Saturday, October 31, 2020

PDVSA Changes Oil Deals to Include Shipping as Sanctions Bite

© Eddy Ulin / MarineTraffic.com

Venezuelan state-run oil firm PDVSA has begun offering to ship its own oil, figuring in the costs in crude supply deals to help customers who have struggled to hire vessels to carry the country’s oil due to U.S. sanctions, according to company documents seen by Reuters.The United States has blacklisted vessel owners, shipping operators and threatened to sanction any tanker facilitating the country’s oil exports as it…

KPMG Flags Oil Trader ZenRock's Questionable Deals

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ZenRock Commodities Trading Pte Ltd is unlikely to continue its core oil trading businesses in the long term, its court-appointed supervisor KPMG Services said in a report that also raised concerns over transactions by the Singapore-based trader.ZenRock was placed under interim judicial management in May after one of its creditors HSBC Holdings PLC alleged that it engaged in a series of "highly dishonest transactions."It…

China Grants Zheijang First Private Fuel Export License

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China has granted Zhejiang Petroleum & Chemical Co (ZPC) a license to export refined oil products, making it the first private oil refiner to win such permission, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.The license would allow ZPC to directly sell oil products to the international market, competing against state-owned refiners and helping to ease oversupply pressure in China's domestic market.However…

Libya's NOC to Lift Force Majeure at Es Sider Oil Port

Delta Ocean Tanker - Image by Demosthenes Kyriakoulis/MarineTraffic

Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Wednesday that it is ready to lift force majeure at Es Sider oil port, allowing a tanker on standby to load crude from storage.The state oil company urged all Libyan parties to support it and called on what it described as "foreign mercenaries and armed groups" to leave the oil port immediately.The Delta Ocean Suezmax tanker arrived at the port on July 5 and has been waiting since then…

US Approves LNG Exports from Oregon

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The U.S. Energy Department on Monday approved the export of up to 1 billion cubic feet per day of liquefied natural gas from a proposed terminal in Oregon, a move it said would ease U.S. sales of the fuel to Asian markets.The approval advances efforts by President Donald Trump's administration to increase U.S. fossil fuel shipments around the globe at a time big projects are increasingly under strain from environmental protests and lawsuits.“Today’s export authorization for Jordan Cove…

Malaysia to Sue EU Over Palm Biofuel Restrictions

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Malaysia, the world's second-largest palm oil producer, will take legal action against the European Union's restrictions on palm oil-based biofuels with the World Trade Organization (WTO), calling the policy a "discriminatory action."Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said on Wednesday the EU's renewable energy directive "restricts free trade practices.""The policies adopted by…

US Proposal Would Allow Oil and Gas Drillers to Delay Royalty Payments

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The U.S.

China to Boost Energy Reserve Capacity, Support Unconventional Gas Exploration

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China said on Friday it will bolster the capacity of the country's energy reserves and offer lower gas and electricity charges to key industries, as it looks to ensure energy supply and offset the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.In energy announcements on the first day of the parliament, known as the National People's Congress (NPC), authorities also pledged to boost the country's oil and gas network and continue to…

OPINION: Drowning in Oil, Regulatory Measures to Keep Prices Afloat

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These days history seems to be in the making on a daily basis. On April 20, 2020, the price of the NYMEX West Texas Intermediate Sweet Crude Oil (WTI) futures contract for May delivery plunged into the negative, forcing sellers to actually pay customers for taking the crude oil off the sellers’ hands. The historic drop came a little over a month after Russia and Saudi Arabia initiated crude oil price war, and it has left…

Sembcorp Begins Proceedings Against Hin Leong Affiliate

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Sembcorp Industries on Monday said its Sembcorp Cogen unit had begun legal proceedings to assert ownership over some gasoil reserves stored in tanks at Singapore's Universal Terminal, partly owned by oil trader Hin Leong Trading Pte Ltd.Just last week, Sembcorp Cogen terminated its gasoil supply and storage agreement with Hin Leong Trading, which is being monitored by Singaporean authorities.Sembcorp Cogen on April 24 obtained a court order to restrain Universal Terminal from moving…

BP Issues Force Majeure Notice for Golar FLNG Unit

(Image: BP)

Golar LNG Ltd said on Tuesday that it received a force majeure notice from a BP Plc unit seeking to delay taking delivery of a floating liquefied natural gas facility by a year.The notice is the latest force majeure claim issued in the LNG sector that is struggling with a seasonal plunge in demand as well as the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, which has further hammered the consumption of the super-chilled fuel globally.BP…

