Wednesday, August 15, 2018

China Move to Drop Crude off Tariff List a Relief for Sinopec

Photo: Sinopec

China's decision to remove crude oil from its latest tariff list in an escalating trade war with the United States was a relief to state oil firms prompted by a strong lobbying effort by main importer the Sinopec Group, Beijing-based oil sources said.Dropping crude oil from the final tariff list on $16 billion in U.S. goods announced late on Wednesday underscores the growing importance of the United States as a key global producer and critical alternative supply source for top importer China…

Australian States Delay Approving New Energy Policy

© John / Adobe Stock

Australia's states on Friday held off approving a plan to end more than a decade of climate and energy wars and spur investment in new power supply, disappointing industry seeking certainty on energy policy.Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is pushing a National Energy Guarantee (NEG) in a bid to bring down electricity prices, which have more than doubled over the past decade, and ensure supplies following a string of blackouts in 2016 and 2017.Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said after a meeting with state governments th

Nord Stream 2 Seeks Alternative Route to Avoid Danish Waters

© Nord Stream 2 / Axel Schmidt

The Russia-led Nord Stream 2 consortium said on Friday it has applied to Denmark for an alternative gas pipeline route through the Baltic Sea that would avoid the Nordic state's territorial waters.Denmark is facing a dilemma on whether the project can be built near its Baltic coast and its parliament may pass legislation allowing it to veto the Nord Stream 2 pipeline going through Danish territorial waters on security…

Venezuela Dodges Oil Asset Seizures with Export Transfers at Sea

© Igor Groshev / Adobe Stock

Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA has limited the damage from an unprecedented slump in crude exports by transferring oil between tankers at sea and loading vessels in neighboring Cuba to avoid asset seizures.But the OPEC member nation is still fulfilling less than 60 percent of its obligations under supply deals with customers.Venezuela has been pumping oil this year at the lowest rate in three decades after years of underinvestment and a mass exodus of workers.

Fred. Olsen Energy edges closer to financial restructuring

© Boris Vandenhautte / MarineTraffic.com

Norwegian drillship and rig operator Fred. Olsen Energy, owner of the yard that built the RMS Titanic, is considering a debt and equity restructuring that would almost wipe out the value of its current shares, the company said.With debt and liabilities of more than $840 million at the end of June, Fred. Olsen last month stopped paying its creditors to preserve liquidity, making it the latest victim of a slow recovery in the oil and gas exploration sector.The owner of seven drillships and rigs…

Hapag-Lloyd on 2020 Low Sulphur Fuel

Photo: Hapag-Lloyd

LSF2020 refers to the new “Low Sulfur Fuel” regulations, which will come into effect on 1 January 2020.These regulations are the biggest of a series of steps by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to reduce marine pollution (MARPOL) in response to the threat of climate change.The LSF2020 emission regulations mean ships will have to significantly reduce emissions on the high seas as well as in coastal areas. This change does not only concern Hapag-Lloyd but it challenges the entire shipping industry.

Unipec Suspends US Oil Imports as Trade Spat Intensifies

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China's Unipec, the trading arm of state oil major Sinopec, has suspended crude oil imports from the United States due to a growing trade spat between Washington and Beijing, three sources familiar with the situation said on Friday.The sources declined to be identified as they are not authorised to speak to the media.It is not clear how long the temporary halt will last, but one of the sources said Unipec has no new bookings of U.S.

Texas Pipeline Blast Injures 7, Explosions Probed

Authorities on Thursday morning were investigating what caused a fire and a series of natural gas pipeline explosions on Wednesday in Midland County, Texas, which sent seven people to the hospital and shut down five lines before being extinguished late in the evening.Workers and firefighters were responding to a leak when the blast occurred, Midland County Fire Marshal Dale Little said on Thursday.Five workers with critical injuries were airlifted to University Medical Center in Lubbock…

US Sees Little Impact from Keystone XL Pipeline's Planned Route

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The Keystone XL crude oil pipeline project cleared a hurdle on Monday as the Trump administration said in a draft environmental assessment that an alternative route through Nebraska would not do major harm to water and wildlife.The State Department's assessment of a plan for an alternative route through Nebraska submitted by TransCanada Corp, the company trying to complete the pipeline, said Keystone XL's cumulative effects…

SBM Offshore Reaches Settlement in Brazil Corruption Probe

(File photo: SBM Offshore)

