway offered oil and gas companies 87 blocks in the mature areas of the Norwegian and the Barents seas on Tuesday, the oil and gas ministry said. The offer includes 34 blocks in the Norwegian Sea and 53 blocks in the Barents Sea, the second largest expansion so far of Norway's so-called predefined exploration areas and in line with a preliminary plan presented in December. The application deadline was set to Sept. 1, and the ministry aims to award new licenses at the beginning of 2018.

BP's Profit Triples on Pricing and Output

BP joins rivals Exxon, Chevron in beating forecasts; net debt rises 9 pct quarter-on-quarter. BP's profit nearly tripled in the first quarter of 2017 from a year earlier, buoyed by rising oil prices and production that hit a five-year high, while debt piled up in order to pay for acquisitions and costs for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill. The British oil and gas company joined oil major rivals including Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Total in posting stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings…

Noble Energy to Shed Shale Assets for $1.23 bln

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U.S. oil and gas producer Noble Energy Inc said it would sell all its exploration and production assets in the Marcellus shale field in North West Virginia and South Pennsylvania for $1.23 billion.   Noble did not name the buyer.   Reporting by Sayantani Ghosh 

Vitol to Acquire Rotterdam Splitter from Koch

Commodities trader Vitol has agreed to buy an 85,000 barrel per day (bpd) condensate splitter in the Netherlands from Koch Supply and Trading, a subsidiary of U.S. conglomerate Koch Industries, Vitol said in a statement on Tuesday. The world's largest oil trader has been expanding in the downstream and retail sectors over the last few years as it seeks outlets for its growing traded volumes. Such assets also allow the trader to access new markets and to forge longer-term supply deals as opposed to ad hoc ones…

Australia Gas Export Restrictions Counterproductive

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When governments adopt new policies the benchmark for success should be that the change works, is efficient and fair to all parties and does not create unintended consequences. The decision by the Australian government to restrict exports of natural gas if the domestic market is constrained meets none of these criteria, although it may just persuade an increasingly angry public that the authorities are doing something.

ConocoPhillips Posts Profit on Asset Sale Gain

ConocoPhillips reported a quarterly profit on Tuesday, compared with a year-earlier loss, helped by a gain on its sale of oil sands and western Canadian natural gas assets to Cenovus Energy Inc. ConocoPhillips's results also reflected a slow but steady improvement across the industry as crude prices stabilize after a two-year rout, as an OPEC-led production cut and a rebound in demand slowly erode a global glut. The company said its total realized price was $36.18 per barrel of oil equivalent in the first quarter…

US Top Court Sides with Venezuela over Oil Rigs Claim

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday tossed out a lower court's ruling that had allowed an American oil drilling company to sue Venezuela over the seizure of 11 drilling rigs in 2010 but allowed the business another chance to press its claims. Siding with Venezuela, the justices ruled 8-0 that a lower court that had given the go-ahead for the suit must reconsider whether claims made by Oklahoma-based Helmerich & Payne International Drilling Company can proceed. Writing for the court, Justice Stephen Breyer said the U.S.

Elliott to Court BHP's Australian Shareholders

Elliott to meet BHP shareholders in Australia; focus on U.S. oil division. Elliott Management will meet with BHP Billiton's Australian shareholders this week as the activist investor pushes for strategic changes at the world's biggest miner, two sources familiar with the matter said on Monday. The sources, who could not be named because they were not authorised to speak publicly about the issue, told Reuters that Elliott was seeking feedback from other investors about its proposed overhaul of BHP. Elliott's U.S.

Pembina Adds Natgas Infrastructure in Veresen Deal

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Pembina to pay as much as C$1.52 bln in cash, 99.5 mln in shares; offer at 22.5 pct premium to Veresen's last close. Pembina Pipeline Corp said it would buy smaller rival Veresen Inc in a stock-and-cash deal valued at C$9.7 billion ($7.10 billion), including debt, giving the Canadian pipeline operator access to natural gas pipelines and processing infrastructure. The combined company will have a strong position in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, home to the world's third largest crude reserves.