Ransomware: The IT Danger on the Horizon

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Two decades into the 21st century, we’re seeing a growing and pernicious threat to global information security: ransomware. Even non-technical folk have loosely heard of it, but the broader implications haven’t yet penetrated the public consciousness. In different industries, that general lack of awareness could be a big problem—and the maritime sector is a good example.Ransomware hits at the confluence of two critical trends in modern technology: the ever-increasing integration of IT systems into daily life…

Venezuelan Detains More than 30 PDVSA Workers

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At least 38 workers from Venezuela's state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela’s, including the president of maritime subsidiary PDV Marina, were detained on accusations of trafficking fuel, Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said on Saturday, describing the accusations as "treason."The move comes just days after other state officials were detained and amid a shakeup at PDVSA after President Nicolas Maduro last month named a committee to restructure the OPEC nation’s oil industry, which is struggling under U.S.

US to Warn Shipping Industry Against Storing Iranian Oil

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The Trump administration will soon issue an advisory warning ports, tankers and shipping industry players against storing Iranian oil in violation of U.S. sanctions, a State Department official said on Monday.David Peyman, the deputy assistant secretary of state for counter threat finance and sanctions, said the United States will also encourage ship captains and others to take photos of anyone conducting ship-to-ship transfers in case those transfers involve sanctioned oil.

UKCS Mediation Pilot Launched

Image: Oil and Gas Authority

UK oil and gas industry regulator Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has revealed that it has launched a year-long UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) “mediation pilot”.According to the OGA, the pilot aims to test the extent to which mediation can resolve certain disputes between oil and gas licensees, operators and infrastructure owners in the UKCS.The OGA has found that disputes have generally arisen due to entrenched licensee behaviors or communication breakdowns.

Angola May Seek International Arrest Warrant for Isabel dos Santos

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Angola could issue an international arrest warrant for billionaire Isabel dos Santos if she fails to cooperate with a fraud investigation in which she has been named as a suspect, its chief prosecutor was quoted as saying.Angola has named dos Santos, the daughter of former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, as a suspect over alleged mismanagement and misappropriation of funds while she was chairwoman of state oil firm Sonangol in 2016-2017.

US Extends License for Chevron's Operations in Venezuela

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The U.S. Treasury Department on Saturday renewed a license allowing Chevron, the last U.S. energy company operating in Venezuela, to continue working in the country until April 22.In January, the United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA in an effort to oust President Nicolas Maduro, though he remains in power. The Treasury issued Chevron a six-month license to operate, however, which…

US Renews Waiver on COSCO's Dalian Tanker Unit

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The Trump administration on Thursday renewed a waiver for companies to wind down transactions with the Dalian unit of a Chinese tanker company on which it had imposed sanctions in September for allegedly transporting Iranian oil.The waiver, good until Feb. 4, 2020, allows activities and transactions "ordinarily incident and necessary to the maintenance or wind down of transactions" including offloading of non-Iranian crude oil involving COSCO's Dalian Shipping Tanker Co, the U.S.

Maersk, Tide Maritime Targeted in Petrobras Probe

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Brazilian authorities on Wednesday targeted Maersk and other companies for allegedly paying bribes to get an edge in securing shipping contracts with state oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA, in the latest phase of a sprawling graft probe.Federal prosecutors said in a statement that Denmark's Maersk, the world's largest shipping company, was involved in allegedly paying $3.4 million in bribes related to 11 shipping contracts with Petrobras…

Former China Energy Chief Jailed for Life

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Former head of China's National Energy Administration Nur Bekri has been sentenced to life in prison for accepting bribes, China's Supreme People's Court said on Monday.The court said in a statement published on Chinese social media platform Weibo that Bekri confessed his crimes while on trial.Bekri, once one of the highest-ranking ethnic Uighur officials in China, was accused by the anti-corruption body of receiving bribes and demanding provision of luxury sedans and chauffeur services for his family members.(Reporting

Oil Edges Lower on U.S. Crude, Gasoline Build

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Oil eased on Wednesday after a report showing U.S. crude inventories grew unexpectedly last week and gasoline stocks surged, but losses were limited by optimism that a U.S.-China trade deal would be reached soon.Brent crude futures fell 34 cents, or 0.5%, to $63.93 a barrel by 1:14 p.m. EST (1814 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 34 cents, or 0.8%, to $57.93 a barrel.WTI trade volumes were also on track to be lower for the week ahead of the U.S. U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.U.S.

