Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Trump Greenlights Keystone XL Pipeline, but Obstacles Loom

Donald Trump (Official White House photo)

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration approved TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, cheering the oil industry and angering environmentalists who had sought for years to block it. The approval reverses a decision by former President Barack Obama to reject the project, but fresh obstacles loom: To get built, TransCanada will need to win financing, acquire local permits, and fend off likely legal challenges.

US State Dept to Approve Keystone Pipeline Permit Friday

© Reinhard Tiburzy / Adobe Stock

The U.S. State Department will approve on Friday the permit needed to proceed with construction of the Canada-to-United States Keystone XL oil pipeline, a project blocked by former President Barack Obama, according to two government sources familiar with the process. The move would mark the beginning of process that could be lengthy and complicated by approvals needed by state regulators and legal challenges. But President Donald Trump…

As Trump Targets Energy Rules, Oil Companies Downplay their Impact

President Donald Trump (Official White House photo)

President Donald Trump’s White House has said his plans to slash environmental regulations will trigger a new energy boom and help the United States drill its way to independence from foreign oil. But the top U.S. oil and gas companies have been telling their shareholders that regulations have little impact on their business, according to a Reuters review of U.S. securities filings from the top producers. In annual reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 13 of the 15 biggest U.S.

German Industrial Plant Building Orders dip to 2004 Levels

German manufacturers of large industrial plants reported a 12-year low in new orders for 2016 as the weak oil price held back demand in the Middle East while Germany's move to renewable energy wiped out demand for conventional electricity generation. Orders booked by the Germany-based companies - which include Linde, Siemens and Thyssenkrupp - fell 3 percent to 18.9 billion euros ($20.6 billion), their lowest level since 2004, with foreign orders down 10 percent.

Goodhart's Law and OPEC's output deal: Kemp

No evidence has emerged of cheating on the OPEC/non-OPEC production agreement so far. But Goodhart's Law is a reminder traders should expect countries to try to circumvent any target once it has been chosen. Goodhart's Law states that any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control purposes ("Monetary Theory and Practice", Goodhart, 1983). Charles Goodhart was a Bank…

Hedge Funds Unwind Record Bullish Position in Oil

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock)

Hedge funds have unwound much of the concentration of bullish positions that contributed to a fall in oil prices this month, suggesting a broader range of views about where prices go next. Hedge funds and other money managers now hold a combined net long position in Brent and WTI of 684 million barrels, down from a record 951 million on Feb. 21, though still well above the recent low of 422 million on Nov. 15 before OPEC announced output cuts.

U.S. Coal Miner Peabody eyes April Bankruptcy Exit

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock)

Peabody Energy Corp , the world's largest private sector coal producer, said on Thursday it expects to exit its Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early April after a U.S. judge said he would approve its plan to slash over $5 billion of debt. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Barry Schermer said he was ready to sign an order to approve Peabody's bankruptcy emergence once language regarding a late settlement of certain U.S. Department of Justice complaints had been finalized. St.

Sinopec Mulls Acquisition of Chevron's South African Assets

Chinese giant now lone bidder, auction near end; sssets estimated to be worth $1 billion. China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) is nearing an agreement to buy a majority stake in Chevron Corp's South African assets, which are estimated to be worth $1 billion, two people familiar with the transaction said. The sources said Sinopec, Asia's largest oil refiner, was the last bidder remaining, and close to a deal with Chevron after an auction that spanned more than a year.

Trump Order to Ease Energy Rules Expected Tuesday

© Lukasz Z / Adobe Stock

President Donald Trump will sign an order on Tuesday aimed at making it easier for companies to produce energy in the United States, administration officials said on Sunday. Under Trump, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is aiming to aggressively roll back Obama-era environmental regulations. Trump plans to sign the executive order at the EPA to reduce "unnecessary regulatory obstacles that restrict the responsible use of domestic energy resources," a White House official said.

Saudi Aramco Tax Cut Announced in Advance of IPO

The cut in income tax paid by national oil giant Saudi Aramco to 50 percent from 85 percent brings the company in line with international benchmarks, chief executive Amin Nasser said in a statement on Monday.   Earlier, the tax was cut in a royal decree, part of preparations for an initial public offer of shares by Aramco next year, which is expected to be the world's largest equity offer.   Reporting by Reem Shamseddine 

Petrobras Extends CEO's Term for Two Years

The board of Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA voted to extend current Chief Executive Officer Pedro Parente's term for a further two years, according to a Monday securities filing. The filing did not specify when his new term is set to start. Parente took over in May following the resignation of his predecessor Aldemir Bendine, spearheading efforts to clean up the firm's balance sheet and scale back the largest debt burden among the world's major oil companies.

