Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Airline News

U.S. Crude Hits 18-year Low as Lockdowns Spread

© Kalyakan / Adobe Stock

Oil prices fell for a third session on Wednesday, with U.S. crude futures tumbling to an 18-year low and Brent hitting a more than 16-year low as travel and social lockdowns to counter the coronavirus raised prospect of the steepest ever annual fall in oil demand.U.S.

Total CEO: Governments Not Oil Firms Must Drive Carbon Curbs

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It is up to governments to drive decarbonisation and consumers will have to pay more to achieve carbon neutrality, Total's chief executive said, adding the French firm has no intention of moving away from oil and gas production.Oil firms should not be seen as "villains" amid growing pressure from investors and climate activists, chief executive and chairman Patrick Pouyanne told Reuters at Total's headquarters in the Scottish oil hub of Aberdeen.Giving up on oil and gas would be "a huge mistake", partly because it pays for investment in green technology…

Efficient Wave-Generated Power … Really!

SurfWec Artist Concept. Images Courtesy:  SurfWEC LLC.

Wave-generated power could be considered the Rodney Dangerfield of offshore renewable energy sources; it gets no respect. There have been a number of high-profile, expensive failures that have conspired to give the sector a poor reputation despite a number of engineering advances. A new entrant is SurfWEC offering a patented “surf-making” Wave Energy Converter which has been in development since 2007. Its developers promise it will stand out from the field and perform where others have failed. How? The SurfWEC design improves upon a generation of 'lessons learned…

SurfWEC to Tap Ocean Wave Power

Image by SURFWec LLC

New Jersey based marine engineering firm Martin & Ottaway together with industry partners, has formed a new company, SurfWEC LLC, that will develop Wave Energy Converters (WECs) using patented features that are expected to increase energy recovery rates by an order of magnitude over legacy WEC systems.The marine consultancy firm said in a press release that SurfWEC has broken through the barriers holding back wave energy recovery technologies from successfully and economically harnessing power from ocean waves.SurfWEC avoids wave damage associated with equipment located in surf zones and stationary mooring systems offshore.

Saudi Aramco Restructures Non-oil Assets ahead of IPO

Saudi Aramco has created a subsidiary to house its multibillion-dollar pension fund and could spin off its aviation division, sources said, as it restructures some assets not related to oil and gas ahead of its planned initial public offering (IPO).The move is designed to streamline Aramco's operations and could make it easier to value since its business risk would be clearer and that may help it achieve a higher price for its shares, financial and industry sources told Reuters."This makes Aramco a leaner company," said one…

AerCap CEO Expects Some Airlines to be Stretched by Oil at $80

The head of the world's largest independent aircraft leasing company, AerCap, said the business models of some airlines would be stretched if the oil price rises to $80 per barrel, nudging fleet planners towards newer planes. The global Brent benchmark briefly climbed above $70 per barrel earlier this month for the first time in three years. Rises in oil price tend to increase the attractiveness of new, more fuel-efficient aircraft. "No one is rushing to change their fleet strategy on the basis of it just getting towards the $70 mark," AerCap chief executive Aengus Kelly told the Airline Economics conference in Dublin on Monday.

Norway's $1 Trillion Fund Curbs Holdings in Biggest CO2 Emitters

Norway's sovereign wealth fund has trimmed the proportion of its $1 trillion fortune that is invested in companies that emit the most greenhouse gas, a Reuters survey has shown. Environmental campaigners hope the move by the world's biggest state-owned investment fund signals the start of a trend for investors shifting their money away from activities blamed for climate change. The review of the top 150 corporate greenhouse gas emitters showed that the proportion of their emissions that can be ascribed to Norway, based on the percentage of market cap it owns in the firms, fell to 0.74 percent in 2016 from 0.78 percent in 2014.

Residents Flee South Texas Ahead of Harvey

Residents fleeing most powerful storm on U.S. mainland since 2005. Businesses closed and lines of cars streamed out of coastal Texas as officials called for residents to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Harvey, expected to arrive about midnight as the most powerful storm to hit the U.S. mainland in more than a decade. The hurricane is forecast to slam first near Corpus Christi, Texas, drop flooding rains along the central Texas coast and potentially loop back over the Gulf of Mexico before hitting Houston, some models showed. "My urgent message to my fellow Texans is that if you live in a region where evacuation has been ordered…

Hurricane Harvey Strengthens, Threatens US

Hurricane Harvey Forecast (Photo: NOAA)

Hurricane Harvey intensified early on Friday into potentially the most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland in more than a decade, as authorities warned locals to shelter from what could be life-threatening winds and floods. Harvey is set to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday on the central Texas coast where Corpus Christi and Houston are home to some of the biggest U.S. refineries. Oil and gas operations have already been disrupted and gasoline prices have spiked. "Now is the time to urgently hide from the wind.

Elliott Presses BHP to Shed Petroleum

BHP petroleum business has value of more than $20 billion. Activist investor Elliott Management raised the pressure for strategic changes at BHP on Tuesday, calling for an independent review of the mining giant's petroleum business. Elliott, which has built up a 4.1 percent stake in BHP's London-listed arm and is urging changes to boost shareholder value, said there were clear signs the market was receptive to a new strategy for BHP. "There is extremely broad and deep-rooted support for pro-active steps to be taken by management to achieve an optimal value outcome for BHP's petroleum business following a formal open review…

Once Critical, Gulf Executives Want to Do Business with Trump

Donald Trump (Photo: DonaldJTrump.com)

Gulf executives who were upset by Donald Trump's campaign trail comments about Muslims took a conciliatory tone following his election victory and said they were open for business with the United States. In Dubai, boards displaying the President-elect's name and his support for a DAMAC project to build a gated community, spa and Trump-branded golf course can be seen from a road on the edge of the city. Gulf business links with Trump and other U.S. firms are strong. The United States imported $32.4 billion of goods including oil from the six Gulf countries in 2015 and the region is the most important client base for Boeing and a number of U.S.