Saudi Aramco's IPO Reaches $8.7 bln

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Retail subscription for Saudi Aramco's initial public offering (IPO) reached 32.57 billion Saudi riyals ($8.7 billion) on Monday, lead manager Samba Capital said.The state-owned oil giant plans to sell 1.5% of the company, or about 3 billion shares, at an indicative price range of 30 riyals to 32 riyals, valuing the IPO at as much as 96 billion riyals ($25.6 billion) and giving the company a market value of between $1.6 trillion and $1.7 trillion. (Reporting by Marwa Rashad

OPEC, Other Stakeholders May Adjust Output Quotas

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Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday the forthcoming meeting of OPEC and other large oil producers may discuss adjusting oil output quotas at a next-month meeting, local news agencies reported."We don't rule out discussing various issues," Novak was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency when asked if the OPEC+ meeting would discuss lower production quotas for Russia. (Reporting by Maxim Rodionov and Vladimir Soldatkin

Solveig buys oilfield operator Capricorn from Cairn

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Norwegian pipeline firm Solveig Gas has agreed to buy oil firm Capricorn Norge from Cairn Energy for $100 million, completing its transformation into a North Sea field operator, Solveig's owner HitecVision said on Wednesday.The private equity fund told Reuters earlier this year it aimed to turn Solveig into an integrated exploration and production company, using the cash flow from its gas pipelines to fund expansion.Cairn separately confirmed the deal…

IMO 2020, China Output Pummels Asian Refinery Margins

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Profits at Asian refineries are being buffeted by a combination of factors, chief among them uncertainty over how exactly new shipping fuel standards will play out and the rise of China as a product exporter.Refinery margins in Asia have been knocked to the lowest since the financial crisis in 2008 by some measures, as the industry grapples with the disparate factors.The return from processing a barrel of Dubai crude at a typical Singapore refinery was a loss of $1.19 a barrel in early Asian trade on Monday.

Sarawak Seeks to Recoup Tax from Petronas

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Malaysia's state of Sarawak filed a writ summons and statement of claim against national energy firm Petroliam Nasional Bhd on Thursday to recover taxes owed, according to media reports.National news agency Bernama reported that the company, better known as Petronas, was said to be the only oil and gas company operating in the state that had not paid the 5% state sales tax imposed at the start of this year.Sarawak Assistant…

Gasum on an Acquisition Spree

Pic: Gasum

Finland-based integrated gas company Gasum takes steps forward in its growth strategy by acquiring AGA’s Clean Energy business and Nauticor’s Marine Bunkering business from Linde AG."These acquisitions will enhance the development of the Nordic gas market and create a platform for Gasum to provide a broader offering to meet the increasing demand for low-emission energy solutions from customers in industry, maritime and road transport…

Hackers Demand $5M from Pemex

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Hackers demanded about $5 million in bitcoin from Mexico's Pemex, they told Reuters on Tuesday, saying the state oil firm missed a special discount by not paying immediately after a cyberattack that fouled up the company's systems.The hack, which Pemex said it detected on Sunday, forced the company to shut down computers across Mexico, freezing systems such as payments, according to five employees and internal emails.Hackers…

Moment of Truth for Brazilian Oil Auction is Here

Reuters graphic of Brazil Oil blocks

Executives from many of the world's biggest oil companies gathered in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday to compete in Brazil's long-awaited transfer-of-rights (TOR) oil bidding round, the largest offer of crude and gas reserves in the nation's history.Lawyers and executives have been working feverishly in recent weeks to sort out terms of consortia that will place bids on the four blocks available in the TOR area — offshore fields with billions of barrels in confirmed reserves.If all the areas receive a bid…

Shell to Buy French Wind Farm Firm

File Image: offshore wind farm operations / credit: © Damen

Royal Dutch Shell is buying French renewable power company EOLFI as part of its plans to ramp up the oil major's electricity business.EOLFI has largely focused on solar and wind projects, including offshore wind farms.

