Sunday, February 25, 2018

Cyprus Accuses Turkey of Blocking Drillship Again

Cyprus accused Turkey on Friday of threatening to use force against a drillship chartered by Italy's Eni, in a standoff over hydrocarbons rights in the eastern Mediterranean. There was no immediate reaction from Turkey, which has vowed to prevent Greek Cypriots from exploring for oil or gas around the ethnically-split island and says some areas of Cyprus's offshore maritime zone fall under its jurisdiction. On Feb. 9…

BHP, ExxonMobil to Retain Aussie Oil & Gas Assets

BHP Billiton Ltd and ExxonMobil Corp's Esso Australia said on Friday they have dropped a sale process started 20 months ago for some of Australia's oldest and largest oilfields. "BHP and Esso have reached a decision to not progress with the sale of some offshore assets owned by the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture," a BHP spokeswoman said in an email. The resource giants had said they were looking to sell 13 fields, licenses and associated infrastructure held in the basin.

Aruba Begins Talks with U.S. over Aruba Refinery Pause

File Image: The island of Aruba, with the local refinery seen in the far background (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Hans)

The Aruba government said on Thursday it started talks with the United States after Houston-based firm Citgo Petroleum slowed work on an overhaul of the Caribbean island's 235,000-barrel-per-day refinery due to a lack of credit. Sanctions imposed last year by President Donald Trump's administration on Venezuela and its state-run oil company, PDVSA, limit their access to long-term credit, affecting oil projects in the OPEC-member country and in the Caribbean islands where PDVSA operates. Citgo, the U.S.

Saft forms 'Euro-Alliance' with Siemens, Solvay and Manz

File Image: a typical SAFT energy on board marine energy rack. CREDIT: Saft

French battery maker Saft, part of energy group Total, said on Thursday it had formed an alliance with European partners Siemens, Solvay and Manz to research, develop and build a new generation of batteries. The move is part of a European efforts to develop battery manufacturing to compete with Asian and U.S. manufacturers. The European Union's executive arm invited the bloc's industry chiefs in October last year to work towards a European battery consortium which could benefit from the executive's support and funding.

PDVSA Escapes Bonaire Restrictions - for now

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

A regulatory agency has decided not to impose restrictions on Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA's operations at its terminal on the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire after receiving new repair assurances, the Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) said on Wednesday. The Caribbean island in December said PDVSA could lose its license to operate the oil storage facility, which is essential to Venezuelan fuel oil exports, if it could not fulfill regulators' maintenance demands.

GE Commits to Baker Hughes, Shares Jump

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

Shares of General Electric Co's Baker Hughes rose sharply on Wednesday after the parent company said it no longer planned to shed its holdings in the oilfield services business before the expiration of a two-year lockup period, reversing an earlier stance that had cast uncertainty around the stock. General Electric last November said it was considering shedding its Baker Hughes holdings to refocus its business and boost cash flows.

Sembcorp Marine Swings to Q4 Loss

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

Singapore's Sembcorp Marine swung to a net loss in the fourth quarter, with revenue plunging 21 percent due to lower rig-building revenue, fewer floater and offshore platforms projects. The rig builder reported a net loss of S$33.8 million ($25.59 million) for the three months ended December, compared with profit of S$34.3 million a year ago. The company's full-year net profit slumped 82 percent to S$14.1 million. Analysts expected Sembcorp to report a net income of S$70.6 million for the full year…

Harsher Sanctions Needed Against Venezuela -OAS chief

OAS boss Almagro says regime "has become more tyrannical." U.S. weighs tougher sanctions after Tillerson tour. Sanctions should be stepped up against Venezuela's leaders and oil sector in response to the country's repressive political climate, the head of the Organisation of American States (OAS) said on Tuesday. Under President Nicolas Maduro, "dictatorship has become more tyrannical" and the suffering of its 30 million people has increased amid dire shortages of food and medicine, said Luis Almagro.

Eni Mulls Drilling Ship Move off Cyprus - CEO

Italian oil major Eni will probably move a drilling ship that has been blocked by the Turkish navy off Cyprus but will not pull out of its project in the country, the group's CEO said on Thursday.   "It should be going to Morocco," Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi said during a company event near Milan, when asked what the next location of the ship could be.   Reporting by Giancarlo Navach      

Glencore Hails Strongest FY Results Ever

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

Share price rises around 4 percent. Glencore Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg hailed the group's results as its "strongest on record" on Wednesday, bolstered by a recovery on commodity markets and said it had the assets to meet future demand including from electric vehicles. In line with other miners reporting this month, Glasenberg said there were "emerging inflationary pressures," but they had been offset so far by strong prices for byproducts, such as cobalt, and Glencore was able to contain costs.

