Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Congress News

VT Halter Wins Historic $746m CG Contract

VT Halter in Pascagoula, MS, won a $746m contract to build the U.S. Coast Guard's lead Polar Security Cutter. Photo: VT Halter.

VT Halter Marine of Pascagoula, MS has emerged the victor in one of the most prized and coveted shipbuilding contracts in recent memory, a $746m deal to build the Coast Guard's lead Polar Security Cutter. If two additional ship options are exercised, the total deal could approach $2B.The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy, through an Integrated Program Office (IPO), awarded VT Halter Marine Inc., of Pascagoula, Mississippi, a fixed price incentive (firm) contract for the Detail Design and Construction (DD&C) of the Coast Guard’s lead Polar Security Cutter (PSC).

Mexico to Offer Pemex One Year Lifeline

(File photo: Pemex)

Mexico will offer its ailing state oil company Pemex a lifeline for only one year by dipping into its budget stabilization fund, Finance Minister Carlos Urzua said on Friday, ruling out that the government will absorb the debt.With $106 billion in financial debt, Pemex is the world's most indebted oil company and is teetering on the brink of having its debt downgraded to junk. Investors have shown little enthusiasm about the possibility of a new bond issuance.Investors are also increasingly concerned that Mexico's sovereign rating will suffer…

HazSub Spill Response Plans

© VanderWolf Images/AdobeStock

On August 18, 1990, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) was enacted into law. Section 4202 of that Act amended the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA or Clean Water Act) to require tank vessels and marine transportation-related facilities to prepare and submit to the US Coast Guard plans for responding, to the maximum extent practicable, to a worse case discharge, and to a substantial threat of such a discharge, of oil or a hazardous substance carried in bulk as cargo. The only real difference between the requirements regarding oil and hazardous substances was that a hard deadline was mandated for oil spill response plans…

NOPEC Bills: Leverage for White House

File Image / CREDIT: AdobeStock / © sunnyS

For a proposed statute still at the first stage of the legislative process, with only a handful of sponsors in the U.S. Congress, the “No Oil Producing and Exporting Countries Act of 2019” (NOPEC) is generating a lot of comment.The amount of attention being paid to the proposed legislation is out of all proportion to its probability of being enacted into law - unless oil prices spike higher at some point during the remainder of 2019 and 2020.Similar NOPEC bills were introduced into the House of Representatives (HR 948) and the Senate (S 370) early last month…

DOE Chief Perry: OPEC Bill Could Spike Oil Prices

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry (CREDIT: US DOE)

The United States needs to be cautious about pending legislation that would allow the Justice Department to sue OPEC and other oil producers over supply cuts because it could result in higher prices in the long term, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Thursday."We need to be really careful before we pass legislation that may have an impact that goes way past its intended consequences," Perry said at a news conference.The bill could curtail supply management by oil producers in global markets, possibly leading to a petroleum glut and lower prices.

US Offers Oil from Emergency Reserve

(Photo: U.S. Department of Energy)

The U.S. Energy Department said on Thursday it is offering up to five million barrels of sweet crude oil from the national emergency reserve in a sale mandated by previous laws to raise funds to modernize the facility.Laws passed by Congress in previous years require the department to hold sales to pay for improvements to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve which is held in caverns on the coast of Texas and Louisiana.The delivery period for the oil will be from May 1 to May 14 for oil from the reserve's West Hackberry and Big Hill site, and from May 1 to may 31 from the Bryan Mound site.

Citgo Loans Price in Potential Regime Change

The bank debt of oil refiner Citgo Petroleum Corp, US subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), has been volatile in recent days as Venezuela’s political crisis deepens and the market prices in a potential regime change in the South American nation.The company’s US$650m term loan B jumped in secondary trading this week, according to a trader monitoring the debt, after the Houston-headquartered company last Friday installed a new board of directors that is expected to enhance Citgo’s independence from its troubled parent company.Citgo…

CITGO Formally Cuts Ties with PDVSA

U.S. refiner Citgo Petroleum Corp is formally cutting ties with its parent, state-run oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela SA, to meet U.S. sanctions imposed on the OPEC country, two people close to the decision told Reuters on Tuesday.Executives at the Houston-based firm set a Feb. 26 deadline to end relationships with PDVSA following sanctions designed to curb oil revenues to socialist President Nicolas Maduro and support the nation's transition government formed by Venezuelan congress head Juan Guaido.The United States, Canada and dozens of other nations have recognized Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate president…

Trump Warns Saudi Arabia on Oil Prices

© mattz90/Adobe Stock

U.S. President Donald Trump has warned OPEC not to tighten the oil market too much and risk another spike in prices that could harm the global economy – and his re-election campaign in 2020.“Oil prices getting too high,” the president warned in a message posted on Twitter on Monday. “OPEC please relax and take it easy. World cannot take a price hike – fragile!”The president has kept up a regular commentary on oil prices over the last year and has pressed Saudi Arabia, de facto leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries…

Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling Released

Jeffrey Skilling, the onetime chief of Enron Corp who was sentenced to 24 years in prison for his conviction on charges stemming from the company’s spectacular collapse, has been released from federal custody, the Houston Chronicle reported on Thursday.A spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons confirmed to Reuters that Thursday was the date scheduled for Skilling's release but declined to provide further details, citing privacy issues.Skilling, 65, was moved in August 2018 from an Alabama prison camp to a residential re-entry facility in Houston…

Citgo's New Board Arrives, to Hold First Meeting

A board of directors appointed this month by Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress to run state-owned oil firm PDVSA's U.S. unit Citgo Petroleum on Thursday was arranging its first meeting at the company's headquarters, according with two people familiar with the matter.Venezuela's National Assembly, led by opposition leader and self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido, last week appointed new boards for PDVSA and subsidiaries PDV Holding, Citgo Holding and Citgo Petroleum amid a political battle to control the country's foreign assets.Citgo…

Top Citgo Executives Removed as PDVSA Chaos Continues

File Image: the idled Aruba refinery (AdobeStock / © Hans

Citgo Petroleum Corp has removed at least three top executives close to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, people familiar with the matter said on Monday, in a move to cement management control under a new board of directors.The U.S. refining arm of Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA has been thrust in recent weeks into the center of a political battle between an opposition leader and self-declared president backed by many Western nations, including the United States, and Maduro, a socialist whose re-election last year they consider…

US Crude Inventory Remains High

© Jorg Hackemann / Adobe Stock

U.S. crude inventory has been hovering between 430 and 450 million barrels since early December — and remains around 6% above the five year average for this time of year.But there are indications that crude supply is beginning to decrease. U.S. shale producers have cut back on production, while crude imports in the U.S. over the past four weeks are down 7.5% from last year and tanker tracking data indicate a decline in Saudi crude shipments.Meanwhile, Brent crude has traded in the range of $53 to $62 since the beginning of the year. As of Monday, Brent is trading around $61.50.The fear of crude prices dropping into the $40s or lower has faded.

Seismic Surveys Delayed in US Arctic

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There will be no seismic exploration this winter on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Interior Department said on Friday, after the company seeking permission to conduct the tests ran out of time to get the required permit."We can confirm that seismic surveys will not take place until December 2019," said Alex Hinson, U.S. Department of the Interior spokesman, in an email.The company applying for the permits, SAExploration, had applied for a start date as early as December 2018 for seismic testing as a precursor to drill in the ANWR, which has been off-limits to drillers for decades.The application remains active, but will be altered.

Tankers with Venezuelan Oil Collect off US

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A flotilla loaded with about 7 million barrels of Venezuelan oil has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, some holding cargoes bought ahead of the latest U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and others whose buyers are weighing who to pay, according to traders, shippers and Refinitiv Eikon data.The Trump administration's move to impose sanctions last week was meant to undercut support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro by targeting the Latin American nation's oil exports to the United States, the source of most of its foreign revenue.The sanctions aim to block U.S.

Offshore Terminal Plan Slowed by U.S. Shutdown

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The U.S. government shutdown has delayed Enterprise Products Partners LP's plan to build a major U.S. crude export terminal off Houston, blocking the pipeline operator from filing paperwork with U.S. regulators, an executive said on Wednesday.Enterprise plans to file a 10,000-page permit application with the U.S. Maritime Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard as soon as the U.S. government reopens. It takes about a year for regulators to process an application for a deep-water terminal."Tell me when the government opens and I'll tell you when it happens…

US Oil Export Boom Sparks Battle to Build Texas Ports

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Booming U.S. oil exports have set off a scramble to build Gulf Coast ports to handle more than 3 million barrels per day in new supplies expected over the next five years.Of seven proposed oil-export projects, nowhere is the opportunity greater or the competition more fierce than in Corpus Christi, Texas, where three firms are vying to open the state's first deepwater port.Commodities trader Trafigura has taken an early lead with a planned offshore facility that has an easier path to regulatory approval and faces fewer objections from environmentalists.Its…

NOIA Calls for Offshore Wind Territories Act

Image: BOEM

National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) said that U.S. territories need the Offshore Wind for Territories Act.The U.S. has five permanently inhabited 'Territories' in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands which are directly overseen by the United States Federal Government.NOIA President Randall Luthi issued this statement: “The House passage of H.R. 6665 is welcome news for many Americans this holiday season. Too often, Americans in the U.S. territories are our forgotten citizens."The Offshore Wind for Territories Act empowers U.S.

Petrobras Nears Terms Over TAG Pipeline Sale

© Vladimir Gerasimov / Adobe Stock

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…