Thursday, February 23, 2017

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 

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.

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.

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.

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…

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.

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.

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…

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

Petrobras Mulls Refining Assets Sale

File Image (Credit: AdobeStock)

Petroleo Brasileiro SA remains undecided about the sale of some refineries, a sign Brazil's state-controlled oil company might be leaning toward forming partnerships by offering stakes in some of them, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said on Thursday. The person said Boston Consulting Group Inc had been analyzing potential scenarios for the company's refining operations over the past couple of years, and recently suggested several alternatives for the unit.

Vanguard Natural Files for Bankruptcy

Oil and natural gas explorer Vanguard Natural Resources LLC filed for bankruptcy protection, adding to a long list of energy firms that have succumbed to weak oil prices. The company said it signed an agreement with certain bondholders that includes a $19.25 million equity investment, with some debtors backing a $255.75 million rights offering. Vanguard also said it had obtained a $50 million debtor-in-possession financing facility, underwritten by Citibank NA, JPMorgan Securities LLC and Wells Fargo Bank NA.

ConocoPhillips Posts Smaller-than-Expected Loss

ConocoPhillips, the largest U.S. independent oil producer, reported a smaller-than-expected loss, helped by higher oil prices and lower costs. The company's total realized price was $32.93 per barrel of oil equivalent (BOE), 15.4 percent higher a year ago, it said on Thursday. The Houston-based company's operating costs were down 21.5 percent in the fourth quarter. Excluding Libya, production was marginally down at 1.59 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Allianz, MFUG Invest in EDF-owned Wind Deal

File image: CREDIT AdobeStock

Allianz and Japanese bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) have invested in a U.S.-based wind park owned by French utility EDF , Allianz said, as the German insurer expands its renewables portfolio. Allianz, which gave no further financial details, said the 225 megawatt (MW) Great Western wind project is about 200 km (125 miles) north-west of Oklahoma City and can power about 70,000 households. Renewable assets in the United States have attracted billions of euros from foreign investors in recent years…

Indian LNG Import Tax Halved

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Photo: PIB, Govt of India

India, the world’s fourth-largest buyer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), has announced plans to halve its basic customs duty on imports of the chilled fuel. Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presenting the Budget for 2017-18 in Parliament halved the import duty on LNG to 2.5 per cent, a move that will help cut cost of power and fertiliser production. "Considering the wide range of use of LNG as fuel as well as feed stock for petro-chemicals sector…

Trial Set to Open for Activist Charged in Pipeline Disruption

Jury selection was set to begin in Washington state on Monday in the first trial stemming from a coordinated protest that disrupted the flow of millions of barrels of crude oil into the United States, a proceeding activists hope will serve as a referendum on climate change. Activist Ken Ward says he will not dispute that he shut down a valve on the Kinder Morgan Inc's Trans Mountain Pipeline near Burlington, Washington…

U.S. Natgas pipeline companies seek FERC decisions before Bay leaves

Commissioner Norman C. Bay, Photo FERC

Three U.S. natural gas pipeline companies on Friday asked the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for permission to move forward on their projects by Feb. 3, which is when one of the FERC commissioners will step down. Only one of the three companies, Nexus Gas Transmission, specifically said it was making the request for a certificate to build its pipeline because Norman Bay, the former FERC chairman, said he would step down at the end of next week.

French Lawmakers Back Shale Gas Ban

Lawmakers in France's lower house of parliament gave preliminary backing on Wednesday for a total ban on shale gas exploration and extraction. However, it is not certain that the ban will go to the Senate and return to the lower house for a final vote before parliamentary work is suspended in February so lawmakers can campaign for a legislative election in June. The conservatives, which have a majority in the Senate but not the lower house…

Shell, Phillips 66 to Lift SPR bbls

File Image: A VLCC underway (CREDIT: AdobeStock)

Oil companies Shell and Phillips 66 together bought 6.4 million barrels of oil last week from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), according to a Department of Energy document released on Tuesday. Shell bought 6.2 million barrels of oil and Phillips 66 bought 200,000 barrels on Jan. 18, according to the department document, seen by Reuters. The federal government held the sale to fund a revamp of the emergency oil stash, which is stored in salt caverns in Louisiana and Texas along the Gulf Coast.

