Saturday, July 22, 2017

Trump Administration Approves Eni Plan to Drill Offshore Alaska

Image of sea ice in the Beaufort Sea, acquired on 3 June 2017 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument, on board the Aqua satellite. (Photo: NASA)

Eni US will become the first energy company allowed to explore for oil in federal waters off Alaska since 2015 after the Trump administration this week approved a drilling plan on leases the company has been sitting on for 10 years. The approval is conditional on Eni getting other state and federal permits, which in past cases are generally granted once BOEM gives the green light. "We know there are vast oil and gas resources under the Beaufort Sea…

Exxon Fined over Refinery Explosion

ExxonMobil Corp has been fined about $165,000 by U.S. regulators for safety lapses including inadequate training and equipment maintenance over an explosion that injured four workers at an aging Baton Rouge, Louisiana, refinery last year. U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued nine citations, several of which echo previous cautions by federal agencies at two other Exxon plants. The citations, issued in May, were seen by Reuters this month. A separate investigation by the U.S.

SBM Offshore, Repsol Get $247 Mln in Yme Insurance Settlement

Dutch oil industry services group SBM Offshore and Spanish energy firm Repsol will share an insurance payment of $247 million, less legal costs, related to a troubled Norwegian offshore project, SBM said on Monday. SBM said it had reached an agreement in principle with nearly three quarters of the insurers who provided $500 million of primary cover for the Yme project with a final agreement expected to be wrapped up in the coming weeks.

New UK Rules Could Lure Others Beyond Aramco

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FCA proposed listing category tailored for state-owned firms; Critics say new listing could roll back on sensible reform. Proposed changes to Britain's listing regime are likely to attract a series of state-backed companies to London's stock markets as governments in oil rich states prepare for a wave of asset sales. However some investors and corporate governance groups say Britain's move to make its capital markets…

S.Korean Rule Change to Allow Blending, Enhanced Regional Trading

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S.Korea to allow traders to blend fuels at oil terminals; new regulation to be implemented from Oct 18. South Korea is in the process of easing blending restrictions at its oil storage terminals as the world's No. 5 crude importer bolsters an effort to become a North Asia trading hub. Asia's fourth-largest economy is pushing ahead with a 2014 plan to turn Ulsan and Yeosu ports into northeast Asia's oil shipping and storage cluster, a potential challenge to the long-established Asian oil trading centre in Singapore.

US Fines Exxon Mobil Over Ukraine-related Sanctions Violations

The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday announced a civil penalty against Exxon Mobil Corp and its U.S. subsidiaries for violating sanctions regulations related to Ukraine in May 2014, fining the global oil company $2 million. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) found ExxonMobil had not voluntarily self-disclosed the violations, "and that the violations constitute an egregious case," it said in a statement posted online. The heads of the company's U.S.

Tanker with Disputed Kurdish Oil Reappears off Malta

The Neverland tanker has reappeared off the coast of Malta after going off radar near Canada on June 30, when it was chartered by oil trader Vitol carrying Iraqi Kurdish crude oil, Reuters ship-tracking showed on Friday. The tanker had been heading to eastern Canada to discharge the cargo at the end of June when the Federal Court of Canada issued a seizure order for the cargo at the request of Iraq's oil ministry. Iraq…

Scottish $2.6 Bln Offshore Wind Project Green Lighted

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The developer of a 2 billion pound ($2.6 billion) Scottish offshore wind power project said on Wednesday it had won a two-year court battle with a bird charity over plans for the site. Scottish ministers in 2014 approved plans to build the 450-megawatt Neart na Gaoithe wind farm, off Scotland’s east coast. The project had been held up, however, by a legal challenge from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), which said it could cause the death of hundreds of native birds.

Encana Smashes Profit Estimates

Canadian oil and gas producer Encana Corp on Friday posted a quarterly profit that handily beat estimates and the company said it was expecting a strong 2018 even with current commodity prices. Oil prices began to rise late last year after a two-year slump and are now hovering around $50 per barrel as an OPEC-led production cut and a rebound in demand slowly erode a global glut. Encana has benefited from downsizing its operations to focus on four core North American assets: the Montney and Duvernay in western Canada…

Glencore in talks with Canadian pension fund on royalties JV-sources

Mining giant Glencore Plc is working with a Canadian pension fund to create a standalone 50:50 joint venture for its portfolio of royalty assets, two sources with knowledge with the matter said on Friday. Royalty deals give the owner the right to receive a percentage of revenue or profits from a mining operation, often in exchange for financing. Reuters reported in May that Glencore had hired the Bank of Nova Scotia to sell its royalty assets…