Chesapeake Energy to Reduce CapEx by 30%

U.S. oil and gas company Chesapeake Energy Corp said it expects its capital expenses to drop by about 30% in 2020 after it reported a bigger-than-expected loss on Tuesday because of a sharp drop in production and lower natural gas prices.Chesapeake said it expects capital expenditures of $1.3 billion to $1.6 billion for 2020 that is well below $2.11 billion to $2.31 billion set aside for 2019.The company also plans to cut its 2020 production costs as well as general and administrative expenses by about 10%…

U.S. Ingenuity Will Solve Climate Challenge: US DOE

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The United States can tackle threats to the climate through technological advances as fossil fuels will remain a priority for the U.S. government and business, the assistant secretary for fossil energy said on Tuesday.The world should look to the United States' ability to reduce its emissions, the Department of Energy's Steven Winberg said at an oil conference in South Africa a day after the Trump administration formally moved to exit the Paris Agreement."We can solve any climate issue with technology development…

USA to Make Paris Climate Exit Official

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The Trump administration will file paperwork with the United Nations as early as Monday to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, marking the first formal step in a one-year process to exit the global pact to fight climate change.The move would finalize a decision President Donald Trump promised early in his term to unfetter America’s domestic oil, gas and coal industries."What we won’t do is punish the American people while enriching foreign polluters…

Keystone Pipeline Still Closed, ND Leak Source Unclear

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The precise source of a leak on TC Energy Corp's Keystone oil pipeline in North Dakota has not yet been identified, a spokesman for the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) said on Monday.There is no estimated timeline for restart of the pipeline and the company is continuing excavation work to isolate the affected part of the pipeline, the spokesman said by phone.Clean-up crews in Walsh County…

Investors Still Unclear on Saudi Aramco IPO Value

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Saudi Aramco's blockbuster listing remained shrouded in mystery on Monday, a day after the company finally announced its plans, with scant details disclosed and expert valuations varying wildly from around $1.2 to $2.3 trillion.The state oil giant, the world's most profitable company, fired the starting gun on a domestic initial public offering (IPO) on Sunday after a series of false starts that had kept the investment world guessing.However potential investors…

Drilling Ban Proposals Divide Democrats

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In the southeast corner of New Mexico, new houses, hotels and jobs are sprouting like flowers in the desert. Trucks hauling equipment and laborers jam once-barren highways on the way to thousands of oil rigs.The Democrats who control the state's government have lofty plans for the billions of dollars in projected tax revenues from the drilling industry in the Permian Basin, the world’s biggest oil field, starting with an overhaul of New Mexico's ailing public education system.

Offshore Wind: a Freshening Breeze?

AdobeStock_CREDIT Yauhen Suslo

July brought news about offshore wind. There was something for everyone: optimism, disappointment, and construction, too.Finally, starting with Dominion Energy’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project, a joint venture with Danish wind developer Orsted is underway. True, this is a small project – just two wind turbines to be installed 27 miles east of Virginia Beach. But considering all the preceding hurdles, news about Dominion blew in as proverbial, hopeful fresh air.

New CEO for Marathon After Hedge Fund Campaign

Marathon Petroleum Corp chief Gary Heminger will leave the company next year after almost a decade in charge, launching sweeping changes demanded by investors at the biggest U.S. refiner including the spinoff of its Speedway retail arm.The departure is a victory for activists Elliott Management, DE Shaw and others who had sought the changes following the 2018 acquisition of rival Andeavor.That $23 billion deal gave Marathon…

Big Corn, Big Oil Unhappy with Fed's Biofuel Plan

File Image: an Ethanol Processing Plant (AdobeStock / © Jason Lee)

Corn farmers, ethanol producers, refinery representatives, energy traders and state and local officials from the Midwest all blasted away at the Trump administration's proposed biofuels plan for next year during a public hearing on Wednesday hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).The hearing in Ann Arbor, Michigan, marks the second public meeting on the topic in as many days, airing the grievances of…

CSB: Chemical Leak Caused Fire at ITC Houston Terminal

The Houston, Texas Refining Complex (Credit: AdobeStock / © Irina K

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) said on Wednesday that a fuel leak, possibly due to open valves and a running pump, set off a massive blaze at a Mitsui & Co Ltd petrochemical storage operation along the Houston Ship Channel in March.The fire that began on March 17 at Intercontinental Terminals Co (ITC) spread black smoke across Houston, shut the nearby ship channel, slowed production at local oil refineries and closed…

Aramco: IPO Will Come Soon

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The initial public offering (IPO) for state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco will come soon, and will be a decision taken by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's energy minister said on Wednesday.Aramco aims to announce the start of its IPO on Nov. 3, three people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Tuesday, after delaying the deal earlier this month to give advisers time to secure cornerstone investors."It is going to come soon ...