Saudi Aramco Shelves Petronas JV Plan

File Image: CREDIT: AdobeStock

Saudi Aramco has shelved plans for a partnership with Malaysian state-oil firm Petroliam Nasional Berhad in a $27 billion refining and petrochemical project in the southeast Asian country, industry sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday. Aramco had been in talks with Petronas about a joint venture in the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project in the southern Malaysian state of Johor. Aramco and Petronas officials did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

OMV, Dana Energy Ink Oil & Gas Deal

Energy company OMV signed a memorandum of understanding for the development and re-development of oil and gas projects in Iran with Tehran-based Dana Energy, the Austrian group said on Wednesday, without giving details. OMV started operations in Iran in 2001 as the operator of the Mehr exploration block in the west of the country, but halted operations in 2006 due to sanctions being imposed on Iran. Last May it signed…

Pipeline Opponents Face High Legal Hurdles

Opponents of two controversial oil pipelines face a long and difficult legal path if the U.S. government approves their construction, experts said after the Trump administration issued orders on Tuesday intended to advance the Keystone XL and Dakota Access projects. U.S. President Donald Trump issued a pair of memoranda to several agencies paving the way to revive Keystone XL, which would bring oil from Canada, and Dakota Access…

Opinion (John Kemp): Trump Can't Require Pipelines to use U.S. Steel

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday invited the promoter of the Keystone XL pipeline to re-submit its application for a permit and promised an expeditious review. But Trump's memorandum on Keystone was twinned with another ordering the secretary of commerce to develop a plan to ensure all pipelines built, repaired or upgraded in the United States use domestically made steel. The secretary was ordered to submit a plan within 180 days "under which all new pipelines…

Hess Posts Another, Bigger Quarterly Loss

U.S. oil producer Hess Corp reported a bigger quarterly loss on Wednesday, as the company recorded one-time charges of about $4.6 billion.   The net loss attributable to Hess widened to $4.89 billion, or $15.65 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $1.82 billion, or $6.43 per share, a year earlier.   Oil and gas production fell to 311,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) from 368,000 boepd a year earlier.   Reporting by Vishaka George

US Judge to Confirm Bankrupt Linn Energy's Restructuring

A U.S. judge overseeing the bankruptcy of Linn Energy LLC said on Tuesday he is prepared to confirm its restructuring plan with slight tweaks, backing the oil-and-gas producer's goal of shedding $5.5 billion in debt and splitting into two companies. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David Jones at the end of a hearing in Houston congratulated Linn's legal team and lawyers for working with its key stakeholders, noting the company would have faced a hard time trying to restructure had they not agreed on the plan.

Petrobras Says Investors Are Suing Its Subsidiaries in Netherlands

Brazil's state-run oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, said on Tuesday in a securities filing that a group of investors is suing two of its subsidiaries in a court in the Netherlands. The Stichting Petrobras Compensation Foundation, a Netherlands-based claim foundation, alleges investors had losses with shares in Petrobras, as the company is known, due to the largest-ever corruption investigation in Brazil involving the company.

Singapore Bunker Operator Fined $57,000

Singapore-based bunker barge operator New Ocean Maritime was fined 81,000 Singapore dollars ($57,100) on Jan. 17 for providing services without a licence between Jan. 3, 2015 and March 28, 2015, the Singapore port authority said on Tuesday. The company was also found to have used the bunker craft operator licence of Seaquest Tanker, another Singapore-based bunker services provider, which had its permit revoked last year on April 26 for erroneous record-keeping.

Harsh Jail Sentence for Former Sinopec President

Found guilty of taking about $4.9 mln in bribes, Wang Tianpu gets 15-1/2 years. A Chinese court has jailed Wang Tianpu, the former president of energy giant Sinopec Group, for 15-1/2 years for graft, state media reported on Tuesday, citing a court verdict. Wang, who took top positions at Sinopec Group between 2003 and 2014, was found guilty of accepting bribes of about 33.48 million yuan ($4.9 million) and embezzling state properties worth 795,934 yuan ($116,063), state news agency Xinhua said.

Innogy Forges Ahead with U.S. Wind Plan

File Image: a land based wind farm (Credit: AdobeStock)

Innogy, Germany's largest energy group, sees no reason to scrap plans to enter the U.S. onshore wind market, its chief executive said, unimpressed by worries over future support of renewables in the wake of Donald Trump's presidency. "We are not in waiting mode in the United States. We are relatively advanced," Peter Terium told journalists at the annual Handelsblatt energy conference. "We do it because wind is a competitive technology in the United States…

Petrobras Boosts Bond Buyback Offer to $6 bln

Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA on Tuesday increased a bond buyback offer to $6 billion from $4 billion and extended the deadline to Feb. 8, a securities filing showed.   The deadline for the tender offer, announced on Jan. 9, was originally scheduled for Feb. 6.   Reporting by Ana Mano and Bruno Federowski

Brazil Court Allows Petrobras to Sell Sergipe, Ceará Offshore Fields

A Brazilian court has ruled that state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA can continue a process to sell several offshore oil fields in the country's northeastern region. In securities filing on Monday, Petrobras said the Federal Regional Tribunal of the Fifth Region's decision allows the company to proceed with the sale of fields in the states of Ceará and Sergipe, although a final decision lies on a federal auditing court. The auditing court known as TCU suspended on Dec.