EU Urged to Raise Fossil Fuel Taxes

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

The European Union should raise taxes on fossil fuels to help meet goals on climate change and plug a budget gap after Britain leaves the bloc, former senior EU officials said in a letter to EU leaders. European leaders will discuss options for the bloc's next long term budget from 2021 to 2027 at a summit on Friday and the taxes were not among those laid out by the EU executive ahead of the talks. Instead, the European…

Congo Seeks Debt Relief From Trading Houses

IMF pushing Congo to renegotiate debt; loans primarily came from Trafigura, Glencore. Congo Republic is set to become the latest African country to start debt relief talks with trading houses after borrowing $2 billion from merchants such as Trafigura and Glencore but now finding its debt levels unsustainable, sources familiar with the matter said. Trading houses regularly lend money to resource-rich clients in financial distress - be it countries such as Congo…

TransCanada Seeks Okay for LA Cameron Access

File Image (a typical natural gas header and pipeline arrangement) CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Pisotsckii

TransCanada Corp's Columbia Gulf Transmission unit on Friday filed with U.S. federal energy regulators to commence service on its Cameron Access natural gas project in Louisiana on March 1. One bcfd is enough gas to fuel about five million U.S.

U.S. Largest Offshore Oil & Gas Auction set for March

File Image (CREDIT: DNV GL)

The Trump administration on Friday said it would offer the largest oil and gas offshore auction in U.S. history on March 21 for areas in federal waters off the Gulf Coast, less than a year after a similar sale yielded little corporate interest. The Interior Department said it would offer 77.3 million acres (31.3 mln hectares) offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida for oil and gas development, an auction that includes all available unleased areas in the Gulf of Mexico.

Turkish Blockade off Cyprus 'out of Eni's control'

A Turkish blockade of a ship hired by Eni to drill for gas off the Cyprus coast is a diplomatic issue that is out of the Italian oil company's hands, Eni's CEO said on Friday. Last week, the Saipem 12000 drill ship heading from a location southwest of Cyprus towards an area southeast of the island was stopped by Turkish military ships and told not to continue because of military activities in the destination area. The ship is still halted, a Saipem spokesman said.

U.S. Bill Expands Carbon Tax Credit

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

A little-noticed addition to the U.S. budget deal approved last week will help Occidental Petroleum Corp and other oil producers by more than tripling a tax credit for injecting carbon dioxide back into the earth to increase crude output. The tax-credit expansion, although supported by environmentalists and energy producers, had failed to move out of Congress during the 2016 presidential election. Its passage now likely will further boost already surging U.S.

LyondellBasell's Plastics Business to Double with Schulman Deal

LyondellBasell is among the world’s largest producers of ethylene and propylene oxide. The Channelview complex is one of the largest petrochemical facilities along the U.S. Gulf Coast, covering an area of nearly 3,900 acres. CREDIT: LyondellBasell

Petrochemicals company LyondellBasell Industries NV will buy plastic composites maker A. Schulman Inc for $1.24 billion, doubling the size of its plastics business. LyondellBasell will pay $42 per share, an 8.7 percent premium to Schulman's Wednesday close, the companies said on Thursday. Schulman's shares were trading at $42.15 before the opening bell. The deal comes amid a wave of big mergers in the chemicals sector.

China's Crude Futures Face Challenges: Russell

China's new crude futures contract faces a mountain of obstacles to overcome if it is to establish itself as a viable benchmark for trading with the world's largest oil importer. The Shanghai International Energy Exchange (INE), which is part of the Shanghai Futures Exchange, said on Feb. 9 it would launch the much-delayed contract on March 26. In theory, this will give China a powerful tool to shake up global crude trading by offering pricing and hedging in the heart of the world's biggest market for imported crude.

TransCanada Q4 Profit Beats Street

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Roger Asbury)

Keystone pipeline operator TransCanada Corp's fourth-quarter profit beat market expectations on Thursday, helped by lower costs and an expansion of its gas lines. On an adjusted basis, the Calgary-based company earned 82 Canadian cents, beating the average analyst estimate of 77 Canadian cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Keystone's profitability was boosted, among others reasons, by the expansion of its NGTL gas pipeline, Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling said in a statement.

UK Court: Nigerians Cannot Pursue Shell Claim in England

The Court of Appeal in London ruled on Wednesday that two Nigerian communities cannot pursue Royal Dutch Shell in English courts over oil spills in Nigeria's Delta region. The split decision upheld a High Court ruling last year that was a setback to attempts to hold British multinationals liable at home for their subsidiaries' actions abroad. The court rejected the appeal from law firm Leigh Day on behalf of Nigeria's Bille and Ogale communities…

Sonatrach, Saipem to End Dispute

Algeria's state energy firm Sonatrach and Italian oil firm Saipem signed an agreement on Wednesday to end their legal disputes, company executives said.   "It's a big day for Saipem and for me," Saipem's CEO Stefano Cao told reporters.   Sonatrach's CEO Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour said: "The agrement will open opportunities for my firm in the coming years in Algeria."   Reporting by Lamine Chikhi 

Saudi Arabia to Restrain March Oil Exports

Saudi says to keep exports below 7 million bpd in March; OPEC's Barkindo says 2018 oil demand growth to be healthy. Saudi Arabia will restrain its oil exports in March despite lower domestic need for crude as OPEC's leader is pushing to eliminate fully the global oil glut and combat worries about a new cycle of oil price weakness. The kingdom will keep its crude exports below 7 million barrels per day (bpd) in March, despite a maintenance shutdown of the 400…

Wyoming, Utah Mull Funding Legal Challenges to West Coast Coal Policies

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Carolyn Franks)

Lawmakers in coal-producing Utah and Wyoming, faced by a shrinking market for the fuel, this week introduced laws to fund legal challenges in California and Washington of policies that they believe hurt coal sales. A Utah lawmaker on Monday proposed allocating $2 million to cover legal fees to private attorneys that would challenge a California surcharge on Utah coal, imposed as part of a cap-and-trade system to cut greenhouse gas emissions there.