SBM Offshore has reached a settlement in a long-running corruption investigation it faced in Brazil, allowing the Dutch marine engineering group to take up new business there.SBM said late on Thursday it would pay approximately $189 million to the Brazilian authorities and state oil company Petrobras in fines and compensation for damages.The company would not receive earlier agreed performance bonuses worth about $180 million in the period until 2030…

Middle East Oil & Gas Shipping Routes are at Risk

© Igor Groshev / Adobe Stock

Saudi Arabia said on Thursday it was suspending oil shipments through the Red Sea after Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis attacked two crude tankers, underscoring risks caused by the conflict in the world's top oil exporting region.Iran, in its row with the United States over sanctions, has also threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, the other major strategic shipping route for oil from the region and the main route for…

Settlement Reached in Petrobras' Texas Refinery Emissions Case

(Photo: Petrobras)

A U.S. unit of Brazilian state-run company Petrobras agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle a lawsuit over alleged toxic emissions from its Pasadena, Texas, oil refinery, two environmental groups said.The settlement comes in the midst of the company's efforts to sell the refinery. The deal is subject to approval by a federal judge.Petrobras did not respond to a request for comment.Under the terms of the agreement, Petrobras…

French Tidal Energy Project Clears another Hurdle

EU competition regulators approved on Thursday French support for an EDF-operated tidal energy project, saying the scheme was in line with the bloc's energy and climate goals.The Normandie Hydro plant, located at Raz Blanchard on the English channel and to be developed by OpenHydro, will be made up of seven turbines with a power generation capacity of 14 megawatts.French authorities will provide operating and investment aid, part of which will be repayable advances that will be reimbursed if the technology is successful

Rosneft suing Exxon-led oil project over dispute between neighbours

(Photo: Exxon Neftgas)

Russian oil major Rosneft's $1.4 billion lawsuit against the ExxonMobil-led Sakhalin-1 consortium relates to a row over how oil should be shared between the Sakhalin-1 concession and an adjacent Rosneft field, court papers show.Rosneft filed the suit in the Sakhalin district arbitration court in Russia's far east, accusing the consortium of unjust enrichment, an allegation the consortium denied. Rosneft did not disclose the exact nature of the dispute.According to court documents reviewed by Reuters on Tuesday…

MOL buys Eni's Adriatic Offshore Gas Stakes

Image: ENI

MOL Group’s Croatian INA agreed to buy Eni Croatia BV, a wholly-owned member of Eni Group, through which Eni participated in the joint project of gas production in Croatia’s offshore areas Northern Adriatic and Marica.INA will become the 100% owner and the sole operator of the Northern Adriatic and Marica fields after all conditions are fulfilled, including receiving clearance from the antitrust authorities, which is…

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.

US Energy Regulator Wants More Disclosure of Cyber Attacks

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The U.S. government on Thursday asked power generators to disclose more information about cyber attacks amid growing concern that foreign hackers could disrupt the electric grid.The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), an energy industry regulator, called for the power industry's regulating body, the North American Electric Reliability Corp, to expand rules that require reporting of cyber security incidents to…

Norway Oil Workers, Employers Reach Deal to End Strike

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Norwegian drilling rigs workers will end their industrial action after the union representing 1,600 striking employees reached a deal with the group acting for their employers, the parties said on Thursday.The strike began on July 10 after the Safe union and the Norwegian Shipowners' Association could not come to an agreement over wages and pension conditions. The industrial action led to the shutdown of one Shell-operated field."The strike is over ...

US Revokes Citgo CEO's Visa

Citgo Petroleum Corp, the U.S. subsidiary of Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA , said on Wednesday that the United States had revoked the visa of its president and chief executive Asdrubal Chavez, cousin of Venezuela's late president Hugo Chavez, but it did not say why.Late on Wednesday U.S. State Department spokesman Noel Clay said the United States has broad authority to revoke visas, but does not discuss individual cases because they are confidential under U.S.

Tidewater and GulfMark Announce Merger

(File photo: Tidewater)

Tidewater Inc. and GulfMark Offshore, Inc. announced Monday that the boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved a definitive agreement to combine the two companies, creating the industry’s largest owner of offshore support vessels and continuing consolidation in the offshore sector.The combined company will be operated under the Tidewater brand and will be led by Tidewater president and CEO John Rynd…

Brazil Charges Former Vantage Drilling Chief with Corruption

Brazilian federal prosecutors on Thursday charged the former chief executive of U.S. oil services company Vantage Drilling with corruption and money laundering, accusing him of offering $31 million in bribes to public officials.Federal prosecutors said in a statement that the charges against former CEO Paul Bragg related to irregularities in a 2009 contract worth $1.8 billion to charter a drill ship to state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasiliero SA.Reuters was unable to locate Bragg or his representatives.