Tankers Sail after U.S. Provides Sanctions Relief

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At least three tankers are on their way to Asia with U.S. oil cargoes after Washington gave temporary approval to wind down transactions with a Chinese shipping company that it sanctioned last month, according to data and shipping sources.In one of the biggest sanctions actions taken by the U.S. government since its crackdown on Iranian oil exports, Washington on Sept. 25 announced sanctions on Chinese tanker companies…

WFW Advises on Race Bank Wind Farm Deal

Image: WFW

Watson Farley & Williams (WFW), an international law firm based in London, said that it has advised Race Bank Wind Farm Limited on its USD 608 million sale of transmission system assets relating to the 573 MW Race Bank offshore wind farm to Diamond Transmission Partners.Race Bank is a joint venture owned by Ørsted (50%), Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 5 (25%), a fund established by Sumitomo Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Development Bank of Japan (12.5%)…

Teekay Resolves China LNG JV Issues

Pic: Teekay Group

Teekay LNG’s 50/50 joint venture with China LNG, which owns four on-the-water ARC7 LNG carriers and two ARC7 LNG carrier newbuildings, is also no longer classified as a “blocked person” under Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) rules.According to a press release from the owners and operators of LNG carriers, providing LNG and LPG marine transportation services firm, Teekay Corporation and Teekay LNG Partners announced that COSCO Shipping Energy Transportation…

US Gives Chevron More Time in Venezuela

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The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday renewed a license allowing Chevron, the last U.S. operating energy company in Venezuela, to continue drilling in the country for another three months through Jan. 22.The license has been a subject of intense debate within the Trump administration as it pursues a campaign to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro. Its renewal represented a win by some in the administration, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who see keeping a U.S.

Swiss File First Charges in 'Car Wash' Probe

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Switzerland has pressed charges against a person in a corruption probe of Brazilian state oil company Petrobras and construction firm Odebrecht, the attorney general's office said, adding it was seeking to conclude the case quickly.Prosecutors in Bern on Tuesday said they suspect the person, acting as a financial middleman, of helping bribe public officials and of money laundering in the sprawling "Operation Car Wash"…

Gazprom Integrates All Companies in Tax Regime

Image: Gazprom

Russian energy company Gazprom said that six companies of the Group – Gazprom Dobycha Astrakhan, Gazprom Transgaz Samara, Gazprom Transgaz Saratov, Gazprom Transgaz Tchaikovsky, Gazprom Transgaz Ufa, and Gazprom Transgaz Volgograd – will join the tax monitoring regime on January 1, 2020.The conglomerate, which carries on the business of extraction, production, transport, and sale of natural gas, is actively working to…

U.S. Shipping Sanctions Give Boost to EU Refiners

Exxon's Rotterdam Refinery (CREDIT EXXON)

U.S. sanctions imposed last month on subsidiaries of vast Chinese shipping fleet Cosco have given an unexpected boost to European refiners as less crude oil from the North Sea and West Africa heads east, traders and analysts said.Freight rates have soared as oil producers scramble for non-blacklisted vessels, discouraging longer-distance voyages.Complex refining margins for advanced facilities capable of extracting even more valuable products like diesel and gasoline…

ProPetro Cuts Almost 150 Workers

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ProPetro Holding Corp this month cut about 150 workers, people familiar with the matter said on Monday, the latest sign of growing trouble in the oilfield services sector as U.S. shale producers reduce drilling.The job cuts reflect slowing shale activity due to weak prices for oil and gas, and producers exhausting their spending budgets for the year, one of the people said.Midland, Texas-based ProPetro said last week it would cut the number of hydraulic fracturing fleets operated this quarter by as much as 28%…

Activists Climb Shell North Sea Platform

Greenpeace activists from the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark boarded two oil platforms in Shell’s Brent field (© Marten van Dijl / Greenpeace)

Greenpeace activists boarded two Royal Dutch Shell oil platforms in the British North Sea on Monday in protest against plans to leave parts of the giant structures in place after production shuts down.Pictures provided by Greenpeace show two people in yellow hats scaling one of giant two large, rusty structures and unfurling a banner reading "Clean up your mess, Shell!"Shell confirmed that protesters boarded the Brent Alpha platform and the Brent Bravo concrete legs.Shell is in the process of dismantling the 40-year-old

Parsley Energy to buy Jagged Peak Energy for $1.62 bln

Oil and gas producer Parsley Energy Inc said on Monday it would buy Jagged Peak Energy Inc in an all-stock deal valued at about $1.62 billion.Jagged Peak shareholders will receive 0.447 shares of Parsley Class A common stock for each share held, the company said.The offer translates to $7.59 per Jagged Peak share based on Parsley stock's closing price on Friday.Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar

Saudi Aramco IPO Announcement Due 'soon'

The initial public offering (IPO) of state-owned oil producer Saudi Aramco will be announced '"very very soon", Chairman Yassir al-Rumayyan was quoted as saying by al-Arabiya television.Reporting by Naher Chmayetelli

Novatek in Talks on LNG Transhipment

Photo: Novatek

Russia's liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer Novatek is in talks to tranship its Yamal cargoes in Norway or Russia's Murmansk because it is unsure of the impact of U.S. sanctions on the Chinese COSCO tankers it uses, a Novatek official said.The United States imposed sanctions on Sept. 25 on state-owned COSCO's subsidiaries, COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Co and COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Seaman & Ship Management…

Keppel, Sembcorp Reach Deal with Embattled Brazil Firm

When the Settlement Agreement is completed, Keppel O&M will have full ownership over the four uncompleted rigs to explore various options to extract the best value from the assets.  Keppel O&M is also in discussions with Magni Partners on the terms to complete the construction of the drilling rigs Urca (pictured) and Frade, which are about 92% and 70% completed respectively. (Photo: Keppel)

Singapore firms Keppel Corp and Sembcorp Marine said on Monday they had reached settlements with indebted Brazilian firm Sete Brasil over long-standing contracts to build drillships and rigs.Sete, which leased oil rigs to Brazil's state oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras), filed for bankruptcy protection in 2016 after being engulfed in a massive corruption scandal.Keppel and Sembcorp Marine are among a host of firms caught up in the wide-ranging "Car Wash" investigation.

DoJ Drops Shell Investigation

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Royal Dutch Shell said on Wednesday that it had been informed by the U.S. Department of Justice that it had closed its inquiry into Shell over the 2011 $1.3 billion acquisition of a Nigerian offshore oilfield.Shell and Italy's Eni are both currently on trial in Milan on graft allegations revolving around the acquisition of the OPL 245 oilfield."The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has notified us that it has closed its inquiry into Shell in relation to OPL 245.

US DOJ Closes Eni Investigations

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi (Photo: Eni)

The U.S. Justice Department has closed its investigations into alleged corruption by oil major Eni in Nigeria and Algeria without taking any action, the Italian energy group said on Tuesday.Eni, the biggest foreign oil and gas producer in Africa, is currently on trial in Milan on graft allegations revolving round the acquisition of a giant Nigerian oilfield in 2011.In that case Eni and peer Royal Dutch Shell are accused…

Eni CEO's Wife Under Investigation in Congo Probe

(Photo: Eni)

Italian prosecutors are investigating the wife of Eni's chief executive as part of a wider probe into allegations of corruption involving the oil and gas major in Congo Republic, a prosecution document seen by Reuters showed.State-controlled Eni has previously said it was under investigation by Milan prosecutors for corruption in Congo Republic from 2013 to 2015. The company has denied the allegations.Prosecutors told a court this year that five people were being probed…

NGA in Rig Settlement Pact with Industri Energi

 Image: Norwegian Shipowners' Association

The Norwegian Shipowners' Association (NGA) reached an agreement with Industri Energi and SAFE in the Mid-Term Settlement for employees on mobile offshore units, drilling and catering on permanently placed facilities on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, after mediation at the national Mediator’s Office several hours past deadline.The result involves a general wage growth of 3,6%. A strike among under 1600 rig workers is thus prevented."For the sake of the competitive situation and jobs on the Norwegian Continental Shelf…

OMP Acquires Stake in TEN

Pic: Watson Farley & Williams

The maritime and offshore energy institutional investor OMP is acquitting of US$35m of Series G Redeemable Convertible Perpetual Preferred Shares of the Greek shipping company Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN) in a private placement.Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) is advising OMP in preferred stock transaction.The Series G Preferred Shares will participate on an as-converted basis in any dividends declared and paid on TEN’s…

Swiss Prosecutors Aid Italian Oil Corruption Probe

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Switzerland's top court has allowed Geneva prosecutors to share with Italy material they seized more than three years ago that could shed light on a case involving oil majors Eni and Royal Dutch Shell and corrupt payments in Nigeria.In a ruling announced on Monday, the Federal Tribunal rejected Nigerian defendant Emeka Obi's appeal to prevent photocopies of items and computer files from his confiscated suitcase from being…

Tax Breaks Approved for Russia's Largest Oilfield

(Photo: Gazprom Neft)

