Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Congress News

Petrobras Nears Terms Over TAG Pipeline Sale

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Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro could present a new sale and purchase agreement (SPA) before the end of December for the sale of the Transportadora Associada de Gás (TAG) pipeline, after a Brazilian Supreme Court injunction in July stalled the sale.The sale of TAG, which operates natural gas pipelines in Brazil’s north and northeast, could fetch Petrobras as much as US$7bn, in one of the company’s largest-ever asset sales, three sources familiar with the process said. A new multibillion dollar syndicated loan is expected to finance the acquisition…

US Allows Williams More Time for NY-Penn. Natgas Pipeline

U.S. energy regulators gave Williams Cos Inc two more years until December 2020 to get the approvals needed to build its long-delayed Constitution natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York, according to a federal filing made available on Tuesday.Before it can start building the project, Williams still needs water quality certification. New York state denied the permit in 2016, saying the company failed to provide sufficient information to determine whether the project would comply with state water standards.Williams sued in federal court…

Petrobras Forms JV with Murphy in Gulf of Mexico

Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA is forming a joint venture with Murphy Oil Company to explore oil and gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico, the Brazilian company said on Wednesday in a securities filing.According to the filing, Petrobras, as the Brazilian company is known, will have a 20 percent stake in the joint venture, and Murphy will have 80 percent. Petrobras will receive $1.1 billion in the transaction, the filing added.Both companies will contribute with all their producing assets in the Gulf of Mexico for the joint venture.

Bill Allowing US to Sue OPEC Drawing Renewed Interest

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With oil prices hitting fresh four-year highs, long-dormant proposals to allow the United States to sue OPEC nations are getting a fresh look in Congress, though they were once considered a longshot to becoming law.A U.S. Senate subcommittee on Wednesday will hear testimony on the so-called No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, or NOPEC, which would revoke the sovereign immunity that has long shielded OPEC members from U.S. legal action.The bill would change U.S. antitrust law to allow OPEC producers to be sued for collusion; it would make it illegal to restrain oil or gas production or set those prices - removing sovereign immunity that U.S.

Trump Calls Saudi's King to Discuss Oil Supplies

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U.S. President Donald Trump called Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Saturday and they discussed efforts being made to maintain supplies to ensure oil market stability and global economic growth, Saudi state news agency SPA reported.The call comes days after the U.S. president criticized OPEC for high oil prices and called again on the exporting group to boost crude output to cool the market ahead of midterm elections in November for U.S. Congress members.Saudi Arabia is the world's top oil exporter and OPEC's de-facto leader.Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week…

US Energy Companies Fume over Rejected Steel Tariff Exemptions

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The U.S. Commerce Department recently granted a tariff exemption to oil major Chevron for its imports of 4.5-inch Japanese steel tubes for oil exploration.But the department rejected a similar request from Borusan Mannesmann Pipe to exclude 4.5-inch steel pipes imported from Turkey for casing used to line new oil wells.The reason: multiple U.S. steelmakers objected to Borusan's application, arguing they could supply the product, according to the department. Chevron drew no such objections.When U.S. President Donald Trump slapped a 25 percent tariff on imported steel this spring…

Oil Majors Win Dismissal of New York City Climate Lawsuit

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A U.S. judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit by New York City seeking to hold major oil companies liable for climate change caused by carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels.In dismissing the city's claims against Chevron Corp , BP Plc, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, U.S. District Judge John Keenan in Manhattan said climate change must be addressed through federal regulation and foreign policy."Climate change is a fact of life, as is not contested by Defendants," he wrote. "But the serious problems caused thereby are not for the judiciary to ameliorate.

US Oil Pipeline Companies, Producers Seek Relief from Steel Tariffs

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Major U.S. energy companies including Plains All American Pipeline, Hess Corp and Kinder Morgan Inc are among many seeking exemptions from steel-import tariffs as the United States ratchets up trade tensions with exporters including China, Canada and Mexico.There have been nearly 21,000 requests overall for exclusions submitted to the U.S. Commerce Department since the Trump administration imposed levies this year. Of those, more than 500 petitions involve pipes and related materials.Initial decisions are expected this month, offering the first clues as to how the administration will balance an agenda favoring oil and gas exports while also supporting the U.S.

Poland Needs Offshore Wind and Nuclear Power, Says Official

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Poland needs to invest in wind farms in the Baltic Sea and in nuclear power, the government official responsible for power and gas infrastructure Piotr Naimski said on Tuesday.Poland produces most of its electricity from coal and has started to look at cleaner and cheaper technologies to comply with European Union emission reduction requirements.The Energy Ministry is considering building Poland's first nuclear power station but still needs government approval for the already delayed project. It has also proposed laws to enable investment in wind power, which it had previously blocked."We need both. Offshore wind-farms will be built in the mid 2020s ...