PIRA Expects $50-60/barrel Oil from OPEC Deal

The Organization of Oil Exporting Countries' decision to embrace production cuts will help move crude prices toward a target of $50 to $60 per barrel, Gary Ross, chairman of consultancy PIRA Energy Group, told reporters on Wednesday. OPEC's policy has shifted as Saudi Arabia is targeting that price range and Iran has become more willing to accept an agreement. Ross said at a news conference that U.S. shale producers were likely to hedge future output more selectively after OPEC decided to limit output. Shale producers and oil-consuming companies were under-hedged, he said, adding that industrial and airline buying would support prices.

Navy Tests 100-percent Advanced Biofuel

Cmdr. Bradley Fairfax, project officer and test pilot with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, takes flight in an EA-18G Growler on 100-percent alternative biofuel during the first test flight at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. (U.S. Navy photo by Adam SkoczylasReleased)

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus' energy vision came to fruition in September when the EA-18G "Green Growler" completed flight testing of a 100-percent advanced biofuel at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. "From takeoff to landing, you couldn't tell any difference," said Lt. Cmdr. Bradley Fairfax, project officer and test pilot with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, after the first test flight Sept. Using the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division's (NAWCAD) Real-time Telemetry Processing System (RTPS) at the Atlantic Test Ranges…

Qatar's Barzan Gas Project to Start in November

Barzan Gas Project

Qatar will begin operations at its Barzan gas project in November, two people close to the matter told Reuters on Sunday, as the Gulf state strives to meet rising domestic energy demand as it prepares to host the soccer World Cup in 2022. The $10 billion project, a RasGas-operated joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and Exxon Mobil, was originally expected to come online in 2014. It will boost Qatari gas production by up to 2 billion cubic feet per day when it reaches capacity in the first half of 2017, the sources said on condition of anonymity because the information was not public.

Pemex Appoints New Director for Commercial Arm

Mexico's state oil company Pemex said on Tuesday it had named Isaac Volin Bolok as head of its commercial arm, PMI Comercio Internacional.   Volin Bolok will replace Jorge Sanchez and start the post on June 27. He previously served as the director of BlackRock in Mexico and corporate commercial director of now bankrupt airline Mexicana, according to his LinkedIn profile. (Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez and Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein; Editing by Bill Trott)

Former Delta fuel executive, Wife Banned by CME

CME Group on Monday banned a former Delta Air Lines fuel trading executive for using his wife's accounts to "front-run" the airline's hedging positions - trades that netted him a profit of more than $3 million. Jon Ruggles was banned by the financial exchange operator, along with his wife, Ivonne for the front running, a practice in which an order is executed for personal gain using advance knowledge of pending orders from a company or clients. The two could not immediately be reached for comment. In addition to the lifetime bans, the CME ordered Jon Ruggles to give up profits of $2.8 million, which covered a period from August to December of 2012.

Airline Hedges Fuel Rally in Later Dated Oil Prices

Big airlines are making waves in the oil market for the first time since prices went into a tailspin nearly two years ago, betting this may be their best chance to lock in cheap jet fuel for years to come, industry and market sources say. A number of airlines moved last week to place significant oil price hedges for 2017, 2018 and even 2019, according to three trading sources familiar with money flows. They declined to specify companies, but said it was the largest flurry of such activity in more than a year. A fourth trading source indicated that bigger trades occurred in the over the counter market last week.

No Cheap Fuel Bonanza for Airlines

While airlines are in no rush to pass on fuel savings to passengers brought by the collapse in oil prices, the Houston travel market has left them little choice. Airlines serving the U.S. oil capital have resorted to steep discounts to lure newly budget-conscious energy executives back into the air, according to an analysis of ticket prices provided exclusively to Reuters. Crude's 70-percent drop in the past 19 months has made the Houston travel market a rare point of downward pressure on airline revenues. Its value, including flights, conventions and related services, was estimated at $2.8 billion in 2014 in a report for the Texas governor's office.

U.S. Airlines Rethink Hedging Strategy

The lowest fuel prices for more than a decade are proving to be a double-edged sword for U.S. airlines. While carriers saved hundreds of millions of dollars from oil prices halving since June, they forfeited a large chunk of that gain because of the fuel hedges they bought as protection against oil rising. The bulk of those hedges - which effectively lock in fuel costs in advance - are set at levels that force airlines to pay more for fuel than current market prices, turning them into a hindrance rather than a help. As a result, three of the four biggest carriers - Delta, Southwest and United - said this week they were rethinking their hedging tactics.

Energy Slide Batters U.S. Stocks, ETFs

Oil price swings weighed on stocks and exchange-traded funds again on Tuesday, hitting the shares of energy producers for the fifth consecutive trading day. Oil futures flipped back and forth between positive and negative during U.S. morning trading, whipsawing the markets. Oil producers' shares have slid for a week as crude prices hit fresh lows on fears the world is running out of storage capacity and a global supply glut intensifies. Initially down as much as 3.3 percent, the S&P 500 oil sector was down 1.2 percent around midday.