Judge Orders Exxon to Confer with New York AG on Tillerson Emails

A New York state judge on Wednesday ordered ExxonMobil Corp to work with the New York attorney general's office to try to recover lost emails from an alias account used by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when he was the oil company’s chairman and chief executive. Justice Barry Ostrager, who is overseeing a probe by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman into whether Exxon misled the public and shareholders about the impact of climate change…

Indonesia Police Say Interpol Issues Red Notices for 3 Sinopec Execs

Indonesian police said on Tuesday Interpol has issued red notices, the closest to an international arrest warrant, for three Chinese executives suspected of fraud linked to a more than $800 million Sinopec oil terminal development in Indonesia. China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, or Sinopec, is the second major Chinese state oil firm in less than three years to find staff facing allegations of corruption in Indonesia, where the resources sector is riddled with graft and legal and contractual uncertainty.

Petrobras Resorts to Top Court to Free Divestment Plan

Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras has asked the Supreme Court to lift an injunction obtained by an oil workers' union that froze sales of its assets, including its fuels distribution unit, a court official said on Friday. Petrobras filed the request on Thursday in a bid to lift the injunction that blocked a divestment plan crucial to the full recovery of the company's finances by lowering its debt load. A regional…

Exxon Eyes Sale of Italian Retail Network

Exxon Mobil is seeking to sell half of its 2,500 petrol stations in Italy for up to 500 million euros ($537 million), several sources close to the process said. Exxon, through its local subsidiary Esso, is the latest oil company trying to reduce its exposure to Italy's oversupplied petrol retail sector. Royal Dutch Shell exited last year and Total and Italian energy group Erg are nearing the sale of their joint venture.

US Judge to Approve Peabody Ch. 11 Plan, Subject to DOJ Talks

A U.S. bankruptcy judge said on Thursday he would approve a plan by Peabody Energy Corp , the world's largest private sector coal producer, to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy subject to discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice.   (Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Chris Reese)

Former Nigerian Oil Firm Head Charged with Money Laundering

The former head of Nigeria's state oil company was charged in court on Thursday with money laundering and five counts of fraud, the country's anti-corruption watchdog said. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said last month it had arrested Andrew Yakubu and seized $9.8 million from the former head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the northern city of Kaduna. "Former GMD, NNPC, Andrew Yakubu who was arraigned today…

Maersk Needs Quick Deal to Avoid Tyra Shut Down

Carsten Sonne-Schmidt, chief financial officer of Maersk Oil, a unit of Danish conglomerate A. "That means we will see a fast decline in gas production. "It's a win-win situation.

Brazil's Audit Court Orders Petrobras to Restart Asset Sales

Brazil's federal audit court TCU on Wednesday allowed state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA to proceed with its divestment program, but required the company to restart the process except for two projects.   Petrobras had been prevented from signing any new asset sales while TCU reviewed its procedures. The two assets that Petrobras will be able to sell without restarting the process from scratch were not disclosed by court.     (Reporting by Leonardo Goy; Writing by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Trump Won't Seek to Roll Back CA Vehicle Rules

President Donald Trump will announce the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will revive a review of the feasibility of strict fuel efficiency standards through 2025, but will not seek to withdraw California's authority to set its own vehicle rules, a White House official said late on Tuesday. Reuters reported on Monday the administration planned to announce the review on Wednesday as Trump heads to Michigan, home of the U.S. auto industry.

Nigerian Court Adjourns Shell, ENI Dispute until March 17

A Nigerian court case in which Royal Dutch Shell and Italy's Eni are seeking to have a government seizure of a long-disputed oilfield lifted has been adjourned until March 17, a judge said on Monday. The court in January ordered the temporary seizing of assets and the transfer of operations of the OPL 245 field owned by Shell and Eni, among others, to the federal government on request of the EFCC financial crime agency.

Rosneft: Oil Output Cuts Might Not be Extended

Russian oil major Rosneft said on Monday there was a risk that a global oil output cuts deal would not be extended because of a lack of will on the part of the main participants and due to shale production dynamics in the United States.   "We think that in the long term global oil demand dynamics and reduced investment during the period of ultra low prices will balance the market, but that the risk of a price war resuming remains," a company spokesman told Reuters.   Reporting by Olesya Astakhova 

Saudis to Consider Tokyo Listing of Aramco

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has asked Saudi Arabia's King Salman to support the listing of Saudi state oil giant Aramco shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, a Japanese senior government official said on Monday.   King Salman said that the kingdom would look into the request because he wants Japanese investors to buy Aramco shares, the official said after the two leaders met.   Bourses in Asia and elsewhere are vying to win the $100 billion listing. Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka 

Gazprom delays Baltic, Sakhalin LNG projects

Eurobond prospectus seen by Reuters; new Baltic LNG plant to be commissioned in 2022-2023. Russia's Gazprom has delayed liquefied natural gas (LNG) plans on Sakhalin island and in the Baltic Sea, a Eurobond presentation showed on Monday. The delays could disrupt Russia's plans to carve out a bigger share of the global LNG market, where it aims to triple its market share of less than 5 percent by 2035. Gazprom plans to expand the Sakhalin-2 project off Russia's Pacific coast by 2023-2024…

Nord Stream 2 not a Common Interest Project - EU

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline which aims to bring Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea is not a "project of common interest" to the EU, the European Union's competition commissioner said on Monday. "On the legal side of things, it has become very clear that the Commission does not find that the Nord Stream 2 project will be a project of common interest," EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told a news conference in Brussels.