Global Oil Supply Robust Enough to Cut Iran's Exports -Trump Memo

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Global oil supplies are plentiful enough to withstand a "significant reduction" in petroleum exports from Iran, according to a White House memo issued on Monday as the Trump administration prepares to reimpose sanctions on the OPEC member nation.The memo, sent by the White House to the U.S. State Department, paves the way for U.S. efforts to curb Iranian oil exports after Washington's decision to pull out of the 2015 deal between Iran and six world powers curbing Tehran's nuclear program.It said there is a "sufficient supply of petroleum and…

EPA Announces Funding to Reduce Diesel Emissions

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Preference given to fleets in areas facing air quality challenges. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of grant funding to modernize the nation’s diesel fleet by retrofitting or replacing vehicles with cleaner, more efficient diesel engines. EPA anticipates awarding approximately $40 million in Diesel Emission Reduction Program (DERA) grant funding to eligible applicants, subject to the availability of funds. “These grants will incentivize improvements to aging diesel fleets and improve air quality throughout the country,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Trump Administration Mulls Opening Alaska Refuge to Drilling

(File photo: USFWS)

The Trump administration this week will begin the environmental review process for oil and gas drilling on a section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a region in northern Alaska rich in crude but prized by conservationists.In a notice from the U.S. Department of the Interior seen by Reuters, which the agency will post on Friday, it says it will hold meetings in five Alaskan towns where the public can speak about drilling in the refuge. It is the first step in the review process, which will consider proposed seismic testing and exploration…

Oil Supported as Investors Factor in Risks

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Risk of supply disruptions seen from Iran to Venezuela; Syria conflict has also helped push up prices. Oil edged up on Tuesday, supported by investors' growing concern over the potential for disruptions to crude supply, especially in the Middle East. Brent crude oil futures were up 4 cents at $71.46 a barrel by 1145 GMT, while U.S. crude futures edged up 8 cents to $66.30 a barrel. Traders said oil markets were receiving general support due to the risk of supply interruptions, including a potentially spreading conflict in the Middle East, renewed U.S. sanctions against Iran and falling output in crisis-hit Venezuela.

Trump Orders EPA to Speed Air Quality Permits

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U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to speed up its decision-making on air quality permitting to make it easier for manufacturers to expand and open new plants. "These actions are intended to ensure that EPA carries out its core missions of protecting the environment and improving air quality in accord with statutory requirements, while reducing unnecessary impediments to new manufacturing and business expansion essential for a growing economy," Trump said in a memorandum. It orders the EPA to…

"Fat and lazy" LNG buyers Need Producers Help to Boost Demand

File Image: A typical LNG Carrier at Sea (CREDIT: QGTC)

Buyers of liquefied natural gas (LNG) have grown "fat and lazy" on expectations of a surplus of the super-chilled fuel and they now risk a shortage in the early years of the next decade. There's no surprise that this was the view of a LNG project developer, expressed at this week's LNG Asia Pacific Congress, hosted in Singapore by IBC. The perspective of buyers was somewhat different, with some recognising that prior forecasts of a large surplus were unlikely to materialise, given rising demand in several Asian countries that are new to the LNG market.

Texas LNG Inks Non-Binding Deals with Foreign Buyers

An LNG Carrier at Sea (CREDIT: MISC)

Six out of 8 potential buyers have LNG terminals. Texas LNG has signed eight non-binding deals with potential buyers of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in China, southeast Asia and Europe, the company's chief executive said on Wednesday. They include five in China, two in southeast Asia and one in Europe, said Vivek Chandra, chief executive of Houston-based Texas LNG, declining to name the companies citing confidentiality reasons. The Chinese customers are a mix of large provincials, independent companies and small local governments, he said, speaking on the sidelines of the LNG Asia Pacific Congress in Singapore.

Solar Power Eclipsed Fossil Fuels in New 2017 Generating Capacity

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Chinese solar power led a record 157 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity added worldwide last year, more than double the amount of new generation capacity from fossil fuels, a U.N.-backed report showed on Thursday. Globally, a record 98 GW of solar power capacity was installed last year with China contributing more than half, or 53 GW, according to U.N. Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The new renewable energy generating capacity, also including wind, biofuels and geothermal energy, dwarfed the 70 GW of net new capacity from fossil fuels in 2017, it said. "We are at a turning point ...

Oil Approaches Six-Week Highs

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Oil neared its highest in six weeks on Wednesday after a surprise decline in U.S. inventories and as concern persisted over possible disruption to Middle East supply. Unexpectedly large inventory declines in the United States helped underpin the market, even though refinery maintenance reaches a peak this month, but with the hardening stance of the United States towards Iran, most investors were reluctant to sell oil aggressively. Brent crude futures were up 84 cents at $68.26 per barrel by 1325 GMT. Brent has risen by 10 percent since hitting a two-month low of $61.77 in early February. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 68 cents at $64.22 a barrel.

Oil Nears Six-week Highs on Middle East Tension

Saudi Crown Prince visits Washington as U.S., Saudi Arabia expected to put pressure on Iran. Oil rose for a second day on Wednesday, nearing its highest in six weeks after a surprise decline in U.S. inventories and as concern persisted over possible disruption to Middle East supply. Unexpectedly large inventory declines in the United States helped underpin the market, even though refinery maintenance reaches a peak this month, but with the hardening stance of the United States towards Iran, most investors were reluctant to sell oil aggressively. Brent crude futures were up 84 cents on the day at $68.26 per barrel by 1202 GMT.

Trump Calls Meeting On Biofuels Policy Blamed by Bankrupt Refiner

Photo: PES

U.S. President Donald Trump has called a meeting early next week with key senators and Cabinet officials to discuss potential changes to biofuels policy, which is coming under increasing pressure after a Pennsylvania refiner blamed the regulation for its bankruptcy, according to four sources familiar with the matter. The meeting comes as the oil industry and corn lobby – powerful forces in Washington – clash over the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a decade-old regulation that requires refiners to cover the cost of mixing biofuels such as corn-based ethanol into their fuel.