Italy to Turkey: Legal Solution to Dispute Expected

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano on Tuesday met with Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu and told him that he wanted a solution to the standoff preventing Italy's Eni from exploring for natural gas off the coast of Cyprus. The two, who are both attending an anti-Islamic State coalition meeting in Kuwait, agreed both countries should maintain a relationship of trust because of "possible further projects in the energy sector, beyond those that already exist", a statement from Italy's foreign ministry said.

KOGAS in LNG Arbitration with North West Shelf Gas

South Korea's state-run Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) has gone into an arbitration with Australia's North West Shelf Gas to settle a liquefied natural gas (LNG) contract that ended in 2016, a company spokesman said on Monday. The KOGAS spokesman declined to give further details. Woodside Petroleum, the operator of the North West Shelf joint venture was not immediately available for comment. The arbitration relates to a difference over an agreed price renegotiation during a mid-term supply contract…

Seadrill Nears Comprehensive Restructuring Deal

(File photo: Seadrill)

Rig firm Seadrill, which last year filed for bankruptcy protection in a U.S. court, is working towards a comprehensive deal with all its creditors that could be concluded this week, it said in a court filing late on Friday. Once the largest drilling rig operator by market value, Oslo-listed Seadrill filed its bankruptcy case in Texas on Sept. 12 after being hit hard by cutbacks in oil company investment following a steep drop in crude prices.

Bankrupt Breitburn Rebuffs $1.8 bln Bid

U.S. oil and gas producer Breitburn Energy Partners LP, which has been in bankruptcy since 2016, does not plan to pursue an unsolicited $1.8 billion cash offer from Lime Rock Resources, according to court filings. The offer from Houston-based Lime Rock, which invests in oil-and-gas properties, surfaced last month as Breitburn was awaiting a ruling on its bankruptcy reorganization plan. The confirmation hearing ended in…

Police Investigate 2016 Hydrogen Leak at Statoil Refinery

Statoil's Mongstad refinery (Photo: Øyvind Hagen / Statoil)

Norwegian police have launched an investigation into a hydrogen gas leak at Statoil's Mongstad refinery in October 2016, the company said on Friday. Statoil temporarily shut and evacuated its main refinery on Norway's west coast when a rusted pipe socket ruptured. The firm's own investigation found the resulting leak was caused by insufficient maintenance and a poor understanding of risk. While nobody was injured, the leak could have been fatal if the gas had ignited, Statoil's probe concluded.

Eni/Total Find NatGas off Cyprus

Italy's Eni and France's Total have discovered a promising natural gas field off Cyprus, Eni said on Thursday, saying the find looked geologically similar to the mammoth Zohr field off Egypt. Further analysis was required to determine the range of gas volumes and define further exploration and appraisal operations, Eni said. "Calypso 1 is a promising gas discovery and confirms the extension of the 'Zohr like' play in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)," Eni said in a statement.

Brightoil Petroleum Employees Charged for Fuel Theft

Two employees of Brightoil Petroleum (Singapore) Pte Ltd were charged in court in the city-state this week for their alleged involvement in the theft of marine fuel on board a company barge, a company executive said in a statement on Thursday. Brightoil Singapore's Chief Operating Officer Stephen Qi Jun said in an emailed note to clients provided to Reuters by a company spokeswoman that the two defendants, Robby Lirpa Sugiharto, 34, and Sapidi, 44, are employees of Brightoil Petroleum (Singapore).

Texas Flood: U.S. Oil Pours into Global Markets

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Jose Gill)

United States taking share from OPEC nations in Asia, Europe, as China’s biggest U.S. crude buyer to double imports. In the two years since Washington lifted a 40-year ban on oil exports, tankers filled with U.S. crude have landed in more than 30 countries, ranging from massive economies like China and India to tiny Togo. The repeal has unleashed a flood of U.S. shale oil, undercutting global crude prices, eroding the…

France has Made Proposals to EU on Hydro Power Privatization

© Yulia Vinogradov / Adobe Stock

France has made proposals to the European Commission which could accede to long-standing demands by the EU's executive for France to privatise its hydro power concessions mostly operated by state-controlled utility EDF, CGT union said Wednesday. The mines and energy branch of the hard left CGT, said in a statement that it had learned of the proposals following a meeting on Wednesday between unions and the French prime minister's office.

California to Ban Crude from Trump Offshore Drilling Plan

© Don Bright / Adobe Stock

California will block the transport of petroleum from new offshore oil rigs through its state, officials told Reuters, a move meant to hobble the Trump administration’s effort to vastly expand drilling in U.S. federal waters. California's threat to deny pipeline permits for transporting oil from new leases off the Pacific Coast is the latest step by states trying to halt the biggest proposed expansion in decades of federal oil and gas leasing.