US Oil Exports to India Soar Ahead of Iran Sanctions

© Anatoly Menzhiliy / Adobe Stock

U.S. crude oil exports to India hit a record in June and so far this year are almost double last year's total as the Asian nation's refiners move to replace supplies from Iran and Venezuela in a win for the Trump administration.U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has been pressuring its allies to cut imports of Iranian goods to zero by November and India's shift advances the U.S. administration efforts to use energy to further its political goals.The United States has become a major crude exporter…

EPA Scraps Plan to Force US Refiners to Blend More Biofuels

© Jose Manuel Yañez Rodriguez / Adobe Stock

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ditched a detailed plan that would have forced refiners to blend more biofuels into their gasoline and diesel in 2019 to compensate for volumes likely to be exempted under the agency's small refinery hardship waiver program, according to newly released EPA documents.The plan would have boosted the renewable fuel blending obligation for the refining industry to 11.76 percent from 10.88 percent to offset volumes lost under the waiver program…

Equinor Acquires Energy Trader Danske Commodities

CEO Henrik Lind (left), Danske Commodities, and Tor Martin Anfinnsen, senior vice president, Marketing & Supply in Equinor. (Photo: Thomas Priskorn / PRISKORN)

Norwegian oil and gas major Equinor, formerly Statoil, is acquiring the Danish energy trading company, Danske Commodities for EUR 400 million (USD 470 mln). "Equinor has reached agreement to buy 100% of the shares in Danish energy trading company Danske Commodities (DC) for EUR 400 million, with smaller contingent payments depending on DC’s performance over the next couple of years," said a press release from the company.

Sinovel Fined for AMSC Trade Secret Theft

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © JJAVA)

A U.S. judge ordered Sinovel Wind Group Co Ltd, a Chinese wind turbine maker, to pay a $1.5 million fine after the company was convicted and charged for stealing trade secrets from Massachusetts-based AMSC. U.S. District Judge James Peterson in Madison, Wisconsin, also sentenced Sinovel to one year of probation, during which it must pay the unpaid balance of a $57.5 million settlement it reached with AMSC. The U.S. Justice Department said Sinovel has already paid AMSC…

Brazil Court Blocks $892.7 mln from SBM Related to Petrobras Contracts

A Brazilian federal court ruled that state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA can subtract $892.7 million it owes in future fees to Dutch group SBM to cover fines and damages it has been ordered to pay Petrobras for its role in a graft scheme, according to a written statement prosecutors released on Friday.Under a lawsuit filed against companies in the Dutch group, federal prosecutors calculated losses incurred by Petrobras under the scheme amounted to $303 million.Reporting by Ana Mano

Asian Refiners Rush to Secure Feedstock as Trade War Looms

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Carabay)

U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods came into effect Friday; China retaliates, duty on U.S. crude possible. Asian oil refiners are racing to secure crude supplies in anticipation of an escalating trade war between the United States and China, and as Washington plans tough sanctions against Iran aimed at shutting the country out of oil markets. As part of a wave of retaliation for Friday's U.S. tariffs, China has threatened a 25 percent duty on imports of U.S. crude.

Preparations for Aramco IPO Listing Stalled - WSJ

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Public listing preparations of state-run Saudi Aramco <IPO-ARMO.SE> have stalled, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Aramco, the world's biggest oil producer, has been expanding its global footprint by signing downstream deals and boosting the capacity of its plants ahead of the eagerly awaited initial public offering. Aramco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Fall from Grace: Batista Gets 30-Years for Corruption

Eike Batista, the former mining and oil magnate who was once Brazil's richest man, was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for bribing Rio de Janeiro state's disgraced ex-governor, according to a court document published on Tuesday.Batista's conviction and sentencing by federal judge Marcelo Bretas are the latest in a wave of graft investigations that have sent scores of powerful businessmen and politicians to jail.The eccentric former billionaire's meteoric rise and fall mirrored the recent fortunes of Brazil

Fate of Argentine Biodiesel Industry Hinges on EU Sanctions

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) scanrail)

Argentina's biodiesel industry is at risk after the European Union threatened to impose tariffs on imports from the South American country, following accusations that the nation unfairly subsidized its biofuel sector. The threat of tariffs has halted Argentine biofuel sales to the EU, industry sources told Reuters, adding that imposing a tax would leave 85 percent of the country's biofuel exports without a viable market and may force suppliers to close shop.