Shell Gabon Ops Normal after Labor Pact

Royal Dutch Shell said its operations in Gabon were running as normal after it struck an agreement with staff, their labour union and the government to end strike action which started on Jan. 12.   "The agreement has immediate effect and operations are running as normal," a Shell spokeswoman said.   Shell workers in Gabon, where it produces about 55,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil, protested against potential redundancies from Shell's plan to sell its Gabon business. Reporting by Karolin Schaps

U.S. Shale Sector Surges Back: Kemp

The number of rigs drilling for oil and gas in the United States has recorded the largest one-week increase for over five years, confirming a rapid upturn is now underway. The number of active oil and gas rigs jumped by 35 to 694 last week, according to oilfield services company Baker Hughes ( Some of the increase may have been due to catch-up effects since the rig count unexpectedly declined by six the previous week. The average across the two weeks was in line with the recent trend.

Halliburton Posts First North American Profit in a Year

Halliburton Co, the world's No. 2 oilfield services provider, reported its first quarterly operating profit in North America in a year as oil producers put more rigs back to work in North American shale fields. The company, however, warned of weakness in markets outside North America, echoing comments made by larger rival Schlumberger last week. Halliburton's shares were down 0.8 percent at $56 in premarket trading on Monday.

Court rejects bid to enforce Ecuador judgment on Chevron Canada

Courtesy Chevron Canada

A Toronto court has rejected a bid by Ecuadorian villagers to enforce a judgment in their home country against Chevron Canada Ltd, ruling the subsidiary is not liable for parent Chevron Corp, the U.S. oil major said on Friday. A Canadian lawyer for the villagers in the environment-damage lawsuit said the ruling is "not a modern-day view," and that an appeal will be filed. Residents of Ecuador's Lago Agrio region have been trying to force Chevron to pay for water and soil contamination caused from 1964 to 1992 by Texaco…

ENI awarded licenses in Norwegian Sea

Courtesy Eni

Eni has been awarded three licenses by Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy as part of the APA 2016 – Awards in Pre-Defined Areas. Following the award, Eni is now operator in PL900 in the Barents Sea, with a share of 90 per cent in joint venture with Concedo with 10%. In PL901 in the Barents Sea, Eni is partner with 30 per cent share, with Statoil as operator with 50 per cent share and Concedo with 20 per cent. Eni…

SBM Offshore Shares Gain on Hopes of Brazilian Settlement

Shares in Dutch offshore oil industry services company SBM Offshore rose on Friday on a media report the company was close to settling a corruption probe with Brazilian authorities that has prevented it from bidding for work in a major market. The shares rose as much as 5.5 percent to a 17-day high of 15.29 euros after oil and gas magazine Upstream published an article indicating a deal was near, analysts said. SBM, which…

Schlumberger Posts Smaller Q4 Loss

Schlumberger NV, the world's No.1 oilfield services provider, reported a smaller fourth-quarter loss than a year earlier, when it recorded more than $2 billion in restructuring and asset impairment charges. Net loss attributable to Schlumberger fell to $204 million, or 15 cents per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, from $1.02 billion, or 81 cents per share, a year earlier. The latest quarter included a $536 million…

Statoil: Mistakes, Lack of Maintenance Led to Accidents

File Image: an offshore Statoil Installation (CREDIT: Statoil)

Accidents at Statoil's giant Troll gas field and the Mongstad refinery in October last year were caused by operational mistakes and wrong prioritisation of maintenance, the Norwegian oil major concluded in an investigation on Friday. Statoil said it has decided to intensify the maintenance programme at Mongstad over the next two years and will change the procedures in drilling wells at its fields to prevent similar incidents in the future.

PDVSA 2016 Debt Dips to $41 bln

Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA's consolidated financial debt fell 6 percent in 2016 compared with the previous year to reach $41 billion, the company said on Friday.   Reporting by Corina Pons

Oil Workers Accepts Petrobras Wage Deal

The Brazilian oil workers' union has accepted a proposal from state-controlled Petrobras for a collective wage deal, the union said in a statement on its website on Thursday.   According to the statement, the union's managing board recommends workers approve the company's offer. Reporting by Gustavo Bonato

FirstEnergy to Shed Pennsylvania Gas Plants

FirstEnergy Corp said on Thursday it would sell four gas-generating plants in Pennsylvania and portion of a Virginia hydroelectric power station to a unit of LS Power Equity Partners III LP for about $925 million. The power stations, owned by FirstEnergy's units, have a total capacity of 1,572 megawatts (MW). Akron, Ohio-based FirstEnergy's move comes as it shifts its focus to more regulated markets by selling or deactivating assets in highly competitive and less regulated markets.