S.Korea to Ease Local Blending Rules

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S.Korea to allow traders to blend fuels at oil terminals; planning to nearly double storage to 60 mln barrels by 2026. South Korea is in the process of easing blending restrictions at its oil storage terminals as the world's No. 5 crude importer bolsters an effort to become a North Asia trading hub. Asia's fourth-largest economy is pushing ahead with a 2014 plan to turn Ulsan and Yeosu ports into northeast Asia's oil shipping and storage cluster…

China Moves to Ease State Oil Majors' Grip on Storage

Beijing on Wednesday issued a draft of new regulations for China's growing oil and fuel storage industry, helping loosen the state-owned oil majors' grip on the sector as the nation pushes to reform its vast energy markets. The government is looking to update storage policies issued in 2006, consolidating regulations for crude oil and rules for oil products under a single framework. The main change proposed is to remove…

French Court Repeals Law on Regulated Gas Prices

France's highest administrative court repealed on Wednesday a law on regulated gas prices, under which about half of France's residential clients and 11 percent of professional users buy gas, saying it hurt competition and was against EU regulations. "The Council of State...repeals the decree of 16 May 2013 on the regulated tariffs for the sale of natural gas on the grounds that the maintenance of such tariffs is contrary to European Union laws," the court said in a statement.

Ecuador, Shunning OPEC, to Increase Production

OPEC member Ecuador will no longer comply with an agreed OPEC production cut due to the country's financial difficulties and plans to gradually raise its oil output, the government said on Monday. Oil Minister Carlos Perez said that Ecuador's compliance with the agreed cuts was only around 60 percent, putting current output at 545,000 bpd. "We need funds for the fiscal treasury and for that reason we've taken the decision to gradually increase production…

Naftogaz to Sign Gas Deals with Vattenfall, Trafigura

Ukraine's Naftogaz plans to sign natural gas purchase agreements with Trafigura Trading (Europe) Sarl and Vattenfall Energy Trading GmbH as it expands supply from Europe. Kiev has looked to diversify away from Russian energy imports since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014. Naftogaz plans to sign an framework agreement with Vattenfall which will allow it to buy gas worth up to 105.9 billion hryvnias ($4.1 billion), a July 17 regulatory filing showed.

Britain Seeks Looser IPO Rules as it Lures Saudis

FCA proposes new "premium" listing for state-backed firms; sovereign companies could be exempt from certain rules. Britain wants to loosen rules on listing state companies, a move that critics say is designed to help London win the lucrative IPO of Saudi Arabian oil giant Saudi Aramco <IPO-ARMO.SE> but could weaken minority investor protection. The Financial Conduct Authority's proposals on Thursday would create a new…

Drilling in Disputed South China Sea may Resume

Drilling for oil and natural gas on the Reed Bank in the South China Sea may resume before the end of the year, a Philippine energy official said on Wednesday, as the government prepares to offer new blocks to investors in bidding in December. The Philippines suspended exploration at the Reed Bank, which it calls Recto Bank, in late 2014, as it pursued international arbitration over territorial disputes. The bank is in waters claimed by China.

Tariff Fight Roils Argentina’s Shale Patch

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Argentina needs oil rigs to develop its vast shale oil and gas resources. The United States has plenty of idle equipment laying around after its own unconventional drilling boom cooled. But moving that machinery from the plains of Texas to the windswept Patagonian desert is proving complex and costly for global oil majors who say Argentina's protectionist past is slowing efforts to spark its own shale revolution. A move…

Brazil Clears Petrobras, Advisors in 2010 Share Offer

Brazil's securities industry watchdog on Tuesday cleared Petroleo Brasileiro SA , former management and financial advisors of wrongdoing over alleged irregularities relating to the state-controlled oil company's $70 billion share offering in September 2010. The watchdog known as CVM had been investigating whether Petrobras deceived minority shareholders by presenting misleading information to them in the offer -- the world's largest ever follow-on stock offering.

Pemex Axes $100 Mln Contract with Odebrecht

Mexican state-owned oil company Pemex said in a filing on Tuesday it canceled a 1.8-billion peso ($100-million) contract with Odebrecht SA, a Brazilian engineering company that has admitted paying bribes in a dozen countries in recent years. Odebrecht has admitted in a settlement with U.S. and Brazilian prosecutors to paying bribes across 12 countries to win contracts. According to the U.S. court ruling, between 2001 and 2016…

US Appeals Court Voids Exxon Enforcement of Venezuela Award

A U.S. appeals court said on Tuesday that Exxon Mobil Corp cannot enforce a $1.6 billion international arbitration award against Venezuela stemming from a 2007 asset seizure, voiding a lower court judgment. In a 3-0 vote, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said a lower court judge erred in excusing Exxon from complying with procedural requirements to enforce the October 2014 award, which was made by the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

Halcon Resources to Shed Some Williston Assets

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Oil producer Halcon Resources Corp said on Tuesday it would sell assets it operates in the Williston Basin to Bruin E&P Partners for $1.4 billion in cash, as it looks to focus on the more lucrative Delaware Basin. Halcon shares were up 40 percent at $6.30 in premarket trading. The Delaware basin, part of the larger Permian Basin, has seen a slew of land acquisitions as producers scramble to gain or expand positions in the top U.S. oil field.

China Sets Sights on Oil Benchmark

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China has opened more than 6,000 trading accounts for its long-awaited crude futures contract - with three-quarters coming from individual traders - as it pushes ahead with plans to compete with global pricing benchmarks. China's oil majors and about 150 brokerages have also registered, but the strong interest by 'mom-and-pop' investors looks set to mark out China's crude futures from western counterparts, which are dominated by institutional investors.

PDVSA Might Seek to Renegotiate Debt Obligation

Venezuelan state oil producer PDVSA could seek to renegotiate a looming October bond payment given low oil prices, Hector Andrade, PDVSA's managing director for planning, said on Tuesday. "I guess there are a lot of chances of that," Andrade said when asked about a possible payment renegotiation. "Right now it's not just about the cooperation between producers... The firm also expects to invest $50 billion over the next 7 years to raise capacity by 1 million barrels per day…

BPCL to Buy First U.S. Crude via Tender

Indian refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd plans to buy its first ever cargo of crude oil from the United States, a tender document showed on Monday.   BPCL is seeking at least 1 million barrels of crude either for loading on Aug. 16-Sept.5 or delivery on Sept. 26-Oct. 15, it said.   Part 1 of the tender closes on July 11 and part 2 on July 14. Offers will remain valid until July 14.   Reporting by Florence Tan 

Pakistan orders Shell Subsidiary to Pay for Tanker Blast

Pakistan's oil and gas regulator on Friday ordered a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell to pay about 257 million rupees ($2.4 million) in damages and compensation for a tanker explosion that killed more than 200 people. The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has held Shell Pakistan Ltd (SPL) responsible for the blast in Punjab province on June 25 after the tanker carrying gasoline for the company rolled over, and villagers rushed to collect leaking fuel.

Cargill Finalizes Sale of Oil Unit to Macquarie

Commodity trader Cargill Inc completed the sale of its petroleum business to Australian investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd on June 30, a company spokeswoman told Reuters on Friday. The company will continue to offer financial and price risk management in petroleum markets through its Risk Management business, she said in an email reply. "That business provides hedging products in more than 70 commodities, including energy, and will continue to do so," she added.

Petrobras to Shed Paraguay Assets

Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA disclosed on Friday the initial terms for a plan to sell the entirety of its operations in Paraguay, according to a securities filing. Petrobras, as the firm is known, is planning to exit the natural gas distribution sector in Paraguay and sell hundreds of gasoline stations and convenience stores, the statement said. It will also look to sell its operations in three airports and a distribution unit near the Villa Elisa city.

US to Speed Approval for O&G Exploration on Federal Land

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday signed an order to hold more lease sales and to speed up approving permits to explore for oil and gas on federal land, a process he said got bogged down under former President Barack Obama. The order is the latest move by the administration of President Donald Trump to make it easier to drill and mine on federal land, which Zinke said is a source of income for the government.

Halliburton buys Summit ESP

Oilfield services provider Halliburton Co said on Wednesday it would buy oilfield equipment supplier Summit ESP Inc, which is backed by Oklahoma energy and banking billionaire George Kaiser. Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Summit ESP makes pumps used to maintain well pressure to increase oil and gas production in aging wells. The devices, components in a business called artificial lift, increasingly are being used to prolong the life of shale wells. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Canada Orders Seizure of Oil Tanker

The Federal Court of Canada has ordered the seizure of a 721,915-barrel cargo of crude from Kurdistan aboard the "Neverland" oil tanker on the request of the Iraq Oil Ministry, court documents show. The Iraq Oil Ministry has also filed a claim against commodity trading house Vitol S.A. and subsidiaries including Mansel Ltd, the charterer of the ship, and affiliate Finaval SpA di Navigazione, the owner of the ship, for $32.5 million.

Yinson Sells FPSO Stake in Ghana

Photo: Yinson Holdings

Malayasia's Yinson Holdings has sold its26 percent stake in its floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit in Ghana to a consortium of Japanese companies, The Star reported. According to the heads of agreement (HoA) with the consortium, the value of the stake in Yinson Production (West Africa) Pte Ltd (YPWA), the company said yesterday, was estimated in the range of $104 million to $117 million. “The group…

Saudis, Allies give Qatar Two Days to Accept Demands

Trump calls Gulf Arab leaders, voices concern. Doha says four states target its sovereignty. Four Arab states which accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism agreed to extend until late on Tuesday a deadline for Doha to comply with a list of demands, as U.S. President Donald Trump voiced concern to both sides about the dispute. Qatar has called the charges baseless and says the demands, including closing Qatar-based al Jazeera TV and ejecting Turkish troops based there, are so severe that they seem intended to be rejected.