Swiss Court Tells Egypt Energy Companies to Pay Israel

A Swiss court has rejected an appeal by Egyptian energy companies after a French court last year ordered them to pay $2 billion in compensation to state-owned Israel Electric Corp (IEC), the Israeli utility said. An IEC statement on Friday said that Egyptian Natural Gas (EGAS) and Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) were liable because they were unable to fulfil their commitment to provide it with natural gas for its power stations. The Egyptian petroleum ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Australia Plans to Limit LNG Exports

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Australia's conservative government unveiled a radical plan on Thursday to restrict exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) at times when domestic shortages push up local prices, aiming to ease soaring energy costs for local manufacturers. The plan would allow Australia's resources minister to impose controls on LNG exports on advice from the market operator and regulator, as the government seeks to cap domestic gas prices, which have become a political hot potato. "It's not a threat. This will be export controls.

Op/Ed: Trump Signals New Day for Offshore Energy

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National Ocean Industries Association president Randall Luthi weighs in on President Trump’s Executive Order on offshore energy. It’s a new day and a new attitude for American energy. The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) applauds President Donald Trump’s Executive Order recognizing the vital role of offshore energy in an overall national energy policy. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that in the year 2040…

Clean Power Plan Lawsuit Put on Hold

A U.S. appeals court on Friday granted a Trump administration request to put on hold a legal challenge by industry and a group of states to former President Barack Obama's regulations aimed at curbing greenhouse emissions mainly from coal-fired power plants, rules that the Republican president is moving to undo. A 10-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted the request to put…

A Great Lakes Pipeline Stirs New Protest

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The growing protest movement against U.S. oil and gas pipelines has so far focused on stopping or delaying new construction, with some high-profile successes. Now, in Michigan, a broad coalition of opponents is entering a new frontier: Pushing to rip out and reroute an existing pipeline - Enbridge Inc.'s aging Line 5, which crosses the Straits of Mackinac. They fear the pipeline will leak into the Great Lakes, which contain…

Louisiana OKs Use of Grants for DP Assessments

Aaron Smith (Photo: OSVDPA)

The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) has approved use of Incumbent Worker Training Program (IWTP) grants to cover the cost of Offshore Service Vessel Dynamic Positioning Authority, Inc. (OSVDPA) Phase 4 Assessments. “It’s great to see the Louisiana Workforce Commission recognize the OSVDPA’s assessments as an important part of the professional development of mariners,” said OSVDPA Executive Director, Aaron Smith.

Nigeria Aims to Pass Delayed Oil Bill by Year End

Nigeria's upper house of parliament aims to pass the country's long delayed oil reform bill before the end of the year, Senate Committee Chairman on Petroleum Upstream, Tayo Alasoadura said on Thursday.   The legislation is part of proposed reforms that make up the sprawling Petroleum Industry Bill, which has been in discussion for over a decade and redrafted many times but has yet to be passed into law. (Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha, editing by David Evans)

FirstEnergy Settles Coal Transport Dispute

U.S. power company FirstEnergy Corp agreed to pay $109 million to settle a legal dispute with two railroads concerning a long-term coal transportation contract, the Ohio based company said in a federal filing on Wednesday. FirstEnergy said its FirstEnergy Generation unit would pay CSX Corp's CSX Transportation and Berkshire Hathaway Inc's BNSF Railway in three annual installments beginning May 1, which would be guaranteed by FirstEnergy.

Marathon Petroleum Beats Street as Pipeline Unit Delivers

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Marathon Petroleum Corp reported a surprise quarterly profit on Thursday as the refiner earned more from its pipelines and storages business. Income from the company's midstream business rose 63.5 percent to $309 million in the first quarter ended March 31. The company also said it earned more from its stakes in new and existing pipeline and marine operations. Operating loss in its refining and marketing segment narrowed as margins rose 18 percent to $11.65 per barrel.