Petrobras Says Injunction Blocking Sale of Gas Unit NTS Overturned

Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said on Thursday that an injunction blocking the sale of its gas pipeline unit Nova Transportadora do Sudeste SA (NTS) to a group led by Canada's Brookfield Asset Management Inc has been overturned.   Petrobras, as the company is known, said in a securities filing that it plans to continue with NTS divestiture. The group led by Brookfield agreed to pay $5.2 billion for the unit in September. (Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Daniel Flynn)

Shell Ties C-Suite Bonuses to Emissions, Cash Flow

Royal Dutch Shell directors will from this year be rewarded depending on how well the company manages its greenhouse gas emissions and how much free cashflow it generates, it said on Thursday. Ten percent of directors' bonuses will be calculated according to the management of emissions such as methane and carbon dioxide from its refining, chemical and upstream assets, Shell said. Chief Executive Ben van Beurden spoke of the plans in December.

Ex-BP Executive to Face Bribery Charges

A former executive at oil company BP in Singapore was charged on Thursday with obtaining $3.95 million in bribes in what the city-state's anti-corruption agency called one of the largest corruption cases in the country. Clarence Chang Peng Hong, a former regional director for marine fuels with BP, was charged with taking bribes from an executive at a petroleum products supplier in order to advance the company's business interests with BP…

Poland Balks at EU Carbon Market Reform

Poland is challenging draft carbon market reforms agreed by most European Union governments this week, saying the deal is not-binding because it did not have the full backing of the bloc's 28 nations, the country's environment ministry said on Thursday. Poland does not rule out taking the issue to the European Court of Justice to unravel the legislation, once it is adopted, Environment Ministry spokesman Pawel Mucha told Reuters.

Maersk, Danish State Agree on North Sea Taxes

File Image: An offshore Maersk oil installation (CREDIT: Maersk)

A.P. Moller-Maersk has agreed with the Danish state on terms for a new framework agreement regarding exploration and production of oil and gas in the North Sea, Berlingske daily reported on Wednesday, citing anonymous sources.   Maersk Oil had asked authorities for tax relief in order to proceed with an upgrade of the maturing Tyra field, Denmark's largest gas field, or it would cease operations permanently.   An anonymous source said the Tyra field would be reconstructed "fully".   Reporting by Stine Jacobsen 

Seadrill Could Be Heading for Bankruptcy

Photo: Seadrill Limited

The oil rig owner SeaDrill could be forced into bankruptcy protection soon, if it fails to reach a restructuring agreement with its lenders, reports Reuters. The rig firm, controlled by John Fredriksen, is battling with $14 billion in debt and liabilities. "In the event a consensual restructuring agreement is not concluded or an agreement to an extension is not reached, we are also preparing various contingency plans, including potential schemes of arrangement or chapter 11 proceedings," the company warns.

Transcanada's US Keystone XL Lawsuit Suspended

Transcanada Corp's legal challenge against the United States over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project's past rejection has been suspended for one month, the website of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes showed on Tuesday. The suspension of the challenge under the North American Free Trade Agreement came after U.S. President Donald Trump signed orders early this year smoothing the path for Keystone XL…

Saudi Aramco to Buy Stake in Petronas' RAPID Refinery

Aramco to take 50 pct stake in some RAPID ops; Saudis to use Malaysia as platform for SEAsia investment. Saudi oil giant Aramco will buy an equity stake in Malaysian firm Petronas' major refining and petrochemical project, the companies said on Tuesday, pumping in $7 billion in its biggest downstream investment outside the kingdom. The deal will boost Aramco's downstream business ahead of a planned initial public offering…

Germany Backs Carbon Price in EU Emissions Push

Germany will back a plan to strengthen carbon prices, a senior official said on Tuesday, ahead of a meeting of European Union environment ministers on balancing the needs of industry with cutting emissions in reforming the carbon market. EU member states such as Germany, Italy, Austria and Greece are prioritising measures to ensure that regulation does not drive big industry abroad, while poorer, coal-reliant nations…

Rig firm Seadrill risks Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Seadrill faces debt-to-equity conversion; Chapter 11 beckons; billionaire John Fredriksen risks dilution of stake. Rig firm Seadrill, battling with $14 billion in debt and liabilities, said on Tuesday it may have to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection if it fails to reach a restructuring agreement with its lenders, sending its shares down 14 percent. Once the crown jewel in the empire of shipping tycoon John Fredriksen…