Canada Pipeline Feud Hits B.C. Wine Purchases

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Berkut 34)

Canada's oil-rich province of Alberta struck back at neighboring British Columbia on Tuesday, halting purchases of that province's wines in retaliation for its potentially holding up expansion of a crude pipeline. British Columbia proposed rules last week to temporarily block increased oil shipments through the province, adding another hurdle to Kinder Morgan Canada's planned C$7.4 billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Turbine Maker Vestas Eases Investor Worries

File Image (CREDIT: Adobestock / JJava)

Shares rise as much as 7 pct; analysts had feared worse. Vestas forecast a modest decline in profit margins and steady sales on Wednesday, easing investor worries about the impact of growing competition and falling government subsidies on the world's biggest wind turbine maker. Shares in the Danish company, which had dropped around 20 percent over the past year, rose 7 percent in early trading. "It is a sigh of relief…

Shell Russia: Impact of Western Sanctions 'minimal'

International oil major Royal Dutch Shell's Russian business felt minimal impact from Western sanctions on Russia, the branch's head Sergey Starodubtsev said on Wednesday, adding the firm was fully compliant with international law. Shell Neft, the Russian arm of the global oil company, plans to double the number of petrol stations in Russia, currently at 259, in the next four to five years, and sees fuel sales rising 8 percent to 12 percent this year…

Statoil Raises Dividend, CapEx as Oil Sector Rebounds

A file image of Statoil's Gullfaks A offshore oil installation.

Stock is best performer of European oil index. Norway's Statoil will raise its dividend, investments and exploration spending in 2018, it said on Wednesday, after higher oil prices helped it beat fourth-quarter earnings forecasts. Like other oil companies, Statoil is also benefiting from efficiencies it pushed through during the sector's downturn, when firms were forced to slash jobs, projects and investment. Its flagship project…

Seadrill Postpones Restructuring Hearing

File Image: A Seadrill offshore rig (CREDIT: Seadrill)

Drilling rig company Seadrill said in a court filing it postponed an initial hearing on its restructuring plan to Feb. 26, buying more time to consider alternative plans. Seadrill, one of the world's largest offshore drilling rig operators, filed for bankruptcy in September after a steep drop in crude prices caused drastic cutbacks in oil company investment. The company, controlled by Norwegian-born billionaire John Fredriksen…

Midstates Petroleum Seeks Merger with SandRidge Energy

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

A merger could create $1 bln producer in the Mississippian Lime. Midstates Petroleum Co Inc on Tuesday sought to merge with larger rival SandRidge Energy Inc in a deal that could create the biggest oil producer in the Mississippian Lime shale formation. Both companies have a large presence in the Mississippian Lime, which is primarily an oil producing area spread across Northern Oklahoma and Southern Kansas. The basin…

BP Profits Surge, Leaving Downturn Behind

File Image: an offshore oil installation (CREDIT Aker BP)

Annual profit more than doubles to $6.2 bln; Q4 profit jumps to $2.1 bln from $400 mln. BP's profits more than doubled in 2017 to $6.2 billion powered by higher prices and output of oil and gas, allowing the company to resume share buybacks as it recovers from a three-year downturn. The London-listed company saw one of the strongest output increases in its history last year, lifting production to levels not seen since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.

Hess Corp Posts Q4 Loss on Rising Costs

Hess Corp posted its 13th straight quarterly loss on Monday as the oil and gas producer struggled to rein in expenses. The company's shares were down 2.7 percent at $46.51 in light premarket trading. Hess has slashed jobs and sold assets as it grapples with spiraling costs and project setbacks at a time when other producers focus on capital returns in a higher oil price environment. The company, which is locked in a battle with activist investor Elliott Management Corp…

Greenpeace Appeals after Losing Norwegian Arctic Lawsuit

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

Environmental groups launched an appeal on Monday after an Oslo court rejected their arguments that Norway's oil and gas exploration in the Arctic violates citizens' right to a clean environment. Greenpeace and Nature and Youth disputed the Oslo District Court's verdict last month, particularly that Norway could not be held responsible for greenhouse gas emissions from the use of its oil and gas exported abroad. The Oslo…

US Could Unwind Wind, Solar Restrictions on Federal Lands

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The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is considering changes to a plan that set aside areas for renewable energy development in the California desert, a move it says would promote more wind and solar projects on federal lands. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, in a statement on Thursday, said it would consider amending the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan as part of a broader federal effort to unwind regulations that impede energy development.

Exxon Q4 Profit Soars

Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's largest publicly-traded oil producer, said on Friday its quarterly profit jumped more than four-fold on rising oil prices and cost cuts. The company posted net income of $8.4 billion, or $1.97 per share, compared to $1.7 billion, or 41 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. The company saw a $5.9 billion non-cash benefit related to recent U.S. tax reform to revalue deferred taxes. Production fell 3 percent to 4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Refining Margins Push Phillips 66 Q4 Profits

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Sharrif Che'Lah)

U.S. refiner Phillips 66 on Friday beat analysts' quarterly profit estimates, largely helped by higher refining margins. The company said realized refining margins rose to $8.98 per barrel in the fourth quarter, from $6.47 a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, the company earned $1.07 per share, beating analysts' average estimate of 86 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Phillips 66's profit surged in the quarter as the refiner benefited from a $2.74 billion gain due to the recent changes in the U.S.