Total CEO Mulls Saudi IPO Participation

French oil and gas major Total could consider taking a stake in the planned listing of part of Saudi Arabia's Aramco, the company's chief executive said on Thursday. Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne told an oil summit in Paris that it was all premature as the market was still awaiting details on how the initial public offering (IPO) would be done, but added it could be a meaningful partnership for Total in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government plans to list up to 5 percent of Aramco on the Saudi stock exchange in Riyadh…

BP sheds Petrochemical Stake to Sinopec

BP has agreed to sell its 50 percent stake in the Shanghai SECCO Petrochemical Company to a subsidiary of its joint venture partner Sinopec for $1.68 billion, the British oil major said. The sale represents BP's first major divestment of a year in which it expects to sell assets worth between $4.5 billion and $5.5 billion this year. It said it decided to sell out of the business because it wants to focus on areas where BP has proprietary technologies that give them a competitive advantage.

Trump Executive Order Requires Review of National Monuments

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U.S. At a ceremony at the Department of the Interior, Trump said people's ability to access and utilize land must be protected, and that the previous administration had put hundreds of millions of acres under federal control through monument designation. The order is part of a push to open up more federal lands to drilling, mining and other development - cheered by industry but opposed by conservationists.

US Authorizes Non-FTA LNG Export from Golden Pass

Photo: Golden Pass LNG Terminal

The U.S. Department of Energy announced that it has signed an order authorizing Golden Pass Products LLC to export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States. Golden Pass is authorized to export LNG up to the equivalent of 2.21 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas to any non-FTA country not prohibited by U.S. law or policy from the Golden Pass Terminal near Sabine Pass, in Jefferson County, Texas.

Trump to Order Review of Federal Land Use

U.S. President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Wednesday to identify national monuments that can be rescinded or resized - part of a push to open up more federal lands to drilling, mining and other development. The move comes as Trump seeks to reverse a slew of environmental protections ushered in by former President Barack Obama that he said were hobbling economic growth - an agenda that is cheering industry but enraging conservationists.

Norway Doubles Barents Sea Oil & Gas Estimates

Norway on Tuesday doubled its estimate of undiscovered oil and gas resources in its region of the Arctic Barents Sea as a formerly disputed area bordering Russia was included for the first time, the country's oil regulator said. The new forecast by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) predicted about 2.8 billion standard cubic meters of oil equivalent (17.6 billion barrels) could yet be found in the Barents, up from 1.4 billion seen earlier. "This figure is naturally associated with some uncertainty.

Voith to Switch Corporate Legal Status Into a KGaA

Unlisted German mechanical engineering group Voith on Monday said it plans to change its legal status into a KGaA, or a partnership limited by shares, as a way to give it greater flexibility to pursue growth options. Voith's management has recommended that the family controlled company switch its corporate legal status from Voith GmbH, into Voith GmbH & Co KGaA in July 2017, the Heidenheim, Germany-based engineering giant said.

Japan Steelmakers Scramble for Coking Coal

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Japanese steelmakers have bought coking coal from the United States, Canada and China to replace supply lost after a cyclone closed rail links in Australia, their biggest supplier, industry and trader sources said. Still, the Japanese buyers are paying nearly double the $150 a tonnes price that they were discussing with sellers for second-quarter supply before the supply disruption. The supply talks are now on hold and prices will likely stay high until full volumes start flowing again.

New Executive Orders Loom on Environment, Energy

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U.S. President Donald Trump this week will sign new executive orders before he completes his first 100 days in office, including two on energy and the environment, which would make it easier for the United States to develop energy on and offshore, a White House official said on Sunday. "This builds on previous executive actions that have cleared the way for job-creating pipelines, innovations in energy production, and reduced unnecessary burden on energy producers," the official said on condition of anonymity.

Saudi Aramco Veteran to Oversee IPO

State oil giant Saudi Aramco has appointed company veteran Motassim al-Maashouq to officially oversee preparations for its initial public offering (IPO), industry sources told Reuters. Maashouq, who most recently worked as vice president of corporate planning and is viewed by industry insiders as well connected with the financial community, has taken up the position of vice president of IPO development, the sources said. Saudi Aramco said it did not comment on rumour or speculation.