Company to Pay $9.5 Mln for Actions Leading to US Gulf Explosion

Wood Group PSN Inc., a Nevada corporation headquartered in Houston, was ordered to pay $9.5 million in two separate cases involving its conduct in the Gulf of Mexico. Specifically, Wood Group PSN was ordered to pay $7 million for falsely reporting over several years that personnel had performed safety inspections on offshore facilities in the Gulf of Mexico in the Western District of Louisiana, and $1.8 million for negligently…

Noble Group Records Small 2016 Profit

Some units operated below potential due to capital constraints; posts full year profit of $8.7 mln vs huge loss year ago. Noble Group Ltd reported a net profit of $8.7 million for full-year 2016 versus a huge loss in the previous year when the Singapore-listed commodities trader restructured its business operations, and it outlined further cost cuts for this year. The Hong Kong-headquartered company is slowly recovering after the restructuring…

TransCanada to Shed U.S. Northeast Pipeline Stakes

TransCanada Corp said it has offered to sell stakes in two natural gas pipelines that serve the U.S. Northeast to TC PipeLines LP, U.S.-based master limited partnership in which it holds a 27 percent stake. TransCanada said it would sell its 49.3 percent stake in the Iroquois gas transmission system and the remaining 11.8 percent stake it holds in the Portland natural gas transmission system. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Oil Rises on Record Bullish Bets

Looming over the success of the deal is the reaction of U.S. shale producers to rising prices and their ability to increase output. Image Credit: AdobeStock

Speculators raise net long positions to record high; UAE and Iraq pledge to catch up with production cut targets. Oil prices rose on Monday as investors showed record confidence in prices rising further, though gains were capped by the prospect of faster growth in U.S. oil production. Brent crude oil rose 52 cents to $56.51 a barrel by 1224 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate added 42 cents to $54.41. Investors raised their bets on rising Brent crude oil prices to a new high last week…

Hong Kong pins Aramco IPO Hopes on China's Deep Pockets

Saudi expects to float 5 pct of state oil company for $100 bln; HKEX hopes to leverage deep-pocketed China investors to woo Riyadh. Hong Kong's stock exchange will bank on its role as a gateway to mainland China's deep-pocketed investors to take on other leading venues and win the coveted $100 billion listing of Saudi Arabia's giant state oil company, Aramco, it said on Monday. Charles Li, the CEO of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX)…

Petrobras settles four more lawsuits with investors in U.S

Photo iQoncept - Fotolia AdobeStock

Brazil's state-run oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, said on Friday its board has approved settlements with investors in four more lawsuits in a U.S. federal court in New York. In a securities filing, Petrobras said the new settlements would raise total provisions for the lawsuits to $372 million in the fourth quarter, $8 million above the quarter ended in September. The company is settling with New York City Employees Retirement System…

Oklahoma regulator issues new directive to curb quakes

Earthquake PhotoFilippo Coppolino,  AdobeStock

Oklahoma's oil and gas regulator on Friday issued a wider directive limiting future increases in wastewater disposal underground in another effort to address a rash of temblors that have occurred amid the shale boom. The guidelines include wells in Oklahoma's Arbuckle formation that previously were required to restrict disposal volumes and some potentially high-volume wells not previously covered. Those wells were not part of earlier orders because there had not been reports of seismic activity in their area.

As Saudis Prepare for IPO, Some Have Misgivings

Many Saudis support oil firm Aramco's share offer, but some express concern in rare public criticism. Jamil Farsi, a prominent Saudi Arabian jewellery tycoon, made an impassioned plea to the investment minister at a meeting of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce this month. "I don't know anything about economics but I beg you, and I beg the officials in the country, not to sell Aramco - not 5 percent, not 1 percent," he said.

Oil Industry Infighting Heats up as EPA Weighs Biofuels Rule Change

Oil companies showed deepening divides on the future of the U.S. biofuels program in solicited comments from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a plan sought by some refiners to shift the program's financial burden to retailers and blenders. All sides are pushing hard, seizing the opportunity to test President Donald Trump's commitment to the program. Trump has supported the program, but top figures in his administration have criticized it.

ConocoPhillips: Oil Sands Reserves Revised Down

ConocoPhillips has revised down over a billion barrels of oil sands reserves because of low global crude prices, a company filing showed on Tuesday, the latest sign that some of Canada's vast hydrocarbon potential may be left untapped. The U.S. oil major said developed and undeveloped reserves of bitumen - the heavy viscous oil found in northern Alberta's remote oil sands - totalled 1.2 billion barrels at the end of 2016, down from 2.4 billion barrels at the end of 2015.

Saudi Aramco taps JPMorgan, M.Stanley for IPO

Listing of Aramco could raise up to $100 billion. Oil giant Saudi Aramco has asked JPMorgan Chase & Co and Morgan Stanley to assist with its upcoming mammoth IPO and could call on another bank with access to Chinese investors, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said. The U.S. banks have joined boutique investment bank Moelis & Co in being tapped for coveted roles in what is expected to be the world's biggest intial public offering worth some $100 billion.