Union Workers Strike at Total's North Sea Oil Platforms

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © xmentoys)

Britain's largest labour union, Unite the Union, announced series of 24 hour and 12 hour rig worker strikes at Total's North Sea oil and gas platforms, a statement said on Thursday. There will be three 24 hour stoppages on July 23 and Aug. 6 and 20 as well as two 12 hour stoppages on July 30 and Aug.

What Glencore-Tohoku Coal talk Impass Means for Market

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Leonid Eremeychuk)

Electric utilities in Japan and other Asian countries are driving blind when it comes to coal prices after the failure of Japan's Tohoku Electric and Glencore to agree on an annual thermal coal contract that is used to set prices for the region. Tohoku Electric, a major Japanese utility, and Glencore, the world's biggest exporter of seaborne thermal coal, abandoned the talks last month on their annual Australian supply contract.

Glencore Announces $1 bln Share Buyback

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Kasto)

Commodities trader and miner Glencore said on Thursday it would buy back shares worth up to $1 billion in a programme of purchases running to the end of 2018.   Glencore said the programme will be split into two halves, the first 350 million pounds worth of shares to be bought by Citigroup Global Markets by Aug. 7 and the remainder at the discretion of the broker.   Reporting by Justin George Varghese

China's Ethanol Push in Doubt as U.S. Trade Dispute Widens

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © scanrail)

Beijing slows approval process for new ethanol plants; ationwide roll-out of E10 fuel by 2020 in doubt. China's ambitious push to use biofuel in cars nationwide by 2020 is in doubt amid concerns about supplies of raw material such as corn, complicated by an escalating trade dispute with Washington, producers and analysts say. In September last year, the government outlined radical plans to roll out the use of ethanol in gasoline nationally by 2020, in part to digest its huge corn stocks.

China Keeps LNG off Tariff List - for Now

file Image: a typical LNG carrier laden with cargo crosses the Med in a recent photo (CREDIT: Robert Murphy)

China embroiled in festering trade dispute with United States even as Chinese imports of U.S. LNG expected to surge -Morgan Stanley. China's omission of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its vast list of U.S. products that face hefty import duties from Friday has preserved a potential weapon should the trade war with Washington deepen. It also underscores Beijing's desire to ensure supplies of gas as it pushes to switch millions of households and businesses away from using coal as a key part of its 'war on pollution'.

Shell CEO: "foolhardy" to Set Carbon Reduction Targets

BP CEO Bob Dudley (CREDIT BP PLC)

CEO says a target will expose Shell to lawsuits; BP has also taken cautious approach on targets. Royal Dutch Shell's boss said it would be "foolhardy" for the oil and gas producer to set hard targets to reduce carbon emissions as it risked exposing the energy giant to legal challenges. The energy industry has struggled in recent years to find a clear path to secure its role as the world shifts from fossil fuels in order to meet the 2015 Paris climate agreement goals.

BP to Boost Stake in UK's 'Giant' Clair Field

BP's Clair Ridge platform. Photo: BP

BP announced that it has entered into agreements with ConocoPhillips that will significantly increase its holding in the Clair field, a core asset of BP’s North Sea business in the UK, while also selling its non-operating interest in the Kuparuk and satellite oilfields in Alaska. BP has entered into an agreement to purchase from ConocoPhillips a 16.5% interest in the BP-operated Clair field, west of Shetland in the UK, buying a ConocoPhillips subsidiary that will hold this interest in the field.

ConocoPhillips sells 16.5 pct of North Sea Asset to BP

Ryan Lance, chief executive officer of ConocoPhillips

U.S. oil producer ConocoPhillips said on Tuesday it would sell a 16.5 percent stake in the Clair field to oil major BP for an undisclosed price. Houston, Texas-based ConocoPhillips will retain a 7.5 percent interest in the North Sea offshore oil field through a unit while BP will hold a 45.1 percent interest. Reuters reported https://www.reuters.com/article/us-conocophillips-northsea-exclusive/exclusive-conoco-moves-to…

Ontario Government Scraps Cap-and-Trade Program

Premier Doug Ford's (Photo:Ontario Government)

The Ontario government announced it would end the province's cap-and-trade program, a policy designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, fulfilling one of Premier Doug Ford's election promises. The government said it would start a wind-down of all programs funded out of cap-and-trade carbon tax revenues immediately. Ford's government says it aims to reduce gasoline prices by 10 cents per liter and lower energy bills by "getting Ontario out of the carbon tax business".