Russia's finance ministry has in principle approved tax breaks for developing the Priobskoye oilfield, Russia's largest, to oil giants Rosneft and Gazprom Neft, Alexei Sazanov, head of the ministry's tax department said on Thursday.He added that tax breaks for the oil companies could last for 10 years but no start date had yet been agreed.Sazanov told reporters Russia's budget should be compensated for revenue it will lose due to the tax breaks for Priobskoye and the finance ministry proposed to introduce a mineral extr

Mexico, Pemex to Hedge Oil Output

Mexico and Pemex are hedging their oil output to protect oil income against projected low prices in 2020. (Photo © Adobe Stock / mmmx)

The Mexican government has said in its 2020 budget proposal that it will maintain a strategy of hedging its oil output against lower prices.Mexico’s state oil company Pemex will also continue a similar but separate hedging program. Mexico’s roughly $1 billion annual oil hedge is considered the world’s largest oil trade and the government has made the first moves to launch its program by asking banks for quotes.The budget…

US Judge Rejects Exxon, Shell Nigeria Case

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A U.S. judge on Wednesday rejected Exxon Mobil Corp's and Royal Dutch Shell Plc's effort to revive a $1.8 billion arbitration award against Nigeria's state-run oil company, which stemmed from a dispute over a 1993 contract to extract oil near the African country's coastline.U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan cited public policy and due process considerations in deciding not to enforce the October 2011 award against Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC)…

Bribery Probe Slows Petrofac Sales

(Photo: Petrofac)

Petrofac Ltd on Wednesday reported a fall in first-half order intake and forecast lower 2020 revenue, citing uncertainty relating to an investigation into the oilfield services company's dealings in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.Petrofac, which designs, builds and operates oil and gas facilities, said in June it had lost out on $10 billion worth of contracts globally due to the investigation by Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO)…

Frontline buys 10 Tankers from Trafigura

Frontline will buy 10 Suezmax oil tankers from Trafigura in a cash and share deal worth up to $675 million, and may buy a further four vessels later, the two companies announced on Friday.The deal will allow Frontline, which is controlled by Norwegian-born billionaire John Fredriksen, to boost its dividend in the time to come, the Oslo-listed tanker operator said."The structure of the transaction creates an immediate impact to our earnings at a time when we expect freight rates to increase significantly," Frontline Chie

Gulf Marine CEO Quits in wake of Profit Warning

A Gulf Marine Services Jack Up unit (CREDIT: GMS)

Gulf Marine Services said on Wednesday Chief Executive Officer Duncan Anderson has resigned as the oilfield industry contractor warned a reassessment of its ships and contracts showed profit would fall this year, kicking its shares 12% down.The Abu Dhabi-based offshore services specialist said a review by new finance chief Stephen Kersley of its large E-class vessels operating in Northwest Europe and the Middle East pointed to 2019 core earnings of between $45 million and $48 million…

Chinese Ship Returns to Vietnam's EEZ

A Chinese survey ship returned to Vietnam's exclusive economic zone off its coast on Tuesday, ship tracking data showed, less than a week after it left the area where vessels from the two countries were locked in a month-long standoff.The Haiyang Dizhi 8 first entered the zone under Chinese coast guard escort in July and appeared to conduct a seismic survey of waters that are a potential global flashpoint as the United States challenges China's maritime claims.The survey ship…

U.S. Crude Exports Reach a Record of 3.16 mln bpd

File image: A crude vessel alongside and loading at the U.S. port of Corpus Christi, Texas

U.S. crude oil exports surged 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) in June to a monthly record of 3.16 million bpd as South Korea bought record volumes and China resumed purchases, data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed on Friday.South Korea surpassed Canada to become the biggest purchaser of U.S. crude at about 605,000 bpd. China purchased about 292,000 bpd, the most since June last year and was the third-largest buyer of U.S. crude in June, the data showed.China, once the top buyer of U.S.

KY Gasline Erupts in Flames, One Dead

File Image: AdobeStock / © Hanmaomin

A natural gas line erupted in a ball of flames that could be seen for miles over a residential community in rural Kentucky on Thursday, killing one person and setting several houses on fire, a local sheriff said.The blast, in Moreland, a community about 40 miles (65 km) south of Lexington, was the second so far this year on Canadian energy company Enbridge Inc's Texas Eastern natural gas pipeline following an incident…

Oil slumps 7% as More Tariffs Loom

AdobeStock / © Kasto

Oil prices plummeted more than 7% on Thursday, with the U.S. benchmark posting its worst day in more than four years, after President Donald Trump said he would impose additional tariffs Chinese imports starting Sept. 1.The drop in Brent crude was the steepest in more than three years, undoing a fragile oil rally built on steady drawdowns in U.S. inventories even as global demand looked shaky due to the U.S.-China trade…