Norway: No Plan to cut Statoil Stake

File Image: a typical offshore North Sea installation (Credit: Statoil)

The Norwegian government does not plan to cut its stake in Statoil, oil and energy Minister Terje Soeviknes told parliament on Wednesday.   The government holds a 67 percent stake in the oil firm.   There are no plans to cut the government's stakes in fertiliser maker Yara, aluminium maker Norsk Hydro or top bank DNB, industry Minister Monica Maeland said.   Reporting by Terje Solsvik 

Sembcorp Marine Swings to Q4 Profit

Annual revenue lowest since 2006. Singapore's Sembcorp Marine Ltd (SembMarine) swung to profit in the fourth quarter of 2016 after provisions pulled the rig builder into a loss the year earlier, but a downturn in oil prices pushed annual revenue to its lowest in a decade. SembMarine and compatriot Keppel Corp Ltd have been suffering from an oversupply of offshore oil drilling rigs, with customers delaying contracts and refraining from placing orders while oil hovers at about half its 2014 peak.

Pipeline Fight Moves from Dakotas to Louisiana

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock)

When Hope Rosinski's father gave her a six-acre plot in Louisiana more than a decade ago, she was surprised to find oil and gas pipelines crisscrossing the property. Pipeline companies later secured her permission for two more lines, one of which has since caused flooding and consistently leaves her land saturated. Now she's had enough. Rosinski is fighting the latest request for a right-of-way, this time from Energy Transfer Partners - the company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.

Singapore Carbon Tax Would Hit Refiners, Help Renewables

Proposed carbon tax would deal blow to refineries; Singapore is main regional oil trading hub. Singapore's proposed plan to tax greenhouse gas emissions would probably hit oil refiners hard, ramping up costs in an industry that has been central to the city-state's rapid development over the last half-century. Monday's announcement that a carbon tax on direct emitters is to be introduced from 2019 shows that Singapore…

Australia says clean energy fund could underwrite new coal plants

Minister Josh Frydenberg and a helmeted honeyeater. Photo from Offical Australian Government Website

Australia is considering altering legislation to enable funds slated for clean energy developments to be used to bankroll construction of new low emission, coal-fired power plants. The suggestion by Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg comes after a major power outage during a heat wave in South Australia state worsened a row with the national government over energy security and the state's heavy reliance on wind and solar power.

EU countries clear 18-month extension of China solar duties

Solar Panel Photo Fotolia AdobeStock

European Union member have cleared an 18-month extension of import tariffs on solar panels from China, a compromise position after initial opposition, sources said on Friday. Anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties have been in place on Chinese solar panels and cells since 2013 and are currently under review as to whether they should be maintained. The European Commission had initially proposed a two-year extension, but that was rejected by a majority of EU countries in a vote last month…

No Deadline Extension for Dakota Protesters

Federal officials and North Dakota's governor on Thursday refused to extend next week's evacuation deadline for activists living in camps that have been a base for months for demonstrations against the multibillion-dollar Dakota Access oil pipeline. Opponents of the 1,170-mile (1.882-km) line met with officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Republican Governor Doug Burgum and the state Department of Transportation on Thursday morning…

Senate Set to Approve Trump's EPA Pick

The U.S. Senate is expected to approve President Donald Trump's pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday over the objections of Democrats and green groups worried he will gut the agency, as the administration readies executive orders to ease regulation on drillers and miners. Trump's nominee, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is likely to pass the vote scheduled for midday with the support of nearly all the Republicans in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Former EPA Employees Oppose Trump's Nominee

Despite nearly 800 former Environmental Protection Agency officials urging the U.S. Senate to reject President Donald Trump's nominee to run the agency as the chamber moved closer on Thursday to approving his pick, Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of oil-producing Oklahoma is likely to be confirmed. The 773 former officials signed a letter organized by the nonprofit group Environmental Integrity Project that said Pruitt's…

FTC Okays Enbridge-Spectra with Conditions

Canada's Enbridge Inc and Spectra Energy Corp have won U.S. antitrust approval to merge with conditions, the Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday.   (Reporting by Diane Bartz)

Norway Proposes Spending Cap for $900 bln Oil Fund

Norway's $900-billion sovereign wealth fund, the world's largest, should shift more of its investments into equities and away from bonds to counter the effects of ultra-low interest rates, the government said on Thursday. And in a major shift in policy, Norway's minority right-wing government recommended cutting the amount of money it is allowed to spend each year from the fund to three from four percent. Norwegians have…

ND Governor Orders Dakota Pipeline Protest Camp to Evacuate

The governor of North Dakota ordered protesters on Wednesday to evacuate a demonstration camp near the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline in the latest move to clear the area that has served as a base for opposition to the multibillion dollar project. Republican Doug Burgum ordered demonstrators to leave the camp located on land owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by Feb. 22, citing safety concerns that have arisen due to accelerated snowmelt and rising water levels of the nearby Cannonball River.