Total Wins Iran Gas Field Deal

French oil major Total said on Monday it had signed a contract with Iran to develop the giant South Pars gas field, marking the first major Western energy investment since sanctions against Tehran were lifted. Total and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) signed a deal to develop phase of 11 of South Pars, which is the world's largest gas field. The project will have a production capacity of 2 billion cubic feet per day or 400…

UN Resolution Targets Libyan Fuel Smugglers

The U.N. Security Council has extended sanctions on illegal oil exports from Libya to cover refined petroleum products as well, in a bid to stem rampant smuggling of subsidised fuel by sea. Imported fuel that is priced lower for the domestic market is commonly smuggled by ship from western Libya to Malta, Italy and Turkey, and by land to Tunisia, according to U.N. investigators who earlier this month recommended an extension of the sanctions.

ConocoPhillips to Sell Barnett Assets

ConocoPhillips said on Thursday it would sell its assets in the Barnett shale field in Texas to Miller Thomson & Partners LLC for about $305 million.   The largest U.S. independent oil producer said it expects the deal to reduce its 2017 production forecast by less than 5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (MBOED).   ConocoPhillips said it does not expect any material impact to 2017 cash flow or its other 2017 guidance items as a result of the transaction.   Reporting by John Benny 

US Charges Penn West Petroleum with Accounting Fraud

U.S. securities regulators on Wednesday filed civil accounting fraud charges against Canada-based oil and gas company Penn West Petroleum Ltd and several of its former top finance executives. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged Penn West Petroleum, which this week changed its name to Obsidian Energy, moved hundreds of millions of dollars from operating expense accounts to capital expenditure accounts.

Unipec, Vitol Win Oil Supply Contract for Bangladesh

Unipec and Vitol have won a tender to supply oil products to Bangladesh, two government sources with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday. Bangladesh Petroleum Corp was looking to buy up to 1.06 million tonnes of gasoil, jet fuel and fuel oil, for delivery in the second half of 2017, in a tender issued last month. "Unipec and Vitol won the deal as they came up with the most competitive offers as per weighted average out of 11 companies that competed for the tender," one official said.

Hedge Funds Holding Near-Record Short Petroleum Positions

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Oil prices have been rising gently during the past four trading sessions despite concerns about the continued rise in the U.S. rig count and enormous excess inventories. Front-month Brent futures prices are up by about $2 a barrel since touching a low of $44 on June 21, which could herald a break in the downtrend that had been in place since late May. Rising prices most likely reflect hedge funds covering some short positions rather than a fundamental reappraisal of the outlook for supply, demand and inventories.

Rio Picks Yancoal for Coal Sale

Rio sticks with Yancoal over Glencore for coal mine sale. Rio Tinto on Monday confirmed Yancoal Australia as the preferred buyer for its Australian Coal & Allied unit after the China-backed company added an eleventh-hour sweetener to top a rival bid from Glencore. Yancoal, increased its offer to $2.69 billion from $2.45 billion, adding $240 million in unconditional guaranteed royalty payments to a cash offer of $2.45 billion.

Hedge Funds Abandon Hope in OPEC

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“All hope abandon, ye who enter here,” is the warning inscribed above the gate of Hell, according to the Italian poet Dante Aligheri (“The Divine Comedy”, Inferno, Canto III, 1308-1320). Hedge funds and other money managers appear to have entered their own special version of hell and abandoned all hope that OPEC will rebalance the oil market, slashing formerly bullish bets on crude futures and options. Hedge fund managers…

Greece Approves Trio of Drillers for Offshore Contracts

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Greece approved applications submitted by a consortium of Total, ExxonMobil and Hellenic Petroleum for oil and gas exploration and drilling off the island of Crete, its energy ministry said on Friday. The ministry also approved an application submitted by Greece's sole oil producer Energean Oil for offshore drilling in western Greece, the ministry said. Greece's oil and gas resources management company will launch a tender for licences to drill in the respective blocs by the end of next month…

Statoil Cleared to Use Cap-X Drilling Technology – for Now

Polar Pioneer in the Barents Sea - Statoil - Photo Harald Pettersen

A ban on Norway's Statoil using a pioneering drilling technology in the Barents Sea was lifted after a plaintiff failed to post security in a patent dispute, a lawyer said on Thursday. A Stavanger court earlier in June upheld an injunction on the technology's use, pending payment of a 20 million Norwegian crown ($2.35 million) security by privately owned NeoDrill. NeoDrill was unable to post the security due to its "very limited economic position".