London Court Finds for Creditors in Dana Gas Sukuk Dispute

A London High Court judge again ruled in favour of creditors on Thursday in a dispute over whether United Arab Emirates energy company Dana Gas must repay $700 million of Islamic bonds, a source familiar with the court proceedings said. Judge George Leggatt rejected an attempt by the company to overturn his decision last November that the purchase undertaking behind the sukuk was valid and enforceable. There was no immediate comment from Dana.     Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Writing by Andrew Torchia

Valero Beats Street on Better Refining Margins

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Sharrif Che'Lah)

U.S. refiner Valero Energy Corp's fourth-quarter profit beat Wall Street estimates on Thursday, as the company benefited from higher margins. San Antonio, Texas-based Valero said operating income from its refining business, its largest revenue generator, rose 52.2 percent to $982 million, helped by higher distillate and gasoline margins. Smaller rival Marathon Petroleum Corp earlier reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as its refining and marketing margin rose 16 percent. Analysts have said U.S.

Shell Poised to Dethrone Exxon as Q4 Profits Double

file Image: A shell FLNG project on its way to a production site. (CREDIT: Shell)

Profits rise 120 percent to $16 bln in 2017; Q4 profits more than double, beating forecasts. Royal Dutch Shell could usurp its largest rival Exxon Mobil as the energy sector's biggest cash generator after higher oil and gas prices combined with an improved performance lifted its 2017 revenue. Chief Executive Ben van Beurden has made no secret of his desire to challenge the dominance of the world's largest listed oil company…

Aramco IPO Decision Under Time Crunch

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

Riyadh holding talks with strategic investors, but New York and London want to win Aramco IPO. Saudi Arabia wants to complete talks with strategic investors such as China, Japan and South Korea before deciding where to list shares in state oil company Saudi Aramco, three sources familiar with the discussions said. The decision shows the initial public offering (IPO), which could be the biggest in history, is becoming an increasingly difficult balancing act for Riyadh.

ConocoPhillips Profit Boosts Dividend, Spurs Buyback

Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips CEO (CREDIT: ConocoPhillips)

ConocoPhillips said on Thursday it swung to a quarterly profit due in part to rising crude prices, helping the U.S. oil and gas producer boost its dividend and expand a share buyback program. The moves are likely to appease shareholders who have been clamoring for oil producers to focus more on margins and other shareholder-friendly metrics rather than production increases. As oil prices have gained more than 33 percent since last fall…

Alaska Requests Limits on US Offshore Drilling

© eqroy / Adobe Stock

Alaska Governor Bill Walker said on Tuesday he has asked U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to pare back a Trump administration plan for oil and gas leasing off the state's coast. While Walker supports offshore oil development, he said the Interior Department should focus on the most prospective areas off Alaska – the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in the Arctic and Cook Inlet in southern Alaska – and drop all others from the leasing plan.

Petrobras Settles Taxes Owed for Vessel Leasing Contracts

Brazil's state-controlled oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, said on Monday it adhered to a federal tax refinancing program to settle taxes owed on vessel leasing contracts. Petrobras, as the company is known, said in a securities filing the company would pay 1.7 billion reais ($538.5 million) in 12 monthly installments beginning this month. The payments would have a negative effect of 1.1 billion reais on fourth-quarter earnings, the company said.

Seadrill Postpones Court Hearing for Restructuring Talks

(Photo: Seadrill)

Drilling rig company Seadrill said in a court filing it postponed an initial hearing on its restructuring plan to Feb. 7, which sources told Reuters will give the company more time to consider alternative restructuring plans. Once the largest drilling rig operator by market value, Seadrill filed for bankruptcy protection in Texas on Sept. 12 after being hit hard by cutbacks in oil company investment following a steep drop in crude prices.

Keppel Posts First Quarterly Loss in 14 Years

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

Singaporean conglomerate Keppel Corp swung to its first quarterly net loss in 14 years, after accounting for a huge fine its rig-building unit agreed to pay to resolve investigations into charges it bribed Brazilian officials. Keppel, last month, said its offshore rig-building business had agreed to pay more than $422 million to resolve the bribery probe brought against it by authorities in the United States, Brazil and Singapore. Investigations with respect to the individuals involved are ongoing.

Noble Group Hopeful of Debt Restructuring Deal

Chairman says talks with bond holders and banks moving forward; hopeful of reaching a conclusion in near future. Struggling commodities trader Noble Group Ltd is having constructive talks with creditors to restructure its debt and is hopeful of a deal in the near future, the company's chairman said. "Various talks have been going for a couple of months. They have been constructive," Paul Brough, a restructuring specialist who was appointed Noble's chairman this year…

Nigeria Investigating Brass LNG Corruption

Nigeria will hold an investigation into alleged corruption involving the state oil firm's long-awaited Brass LNG project, including questions over the use of government funds. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation's (NNPC) liquefied natural gas project has been stuck in the planning stages for more than a decade, with some Western partners having pulled out because of tough operating conditions and an unfavourable investment environment.