TransCanada Posts Smaller Quarterly Loss

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock)

TransCanada Corp, Canada's No. 2 pipeline operator, reported a smaller quarterly loss from a year earlier, when it booked a C$2.9 billion ($2.23 billion) impairment charge on its Keystone XL oil pipeline. The company's net loss attributable to shareholders narrowed to C$358 million, or 43 Canadian cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 from C$2.46 billion, or C$3.47 per share, a year earlier. The latest quarter included charges of about C$1 billion. U.S.

U.S. EPA Staff Told to Prepare for Trump Executive Orders

Staff at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have been told that President Donald Trump is preparing a handful of executive orders related to the agency, to be signed once a new administrator is confirmed, two sources who attended the meeting told Reuters on Wednesday. The sources, who asked not to be named, said a senior EPA official who had been briefed by members of the Trump administration mentioned the executive orders at a meeting of staffers in the EPA's Office of General Counsel on Tuesday…

Alberta Orphan Well Tally Jumps as Lexin Licences Suspended

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) suspended licences on all oil and gas well facilities and pipelines belonging to Lexin Resources Ltd on Wednesday, nearly doubling the number of orphaned wells in Canada's main crude-producing province. The provincial regulator ordered privately-held Lexin to cease all production, saying it failed to comply with multiple orders and lacked enough staff to manage its more than 1,600 sites.

EU Regulators Raid Greek Power Companies

EU antitrust regulators have raided several Greek power companies on suspicion that the firms may be involved in anti-competitive practices, the European Commission said on Wednesday. The EU competition enforcer said the raids took place on Tuesday and involved companies active in the generation, transmission and supply of electricity in Greece. "The Commission has concerns that the relevant companies may have engaged in anti-competitive practices," the EU executive said in a statement.

Iran Berates Total for Gas Field Delays

Iran's oil minister has criticised French oil company Total for its decision to delay signing a contract to develop a gas field in southern Iran, saying that the reasons given by Total's chief executive were "unacceptable" to Tehran. Total was the first Western energy company to sign a major deal with Tehran since the lifting of international sanctions with its South Pars 11 project in the Gulf to develop a part of the world's largest gas field that Iran shares with Qatar.

Devon's Q4 Profit Driven by Cost Cuts

U.S. oil producer Devon Energy Corp reported a quarterly profit on Tuesday, compared with a year-ago loss, driven by cost cutting.   The company reported a net profit of $331 million, or 63 cents per share, for the fourth-quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $4.5 billion, or a loss of $11.12 per share, a year earlier.   The year-earlier quarter included a non-cash, asset impairment charge of $5.34 billion.   Revenue rose 16 percent to $3.35 billion. Reporting by Ahmed Farhatha

Brazil Infrastructure Minister Keeps Job, Immunity

A Brazil Supreme Court justice rejected an injunction that sought to remove President Michel Temer's minister in charge of infrastructure investment, Wellington Moreira Franco, who has been named in a corruption investigation. Justice Celso de Mello's ruling on Tuesday also allows Moreira Franco to keep his immunity from prosecution by lower courts. The injunction filed by a leftist opposition party sought to annul his appointment as cabinet minister, arguing that Temer was trying to shield him from prosecution.

Shell, Eni Ask Nigerian Court to Lift Oilfield Forfeiture

Oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and ENI have asked a Nigerian court to lift a temporary forfeiture of a long-disputed oilfield, a copy of the court documents filed by the two firms showed on Tuesday. Last month, a Nigerian court ordered the temporary forfeiture of assets and the transfer of operations of the OPL 245 field owned by Shell and Eni, among others, to the federal government.   Reporting by Camilus Eboh 

Cairn Energy is Frontrunner for DONG Energy Assets

Independent oil exploration company Cairn Energy has emerged as the frontrunner for North Sea oil and gas assets put up for sale by DONG Energy, sources familiar with the matter said. Interest from Cairn Energy and several other potential buyers could put pressure on shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk, after talks with DONG Energy to buy the oil and gas assets stalled at the end of last year. The two Danish firms had failed to agree on a price.

Noble Energy Narrows Q4 Loss

U.S. oil and gas producer Noble Energy Inc on Monday reported a smaller fourth-quarter loss, compared with a year earlier, when it incurred an impairment charge of $2.2 billion.   The net loss attributable to Noble narrowed to $252 million, or 59 cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, from $2.03 billion, or $4.73 per share, a year earlier.   The Houston, Texas-based company's total revenue rose to $1.01 billion from $860 million.   Reporting by John Benny 

Judge Denies Latest Bid to Block Dakota Pipeline

File Image (AdobeStock)

A U.S. federal judge denied a request by Native American tribes seeking a halt to construction of the final link in the Dakota Access Pipeline on Monday, the controversial project that has sparked months of protests from tribal activists seeking to halt the 1,170-mile line. Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., at a hearing, rejected the request from the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes…