PA Town Approves Shell Petrochem Facility

The town council of Potter, Pennsylvania unanimously approved a conditional use permit late Wednesday allowing a unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC to move forward with construction of a multibillion-dollar petrochemical complex near Pittsburgh. Last June, Shell's Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC unit made a final investment decision to build the complex, which includes an ethylene cracker. Ray Fisher, a spokesman at Shell, said on Thursday the company has not disclosed the cost of the project.

Peabody, Shareholders Face Off in Bankruptcy Court

Peabody Energy Corp , the world's largest  private-sector coal producer, is squaring off in court with shareholders who claim their stock should not be wiped out in the company's $8 billion Chapter 11 bankruptcy, given a rise in prices for the fuel. Shareholders led by hedge fund Mangrove Partners hope to prove at a hearing in St. Louis on Thursday that Peabody may be the rare bankruptcy where a company's assets are valuable enough to repay creditors and have money left over for stockholders.

Tauber Settles Allegations of Selling Unregistered Fuel Additive

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a settlement with Tauber Oil Company, resolving alleged Clean Air Act violations stemming from the company's sale of a fuel additive that was not registered with the EPA. Tauber stopped selling the unregistered fuel additive and will pay a $700,000 civil penalty. The settlement resolves claims that Tauber produced a fuel additive called Mixed Alcohol by blending together various alcohol streams…

Massey Ex-CEO's Conviction Upheld Over Fatal Mine Blast

A federal appeals court on Thursday let stand former Massey Energy Co Chief Executive Donald Blankenship's conviction for conspiracy and one-year prison sentence related to his role in a 2010 West Virginia coal mine explosion that killed 29 workers. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Blankenship's argument that his conviction should be overturned because the trial judge made several errors, and because prosecutors did not properly allege the specific mine safety regulations he allegedly conspired to violate.

Saudi's SABIC Keen on Exxon Mobil Venture

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) remains upbeat on a proposed petrochemical venture in the United States with Exxon Mobil and a preliminary investment decision could be made within months, SABIC's chief executive said on Thursday. Last July SABIC, one of the world's largest petrochemicals groups, said it was studying whether to build a petrochemical complex on the U.S. Gulf Coast with an Exxon affiliate. The project would supply ethylene to other units making derivatives.

Trump's Energy Pick to Face Senate Questions

Rick Perry, President-elect Donald Trump's pick to run the Energy Department, will face questioning by senators on Thursday on creating jobs in the industry and bolstering U.S. energy security - but also about an earlier proposal to abolish the agency. Trump, who takes office at noon on Friday, has championed increased production of oil, gas and coal. In addition to market forces, coal has suffered under President Barack Obama's executive actions to curb climate change.

Kinder Morgan Declares $0.125 Dividend

Richard D. Kinder, Executive Chairman Photo Kinder Morgan

Kinder Morgan announced that its board of directors approved a cash dividend of $0.125 per share for the quarter ($0.50 annualized) payable on Feb. 15, 2017, to common shareholders of record as of the close of business on Feb. 1, 2017. KMI declared dividends of $0.50 per share for 2016 and used cash in excess of dividend payments to fully fund growth investments and strengthen its balance sheet. Richard D. Kinder, executive chairman…

EPA Denies AFPM Biofuel Petition

U.S. environmental regulators have denied a request from oil refiners to waive some of their advanced biofuels use requirements from 2016, in what is likely to be one of the Obama Administration's final decisions on the controversial program. The denial, published on Environmental Protection Agency's website on Wednesday, comes just days before President-elect Donald Trump takes office and as his nominee for EPA chief was being questioned in a Senate hearing.

Axeon to Close NJ Asphalt Plant

Axeon Specialty Products plans on shutting down its 75,000 barrel-per-day asphalt refinery in Paulsboro, New Jersey, as early as this summer, according to a local politician and sources familiar with the company's plans. If completed, the shutdown marks another contraction in the shrinking refining sector along the U.S. northeast, where four of the region's 10 refineries have shut in the past decade. Axeon is owned by New York-based hedge fund Lindsay Goldberg.

US, Mexico, Cuba to sign GoM "Doughnut Hole" Deal

The United States, Mexico and Cuba are ready to sign an agreement determining the territorial water limits in the Eastern Gap of the Gulf of Mexico, three diplomatic officials familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. The talks on the agreement concluded at the end of 2016 after trilateral discussions began mid-last year, and the plan is to sign the accord before U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes office on Jan. 20, the three officials said.

Maersk CEO: Listing of Energy Unit Most Likely

A. P. Moller-Maersk's Chief Executive Soren Skou  (CREDIT: Maersk)

A. P. Moller-Maersk's Chief Executive Soren Skou sees a listing of the company's energy unit as the more likely option, he said in an interview with Bloomberg. He said that the company was still working on finding solutions for the energy unit and is looking at all options but that a stock exchange listing of the unit is probably "the more likely option". Skou replied "yes" when asked if a stock market listing looked as if it would make the most sense at the moment.