Seadrill Suggests Consolidation for Drilling Market Recovery

Seadrill CEO, Anton Dibowitz (Photo:Seadrill)

On Tuesday, Seadrill CEO, Anton Dibowitz said consolidation of smaller offshore oil rig companies would help boost drilling market recovery in the drilling market. The statement comes a day the offshore rig firm emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Seadrill started trading new shares on the New York Stock Exchange and plans to list new shares on the Oslo Stock Exchange by end of July. Shares of Seadrill, controlled by Norwegian-born John Fredriksen…

Glencore, Vitol Shortlisted in Hellenic Stake Sale

Anglo-Swiss Glencore Energy and Swiss Vitol will be qualified to submit a binding bid for a majority stake in Greece's biggest oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum, sources close to the process said on Tuesday. Athens last month received five expressions of interest for a 50.1 percent holding in Hellenic in one of the biggest asset sales under the country's three international bailouts since 2010. Along with Glencore Energy UK and Vitol Holding B.V.…

Saipem: MoU for California-based Renewable Energy Deal Signed

Saipem has signed a Memorandum of Understanding as well as an exclusive agreement with California Ethanol & Power, LLC, for the realisation of a low carbon emission plant for the production of ethanol fuels, electricity from renewable sources, biomethane and other secondary products derived from sugar cane cultivated on site. The plant will be located in the south of California, in the territory of the Imperial County…

Iran's Rouhani Hints at Threat to Neighbors' Exports

President Hassan Rouhani appeared on Tuesday to threaten to disrupt oil shipments from neighbouring countries if Washington presses ahead with its goal of forcing all countries to stop buying Iranian oil. The comments, published on Iran's presidential website on Tuesday and partially repeated at a later news conference in Switzerland, could be open to interpretation. However, when asked whether he intended to make a threat, Rouhani declined to provide a clarification.

Petrobras Makes $983m Deposit Related to U.S. Class Action

Brazil's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said on Tuesday it made a $983 million deposit as part of a deal to settle a class action in the United States.   In a securities filing, Petrobras said this deposit is the second one related to the class action. A third one, of $984 million, is due on January 15, 2019. Reporting by Carolina Mandl

Glencore Gets U.S. Subpoena on Compliance with Money-Laundering Laws

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U.S. demands documents on business in Nigeria, DRC, Venezuela; Glencore shares fall as much as 13 percent. U.S. authorities have demanded the U.S. arm of Glencore Plc hand over documents relating to its business in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela, sending shares in the parent company down more than 10 percent. The Swiss-based commodities trader and miner said its subsidiary had received a U.S.

Vantage Drilling wins $622 mln Settlement against Petrobras

Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petrobras has been fined $622 million by an international tribunal for breaching a 2009 contract with a unit of Vantage Drilling, the U.S.-based rig contactor said on Monday. The tribunal found that Petrobras and its units, Petrobras America Inc (PAI) and Petrobras Venezuela Investments and Services (PVIS) breached a drilllship contract with Vantage Deepwater Co. In 2016 (https://reut.rs/2KKTLwo)…

Seadrill Exits Chapter 11

File Image: Credit Seadrill

Offshore drilling rig contractor Seadrill said on Monday it had successfully completed its reorganisation, emerging from a U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy process launched last September. The company, once the world's largest offshore driller by the market capitalisation, was forced to seek protection from creditors when it was unable to repay its debts amassed during boom years to buy new rigs. When oil prices fell in 2014…

Harvey Gulf Emerges From Chapter 11 Proceedings

Shane Guidry, Harvey Gulf’s Chairman and CEO

Harvey Gulf International Marine announced that it has completed its financial restructuring and emerged from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceedings. This marks the completion of the Plan of Reorganization approved by the bankruptcy court, 77 days following Harvey Gulf’s prepackaged filing. Under the reorganization, Harvey Gulf has shed approximately $1 Billion in debt and emerges with a dramatically de-leveraged balance sheet.

Idled St. Croix Refinery to Restart, Produce Fuels by 2020

Owners of an idled oil refinery in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, which was once one of the world's largest refineries, plan to invest $1.4 billion to refurbish and restart a portion of the plant, they said on Monday. ArcLight Capital Partners, a private equity firm that owns 80 percent of Limetree Bay Terminals LLC, expects the former Hovensa plant to be able to process 200,000 barrels per day of crude and deliver fuels to market by January 2020, officials told a news conference in St. Croix.

