Saturday, March 28, 2020

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Oil Giants Set Health Checks, Work-from-home Rules

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Major energy companies in the United States imposed work-from-home rules for office staff and began health checks for remote or critical workers as coronavirus spread and threatened an industry reeling from falling demand and profits.BP, Exxon Mobil, Kinder Morgan, Motiva Enterprises and Royal Dutch Shell told most office staff to work from home starting Monday. Federal regulators on Friday were pressed by companies to ease work rules for pipeline operators and to limit visits to some sites. Shell and Chevron began health checks of workers and visitors at some key U.S.

Libyan Oil Revenues Fall to Zero as Ports Blocked

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Libya's vital oil revenues fell to zero in January, the central bank said on Monday, after forces and tribesmen allied to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar blocked major oil ports.Haftar is embroiled in a conflict with the internationally recognized government in Tripoli and has been trying to seize the capital by force since April.Tribesmen and forces loyal to him closed all eastern ports and major fields last month in a power play, part of chaos in Libya since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.The oil shutdown has caused losses exceeding 2.5 billion Libyan dinar ($1.78 billion)…

Google to Tap the Power of Offshore Wind

Google invests $700 mln in Danish data center, secures green energyGoogle will invest almost $700 million in a Danish data centre, the latest investment in the Nordic region which is known for its abundant renewable energy.Google said it would match the new centre's use of energy made from fossil fuels with green energy generated through so-called power purchase agreements (PPAs).The Nordic countries, which can generate electricity relatively cheaply from renewable sources such as hydropower and wind…

​​​​Google Buys into New Finnish Wind Energy in Renewables Search

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Google said it has signed a 10-year deal to buy renewable energy from three new wind farms that are being built in Finland and which will power one of its data centers.Big companies have rushed to secure cheap renewable energy to manage costs and reduce their carbon footprint through so-called corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs), which allow firms such as Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, Facebook and Microsoft to buy directly from the energy generator.Google said on Tuesday that the Finnish deal is the first where it is buying power from European projects that will not receive any government subsid

As Mexico Oil Sector Sputters, Crime and Violence Rattle Industry Towns

Until recently, Edgar Barrera enjoyed a life many Mexicans could only hope for. In a few short years, the 36-year-old bookkeeper rose from handyman to white-collar worker at what seemed to be one of the most stable companies in Latin America: state-owned oil firm Pemex. Thanks to Pemex, Barrera met his wife, vacationed on the Mayan Riviera and envisaged a rewarding career without leaving his hometown in Tabasco, a rural state at the southern hook of the Gulf of Mexico where more than half the population lives on less than roughly $92 a month. Then everything changed.

Wind Farms Boost Tax Base for Local US Governments

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Wind farms have boosted local tax bases and generated new revenue as they expand across the United States, especially for rural areas, Moody's Investors Service said in a report on Monday."What we're seeing is wind farms generate new operating revenues, lower the tax burden for local residents," Moody's analyst Frank Mamo told Reuters. "In many cases, local governments are using this new money to address what was a growing backlog of deferred capital expenditures."In Adair County, Iowa…

Philippines Eyes Exploration Deal with China in S.China Sea

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The Philippines is looking to seal a pact with China within a few months to jointly explore for oil and gas in a part of the busy South China Sea waterway claimed by both countries, a Philippine official said on Monday. In February, the two countries agreed to set up a special panel to work out how to jointly explore for offshore oil and gas in areas both sides claim, without needing to address the touchy issue of sovereignty. "We're trying to see if we can achieve an agreement, hopefully within the next couple of months…

Statkraft in Talks with Firms to Set up Data Centers in Norway

Norwegian power firm Statkraft is negotiating with U.S. and other companies to build large data centers in its home country, favored by a recent change in Norway's tax system, the state-owned utility told Reuters on Thursday. Unlike its Nordic neighbours, which have attracted large data center investments from big-data firms such as Apple , Alphabet, Facebook and Hive Blockchain, Norway has not yet cashed in on the trend. Known for its cheap, plentiful supply of hydroelectric power, Norway…

Update: Worker Missing after Oil Platform Explosion

The search continued for a worker missing from an oil production platform in Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain that exploded and caught fire late Sunday, sending six others to hospital with injuries, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Coast Guard rescue crews and a helicopter failed to locate the worker overnight, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer Alexandria Preston. In addition, authorities on Monday were checking for any evidence of oil leaking from the facility, she said. The platform is operated by Clovelly Oil Co, said Donald Mackenroth, a Clovelly vice president reached by phone late Sunday.

Scientists Turn to Big Data in Hunt for Minerals, Oil and Gas

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Scientists searching for everything from oil and gas to copper and gold are adopting techniques used by companies such as Netflix or Amazon to sift through vast amounts of data, a study showed on Tuesday. The method has already helped to discover 10 carbon-bearing minerals and could be widely applied to exploration, they wrote in the journal American Mineralogist. "Big data points to new minerals, new deposits," they wrote of the findings. The technique goes beyond traditional geology by amassing data about how and where minerals have formed, for instance by the cooling of lava after volcanic eruptions.

Facebook's Zuckerberg Drills Down into North Dakota's Oil Patch

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Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg toured a North Dakota drilling rig on Tuesday and peppered industry workers in the No. 2 U.S. oil-producing state with questions about automation, safety and fracking. The visit to North Dakota, which pumps about 1.1 million barrels of oil per day - more than some OPEC members - is part of Zuckerberg's plan to tour all 50 states this year and learn about their local economies and communities. While Zuckerberg, 33, is a vocal supporter of renewable energy development…

Cyber Attack Hits Oil Giant and Banks in Russia and Ukraine

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Russia's top oil producer Rosneft said a large-scale cyber attack hit its servers on Tuesday and computer systems at some banks and the main airport in neighbouring Ukraine were also disrupted. A Moscow-based cyber security firm, Group-IB, said it appeared to be a coordinated attack simultaneously targeting victims in Russia and Ukraine. In Copenhagen, global shipping firm Shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk said it had suffered a computer system outage caused by a cyber attack thought it was not immediately clear if it was connected.

Ukraine Faces Energy Crisis As Blockade Cuts Coal Supply

Ukrainian authorities vowed on Thursday to restore coal supply from the separatist-held Donbass and warned that a blockade by activists could deprive millions of heating and electricity, harm the steel industry and cost the country some $2 billion. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the blocking of a railway link in the east by opposition lawmakers and army veterans who fought against separatist factions was a "destabilising factor". The European Union and the United States called for action to prevent "a major energy crisis".

Trump Taps Congressman Zinke as Interior Secretary

first-term Republican U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke of Montana

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen first-term Republican U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke of Montana, a former Navy SEAL commander, as his interior secretary, a senior transition official said on Tuesday. Zinke, 55, will be nominated to head the Interior Department, which employs more than 70,000 people across the United States and oversees more than 20 percent of federal land, including national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite. Zinke's choice was something of a surprise since some Republican officials wanted him to challenge Democratic U.S. Senator Jon Tester of Montana in the 2018 elections.

US Veterans Head to Pipeline Protest Camp in North Dakota

U.S. military veterans were set to arrive at a camp to join thousands of activists braving snow and freezing temperatures to protest a pipeline project near a Native American reservation in North Dakota. Protesters have spent months rallying against plans to route the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline beneath a lake near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, saying it poses a threat to water resources and sacred Native American sites. State officials had issued an order on Monday for activists to vacate the Oceti Sakowin camp, located on U.S.

Sunoco Pipeline Spills Gasoline near Pennsylvania River

Pipeline. Courtesy Sunoco Logistics Partners  pipeline

A pipeline breach on Friday spilled gasoline in the vicinity of the Susquehanna River in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, environmental authorities said, prompting a utility firm to warn customers to reduce water use as a precaution. The breach occurred on a Sunoco Logistics Partners LP pipeline in the area of Gamble Township, around 100 miles (160 kms) north of Harrisburg, according to state authorities, who estimated the spill at about 1,300 barrels (55,000 gallons). The gasoline leaked into Wallis Run…

Passing Energy Bills, Ukrainian MPs Clear Path for New EU Loan

The Ukrainian parliament passed two bills on Thursday aimed at prising open the domestic energy distribution market to more competition, a reform demanded by the European Union in exchange for a 600-million-euro ($674.10 million) loan. The first bill will allow more companies to compete in the local distribution market - at present controlled by regional monopolies. The second measure creates an independent electricity commission responsible for setting power tariffs. Ukraine must adopt a series of reforms to secure tranches of aid money from its various international donors…

Stein Faces Probe Over N. Dakota Pipeline Protest

Jill Stein (Photo: Official Jill Stein campaign website)

Authorities in North Dakota are investigating possible charges against U.S. Green Party presidential candidate for allegedly damaging equipment during protests on Tuesday over construction of an oil pipeline in the state. Jill Stein allegedly was part of a group protesting the building of the Dakota Access pipeline and spray painted construction equipment, Morton County Sheriff's Department said. Protesters also attached themselves to bulldozers and broke a fence, the department said.

Seven Injured in Flash Fire at Texas Oil Terminal

Nederland Photo Sunoco Logistics

An apparent flash fire injured seven workers working on a construction project at Sunoco Logistics crude oil terminal in Nederland, Texas on Friday, a company spokesman said on Saturday. "Seven employees of a contractor working on site were injured, four of them critically, in what appeared to be a flash fire involving a crude-oil pipeline connection," said Sunoco Logistics spokesman Jeffrey Shields. Marcus McLellan, a spokesman for Jefferson County Sheriff's office told that the fire broke out while the workers were welding. Shields said the injured workers were employed by L-Con Inc.

Third Point Adds New bets on Energy, Cuts Stake in Dow

Daniel Loeb founded Third Point LLC, an asset management firm headquartered in New York, in 1995. Photo Third Point

Billionaire investor Daniel Loeb's hedge fund Third Point added new bets in the energy and information technology sectors with investments in Whiting Petroleum Corp., Facebook and Activision Blizzard Inc, according to regulatory filings on Friday. Third Point, which invests roughly $16 billion and is widely followed because of its years of strong returns, also made new bets on Tesoro Petroleum and Devon Energy Corp. Last month Loeb wrote to investors that savvy bets on the energy market had helped the portfolio gain 4.6 percent in the second quarter, beating the broader Standard & Poor's stock market.