Poland Halts Yamal Pipeline Gas Deliveries

Poland's state gas pipeline operator Gaz-System said on Wednesday the country has stopped taking in gas deliveries via the Yamal pipeline due to poor quality of gas and currently plans to maintain limits on gas transit until June 23. "Due to the poor quality of the natural gas, Gaz-System cannot receive gas deliveries for the domestic transit system at the joint connection point (PWP) on the Yamal pipeline," Gaz-System said in a statement. "Limits on the transit capacity ...

Neste Employees Cancel Political Protest

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Sharrif Che'Lah)

Employee groups at Finnish refiner Neste have cancelled plans to halt fuel distribution from the company's domestic refineries after talks with management.   The protest announced on Tuesday was aimed at the centre-right government's plans to reduce state ownership in the company.   In a statement on Wednesday the employee groups said that the government had promised to talk with them on the matter and that the protest was no longer needed.   Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl 

Norway Offers Record Number of Arctic Exploration Blocks

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Norway offered a record number of blocks for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic Barents Sea on Wednesday, brushing off concerns about the risks of drilling in the remote, icy environment. The oil ministry proposed 102 blocks, comprising 93 in the Barents Sea and nine in the Norwegian Sea, despite calls from the Norway's Environment Agency to remove about 20 blocks near Bear Island, an important nesting site for Arctic birds. The application deadline for Norway's 24th Arctic licensing round is Nov.

Oil Faces Worst H1 Since 1997

Oil steadied on Wednesday, paring earlier losses, but was set for its largest price slide in the first half of any year for the past two decades, as investors discounted evidence of strong compliance by major producers with a deal to cut global output. August Brent crude futures were flat at $46.02 a barrel by 1107 GMT, having fallen earlier to seven-month lows. U.S. crude futures for August delivery were up 4 cents at $43.55, having hit their lowest since September on Tuesday.

Rio Tinto recommends Yancoal coal offer over Glencore

Rio says Yancoal deal could be agreed more quickly; says Yancoal has improved offer. Rio Tinto selected Yancoal on Tuesday to buy its Coal & Allied division in Australia for $2.45 billion, surprising commodities trading giant Glencore which had put in a higher bid. Earlier this month, Glencore offered $2.55 billion cash for Rio's coal mines in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, beating a previous offer from Yancoal, which is based in Australia and owned by China's Yanzhou Coal Mining Company.

Cenovus to Face Investors as Shares Decline

Cenovus Energy Inc will seek on Tuesday to convince investors of the value of an unpopular acquisition this year amid continuing skepticism from shareholders. At an annual investor event in Toronto, Chief Executive Brian Ferguson is expected to unveil plans for asset sales to cut debt assumed for the C$17 billion ($12.9 billion) March purchase of some ConocoPhillips assets in Canada. The deal effectively doubled Cenovus' assets, a move the company has said would allow it to utilize economies of scale to lower costs.

Glencore to Respond after Rio Favours Yancoal Bid

Glencore on Tuesday said it would review its options after Rio Tinto said it was sticking to a recommendation of China-backed Yancoal as the preferred buyer of its Coal & Allied division in Australia.   In a statement, Glencore, which had made a higher offer than Yancoal, said it would respond "in due course."   Reporting by Barbara Lewis 

Neste Strike Looms as Government Mulls Stake Sale

Employee groups at Finnish refiner Neste plan to halt fuel distribution from its domestic refineries for more than six days in protest against government plans to reduce state ownership in the company. Production at the company's two Finnish refineries will continue as normal, but distribution to filling stations in the country will be interrupted between June 26 and July 2, Neste employee groups said in a statement on Tuesday.

French Court to Decide on Removal of Regulated Gas Tariffs

France's highest administrative court should decide by the end of July on the potential removal of regulated gas tariffs for consumers, sources close to the matter told Reuters on Monday. The ANODE association of alternative power and gas vendors filed a legal challenge against regulated gas tariffs with France's Conseil d'Etat in 2013. The council then sought the advice of the European Court of Justice, which in September 2016 ruled that regulated tariffs were an obstacle to a competitive market in natural gas.

U.S. Top Court Hands Chevron Victory in Ecuador Pollution Case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to Chevron Corp by preventing Ecuadorean villagers and their American lawyer from trying to collect on an $8.65 billion pollution judgment issued against the oil company by a court in Ecuador. The justices turned away an appeal by New York-based lawyer Steven Donziger, who has spent more than to two decades trying to hold Chevron responsible for pollution in the Ecuadorean rain forest, of lower court rulings blocking enforcement in the United States of the 2011 judgment.