DuPont Settles Teflon Chemical Lawsuit

DuPont and Chemours Co said on Monday they had agreed to pay about $671 million in cash to settle several lawsuits related to the leak of a toxic chemical, used to make Teflon, that has been linked to cancer and other diseases. The company said it settled about 3,550 personal injury claims arising from the leak of perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as PFOA or C-8, from DuPont's plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The leak allegedly contaminated local water supplies and has been linked to six diseases…

Petronas Mulls Relocating Canada LNG Project

Malaysia's state-owned oil firm Petroliam Nasional Bhd may consider relocating its Canadian liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal project, state news agency Bernama said on Monday quoting Chairman Mohamad Sidek Hassan. He said the company, better known as Petronas, would relocate the $27 billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project if the Canadian authorities find the move necessary. Petronas holds a majority stake in the project…

Argentina Awards LNG Tenders to Trafigura

Argentina's state-run energy company Enarsa awarded most of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) purchase tender for a portion of its 2017 needs to trading house Trafigura, trade sources said. Under the tender launched in January seeking 16 cargoes, Trafigura will supply 11, while rival trader Glencore and U.S. producer Cheniere will provide three and two shipments, respectively, the sources said. Supplies are for delivery between April and August.

Genel Energy Finalises Miran, Bina Bawi Field Documentation

Genel Energy plc has finalised documentation of previously agreed terms of Amended and Restated Production Sharing Contracts ('PSC's) and Gas Lifting Agreements ('GLA's) for both the Miran and Bina Bawi gas fields. The Amended and Restated PSCs and GLAs for Miran and Bina Bawi incorporate the commercial terms as announced in the term sheets signed in 2015 by Genel and the Kurdistan Regional Government ('KRG') and reiterated in the Appendix below.

S&P raises Petrobras’ rating

Photo courtesy Petrobras

Petrobras announces that the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s has raised its rating for the Company’s corporate debt to 'BB-' from 'B+' and changed its outlook to stable from negative. The agency stated that the improvement in Petrobras’ rating reflects the evolution of its liquidity and a robust cash position that confers greater capacity to handle eventual liabilities. The recovery in the relationship with domestic…

Brazil Court Suspends Sale of Petrobras Unit to Brookfield

A Brazilian federal court suspended on Friday the $5.2 billion sale of state-controlled Petróleo Brasileiro SA's natural gas pipeline unit to a group of investors led by Canada's Brookfield Asset Management Inc .   In a document seen by Reuters, the Sergipe state-based court ruled the transaction, which was to be closed within weeks, be halted because of discrepancies with the way Petrobras proceeded with the sale. (Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Writing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by David Gregorio)

Standing Rock Sioux File Legal Challenge Against North Dakota Pipeline

A Native American tribe said on Thursday it had filed a legal challenge in a bid to block the $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline project after the company constructing it won federal permission to tunnel under the Missouri River. "This administration (of President Donald Trump) has expressed utter and complete disregard for not only our treaty and water rights, but the environment as a whole," the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said in a statement on their website. (Reporting by Daniel Wallis)

Dakota Pipeline Gets Regulatory Approvals

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock)

Army cancels environmental study on pipeline impact and will grant permit to complete $3.8 bln line. The U.S. Army will grant the final permit for the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline after an order from President Donald Trump to expedite the project despite opposition from Native American tribes and climate activists. In a court filing on Tuesday, the Army said that it would allow the final section of the line to tunnel under North Dakota's Lake Oahe, part of the Missouri River system.

Arch Coal Bullish on Trump Regulatory Promises

Arch Coal Inc, which emerged from bankruptcy in October, said U.S. President Donald Trump's administration should prove to be positive for its coal businesses. The coal miner also said revenue rose 4.6 percent to $575.7 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 from the third, helped by higher prices for metallurgical coal, which is used in steel making. "Arch anticipates that the new Administration will constructively address the regulatory burden that has pressured the industry in recent years…

Shell's North Sea Decommissioning Plan Submitted

Royal Dutch Shell has submitted a plan to the British government for dismantling its Brent North Sea production platforms, a turning point for the UK oil industry as operators face the huge challenge of gradually abandoning depleted fields after 40 years of production. Shell on Wednesday lodged the plans for decommissioning production at the huge Brent field, which lends its name to the globally traded benchmark crude oil grade and which has produced over 3 billion barrels of oil equivalent since 1976.

Lawsuit Drags BP's Oil Trading Division into the Red

Brian Gilvary (Photo: BP)

BP's oil trading business, one of the biggest in the sector, reported a rare loss in the fourth quarter after it lost a $70 million lawsuit over an oil cargo delivered to a Moroccan refinery. BP's Chief Financial Officer Brian Gilvary said due to flat trading positions ahead of a crucial OPEC meeting at the end of November, and the lawsuit, the company's oil trading division made a "small loss" in the fourth quarter.

Trump EPA Pick Sued to Disclose Contact with Energy Companies

Scott Pruitt (official photo)

A media watchdog group is suing to force U.S. President Donald Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency to release records detailing his communications with energy companies ahead of a Senate vote to confirm his nomination. The Center for Media and Democracy will file a lawsuit on Tuesday in an Oklahoma court against Scott Pruitt, who is the state's attorney general as well as Trump's nominee to become the top U.S. environmental regulator.