Eni Halts Drilling in Rosneft-led Offshore Project Over US Sanctions

Italian oil and gas group Eni has suspended drilling in the Black Sea in a Rosneft-led offshore project because of U.S. sanctions, the company's chairwoman said on Wednesday. "We asked authorisation to the U.S. and so we obtained the authorisation from the U.S. so we started to drill this well, but then now we have to stop because… sanctions are hitting this," Emma Marcegaglia said at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Reporting by Denis Pinchuk; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber

Five Missing after Oklahoma Oil & Gas Blast

Five workers were missing after a fiery explosion on Monday at an oil and gas drilling site in eastern Oklahoma, officials said. The fire had been fed by gas from a well being drilled for Red Mountain Energy by Patterson-UTI Energy Inc, preventing a full search of the scene throughout the day, but was later extinguished, the Pittsburg County Emergency Management Department (PCEMD) said in a statement. Houston-based Patterson-UTI said in a statement late on Monday the cause of the well explosion remained unclear.

Call for Carriage Ban on Non-Compliant Fuel

Photo: International Maritime Organization - IMO Official FB Page

A group of leading environmental and maritime shipping organizations have called for the prohibition of transporting non-compliant marine fuels once the global 0.5 percent sulfur cap takes effect in 2020. The United Nation's International Maritime Organization (IMO) has agreed that from 1st January 2020 the maximum permitted sulphur content of marine fuel (outside Emission Control Areas) will reduce from 3.5% to 0.5%.

Schlumberger Q4 Profit Beats Street, Venezuela Write-Down Weighs

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

Schlumberger reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday as the oilfield services provider benefited from higher oil prices, while also taking $2.7 billion in charges for restructuring and investment in Venezuela. A rise in drilling by shale producers helped the company's revenue in North America rose 59 percent to $2.81 billion for the fourth quarter, pushing total revenue up 15 percent to $8.18 billion.

TransCanada: Open Season for Keystone XL Concluded

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Berkut 34)

TransCanada Corp said on Thursday it had closed its open season for taking orders for the use of its Keystone XL pipeline, having secured about 500,000 barrels per day of firm, 20-year commitments.   "Interest in the project remains strong and TransCanada will look to continue to secure additional long-term contracted volumes," the company said in a statement.   Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee 

Oil Producers Want New Hearing on Impact of Magellan Proposal

Oil and gas producers WPX Energy and Chevron have asked a U.S. regulator for a new hearing on the broad industry impact of Magellan Midstream Partners' request to launch a marketing arm, signaling concerns about the effect it could have on shipping oil in the United States. The two firms late on Tuesday became the latest energy companies, including Plains All American's Plains Marketing LP and Energy Transfer Partners, to raise questions after Magellan requested another hearing on the marketing arm issue. On Nov.

Hedge Fund Bulls Leave Oil Looking 'stretched': Kemp

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

Hedge funds and other money managers have boosted their bullish position in oil to a new record, but with crude taking over from fuels as the main target of fresh buying. Hedge funds boosted their net long position in the six most important futures and options contracts linked to crude and fuels by 67 million barrels to a record 1,399 million barrels in the week to Jan. Portfolio managers have increased their net long position in Brent, NYMEX and ICE WTI, U.S. gasoline, U.S.

Norway: We Must Prepare for Arctic Oil Race with Russia

© ggw / Adobe Stock

Norway must identify potential offshore oil and gas reserves near its northern maritime border with Russia to better protect its economic interest in the remote Arctic region, energy minister Terje Soeviknes said on Wednesday. The two countries agreed in 2010 to split previously disputed areas of the Barents Sea between them, allowing each to exploit resources hidden beneath the seabed. An increase in drilling activity on the Russian side of the border should lead Norway to push its own agenda, the minister said.

Greece Attracts Interest for Offshore Oil & Gas Tenders

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

Tenders for offshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation west and south of Greece have attracted "strong interest" from companies exploring in the Mediterranean, the head of Greece's oil and gas resources management company said on Wednesday. Greece launched the tenders after expressions of interest by a consortium of Exxon Mobil, Total and Hellenic Petroleum for two sites off the island of Crete and by Greece's Energean for a block in the Ionian Sea.

EU to Hit Venezuelan Officials with Sanctions

Seven senior Venezuelan officials are likely to face European Union sanctions from next week, including the country's powerful chief justice, diplomats said, as the EU seeks to pressure President Nicolas Maduro to resolve a political crisis. The travel bans and asset freezes, which EU ambassadors are set to approve on Thursday, will follow U.S. sanctions last year and mark a tougher stance from European capitals that had sought to coax a solution without resorting to punitive measures.

BP Deepwater Horizon Costs Balloon to $65 Billion

Response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon April 21, 2010 (File photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

BP said on Tuesday it would take a new charge over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill after again raising estimates for outstanding claims, lifting total costs to around $65 billion. The post-tax, non-operating $1.7-billion charge BP will take in its fourth quarter results came after claims resolved in recent months were about seven times higher than anticipated, the London-based company said. The claims were part of the…

Eneco Shareholders Call for Mediation

A commission representing Eneco shareholders called on Tuesday for the urgent appointment of a third-party mediator to try to repair ties between the Dutch energy company's supervisory board and its investors. Eneco's shareholders -- municipal governments -- voted in October to privatise the company, which is estimated to be worth around 4 billion euros ($4.9 billion). The company's management has called for the company to seek a partial sale or Initial Public Offering, which would ensure it remains under Dutch control.