Fire at Salina Cruz Refinery Out - Pemex

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A fire that shut down the operations of Mexico's Salina Cruz refinery has been put out, state-owned oil company Pemex said on Friday via Twitter.   The Pacific coast refinery is Mexico's biggest, with a daily processing capacity of 330,000 barrels of crude oil. Pemex did not say in the tweet whether the operations of the refinery had restarted yet.   Reporting by Miguel Angel Gutierrez 

US DoJ: Misappropriated 1MDB Funds Financed Energy Deal

Malaysia's Jho Low, IPIC subsidiary in deal to buy energy firm. Money misappropriated from a Malaysian state fund was used to partly finance the $2.2 billion acquisition of Houston-based Coastal Energy in 2014, the U.S. government alleged in a lawsuit filed last week. Proceeds from the Coastal Energy deal were then used to buy a property in London's glitzy Mayfair district, according to the lawsuit dated June 7. The United States is seeking to seize the London property, along with two others, the document showed.

Canada Plans New Rules as Firms Find Bad Pipeline Parts

Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) will push for a shift in standards for pipeline parts after TransCanada Corp and Enbridge Inc discovered some that they were using had been substandard, a senior regulatory official told Reuters. The NEB's changes must pass external standards committees that include the pipeline industry and would change the way manufacturers have been designing parts, making production more complicated, NEB chief engineer Iain Colquhoun said.

Pemex Fined $20 Mln for Anti-competitive Fuel Practices

Mexico's antitrust watchdog has fined a division of state-owned oil company Pemex for failing to establish a competitive fuel market, the agency said on Monday. Pemex's Industrial Transformation unit, responsible for a range of refining and transport activities, was fined nearly 369 million pesos ($20.3 million) for the "possible commission of a monopolistic practice... According to a statement from the Federal Economic Competition Commission (Cofece)…

GE Wins US Antitrust Approval for Baker Hughes Purchase

General Electric Co won U.S. antitrust approval to merge its oil and gas business with Baker Hughes Inc, the Justice Department said on Monday. GE and Baker Hughes announced the deal in October, months after Halliburton's effort to buy Baker Hughes collapsed under pressure from the Justice Department's Antitrust Division. Under the agreement, GE will combine Baker Hughes with its oil and gas business to create a publicly traded company.

Monroe Energy Says BP Violated Its Contract

BP PLC violated its supply contract when it sold oil to refiner Monroe Energy that was a blend of lower-valued Texas crude with premium varieties, Monroe alleged in a federal court filing last week. Monroe Energy, a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines that owns a 185,000 barrel-per-day refinery outside of Philadelphia, said the blending of lower quality crudes is prohibited under the supply contract. The company asked a U.S.

Statoil Denies Patent Infringement, Keeps Drilling in the Barents Sea

Barents Sea (Image: Statoil)

Norway's Statoil said on Monday it would keep drilling exploration wells in the Barents Sea using what it called "regular equipment" after a court upheld an injunction in a patent dispute over specialised drilling technology. Statoil said the Stavanger court had lifted an injunction on the use of its Cap-X technology in the Blaaman well, where drilling was suspended earlier, but had upheld a ban on the four other Arctic wells planned to be drilled this year.

Embattled Noble Receives Interest for Oil Unit

Struggling commodity trader Noble Group Ltd has been approached by potential buyers for its oil business, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Monday, citing four people familiar with the matter. Noble has been sounded out by rival trading companies about buying parts of its Americas-focused oil unit but has so far resisted entering into discussions, the FT reported. It did not name any potential buyers. Noble had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.

No Solutions in Ongoing in Gulf Spat

Qatar's foreign minister told state-funded broadcaster Al Jazeera on Monday that his country and the United States both remained in touch with the emir of Kuwait who is leading mediation efforts on the Gulf's week-long diplomatic crisis. "We're ready to discuss any requests that are made, but we have not received any reply," the broadcaster quoted Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani as saying. "Diplomatic dialogue is the solution but it requires a foundation that is not yet available.

Exxon Blasts NY Prosecutor's Climate Probe as 'Reckless'

Photo: Office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has requested more materials from the oil producer as part of an ongoing probe that has already reviewed nearly 3 million documents. The attorney general, who also wants to interview Exxon employees, has said Exxon withheld information about its internal climate change discussions and misled the public about what it knew. In a court filing on Friday, Exxon blasted what it called "reckless and false allegations" from Schneiderman and said it has not withheld information.

Norway Oil & Gas Output at Risk if Labor Walks

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

Five Norwegian oil and gas fields will shut down production unless a wage deal is agreed with the Lederne trade union, an industry lobby group said on Friday. The shutdown would affect fields operated by Statoil , Shell and Eni and would cut output by 443,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association (NOG) said in a statement. The deadline for the talks is at midnight Friday (2200 GMT), but shutdowns would only start on Sunday, the lobby group said.