Statoil Not Advising Saudi Aramco's IPO

Norway's Statoil is not advising Saudi Aramco on its planned public share offer but has 'shared' its past experience of listing its own shares, the Norwegian firm's CEO told Reuters on Tuesday. "We don't have a contract to advise them, but we share the experience," Eldar Saetre said in an interview on the margins of the company's fourth-quarter results presentation. Aramco's planned listing of up to 5 percent of its capital…

DCC to buy ExxonMobil's Norwegian Petrol Stations

London-listed DCC Plc said it would buy the retail petrol station network of ExxonMobil's Norwegian unit, Esso Norge AS, for 2.43 billion Norwegian crowns ($293.38 million). DCC, whose activities range from oil distribution to waste management, said the total consideration, along with the value of stock in tank at the date of acquisition, would be paid in cash. Dublin-based DCC, which gets nearly half of its profit from Britain and Ireland, has been expanding into western Europe in recent years through acquisitions.

Oil Firms Take 'great interest' in exploring Norway's Arctic

File Image: an offshore Statoil oil installation (CREDIT: Statoil)

Oil companies are expressing great interest in exploring Norway's Arctic Barents Sea ahead of the government's latest licensing round, the 24th such round since awards were first made in the 1965, Oil and Energy Minister Terje Soeviknes said. "The new signals today regarding the 24th round is that companies are taking a big interest, with particularly extensive and exciting nominations of acreage being made for the Barents Sea," he told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry confrence.

Diamond Offshore Beats Street on Cost Cuts

Rig contractor Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc's quarterly profit beat analysts' estimates as the company kept a tight leash on costs. The company, which operates in the Americas, Europe, Australia and Asia, earned an adjusted profit of 27 cents per share for the fourth quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Analysts on average had expected 13 cents per share. Diamond Offshore's total operating expenses plunged nearly 68 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31.

SGX, Saudi Aramco Discuss Secondary Listing

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock)

Singapore Exchange has held talks with Saudi Aramco on a secondary listing, two sources familiar with the matter said on Monday, after the oil and gas company suggested last week it would likely simultaneously list on more than one exchange. The planned listing next year of up to 5 percent of Aramco is expected to be the world's biggest initial public offer (IPO). Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said last week the company was evaluating concurrent listings on more than one exchange.

Shell Mulls Shedding Danish Venture Stake

Shell holds 36.8 pct stake in offshore consortium. Royal Dutch Shell is seeking to sell its stake in the Danish Underground Consortium (DUC), an offshore oil and gas joint venture, in what would mark the company's effective exit from Denmark, three banking sources said. The stake is valued at up to $1 billion, according to two sources. Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) is running the sale process, the sources said. Shell owns a 36.8 percent stake in DUC alongside operator A.P.

Petrobras denies challenging Braskem accord in U.S. courts

Brazil's state-run oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA on Friday denied a report it is challenging an accord closed by Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem in U.S. courts. Petrobras said in a securities filing it is waiting for access to details on naphtha supply contract in Braskem leniency deal with Brazilian prosecutors to decide on its next steps. Earlier on Friday the news of a possible challenge to the accord sent Braskem shares sharply down. (Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Sandra Maler)  

Coal Rule Killed by U.S. Congress

A coal barge underway on U.S. inland waterways (CREDIT: AdobeStock)

The U.S. Congress moved swiftly on Thursday to undo Obama-era rules on the environment, corruption, labor and guns, with the Senate wiping from the books a rule aimed at reducing water pollution. By a vote of 54-45, the Senate approved a resolution already passed in the House of Representatives to kill the rule aimed at keeping pollutants out of streams in areas near mountaintop removal coal-mining sites. The resolution now goes to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it quickly.

US Senate kills SEC "resource extraction" rule

The Republican-led Congress early Friday morning killed a controversial U.S. securities rule disclosure rule aimed at curbing corruption at big oil, gas and mining companies. In a 52 to 47 vote, the Senate approved a resolution already passed by the House of Representatives that wipes from the books a rule requiring companies such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp to publicly state the taxes and other fees they pay to governments. Republican President Donald Trump is expected to sign it shortly.

Phillips 66's Profit Misses on Lower Margins

U.S. independent oil refiner Phillips 66 posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as margins were squeezed by the narrowing gap between U.S. crude prices and globally-traded Brent crude, to which prices of refined products are tied. The company's shares were down 1.3 percent at $80 in light premarket trading on Friday. Phillips posted an adjusted loss from its refining business of $95 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with adjusted earnings of $376 million a year earlier.

Shell Looks to shed $5 bln of Assets

Royal Dutch Shell is nearing deals to divest $5 billion of assets, Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry said on Thursday, adding that the company was "selectively accelerating" shale oil production in the United States.   Reporting by Ron Bousso and Karolin Schaps