Iran Sanctions, Moderate Gasoline Prices Not Possible: Kemp

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © mikesjc)

The White House can drive Iran’s oil exports to zero, or it can have moderate U.S. gasoline prices, but it probably cannot have both. The awkward tension between the administration’s foreign policy priority (tough Iran sanctions) and its electoral calculation (to keep gasoline prices low) explains its increasingly frequent comments about oil prices. President Donald Trump has already blamed the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries for the sharp rise in prices that has pushed the average cost of U.S.

East China Sea Dispute: Japan Protests China Drilling Vessel

Image: © da_on/Adobe Stock

Japan has protested to China for allowing a gas drilling vessel to operate in disputed waters in the East China Sea, the government said on Friday.

SandRidge Draws Interest from Multiple Bidders

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SandRidge Energy Inc has been approached by 26 potential bidders for a buyout of the company or some of its assets, the U.S. shale oil producer said on Friday, days after activist investor Carl Icahn took control of its board. The list includes Midstates Petroleum, whose previous attempt to buy SandRidge was rebuffed by the company - a move that was criticized by Icahn and some other shareholders. SandRidge, which said earlier this month it was approached by 17 potential bidders including Icahn…

Oil Responds to U.S. Sanctions on Iran

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © scanrail)

U.S. sanctions on Iran to remove crude oil from market; oil markets tight on supply losses in Libya, Venezuela. Oil prices climbed on Friday as U.S. sanctions against Iran threatened to remove a substantial volume of crude oil from world markets at a time of rising global demand. Benchmark Brent crude jumped $1.49 to a high of $79.34 a barrel before easing back to around $78.75 by 1230 GMT. U.S. light crude was unchanged at $73.45. On Thursday, the U.S.

Europe's Iranian Oil Purchases Set to Plummet

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Key lender for Europe's oil purchases cuts credit from June 30. European refiners are cutting purchases of Iranian oil faster than expected as the U.S. prepares to reimpose sanctions on Iran, threatening a more severe impact than the last round of punitive measures in 2012 even though the EU has not joined in. Washington said that companies would have to wind down their activities with Iran by November 4 or risk exclusion from the U.S. financial system.

TransCanada Urges U.S. to Help Gas Pipeline Approvals

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Maksym Yemelyanov )

The United States should help the natural gas industry overcome environmental challenges to new pipeline projects by adjusting regulations or adopting new laws favoring infrastructure, an executive at TransCanada Corp said at a conference this week. Suppliers in the United States, the world's biggest natural gas producer, have had a harder time getting shipments to market as more environmental lawsuits by U.S. states, green groups and property owners have tied up pipeline construction.

MN Regulators Signal Support of Enbridge Pipeline

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Berkut 34)

Three of five members of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission said on Thursday they support issuing a certificate of need for Enbridge Inc to rebuild its Line 3 oil pipeline, angering environmentalists but offering hope to Western Canadian oil producers. The two other commissioners did not explicitly say they would vote in favor of the certificate but approval appeared to be imminent. It was not yet clear what conditions…

Nuclear, Coal Bailout Would 'keep America free' -US energy chief

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U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Thursday that bailing out struggling coal and nuclear power plants is as important to national security as keeping the military strong, and that the cost to Americans should not be an issue. "You cannot put a dollar figure on the cost to keep America free," he told reporters at a press conference in Washington, when asked how much the administration's effort to extend the lives of the facilities would cost.

Union Rig Workers to Strike at Total's North Sea Fields

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © xmentoys)

Members of the Unite union who work at Total's North Sea offshore oil and gas fields voted in favour of strike action on Thursday, the union said in a statement.   Unite said the strike over pay and working hours would begin next month and that members were still deciding what type of industrial action to take. Unite said specific dates would be announced next week. The strike would affect Total's Alwyn, Dunbar and Elgin-Franklin platforms   Reporting by Julia Payne

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…

U.S. Oil Steadies Ahead of Iran Sanctions

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © scanrail)

U.S. sanctions likely to cut Iranian crude exports sharply; supply disruptions, record demand leave little spare capacity. Oil prices steadied on Thursday, with U.S. crude near a 3-1/2-year high, but supply remained tight with investors concerned by the prospect of a big fall in crude exports from Iran due to U.S. sanctions. U.S. light crude was unchanged at $72.76 per barrel by 1100 GMT, after hitting $73.06 on Wednesday, its highest since November 2014. Benchmark Brent was up 30 cents at $77.92.