Aker BP Raises 2018 Dividend Forecast

File Image: An offshore Aker BP oil installation (CREDIT: Aker BP)

Norway's Aker BP will pay out $450 million in dividends for 2018, $100 million more than previously indicated, and has "a clear ambition" to raise them by the same amount each year to 2021, the oil company said on Monday. "Our financial position has been strengthened. We have seen a rapid de-leveraging, and foresee a solid cash generation combined with a strong liquidity position," the company, 30 percent owned by BP, said in a statement.

More Charges Against Shell Singapore Theft Suspects

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Total number of people arrested in the case rises to 20; thefts are alleged to have been going on for months. A Singapore court on Monday filed additional charges against nine men accused in a large-scale oil theft at Shell's biggest refinery, the latest development in an extensive investigation in the city-state. The nine Singaporean men, eight of whom were employees of the Singapore subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc…

Oil Teases $70 but U.S. Output Looms

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Oil propped up by OPEC/Russia-led production cuts, but rising North American output threatens to undermine cuts. Oil hovered below a three-year high near $70 a barrel on Monday on signs that production cuts by OPEC and Russia are tightening supplies, but analysts warned of "red flags" due to surging U.S. production. International benchmark Brent crude futures were trading 18 cents lower at $69.69 by 1004 GMT, having risen above $70 earlier in the session. U.S.

Noble's Proceeds from Unit Sale to Vitol Disappoint

Struggling commodities trader Noble Group has completed the sale of its U.S.-focused oil business to the world's largest oil trader Vitol, but net proceeds from the deal are lower than a previously announced estimate, the company said on Monday. In a statement, Noble Group said net proceeds from the sale of Noble Americas Corp (NAC) to Vitol were expected to be about $400 million. In October, Hong-Kong based Noble said…

US Supreme Court to Hear Schlumberger Fight over Patent Damages

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to review a bid by Schlumberger NV, the world's largest oilfield services provider, to allow companies to recoup profits lost due to patent infringement when patented technology is used overseas. The case involves a fight over how much rival ION Geophysical Corp must pay for infringing Schlumberger technology that helps search for oil and gas beneath the ocean floor. The justices…

Iraq: 26 Firms Qualified for Oil & Gas Block Bids

The Iraqi oil ministry said on Friday 26 companies have qualified to bid for oil and gas blocks in border areas. Five companies qualified recently to take part in the bidding round, alongside 21 others already selected, the ministry said in a statement. In November Iraq invited foreign companies to bid for contracts to explore and develop oil and natural gas reserves in nine new blocks as the OPEC nation seeks to boost its output capacity.

US Senators from 12 States Seek Offshore Drilling Exemptions like Florida's

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Twenty-two Democratic U.S. senators from 12 states on Thursday joined the chorus of local representatives seeking exemptions from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's newly proposed offshore drilling plan, after his surprise move on Tuesday to shield Florida. Zinke surprised lawmakers, governors, and industry groups on Tuesday night by announcing that Florida would be removed from the Interior Department's proposal to open up over 90 percent of federal waters to oil and gas leasing.

ICE Moving Oil Contracts to U.S. as MiFID II Implement

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The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), one of the world's biggest commodity exchanges, is shifting the trading of some oil contracts to the United States, the exchange said in a statement, as customers balk at new European Union rules. The EU's revamped Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, known as MiFID II, aims to curb speculative trading and make markets more resilient. The rules came into force last week. ICE…

Noble Group to Exit Oil Trading: Sources

Trader exodus in London, Singapore; Vitol bought core of oil business based in Americas in Oct. Noble Group is closing down its London oil desk and winding down its Asia oil operations, sources familiar with the matter said, as heavy losses and high debt force what was once Asia's biggest commodities trader to restructure. The closures follow the sale of its larger U.S. oil trading business to Vitol, announced in October, and a nine-month loss of some $3 billion reported in November.

Seadrill Bondholders Post Cash Deposit for Rival Restructuring

(Photo: Seadrill)

Owners of unsecured bonds in rig firm Seadrill have posted a cash deposit to back an alternative financial restructuring, paving the way for talks with the drilling operator over its future, the two sides said on Monday. Seadrill, once the largest drilling rig operator by market value, filed for bankruptcy protection in a U.S. court on Sept. 12 after being hit hard by cutbacks in oil company investment following a steep drop in crude prices.

US Could Get First LNG Import from Russia despite Sanctions

Christopher De Margerie (Photo: SCF Group)

A vessel that may be carrying liquefied natural gas from Russia's new Yamal LNG export terminal could be heading to the United States despite sanctions against the company that operates the Russian facility, according to a report by S&P Global Platts and Thomson Reuters shipping data. The tanker Chris. De Margerie picked up a cargo from Novatek PAO's Yamal facility, Russia's second LNG export terminal, on Dec. 9 and dropped it off at National Grid Plc's Isle of Grain LNG facility near London on Dec.