Aker Solutions, Kvaerner mull 2017 M&A

Norwegian billionaire investor Kjell Inge Roekke aims to change the ownership of one of more of his companies in the oil services industry this year, he wrote in his annual letter to shareholders on Friday. Through his Aker ASA holding company, Roekke is the top owner of several major suppliers to the oil industry, including Aker Solutions and Kvaerner. Shares of Aker Solutions rose sharply last month following media reports the firm could soon be sold to U.S. competitor Halliburton.

Italy Court Revokes Order Halting Work on TAP Pipeline

An Italian court has revoked an order that had halted work to remove olive trees from the pathway of a strategic pipeline that will bring central Asian gas into Europe, a lawyer involved in the case said on Thursday. The decision paves the way for work to restart on the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) which is slated to bring 10 billion cubic metres of gas from Azerbaijan into the small Italian seaside town of San Foca in Apulia by 2020.

Statoil Confident About Offshore Brazil Deal

File Image: a typical Statoil offshore installation (CREDIT: Statoil)

Norway's Statoil is confident that its deal with Petróleo Brasileiro SA to acquire a stake in exploration block BM-S-8 offshore Brazil will eventually go ahead despite a court suspension, a spokesman said on Tuesday. "We are confident that he deal will go ahead... We are considering various legal options, but we are confident that we have a strong case," Statoil's spokesman Erik Haaland said. A Brazilian court has ordered the state-controlled company…

Sovcomflot Holds PDVSA Oil Hostage over Debts

Venezuela's state-run oil company, PDVSA, sent a tanker in October to the Caribbean with the expectation that its cargo of crude would fetch about $20 million - money the crisis-stricken nation desperately needs. Instead, the owner of the tanker, the Russian state-owned shipping conglomerate Sovcomflot, held the oil in hopes of collecting partial payment on $30 million that it says PDVSA owes for unpaid shipping fees. Despite a longstanding alliance between Venezuela and Russia, Sovcomflot sued PDVSA in St.

Williams Partners to Shed Petrochem Plant Stake

Pipeline operator Williams Partners LP said it would sell its stake in a unit that owns 88.46 percent of an olefins plant in Louisiana to Nova Chemicals for $2.1 billion cash.   Williams Partners said its units would enter into long-term supply and transportation agreements with Nova after the deal closes, the company said on Monday.   Reporting by Ahmed Farhatha 

ConocoPhillips sells San Juan basin Assets

ConocoPhillips, the largest U.S. independent oil producer, said on Thursday it would sell natural gas-heavy assets in San Juan basin to privately held Hilcorp Energy Co for about $3 billion. ConocoPhillips has been selling assets to reduce its exposure to profit-sapping natural gas assets and shore up its balance sheet. The assets, which span New Mexico and Southwestern Colorado, produced 124,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, about 80 percent of which was natural gas, ConocoPhillips said.

Hunting Q1 EBITDA Up as Shale Shines

Oilfield services company Hunting Plc said on Wednesday its revenue for the first quarter had been ahead of management's expectations due continued higher activity levels in US shale sector. The company reported a positive EBITDA of $5.5 million for the first quarter ended March 31. U.S. drillers added oil rigs for a 12th week in a row, extending the recovery into an 11th month as energy companies boost spending on new production to take advantage of a recovery in crude prices…

Shell Knew Payments Would Go to Nigeria's Malabu

Royal Dutch Shell has said it knew that some of the payments it made to Nigeria for the rights to an oilfield would go to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company associated with a former Nigerian oil minister and convicted money launderer. Shell spokesman Andy Norman said the group had known the Nigerian government "would compensate Malabu to settle its claim on the block". Shell previously had said only that its payments from the 2011 deal went to the Nigerian government.

Brazil to Get Data for Revision of Large Petrobras Contract

The Brazilian government will receive next month from the country's oil watchdog ANP the calculations to base the revision of a large contract with Petrobras known as the Transfer of Rights, the Energy Minister Fernando Coelho Filho said on Monday. The contract, through which the government exchanged some oil areas in its coast for Petrobras equity, will be revised this year. Analysts expect Petrobras to receive a large credit in the revision, which could be paid in cash or oil.