Kinder Morgan: Bankrupt Refiner Owes $1.5 mln

Adobestock / © mikesjc

Kinder Morgan Liquids Terminals LLC says Philadelphia Energy Solutions failed to make payments for fuel storage and other services totaling nearly $1.5 million since December, roughly seven months before the Pennsylvania refiner filed for bankruptcy.In a Wednesday filing, Kinder asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to allow it to sell fuel stored by PES at its Carteret, New Jersey, facility to pay itself back for the missed payments.PES…

Exxon Faces Local Lawsuit over Refinery Fire

AdobeStock / © Renaschild

Exxon Mobil Corp was hit with a lawsuit on Thursday over pollution from a fire at the company's Baytown Olefins Plant, according to an attorney for Harris County, Texas, which filed the suit.The fire was being investigated by federal and state agencies. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) were at the scene to determine the cause of a blaze…

TC Energy: Order Blocking Keystone XL Pipeline Lifted

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Diter)

TC Energy Corp's long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline took a small step forward this week, after a U.S. court overturned an injunction that barred certain work on the project, the company said.The company, which also reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, has been working for more than a decade to build the controversy-ridden 830,000 barrel per day (bpd) pipeline.KXL would run from an oil hub at Hardisty…

Chevron Cleared to Stay in Venezuela

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The Trump administration said on Friday it has renewed Chevron Corp's license to drill for oil and gas in Venezuela despite sanctions, signaling it sees value in having the U.S. oil producer operate in a country on the verge of economic and political collapse.The Treasury Department said it renewed the license for three months for Chevron, the last U.S. oil company operating in Venezuela, a member of the OPEC producer group. The license runs through Oct.

Nigerians Pursue Shell Spill Case in the UK

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The Supreme Court in London will hear an appeal by Nigerian farmers and fishermen to pursue claims in England against oil major Shell over oil spills in the Niger Delta, lawyers for the two affected communities said on Wednesday.The decision to hear the appeal re-opens the possibility for British multinationals to be held liable at home for their subsidiaries' actions abroad.

Tanzania State Oil Company Chief Reinstated

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The former head of Tanzania's state company oil is being reinstated by Tanzanian President John Magufuli, after the executive was suspended in 2016 over claims of abuse of office, the presidency said.James Mataragio, who was the managing director of the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), was suspended by the company's board from his post in August 2016.The statement by the president's office, seen by Reuters on Tuesday, gave no reason for his reinstatement.

TRIG Acquires French Wind Farms

Pic: Watson Farley & Williams LLP

UK-based investment fund  The Renewables Infrastructure Group (TRIG) has acquired stakes in four French onshore windfarms, with a total capacity of 107.8 MW. InfraRed’s listed renewables vehicle did not disclose financial details of acquisitions. Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) has advised British investment fund.WFW assisted TRIG on the acquisition, from their operations manager Renewable Energy Systems (RES), and financing…

Vietnam: Chinese Vessel Violated its Sovereignty

Vietnam on Friday accused a Chinese oil survey vessel and its escorts of violating its sovereignty and demanded that China remove the ships from Vietnamese waters.Vietnam and China have for years long been embroiled in a dispute over the potentially energy-rich stretch of waters in the South China Sea.On Wednesday, two U.S.-based think tanks reported that Chinese and Vietnamese vessels had engaged in a standoff lasting several weeks near an oil block in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone.

Eni CEO Sues Lawyer for Defamation

Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi (Photo: Eni)

The head of Italian oil group Eni has sued a former legal adviser to the company for defamation after excerpts of the lawyer's written testimony relating to a Nigerian corruption case were published in several newspapers on Wednesday.Eni said Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi had taken the legal action after newspapers quoted from the testimony, which was given by Piero Amara in an investigation into allegations of obstruction…

SPARK Joins OSC for $450mln Biz Incubator

Photo: Saudi Arabian Oil Co.

Saudi Aramco's King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) and Dubai-based Oilfields Supply Center Ltd. (OSC) signed an agreement to establish OSC as an anchor tenant at SPARK.OSC will develop a business incubator called the Common User Supply Base (CUSB) in collaboration with Saudi Aramco, to support the oil and gas industry in the Kingdom and the region, as well as help accelerate the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the energy sector.OSC plans to invest around USD 450 million over the next two years…