Woodside Mulls Texas Sempra LNG Exit

The chief executive officer of Woodside Petroleum Ltd said on Tuesday that Australia's biggest independent oil and natural gas company will soon decide whether to continue to invest in Sempra Energy's Port Arthur liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project in Texas. "We've got to make some decisions pretty soon about our continued pursuit (of Port Arthur) with Sempra," said Coleman, noting that Woodside has been paying part of the project's development costs.

U.S. Coal Cargo Reaches China, Beating Import Tariff Deadline

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Leonid Eremeychuk)

A vessel carrying 164,000 tonnes of coal from the United States reached Caofeidian port in northern China on Tuesday, Thomson Reuters Eikon ship tracking data showed. The vessel named Partnership is on schedule, while Beijing plans to impose steep tariffs next month on a list of U.S. At least three U.S. The other two vessels, Navios Taurus and West Trader, are expected to arrive at Jingtang port on July 18 and Aug. 10 respectively, according to Eikon data.

Idemitsu Founding Family to Accept Showa Shell Merger

Idemitsu, Showa Shell to merge next spring via stock swap; Idemitsu to make family member as director of merged company. Idemitsu's founding family will drop its opposition to plans for a merger of Idemitsu Kosan and Showa Shell Sekiyu, paving the way for the Japanese oil firms to combine, the Nikkei reported. The family, led by descendants of founder Sazo Idemitsu and which has a little over 28 percent stake in Idemitsu…

The Culture Clash Behind GE's Exit from Baker Hughes

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © xmentoys)

When General Electric Co bought oilfield services giant Baker Hughes last July, it created a global industry colossus with $22 billion in annual revenue. GE promised to digitalize oilfields worldwide, marrying its expertise in big data, analytical software and subsea equipment with Baker Hughes' experience in drilling services, chemicals and tools. Less than a year later, GE is bailing out of the deal, the firm announced Tuesday…

Oil Rises on Supply Losses, U.S. Push to Isolate Iran

U.S. tells countries to cut Iran crude imports to zero as Canada supply disruption and Libya uncertainty push up crude. Oil prices rose on Wednesday on supply disruption in Canada, falling U.S. crude stocks, uncertainty over Libyan exports and U.S. demands that importers stop buying Iranian crude from November. Brent crude was up 65 cents a barrel at $76.96 by 1155 GMT. U.S. light crude was 65 cents higher at $71.18.

Canada Dreams of Oil Exports to Asia, but California Beckons

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The nationalization of a crude oil export pipeline in western Canada has buoyed long-standing hopes for crude exports to markets beyond the United States - but the most likely destination for much of that oil is California. Faced with declining production from Latin America and rising prices for higher-grade crudes from the Middle East, the Golden State is importing more oil from Canada - much of it via the Trans Mountain pipeline, which Kinder Morgan Canada last month sold to Ottawa for C$4.5 billion ($3.5 billion).

U.S. Pushes Allies to Halt Iran Oil Imports

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The United States has told countries to cut off all Iranian oil imports. It is unlikely to offer any exemptions, said a State Department official  as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on allies to cease  funding to Iran. U.S. President Donald Trump said his administration was withdrawing from the "defective" nuclear deal agreement between Iran and six world powers in July 2015. The agreement was aimed to curb Tehran's nuclear capabilities in exchange for lifting some sanctions.

EPA Proposes 2019 Biofuel Requirements

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed setting a 19.88 billion gallon biofuels blending mandate for 2019 under the Renewable Fuel Standard, according to a statement seen by Reuters. That total would be up from a 2018 requirement of 19.29 billion gallons. The EPA proposal would leave the target for conventional biofuel, which is traditionally corn-based ethanol, at 15 billion gallons, said the agency. The agency…

Minnesota Regulators Question Enbridge Pipeline Expansion

Line 3 Replacement Project (Photo: Enbridge, Inc.)

Commissioners on a Minnesota regulatory board questioned crude oil demand for Enbridge Inc's Line 3 pipeline on whether work can proceed on a proposed expansion of the line. Enbridge wants to replace the aging 1,031 mile  pipeline that runs from Alberta to Wisconsin, but approval is needed from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Bottlenecks in Alberta have steepened a price discount for its heavy crude this year. Line 3, placed into service in 1968, operates at half its capacity due to integrity concerns.