BHP: Cost of Elliott Advisors Proposal Outweighs Benefits

BHP Billiton said on Monday the cost of a proposal from hedge fund manager Elliott Advisors to unlock shareholder value would outweigh any benefits. The plans would involve scrapping the mining giant's dual corporate structure, demerging its oil business and rejigging its capital return policy. "After reviewing the elements of Elliott's proposal, we have concluded that the costs and associated risks of Elliott's proposal would significantly outweigh any potential benefits," BHP said in a statement.

House - Bill Introduced to Ban Drilling off Florida

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Representative Castor (D-FL) introduced a bill (H.R. 2002) to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit oil and gas preleasing, leasing, and related activities in certain areas of the Outer Continental Shelf off the coast of Florida, and for other purposes.   Official text of the bill is not yet available.   (*) Source: Dennis Bryant  

Eni, Shell Deny Illicit Payments in Nigeria

Oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and Eni reiterated on Monday that neither they nor their personnel had been involved in any wrongdoing in Nigeria, including improper payments to Nigerian officials. The comments follow media reports alleging how hundreds of millions of dollars from the two companies were used for illicit payments. A joint investigation by BuzzFeed News and Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore on Sunday claims…

Aramco to meet in Shanghai to Prop up IPO

Saudi Aramco's board will meet in China in May for the first time in seven years, industry sources said, as the state-owned energy firm seeks to lure Chinese and Asian investors to its giant share offering. The board of directors would gather in Shanghai on May 10 to discuss the firm's business plans, investments and preparations to sell up to 5 percent of Aramco in 2018, the sources said. An annual report of the company's activities for the previous year is usually issued after the board meeting.

California Approves Fuel Tax Hike

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California lawmakers on Thursday approved legislation to increase gasoline taxes and other transportation-related fees for the first time in decades, to fund an ambitious $52 billion plan to repair the state's sagging infrastructure. The legislation heads to the desk of Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, who urged its support after the Democratic-led state legislature passed it on Thursday with a 27-11 vote in the Senate and then a 54-26 vote hours later in the Assembly.

Gunvor Sounded Out Rivals to Sell Itself - WSJ

Gunvor Group Ltd, one of the world's largest oil traders, has discussed a possible sale of the company with at least two competitors, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. Any potential deal would further consolidate a sector already dominated by a handful of players such as Glencore, Vitol, Mercuria and Trafigura. However, Gunvor Chief Executive Torbjorn Tornqvist said the company had no sale plans at this time, the Journal reported.

PDVSA Starts Bank Transfers on April Bond Payments

Venezuela's state oil company, PDVSA, said on Thursday it had "started bank transfers" to make its first April bond payments, outlays that will further squeeze the already cash-strapped business amid a deep recession. The oil-rich South American nation faces payments of nearly $3 billion in April, mostly on bonds issued by PDVSA. Most of that is due on Wednesday as PDVSA's April 2017 5.25 percent note matures. "On the 4th of April of this year, bank transfers for interest payments on PDVSA 2027 bonds ...

Shallow Water JV Pemex Auction Pushed Back to October

Mexico's oil regulator voted on Thursday to delay the auction for the country's second joint venture with state oil company Pemex to October 4, from June 19, in order to give interested firms more time to evaluate the project.   Reporting by David Alire Garcia 

Italy Watchdog Auditing Saipem for Impairment Charges

Italy's market regulator started an audit of Saipem in November to gather information on write downs the oil service company booked last year, Saipem said in its annual report. The Italian oil contractor announced impairments on a string of assets of around 2.1 billion euros ($2.2 billion) last October. In its yearly report Saipem also said South Stream Transport BV (SSTBV), owned by Russia's Gazprom, had filed damages…

Shareholders Force BP CEO Pay Cut

BP has cut Chief Executive Bob Dudley's pay package by 40 percent to $11.6 million, the latest British bluechip company to rein in executive pay after a wave of shareholder revolts. The oil company has reduced Dudley's payout and introduced changes from this year that will lower executives' performance incentives. The cuts come after around 60 percent of shareholders opposed BP's pay policy at last year's annual general meeting.