Gunvor Executive Charged by Chinese Prosecutors

Chinese prosecutors have charged an employee of Swiss commodity trader Gunvor Group who has been held for a year for allegedly smuggling fuel and evading taxes on sales from the Philippines, according to a legal document viewed by Reuters. In May last year, Chinese authorities seized a tanker and detained several people as part of a probe into suspected tax evasion on imported oil. A Gunvor senior executive based out of Singapore was one of the people detained, a source briefed on the matter told Reuters.

Gulf States Squeeze Qatar as Solution Proves Elusive

Qatar, major gas exporter, calls for dialogue, diplomacy; evidence of economic pressure mounts, alarming markets. Gulf states cranked up the pressure on Qatar on Thursday as U.S. President Donald Trump and Kuwait's emir worked to end an Arab row that Qataris say has led to a blockade of their country, an investment powerhouse and supplier of gas to world markets. With Trump offering to help resolve the crisis, possibly with a meeting at the White House…

Shell Lifts 'force majeure' for Forcados Liftings

Royal Dutch Shell lifted force majeure on exports of Nigeria's Forcados crude oil, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.   The grade, which typically exports 200,000-240,000 barrels per day (bpd) had been under force majeure since February 2016 following a militant attack on the main export route, the Trans Forcados Pipeline.   Last week Shell issued a loading programme for June exports that lifted planned exports from Nigeria to at least a 15-month high.   Reporting by Libby George

Trafigura to Cut Debt, Reduce Buybacks

Swiss commodity trader Trafigura will reduce its "far from perfect" leverage over the next year as it sells some assets and has passed the peak for new investments while also reducing this year's share buybacks, its chief financial officer said. "We are executing the deleveraging that we outlined previously ... The (debt) ratio is far from perfect but the deleveraging trend is there," Christophe Salmon told Reuters. Trafigura…

Qatari Export Costs to Rise as Port Ban Disrupts Trading

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Region's largest bunkering hub shuns Qatari vessels; affected shippers may face delays, higher costs. The costs of Qatari energy and commodity exports are likely to rise as the United Arab Emirates' ban on Qatari vessels cuts the ships off from the region's main refuelling port, forcing ships to sail further for fuel or pay higher prices. Saudi Arabia and the UAE, along with Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain, on Monday cut diplomatic ties with Qatar amid accusations the country supported terrorists.

Platts Restricts Qatari-loading Crude in Pricing Process

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Oil pricing agency S&P Global Platts said it will not automatically include Qatari-loading crude in its Middle East benchmark after Saudi Arabia and some other Arab states cut ties with Doha, a move that disrupted traditional shipping routes. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain said on Monday they would sever all ties including transport links with Qatar, escalating past diplomatic disagreements.

Oil Dips as Qatar Rift Threatens Output Cuts

Oil falls as some question impact of diplomatic row over Qatar. Oil prices fell on Monday on concerns a diplomatic rift among some of the Arab world's major energy producers could weaken a global deal on output cuts, while sterling shrugged off a deadly attack in London and focused on this week's UK election. Wall Street looked likely to open down 0.1 percent, index futures showed , after falls on European bourses. The dollar lifted off seven-month lows hit on Friday in reaction to a weaker-than-forecast U.S.

Genel's Rothschild Quits as Turkey Gas Focus Grows

Departure follows that of Chairman Tony Hayward; Company now focused on Turkish gas market. Genel Energy co-founder Nathaniel Rothschild quit on Monday in the latest high-profile departure from the loss-making Iraqi Kurdistan oil producer, which is switching its focus to the Turkish gas market. The majority of the board of Genel, which also announced the exit of non-executive director Simon Lockett, is now made up of Turkish nationals after co-founder Tony Hayward…

Hedge Funds React to Oil 'Drawdown' Prospects

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Hedge fund managers continued to square up positions after the OPEC meeting on May 25 left oil production allocations unchanged for another nine months. Money managers increased their combined net long position in the three main Brent and WTI futures and options contracts by 20 million barrels in the week to May 30. Fund managers also increased their net long position in U.S. gasoline by 7 million barrels and in U.S.

BP, Eni Deepen Blockchain Trading in European Gas

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Oil majors BP and Eni are deepening their foray into blockchain technology, starting to run blockchain trades in parallel with their live trading systems, according to developer BTL Group. The energy traders, together with Austria's Wien Energie, had previously tested BTL's Interbit blockchain platform over 12 weeks, carrying out trades in European natural gas. For example, the blockchain system found a discrepancy in the volume allocation of a trade of French gas sold by Eni to BP…

Equatorial Guinea Inks Production Deal with ExxonMobil

Equatorial Guinea has signed a production-sharing contract for offshore block EG-11 with U.S. oil major ExxonMobil, the hydrocarbons ministry said on Monday. "Block EG-11 is the jewel among a group of already very prospective blocks that we are signing in 2017," said Gabriel Obiang Lima, the minister of mines and hydrocarbons in Sub-Saharan Africa's third largest producer. ExxonMobil already operates Zafiro field, the largest oil producing field in Equatorial Guinea…

Delfin Project Gains US Approval to Export LNG

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has approved a long-term application to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the first offshore project, Delfin LNG, LLC. Exports in the amount of 1.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas are approved from Delfin’s proposed offshore Louisiana floating LNG terminal in the Gulf of Mexico. Development of the Delfin project offshore of Cameron Parish, La. will include the construction of floating liquefaction and storage vessels.