U.S. Court Dismisses Climate Change Lawsuits Against Oil Majors

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A California federal court dismissed climate change lawsuits against five oil companies by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, saying the complaints required foreign and domestic policy decisions that were outside the purview of courts, Chevron Corp said on Monday. The cities of San Francisco and Oakland, California sued Chevron, Exxon Mobil Corp, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, and BP Plc last year, seeking an abatement fund to help the cities address flooding they say is a result of climate change.

Libya's Internationally Recognized Government Pans Oil Port Decision

Libya's internationally recognised government said on Tuesday that a decision by rival forces to hand eastern oil ports to a National Oil Corporation based in the east would increase tension and deepen division in the North African nation.   "Such actions increase tension and anger and do not serve the path of consensus or lead in any way towards reconciliation, but establish disunity and engrain division," the Tripoli-based government said in a statement.   Reporting by Ahmed Elumami

GE to Divest Baker Hughes Stake

General Electric Co said on Tuesday it will spin off its healthcare business and divest its stake in oil-services company Baker Hughes, leaving the once-sprawling conglomerate focused on jet engines, power plants and renewable energy. The changes aim to reward battered shareholders and strengthen GE's balance sheet by reducing debt, building up cash and further shrinking GE Capital, GE said. Shareholders will receive 80 percent of the value of GE Healthcare as a tax-free distribution, GE said.

Russian Oil Bought by PDVSA for Cuba Discharges in Curacao

A tanker that for more than a month was unable to deliver Russian crude to Venezuela's PDVSA amid a dispute between the state-run firm and ConocoPhillips has discharged its cargo in the Caribbean, and a second vessel is soon to follow, according to Reuters data and a source with knowledge of the sales. Conoco in May got court orders to seize PDVSA's assets, inventories and oil cargoes in the Caribbean to satisfy a $2 billion arbitration award.

U.S. Court Stops Work on Natgas Pipeline

Photo: EQT Midstream Partners

EQT Midstream Partners will stop construction in West Virginia of parts of its $3.5 billion Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline, after a U.S. federal appeals court issued a stay order last week against a permit, a U.S. regulator and the company said. The pipeline company will not proceed with construction in waters affected by the stay order in West Virginia, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said in a document issued on Monday.

Venezuela's Creditors Call for Unity

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A group of institutional investors holding roughly 13 percent of Venezuela's foreign debt said on Monday it will not back any restructuring plan that does not imply equal treatment for all creditors. The government of President Nicolas Maduro has halted almost all foreign debt payments, leaving Venezuela, which has a debt load of around $60 billion in direct and subsidiary foreign bonds, in default. Actions by the group…

Schlumberger Wins in US Supreme Court on Patent Damages

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that companies can recover profits lost because of the unauthorized use of their patented technology abroad in a victory for Schlumberger NV, the world's largest oilfield services provider.The 7-2 decision overturned a lower court's ruling that had enforced limits on applying U.S. patent law overseas and reduced by $93.4 million the damages sum that rival ION Geophysical Corp had to pay for infringing Schlumberger technology that helps find oil and gas beneath the ocean floor.

China to Cut US Oil Imports Amid Trade Spat

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Chinese oil buyers will keep taking crude from the United States through September, but plan to reduce future purchases to avoid a likely import tariff amid a trade spat between the world's two largest economies, multiple industry sources said.Beijing has put U.S. energy products, including crude oil and refined products, on lists of goods that it will hit with import taxes in retaliation for similar moves by Washington.Beijing did not specify when it will impose a 25 percent tax on oil…

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…

Scottish Government Wins Fracking Case Against Ineos

Paul Wheelhouse (Photo: Scottish Government)

Scotland's highest court has ruled in favor of a government ban on fracking which had been challenged by energy giant Ineos, the Scottish government said on Tuesday."This decision vindicates the extensive process of research and consultation which the Scottish government has undertaken since 2015," Scottish business minister Paul Wheelhouse said in a statement. "Our preferred position is not to support unconventional oil and gas extraction in Scotland (fracking)…

Asian Shares, Oil Fall as US-China Trade Spat Escalates

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Asian shares fell to a 2-1/2 week low on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump cranked up trade tensions by going ahead with tariffs on Chinese imports, prompting Beijing to immediately respond in kind.Fears of a global trade war added to pressure on oil prices, which extended Friday's big fall, while the dollar retreated from near 3-week highs against the safe haven yen.Spreadbetters suggested a subdued start for European shares, with FTSE futures off about 0.1 percent. U.S.