Asia Demand, Hedging Boosts Trading in Forward U.S. Oil Contracts

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Trading volumes and open interest in U.S. crude futures soared in 2016, particularly among buyers out of Asia and shale companies locking in output, both of whom have shown an affinity for far-dated contracts, the CME Group Inc said on Thursday. NYMEX light sweet crude oil futures average daily volume hit an all-time high of 1.303 million contracts in November 2016, according to exchange data. Demand out of Asia/Pacific was notably stronger…

U.S. Granted BP Joint North Sea field License with Iran

BP and Iran's state-run oil company received a licence from the U.S. Treasury last year to operate their joint gas field in the North Sea following the lifting of Western sanctions on Tehran, BP said on Thursday. Production at the Rhum field was suspended in 2010 when Europe imposed sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme and only resumed four years later after Britain agreed to set up a temporary management scheme whereby all revenue due to Tehran would be held until sanctions were lifted.

7-Eleven to Buy Sunoco's U.S. Stores

Seven & i unit to buy 1,108 stores in Texas, other states; Sunoco deal is the biggest for 7-Eleven. Seven & i Holdings Co on Thursday said it would buy convenience stores and petrol stations from Texas-based Sunoco LP for about $3.3 billion, as the Japanese retailer closes in on its goal to reach 10,000 North American outlets. The operator of the 7-Eleven chain of convenience stores has been aggressively opening stores in Japan as well as the United States, where it has been acquiring stores from local retailers.

Canada Mulls Single Body to Assess Pipelines

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Canada needs a single federal authority to assess the potential impact of major projects such oil pipelines and mines, a move that could help quell environmental protests, an official panel said on Wednesday. Responsibility for examining the potential impact of projects on federally-regulated land in Canada is shared between three separate entities, a much-criticised system that the Liberal government says the public does not trust.

DCC Taps Energy Boss as Next CEO

Donal Murphy to succeed Tommy Breen as CEO from July; DCC will buy Shell's LPG business in Hong Kong and Macau. Support services company DCC has picked the head of its energy division, Donal Murphy, to succeed retiring chief executive Tommy Breen from July, it said on Wednesday. The company also announced plans to buy Shell's liquid petroleum gas (LPG) business in Hong Kong and Macau for HK$1.165 billion ($150 million) including debt, as part of a drive to focus more on energy - its largest business.

Glencore Joins Four Others in Coal Force Majeure in Australia

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Global miner Glencore on Wednesday declared force majeure on coal shipments from the cyclone-hit Bowen Basin in Australia, after the storm damaged railway lines, disrupting delivery to ports. Glencore runs five coal mines in the region and it is the fifth miner to declare force majeure - a clause typically invoked after natural disasters - leaving rivals in the United States to cash in on a surge in prices as Chinese steelmakers scramble for supplies.

Saudi Aramco Raises $3 billion in Debut Sukuk

Saudi Aramco has raised 11.25 billion riyals ($3.00 billion) in its debut sukuk issuance, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. The Islamic bond, part of a programme to raise 37.5 billion riyals, is the oil giant's first fundraising exercise aimed at diversifying revenues that have been hit by low global oil prices. The floating rate local currency sukuk has a seven-year maturity and offers 25 basis points over the six-month Saudi Arabian Interbank Offered Rate (SAIBOR).

Peabody Energy Emerges from Bankruptcy

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U.S. coal miner Peabody Energy Corp said it had emerged from Chapter 11 protection and was expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday under the ticker symbol BTU. The largest U.S. coal producer filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2016, after a sharp drop in coal prices left it unable to service debt of $10.1 billion. The company said it had reduced its debt by more than $5 billion since March 2016.

BP Slashes 5 mln pounds from CEO's Pay

BP Plc has agreed to cut about 5 million pounds ($6.24 million) from Chief Executive Bob Dudley's maximum pay for the next three years in a bid to avoid a shareholder revolt, Sky News said on Monday, citing people briefed on the matter. Sky News said that Dudley's maximum annual pay over the next three years will now be about 12.2 million pounds ($15.22 million) including his salary, an annual bonus of 3.3 million pounds and a long-term share incentive plan award worth up to 7.4 million pounds.