Exxon's Climate Change Math 'May Be a Sham' -NY Prosecutor

New York's top prosecutor on Friday increased pressure on Exxon Mobil to turn over records of internal assessments of the risks global warming poses to its businesses, claiming to already have evidence of "potential materially false and misleading statements by Exxon," court filings show. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been investigating whether the U.S. oil giant misled investors by publicly stating that it thought the risks of climate change were low while privately admitting they were far higher.

PA Pipeline Spat Could Upend International Oil Flows

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Refiners from the Midwest United States are fighting for access to a vital Pennsylvania pipeline – a move that could cripple their East Coast competitors and redraw the map for international flows of crude and fuel into coveted coastal markets. The regulatory dispute centers on a proposal by pipeline operator Buckeye Partners’ to that state's Public Utilities Commission. The plan would reverse the flow of fuels on a section of Buckeye’s 350-mile Laurel Pipeline, which currently flows from the East Coast to Pittsburgh.

LNG Sellers, Asian Buyers Spar Over Contract Terms

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A spat brewing between Qatar, the world's No.1 producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), and its biggest customers in Japan underscores rising tensions between buyers and sellers of the super-chilled fuel as a supply glut unbalances the market. Importers of LNG having been pushing for greater benefits amid the surplus, signing new, cheaper contracts that give them more flexible terms, while exporters try to preserve long-term supply deals written in their favour during tighter markets.

Amec Foster Wheeler wins Aramco Oilfield Deal

British oil and gas services company Amec Foster Wheeler said on Thursday it won a contract to provide design and project management for the expansion of Saudi Aramco's Marjan offshore oilfield. Amec Foster Wheeler during the five-year contract will deliver pre-front end engineering and design (pre-FEED), FEED, overall programme management and other support services for an additional 300,000 barrels per day gas-oil separation train, it said in a statement.

Brazil's Petrobras Files for Tax Refinancing Plan

Brazilian state-run oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA on Thursday filed for a tax refinancing plan, seeking to repay 1.6 billion reais ($496 million) in back taxes.   In a securities filing, Petrobras, as the company is known, said the transaction would impact its consolidated net earnings by 308 million reais.   Reporting by Ana Mano 

Exxon Lobbies Shareholders on Climate-Report Vote

Exxon Mobil Corp has stepped up efforts to persuade investors to vote against climate-related proposals at Wednesday's annual meeting with a campaign of calling, writing and lobbying shareholders in person. The world's largest publicly traded oil company opposes a proposal requiring it to report on the risks to its business from new technologies and global climate change policies, insisting it already provides the information. Last year, the same proposal was backed by 38.1 percent of shares voted.

EU Clears GE's Baker Hughes Purchase Without Conditions

The European Commission cleared General Electric Co.'s purchase of oilfield services firm Baker Hughes without conditions on Wednesday, the EU competition authority said in a statement.   It concluded that the merger of the two U.S. companies would not harm competition in European markets for various products where both were active, including electrical submersible pumps, refining chemicals and drilling sensors.   Reporting by Alastair Macdonald 

BP to Sign Azerbaijan Oilfield Extension

British oil company BP expects to sign a contract at the end of June extending its production sharing deal for Azerbaijan's biggest oilfields until 2050, the company's regional head said on Wednesday. The existing deal is due to expire in 2024 and BP-led consortium and Azeri state oil firm SOCAR signed a letter of intent in December to continue developing the giant Azeri-Chirag-Guneshly (ACG) offshore fields until 2050.

Court Orders Petrobras to Supply Natural Gas to Eletrobras

A Brazilian court ordered state-controlled oil firm Petróleo Brasileiro SA to sell natural gas to Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA despite the power utility's billionaire debt with the oil company.   Eletrobras, as the state-controlled utility is known, plans to use the gas to begin testing a thermal power station under construction in the Amazon region that is scheduled to start operating in June. (Reporting by Luciano Costa; Writing by Bruno Federowski)

Strike Causes French Petrol Shortages

A four-day strike by transporters of hazardous materials in France has hit fuel distribution across the country, with more than 40 petrol stations running dry in the capital region, said oil company Total and oil sector lobby Ufip. The drivers, affiliated to the CGT trade union, started the strike on May 26 to demand wage increases and other work benefits. A spokeswoman for Total said 40 of the company's 340 petrol stations in the Paris region…

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…

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…

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…