Apache: Q4 non-U.S. Output Disappoints

Apache Corp on Tuesday estimated oil production from its international operations missed its forecast for the fourth quarter, partly due to unexpected delays and the underperformance of its projects in the North Sea. The company estimated production from non-U.S. operations was 138,000 to 140,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), compared with the 150,000 to 156,000 boe/d it forecast in October. However, Apache estimated its production in the United States was at the high end of its forecast of 218…

As US Opens Up Offshore Waters, Eastern GoM Beckons

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President Donald Trump's administration has proposed opening up nearly all of America's offshore waters to oil and gas drilling, but the industry says it is mainly interested in one part of it, now cordoned off by the Pentagon: the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The industry's focus on an area located near a sprawling network of existing platforms, pipes and ports could ease the path to new reserves, and assuage the drilling…

Op/Ed: DPP a Benchmark Toward US Energy Dominance

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National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) president Randall Luthi comments on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) 2019-2024 National Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Draft Proposed Program, which seeks to open nearly all U.S. offshore waters to oil and gas drilling. With 94 percent of our nation’s outer continental shelf (OCS) currently and unnecessarily off limits to oil and gas leasing and exploration, NOIA welcomes…

Suspect Involved in N. Korean Oil Smuggling Released on Bail

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A court in Taiwan has released on bail a man prosecutors allege to have made false declarations in the case of a Hong Kong-flagged tanker suspected of transferring oil to North Korea in violation of international sanctions. The man, surnamed Chen, said the vessel was bound for Hong Kong, despite knowing it was bound for international waters to traffic oil products, the prosecutors' office in the southern city of Kaohsiung said on Wednesday.

Orsetd, Formerly Dong Energy, Sued over Name Change

(Photo: Orsted)

The descendants of Danish scientist Hans Christian Orsted will take legal action on Friday against one of Denmark's biggest companies over its decision to change its name to Orsted, their lawyer said. DONG Energy, the world's largest developer of offshore wind farms, in October renamed itself Orsted as part of its shift to renewable energy from oil and gas. DONG was short for Danish Oil and Natural Gas. It said the new name…

Aramco converted to Joint-Stock Firm Ahead of IPO

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The change is a customary step in IPO preparations; Aramco IPO said to be on track for 2018. Saudi Arabia has changed the status of its national oil giant Aramco to a joint-stock company as of Jan. 1, in a key step for an initial public offering (IPO) planned for later this year. The sale of up to 5 percent of Saudi Aramco, expected to go ahead in the second half of 2018, is a centrepiece of Vision 2030, an ambitious reform plan to reduce the dependence of the Saudi economy on oil.

Idemitsu, Showa Shell to Combine Crude Liftings

The two companies expect to finish this loading integration in the second-half of 2018, Idemitsu CEO Takashi Tsukioka told reporters on the sidelines of an industry event to mark the New Year. Idemitsu said last month that it and Showa Shell would combine management of their key businesses, pursuing a merger bitterly opposed by a core investor - Idemitsu's founding family. Japan's second- and fourth-biggest refiners by…

Britain Outlines Plans for Coal's Phase Out

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Britain will set an emission limit on coal-fired power generators from Oct. 1, 2025, forcing them to close unless they are fitted with carbon capture technology, the government said on Friday. As part of its efforts to meet the country's climate targets, Britain in 2015 announced it would end "unabated" coal-fired power generation - plants without technology to capture and store carbon emissions - by 2025. The Department for Business…

Brookfield Business Partners to Buy Westinghouse for $4.6 bln

An affiliate of Canada's Brookfield Asset Management said on Thursday it would acquire Westinghouse Electric Co LLC, the bankrupt nuclear services company owned by Toshiba Corp, for $4.6 billion. Brookfield Business Partners LP and institutional partners will buy the Pittsburgh-based business using $1 billion of equity and $3 billion of long-term debt financing, according to a statement. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

Norway's Arctic Oil Plan Deemed Legal

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An Oslo court approved on Thursday Norway's plans for more oil exploration in the Arctic, dismissing a lawsuit by environmentalists who said it violated a constitutional right to a healthy environment. The case, brought by Greenpeace and the Nature and Youth Group, had argued that a 2015 oil licensing round in the Arctic that gave awards to Statoil, Chevron and others was unconstitutional. "The environmental organisations' argument that the plan violates the Constitution's Article 112 has not succeeded…

Taiwan Releases Suspect in North Korean Oil Transfer

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

A court in Taiwan has released on bail a man prosecutors allege to have made false declarations in the case of a Hong Kong-flagged tanker suspected of transferring oil to North Korea in violation of international sanctions. The man, surnamed Chen, said the vessel was bound for Hong Kong, despite knowing it was bound for international waters to traffic oil products, the prosecutors' office in the southern city of Kaohsiung said on Wednesday.

Russian Gas 2017 Exports to Europe at All-Time High

File Image: A typical LNG Carrier at Sea. As U.S. export infrastructure grows, EU countries now have more options. (CREDIT: MISC)

Exports to Europe, Turkey hit 193.9 bcm; production up 12.4 percent to 471 bcm. Russia's gas exports to Europe and Turkey rose by 8.1 percent to a record high 193.9 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2017, Alexei Miller, head of Gazprom, said in a statement on Wednesday, despite EU efforts to cut its reliance on Russian energy. Gazprom, run by Miller, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, supplies more than a third of the European Union's gas.

Dominion Energy to buy Scana Corp

Dominion Energy Inc said on Wednesday it would buy Scana Corp in an all-stock deal that values the electric utility company at about $7.9 billion.   Scana shareholders will receive 0.6690 shares of Dominion Energy for each share held, or the equivalent of about $55.35, the companies said.   The offer represents a premium of 42.4 percent to Scana's Tuesday closing price of $38.87.   Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan