Wednesday, December 13, 2017

BHP Hires Four Banks for U.S. Shale Exit

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

BHP hires Barclays, Citi, BAML and GS. BHP , the world's largest miner, has asked four investment banks to help it prepare for either a sale or spin-off of its underperforming U.S. shale oil and gas unit, with a view to taking a decision in early 2018, sources said. BHP said in August it aimed to sell its unconventional onshore shale assets in the Eagle Ford, Permian, Haynesville and Fayetteville basins, which it acquired at the height of the oil boom and could be valued at more than $10 billion.

Oasis Petroleum to buy Permian Assets

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

Oil and gas producer Oasis Petroleum Inc said on Monday it would buy 20,300 net acres in the Delaware Basin from privately-held Forge Energy LLC for about $946 million.   Oasis said it will would buy the acreage, which produced 3,500 barrels of oil equivalent in November, in cash and stock.   Reporting by Ahmed Farhatha

Seadrill Receiving Rival Bids for Debt Restructuring

(Photo: Seadrill)

Drilling rig firm Seadrill confirmed on Wednesday it had received two rival bids for its debt restructuring from unsecured bondholders. The company, which filed for Chapter 11 restructuring in a U.S. court on Sept. 12, has sought alternative proposals for the plan put forward by its main owner, Norwegian-born billionaire John Fredriksen and a group of hedge funds. "We have received two alternative bids from unsecured bondholders ...

Seadrill Bondholders Propose Alternative Debt Restructuring

(Photo: Seadrill)

An unofficial committee of Seadrill's unsecured bondholders has submitted a binding alternative proposal for the company's restructuring, two sources familiar with the proposal told Reuters on Tuesday. Norwegian-born billionaire John Fredriksen and a group of hedge funds proposed on Sept. 12 to invest $1.06 billion via new equity and secured debt to restructure indebted Seadrill, once the largest drilling rig operator by market value.

FERC Seeks Delay of Coal, Nuclear Rule

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) carolyn franks)

The new chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission late on Thursday requested a 30-day delay on a decision on a plan promoted by Energy Secretary Rick Perry to subsidize aging nuclear and coal-fired power plants. Kevin McIntyre, a Republican, wrote a letter to Perry proposing to extend the deadline for a decision on the so-called Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule. Perry in September had issued FERC a directive to consider the rule and decide on it by Dec. 11.

Norway Gives Approval to Restart Arctic Goliat oilfield

File Image: an offshore Norway oil iunstallation. CREDIT: Statoil)

Italian oil firm Eni has received permission to restart production at its Goliat oilfield in the Arctic Barents Sea following a shutdown lasting more than two months, Norway's Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) said on Friday. The PSA ordered the company to shut the 100,000 barrels-per-day field on Oct. 6 due to problems with the Goliat platform's explosion-proof electric motors. Eni, the operator, has 65 percent, and Norway's Statoil holds the remaining 35 percent stake in the world's northernmost offshore oilfield…

US Interior Dept Pushes Drilling, Expedited ANWR Permits

The Department of the Interior, the U.S. government's second largest revenue generator behind the IRS, is trying to be a better business partner to oil companies to curb falling revenues, Vincent DeVito, energy advisory to the Secretary of the Interior, said on Thursday. The department plans to expedite permitting on drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska, DeVito said at the S&P Global Platts Energy outlook in New York.

Kinder Morgan wins Trans Mountain Appeal

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

Canada's energy regulator ruled on Thursday in favor of Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd's appeal to sidestep some municipal permits for its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, a major victory for the C$7.4 billion ($5.8 billion) project. The ruling, which came just three days after the regulator heard the case, could offset some of the construction delays afflicting the company, which said on Monday the project could be further set back if it could not get clarity about the permits.

Saudi Aramco Seeks IPO Bookrunners, Coordinators

State oil giant Saudi Aramco is seeking proposals from bankers before the end of the year for roles of bookrunners and global coordinators for its initial public offering (IPO) planned for 2018, two sources close to the matter said. The plan to float about 5 percent of Aramco is a centrepiece of Vision 2030, a programme to diversify the Saudi economy beyond oil that is championed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Saudi Aramco could not be immediately reached for a comment.

New York Comptroller to Withdraw Exxon Shareholder Climate Proposal

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli plans to withdraw a shareholder proposal it had filed for Exxon Mobil Corp annual meeting next year, his office said in a press release on Tuesday. DiNapoli, who oversees a state retirement fund, said the resolution will be withdrawn because Exxon said Monday it agreed to conduct a climate change impact analysis. Reporting by Ross Kerber

Brazil's "Local Content" Rule likely to Stay

Brazil will likely limit planned cuts in local content requirements for future oil exploration and production contracts in a move aimed at appeasing local suppliers and to pave the way for an extension of customs breaks for oil companies. The measures would be a concession to some opponents of "Repetro," a preferential customs regime for oil and gas companies, who were angered by steep cuts in local content requirements for oil contracts, according to Abimaq, a group which represents local suppliers.

SandRidge Offers Icahn Some Deal Records, Rebuts Claims

SandRidge Energy Inc on Monday pushed back against activist investors Carl Icahn and Fir Tree Partners' attack on the oil and gas producer's proposed $746 million acquisition of rival Bonanza Creek Energy Inc. In a letter to its shareholders, the Oklahoma City-based energy firm said opponents' claims the transaction would hurt shareholder value were "false and reckless," and a purchase would boost cash flow per share by 15 percent next year and provide operational and financial synergies.

Sparrows Group Acquires Alpha Offshore Service

L-R - Stewart Mitchell, Sparrows Group and Mikkel Lund, Alpha Offshore

Sparrows Group has cemented its position in the renewables sector with the acquisition of Danish wind energy specialist Alpha Offshore Service A/S. Already a supplier of capital equipment to the wind energy industry, the deal significantly strengthens the group’s operations and maintenance capabilities in the sector. Alpha Offshore provides engineering personnel and inspection services to the energy industry, specialising in the delivery of operations and maintenance…

Premier Oil to sell North Sea Pipeline Stake

Premier Oil Plc will sell its 30 percent stake in a North Sea pipeline to UK gas infrastructure company CATS Management Ltd for up to 23.6 million pounds ($31.68 million), it said on Monday. The Esmond Transportation System (ETS) pipeline, currently operated by Perenco UK Limited transports gas from Esmond Area fields to the Bacton gas terminal on the North Sea coast in Norfolk. CATS will make an initial upfront payment of 21 million pounds payable on deal completion…

UAE: OPEC to Announce Oil Cut Exit Strategy

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

United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui said on Monday that OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers plan to announce in June an exit strategy from global supply cuts, but that does not mean the pact will end by then. Mazroui said it was premature to talk about the form or shape of such an exit strategy before June, when OPEC, Russia and other producers participating in the supply-reduction agreement - aimed at boosting oil prices - are due to meet next. "We will announce ...

Whiting Petroleum Takes Q4 Impairment Charge

Whiting Petroleum said on Monday it will record an impairment charge of $800 million to $900 million in the current quarter due to a partial write-down of some assets in the DJ Basin in Colorado. The company said in a regulatory filing that the write-down of its assets at the Redtail field is not expected to result in any cash expenditures. Whiting Petroleum, the largest oil producer in North Dakota's Bakken shale formation…

Sistema: Rosneft Lawsuits Merely Offset Bashneft Costs

Russia's Sistema said on Thursday state oil company Rosneft was using lawsuits against the conglomerate to offset the cost of Rosneft acquiring mid-sized oil company Bashneft. The company has had no talks with Rosneft about an amicable settlement of the legal dispute, a spokesman for Sistema said, after Rosneft filed a new, $2.2 billion claim for damages against Sistema. "There've only been ultimatums by the claimant to pay the sum in full…

Alaskan Lease Sale Draws Tepid Response

File Image: the Trans alaska Pipeline. (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Roger Asbury)

An oil-and-gas lease sale that raised concerns with environmentalists due to the vast amount of acres offered in Arctic Alaska drew few bids on Wednesday, government officials said. Seven bids were received, covering about 80,000 acres - or less than 1 percent of the 10.3 million acres offered in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska by the Trump administration. It was, by far, more territory than ever offered in any of the previous 12 NPR-A lease sales held since 1999.

Sinopec Sues PDVSA as Relations Fray

Sinopec USA, a subsidiary of Chinese oil and gas conglomerate Sinopec, has sued Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA in a U.S. court, claiming it never received full payment for an order of steel rebar. The lawsuit asks for $23.7 million for breach of contract and conspiracy to defraud. The legal action signals a split with another of Venezuela's biggest backers as the cash-strapped country seeks to restructure some $60 billion in debt in a landscape of low oil prices and production.

GE Mulls 12,000 global Job Cuts

General Electric Co is axing 12,000 jobs at its global power business, the struggling industrial conglomerate's latest effort to shrink itself into a more focused company. The U.S. company launched the cuts to save $1 billion in 2018, saying it expected dwindling demand for fossil fuel power plants to continue. "Traditional power markets including gas and coal have softened," GE said. Rumors of sweeping job cuts were confirmed by labour union sources on Wednesday…

ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell Paid No Tax in Australia for 2016

Oil, gas giants paid no Australian tax in 2016; but commodity rebound seen boosting tax revenue in 2017. Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp paid no tax in Australia in the 2016 financial year, the third year in a row, despite reporting billions of dollars in income from operations in the country, a report from the tax office showed on Thursday. Exxon Mobil, which has oil and gas production in the Bass Strait and a stake in the giant Gorgon LNG project among other assets in Australia…

Petrobras to Receive about $200 Mln from Corruption Repayments

Brazilian state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA will receive about 650 million reais ($201 million) in funds recovered from the country's largest-ever corruption investigation, known as Car Wash, the federal prosecutors office for the state of Paraná said on Tuesday. The amount, which is set to be formally delivered at an event in the city of Curitiba on Thursday, will be the largest remuneration payment resulting from a corruption investigation in Brazil's history, prosecutors said.

Kinder Morgan: Pipeline Expansion Delays Possible

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

Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd said on Monday the start-up of its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion could be delayed past September 2020 if it is unable to get more clarity around permitting and the judicial process by early next year. The company's appeal to Canada's energy regulator over municipal permits for the C$7.4 billion ($5.8 billion) expansion was heard on Monday. The company said in a statement that it needs certainty by early 2018 to move ahead with construction.

France's CGT Calls for Energy Sector Strike

France's CGT trade union has called on electricity and gas workers to go on strike on Dec. 7.   Reportedly, the action is in protest over a proposed pay increase. The move follows a Nov. 30 strike that reduced French electricity output.   Reporting by Bate feli 

Tokyo Gas, Alaska Gasline Ink LNG LOI

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

Tokyo Gas Co Ltd said on Tuesday it signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) regarding the sale and purchase of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The move follows China's biggest state oil company Sinopec, one of the country's top banks and its sovereign wealth fund agreeing last month to develop the $43 billion natural gas project in Alaska, as the cash-poor U.S. state seeks to revive its dwindling energy industry.

ConocoPhillips, Ecuador to settle World Bank Case

ConocoPhillips and Ecuador agreed to terms of a settlement under an arbitration award in a case where the energy company had been seeking compensation related to confiscation of assets. A World Bank panel in February ordered the South American country to pay $380 million in damages to the oil and gas producer's subsidiary Burlington Resources. ConocoPhillips said it received $75 million on Dec. 1 and would receive $262 million by April 2018.

PHMSA Orders Further Keystone Analysis, Studies

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

A U.S. regulator's preliminary investigation into the biggest oil pipeline spill this year has raised a red flag that could trigger an extensive and costly inspection of tens of thousands of miles of underground energy lines. The 5,000-barrel leak on TransCanada Corp's Keystone pipeline on Nov. 16 in South Dakota might have stemmed from damage caused by a weight put in place when it was built in 2008, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said in a report published on Tuesday.

Venezuela Arrests Ex-oil Bosses

Venezuelan authorities on Thursday arrested two once-powerful officials who had run the oil ministry and state energy company PDVSA as part of a deepening industry purge also seen as a power play by leftist President Nicolas Maduro. In the highest-profile arrests to date, engineer Eulogio Del Pino and chemist Nelson Martinez were detained early on Thursday on accusations of graft and seeking to sabotage the nation's ailing energy industry, prosecutor Tarek Saab said in a televised speech.

UK Fraud Office Charges Two More in Unaoil Investigation

British prosecutors have charged two more people in an investigation into alleged bribery and corruption at privately-held Unaoil, a Monaco-based oil and gas services company. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said on Thursday it had charged Paul Bond, 65, and Stephen Whiteley, 62, with conspiracy to make corrupt payments to secure Iraqi contracts for an Unaoil client, SBM Offshore, between June 2005 and August 2011. Scotland…

SBM Offshore to Pay $238 Mln in US Bribery Case

SBM Offshore NV, a Netherlands-based maker of offshore oil drilling equipment, and its U.S. subsidiary, SBM Offshore USA Inc, agreed to settle criminal charges of bribing officials in five countries and pay a $238 million penalty, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday. The companies agreed to settle charges related to schemes lasting more than a decade involving bribery of foreign officials in Brazil, Angola, Equatorial Guinea…

BP North Sea Field to Test U.S. Iran Policy

Serica acquires Rhum field from BP, co-owned by Iran; seeks U.S. licence to operate in Rhum field. A small gas field on the edge of the British North Sea could become a litmus test for U.S. policy towards Iran. London-based BP this week agreed to sell to North Sea producer Serica Energy three fields in the ageing offshore basin, including the Rhum field which is co-owned by a subsidiary of Iran's national oil company. For Serica, the $400 million deal will increase its production sevenfold.

Keystone's Spill Assessment Scrutinized

TransCanada Corp's existing Keystone pipeline has leaked substantially more oil, and more often, in the United States than indicated in risk assessments the company provided to regulators before the project began operating in 2010, according to documents reviewed by Reuters. The Canadian company is now seeking to expand the pipeline system linking Alberta's oil fields to U.S. refineries with its proposed Keystone XL project, which has U.S. President Donald Trump's backing.

A BP North Sea field to test U.S. policy on Iran

A small gas field on the edge of the British North Sea could become a litmus test for U.S. policy towards Iran. London-based BP this week agreed to sell to North Sea producer Serica Energy three fields in the ageing offshore basin, including the Rhum field which is co-owned by a subsidiary of Iran's national oil company. For Serica, the $400 million deal will increase its production sevenfold. It nevertheless hinges on the British company receiving a licence from U.S.

Britain to Offer North Sea tax Relief

File Image: a typical offshore North Sea installation (Credit: Craig International)

Britain will introduce next year tax changes to oil and gas companies operating in the North Sea, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Wednesday, in an effort to spur new investment. Presenting Britain's budget for next year, Hammond said that starting November 2018, tax history for oil and gas fields in the North Sea will be transferable from seller to buyer. This will allow buyers to benefit from larger tax relief when fields reach the end of their life and require dismantling, known as decommissioning.

Indian Oil Corp Mulls PDVSA Crude Buys

Crude orders could help Venezuela settle unpaid bills; but doubts remain as to whether PDVSA can supply more crude. Indian Oil Corp is considering buying Venezuelan crude for the first time in at least six years, in a move that could help the crisis-struck South American nation settle unpaid bills with another state-owned Indian energy firm. The OPEC-member's economy has collapsed since crude prices plummeted in 2014, forcing it to delay payments for oil services and fuel supplies.

Britain to Hike Levy on Diesel Autos

Britain will increase the amount of taxation paid by those driving diesel cars that do not meet more stringent emissions standards, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Wednesday. Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) is paid by British drivers with one rate applying in the first year dependent on emissions levels and a flat rate taking effect from the second year onwards. "From April 2018, the first-year VED rate for diesel cars that don’t meet the latest standards will go up by one band…

Venezuela Bondholders Mull Alliances

Holders of Venezuelan bonds are meeting with each other and considering forming committees, advisers and fund managers told Reuters, as questions mount about the feasibility of President Nicolas Maduro's proposal to restructure $60 billion of debt. Maduro has said the country will keep servicing its obligations for now. But bondholders ranging from longstanding investment funds to hedge funds and emerging markets funds…

Ecopetrol to Invest up to $4 bln in 2018

Colombia's state-run oil company Ecopetrol said on Wednesday it would invest between $3.5 billion and $4 billion during 2018, the majority in production and exploration projects. The company, the Andean nation's largest, said in a filing to the financial regulator it expected to produce between 715,000 and 725,000 barrels per day next year. Only 4 percent of investment would be spent abroad, the statement said, with the rest destined for Colombian projects.

Baker Hughes' Sell-Off Could be Buying Opportunity -Barron's

A recent sell-off in the stock of Baker Hughes, a GE-owned company, might mean a chance to buy the shares at a bargain, a report in Barron's financial newspaper said. The stock lost 7.4 percent over two days last week after General Electric outlined steps to shrink its array of businesses. It said it planned to get rid of its 62.5 percent stake in Baker Hughes. GE, which completed its merger with Baker Hughes in July…

Nebraska Mulls Keystone Pipeline's Fate

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / Berkut 34)

Nebraska regulators will announce their decision on Monday on whether to approve TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL pipeline route through the state, the last big hurdle for the long-delayed project. Just days ago, TransCanada's existing Keystone system spilled 5,000 barrels in South Dakota and pipeline opponents said the spill highlighted the risks posed by the proposed XL expansion. The stakes are big. President Donald Trump, a Republican, has made Keystone XL’s success a plank in his effort to boost the U.S.

Hedge Fund bet on Glencore Backfires

Lansdowne Partners loses $100 million from short in 2017. London hedge fund giant Lansdowne Partners lost $100 million from a long-term bet against Glencore this year after the spectacular recovery of the miner took some by surprise. For Lansdowne, that bet had generated returns in 2014 and 2015, when Glencore more than other major miners was dragged down by falling commodity prices and concerns about its level of debt.

Fitch Lowers Noble Group Rating

Fitch Ratings cut commodity trader Noble Group's debt rating on Friday to two notches above default, citing the company's commencement of discussions on a debt restructuring. The agency lowered the rating by a notch to 'CC', which according to its rating criteria defines a situation where "default of some kind appears probable". Fitch previously had rated Noble 'CCC', which stated that "default is a real possibility".

Petrobras Seals $1 bln Financing Deal

Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro said on Friday it had secured $1 billion in financing from a banking syndicate headed by Standard Chartered PLC, to which it repaid $500 million of debt ahead of schedule. The syndicate includes China Construciton Bank, ABN AMRO Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Banco Latinoamericano de Exportações and Commerzbank. The loan will be guaranteed by Petrobras's P-56 platform and will be used to help pay down other debts, the company said.

Rosneft CEO to Testify at Ex-minister's Trial

The head of Russia's Rosneft , Igor Sechin, will attend the trial of former economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev as soon as his schedule allows, TASS news agency quoted Sechin as saying on Thursday. Ulyukayev is on trial on charges of extorting a $2 million bribe from Sechin, in exchange for Ulyukayev approving a business deal. Sechin was called to court to testify but has missed the first two court sittings since then. "My key task is to fulfill my responsibilities as the president of Rosneft.

Senate Panel Set to Advance Quest for Oil in Alaska Refuge

(Photo: USFWS)

Oil drilling in a vast Alaskan wildlife refuge could move a step closer to reality on Wednesday as a Senate panel votes to open part of the reserve coveted by conservationists. Republicans, who control Congress and the White House, have long wanted to prise open a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on the north coast known as the 1002 area. Senator Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican and the head of the Senate energy committee…

Statoil to Pay a $4 Mln Fine Over Swaps Manipulation

Statoil ASA will pay $4 million to settle U.S. charges that the energy company tried to manipulate a key propane benchmark in order to benefit its NYMEX-cleared swaps position, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Tuesday. In a statement, the U.S. regulatory agency said Norway-based Statoil in late 2011 had attempted to manipulate the Argus Far East Index, a key index of propane prices.   Reporting by Susan Heavey and Tim Ahmann

S.Korea Scores Partial Win in WTO Ruling on US Steel Pipe Duties

South Korea won a partial victory on Tuesday when a World Trade Organization panel ruled on its legal challenge to U.S. anti-dumping duties on steel pipe used in the oil industry, but Seoul lost most of the arguments it had made. In a ruling that can be appealed by either side, the WTO panel faulted the U.S. Department of Commerce for the way it calculated the tariffs applied to the South Korean pipes, known as oil country tubular goods (OCTG). Reporting by Tom Miles

Norway's Arctic Oil Plan Violates Constitution, Lawsuit Says

© h368k742 / Adobe Stock

Norway's plan for Arctic oil exploration is unconstitutional because it violates the right to a healthy environment, a lawyer for Greenpeace and the Nature and Youth environmental group told an Oslo court on Tuesday. The case is the first of its kind in Norway and says a 2015 oil licensing round in the Arctic that gave awards to Statoil , Chevron and others violates the constitution. Norway signed the 2016 Paris accord, which aims to end the fossil fuel era this century.

Petrobras Hikes 2017 Fundraising Forecast

Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the world's most indebted oil company, nearly doubled its fundraising forecast for 2017 but trimmed its target for divestments. In a presentation following disappointing third quarter results, Petrobras said it expects to raise $22 billion in funds this year compared to a prior forecast of $13 billion. It expects to divest $7 billion this year, excluding a planned initial public offering for fuel distribution unit BR Distribuidora, below the $8 billion it forecast previously.

U.S. Stance Complicates Total's Iran Gas Deal

French oil and gas major Total would have to review its Iran gas project if the United States decided to impose unilateral sanctions on Tehran, given the company's assets in the U.S. market, its chief executive told CNN. Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump refused to formally certify that Iran was complying with the nuclear deal, defying both allies and adversaries. He warned that he might ultimately terminate the agreement. The U.S. Congress now has about a month to decide whether to reinstate sanctions.

Vens Says Debt Refinancing Underway, but S&P Disagrees

Venezuela's cash-strapped government said its plan to refinance some $60 billion in bonds was successfully underway after a creditors' meeting in Caracas but a rating agency declared the nation in selective default over missed coupon payments. President Nicolas Maduro's negotiating committee met briefly with investors in Caracas on Monday but offered no firm proposals on its intention to alleviate Venezuela's crippling foreign debt amid an unprecedented economic meltdown.

Nebraska Regulator Set to Issue Keystone XL Permit Decision

The Nebraska Public Service Commission announced Monday it will issue its decision on whether to approve the permit to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on Nov. 20, the last regulatory hurdle for the controversial project.   The five-member PSC will take a vote on the decision in Lincoln, Nebraska, which will be open to the public.     (Reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Timothy Gardner)

Noble Group says Jeffrey Frase Resigns as co-CEO

Beleaguered commodities trader Noble Group said on Monday that Jeffrey Frase resigned as co-chief executive officer (CEO) and global head of oil liquids. William Randall, who served alongside Frase as co-CEO, will assume the role of chief executive, the company said in a statement. Randall and Frase were appointed as co-CEOs in May 2016 after the resignation of Yusuf Alireza as chief executive of the Singapore-listed company.

Coal's Future Remains Uncertain

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

A year after Donald Trump was elected president on a promise to revive the ailing U.S. coal industry, the sector’s long-term prospects for growth and hiring remain as bleak as ever. A Reuters review of mining data shows an industry that has seen only modest gains in jobs and production this year - much of it from a temporary uptick in foreign demand for U.S. coal rather than presidential policy changes. U.S. utilities are shutting coal-fired power plants at a rapid pace and shifting to cheap natural gas…

U.S. DoJ to Prosecute Energy Activist Vandals

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

The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday pledged to prosecute protesters who damage energy infrastructure in a move that could escalate tensions between climate activists and the administration of President Donald Trump. The DOJ said it was committed to vigorously prosecuting those who damage "critical energy infrastructure in violation of federal law." Attempts to "damage or shut down" pipelines deprive communities of services…

U.S. Wind Firms Cheer Senate Tax Bill Provisions

File Image (CREDIT: Siemens)

The U.S wind energy industry on Friday cheered a Senate tax proposal that, unlike the House version unveiled last week, preserves the tax credit that helps wind farms compete with plants fired by fossil fuels. The Senate plan brought relief to an industry that has spent the last week warning lawmakers on Capitol Hill that changes to the credit would put $50 billion in planned investment at risk. However, if the House and Senate pass their differing proposals on the Republicans' broad tax-cut plan…

Venezuela, PDVSA Bonds Rise After Reported Payment

Bonds issued by Venezuela and state oil company PDVSA on Friday rose sharply following a report that settlement agent DTC has received funds to make a delayed payment of principal on PDVSA's 2017N bond that matured last week.   Reporting by Brian Ellsworth 

S.Korean Refiners Look to Cash in on 2020 Mandate

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

Three refiners to spend more than $5 bln to upgrade or add units. South Korean refiners are planning to spend over $5 billion on plant upgrades in response to tighter rules on shipping fuel, boosting production of low-sulphur fuel oil as well as other high-end products. The refiners hope the investment, which comes ahead of the 2020 introduction of the new rules, will make them one of the biggest beneficiaries of the new regulations, with many competitors still waiting to commit to new spending.

BP, Shell Helping Mexico Execute Oil Hedge

Oil majors make foray into the $1.26 bln programme, but Mexico unlikely to see any income from 2017 hedge. BP helped Mexico execute its 2018 oil hedge, the biggest in the industry, becoming the second major after Shell to participate in the highly coveted programme and challenging the traditional role of banks in the operation. Three industry sources said BP has become a participant of the 2018 programme on which Mexico…

Corruption Cases Weigh on SBM Offshore Bottom Line

Marine engineering group SBM Offshore said a Brazilian investigation into its role in corruption cases had not been resolved and set aside an additional $238 million provision on Monday to cover costs from an unexpected U.S. inquiry. The Dutch company has also been forced to suspend its involvement in tenders with Brazilian oil company Petrobras , a major customer. Shares fell 10 percent to 13.96 euros at 0930 GMT, wiping…

Oil Rises on Saudi Purge, Tighter Markets

Saudi crown prince cements power with high-level arrests; U.S. rig count falls to lowest level since May 2016. Oil prices hit their highest since July 2015 on Monday as Saudi Arabia's crown prince cemented his power over the weekend through an anti-corruption crackdown, while markets continued to tighten. Brent crude futures were trading 26 cents higher at $62.33 a barrel by 1012 GMT, after hitting a session peak of $62.90, a 28-month high. U.S.

Petrobras Makes Debt Payment Ahead of Schedule

Brazil's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said in a securities filing on Monday it has re-paid debts totaling $1.28 billion ahead of schedule to banks JP Morgan, HSBC and Intesa Sanpaolo.   Petrobras also said it refinanced $1.6 billion of outstanding debt obligations and issued $300 million of new debt to Banco Safra SA. Reporting by Ana Mano 

U.S. Oil Service Firms Hit by PDVSA Woes

U.S. oil service companies face hard decisions in the coming weeks on whether to continue working for Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA, and the prospect of hundreds of millions of dollars in write-offs for overdue bills. The companies' services are critical for Venezuela, which is struggling with a deep economic crisis marked by shortages of food and medicine. Oil accounts for over 90 percent of the nation's export revenues.

Singapore Revokes Transocean Oil's Bunker Licence

Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) said on Monday it had revoked Transocean Oil's bunker fuel supply licence in the Port of Singapore, effective immediately. MPA said it had conducted checks on Transocean in March and April as part its efforts to ensure the integrity of bunkering operations at the port and found "falsifications of records and discrepancies in the stock movement logbooks on board the bunker tankers" operated by the company.

Vens Restructure Debt, But Default Looms

Venezuela on Thursday announced plans to restructure its burgeoning foreign debt, a move that may lead to a default by the cash-strapped OPEC nation whose collapsing socialist economy has left its population struggling to find food and medicine. President Nicolas Maduro vowed to make a $1.1 billion payment on a bond maturing on Thursday, but also created a commission to study "restructuring of all future payments" in order to meet the needs of citizens.

Venezuela Arrests Head of PDVSA's Bariven Unit

The head of Venezuelan oil company PDVSA's subsidiary Bariven was arrested this week, according to two sources and an internal message seen by Reuters, as a graft investigation in the OPEC member swells. Francisco Jimenez, the head of procurement arm Bariven, was detained on Tuesday afternoon at PDVSA's Caracas headquarters, the internal message read. Another executive, Joaquin Torres, was detained alongside him, according to the message. PDVSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the arrests.

NAFTA Doubts Impact Mexico Oil Tenders

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Mike Mareen)

Uncertainty about the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and investor protections it guarantees could crimp future investment in Mexico's oil industry, including a high-stakes January deepwater auction. Ahead of a fifth round of NAFTA talks in Mexico City in mid-November, Washington's tough demands that partners Canada and Mexico resist has clouded the future of the 23-year-old pact President Donald Trump has threatened to quit if he cannot get a better deal.

OPEC Cut Extension Decision not Necessarily Imminent

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday an extension beyond March 2018 for a global deal between OPEC and other producing countries was being discussed, but a decision would not necessarily to be taken later this month. "We're ready to discuss the topic and if need be we're ready to consider an extension," Novak said in Riyadh through a translator. "But we would need to analyze a lot of data in order…

LyondellBasell Approaches Brazil's Braskem for Takeover-WSJ

LyondellBasell Industries NV has approached Brazil's Braskem SA for a potential takeover, valuing the petrochemicals company at more than $10 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The talks are at an early stage and there is no guarantee of a deal, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. LyondellBasell did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Its shares rose 6 percent to $105.03 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

PetroChina's Q3 net profit leaps

China's largest oil and gas producer PetroChina reported on Monday a leap in third-quarter net profit on rebounding crude prices and deleveraging. Net profit surged to 4.69 billion yuan ($706 million), up 290 percent from a year earlier, as the company cut debt and interest expenses. Revenues rose to 481.8 billion yuan, up 17 percent from the same period last year, PetroChina said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Fugro's Revenues Dive, Sending Shares Lower

Dutch deep-sea energy prospector Fugro reported a steeper than expected drop in third-quarter revenue on Monday and said it expects negative cash flow for the full year, sending its shares down more than 10 percent. Fugro is still suffering the impact of a rout in oil prices that have fallen by more than 50 percent from mid-2014 highs, affecting its business as makes it uneconomic to prospect for the hard-to-reach subsea deposits in which it specialises.

Glencore Raises Marketing Guidance, Lowers Output

Analysts say Q3 production lower than expected. Glencore on Monday cut its output forecast for core commodities including zinc, but raised its marketing division's full-year earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to between $2.6 billion and $2.8 billion, reflecting higher raw materials prices. Its previous 2017 marketing, or trading, EBIT guidance was $2.4 billion to $2.7 billion, which was already an upward revision from $2.1 billion to $2.4 billion at the start of the year.

Shell, Exxon Win Brazil pre-salt Blocks

Oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil won blocks in Brazil's coveted pre-salt oil region in an auction on Friday. Shell was part of consortia that won two of the four blocks on offer in the first part of an eight block auction. Exxon, in a consortium with Norway's Statoil and Portugal's Petrogal, won another. There were no bids for the fourth block. Another four blocks will be auctioned later on Friday. The eight blocks on offer contain a total of more than 12 billion barrels of estimated oil reserves.

Brazil Court Overturns Injunction Blocking Oil Auction

A Brazilian federal court overturned on Friday an injunction issued a day earlier which was blocking the start of an auction for oil blocks in Brazil's offshore pre-salt area.   Energy minister Fernando Coelho Filho said in Rio that auction organizers were waiting for the court decision to be published to start the round, which he said would happen soon.   Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier and Ricardo Brito 

Big Oil Heads to Rio for Deepwater Auction

File Image: A Brazil-based oil rig (Credit: AdobeStock / (c) donvictorio)

Brazil will auction eight blocks in its coveted deepwater oil region on Friday, a prospect that has lured top executives from the world's biggest oil companies to Rio de Janeiro for the bidding round. The oil firms and Brazilian officials expect to see aggressive bidding for the more than 12 billion barrels of estimated oil reserves on offer. "It's going to be competitive," Bernard Looney, chief executive for upstream at oil major BP, told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry conference in Rio this week.

Venezuela’s PDVSA Reportedly Making 2020 Bond Payments

Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA has begun the process of making payments on the 2020 bonds due Friday, according to three sources familiar with the operation.   Bonds issued by Venezuela and PDVSA had dropped sharply on Thursday amid concerns that cash-flow problems and regulatory hurdles may leave the company unable to make the major bond payment.   Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer and Corina Pons 

Exxon Mobil's Profit Jumps 50 Percent

Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's largest publicly-traded oil producer, said on Friday its quarterly profit jumped 50 percent on higher crude and natural gas prices. The company posted net income of $3.97 billion, or 93 cents per share, in the third quarter, compared to $2.65 billion, or 63 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Exxon said Hurricane Harvey, which tore through the U.S. Gulf Coast region in August, dented quarterly earnings by 4 cents per share.

Vens, PDVSA Bonds Drop over Payment Concerns

Bonds issued by Venezuela and state oil firm PDVSA dropped sharply on Thursday amid concern that cash-flow problems and regulatory hurdles may leave PDVSA unable to make more than $2 billion in payments coming due over the next week. Delays in making some $500 million in coupon payments on several bonds, along with confusion about what is causing those delays, has left investors jittery over a possible credit event when payments come due on Friday and on Nov.

Harvey Shores Up U.S. Refiner Margins

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

Surging prices for gasoline and diesel in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey spiked margins to a more than two-year high, helping two big U.S. refiners record quarterly profits on Thursday that blew past Wall Street estimates. Marathon Petroleum Corp said its refining system was relatively spared during the hurricane season, with some short, preventive shutdowns. "We set multiple refinery production records during the quarter…

Saudis Buy Dutch Oil Storage in EU Market Share Push

Saudi Aramco Overseas Company (AOC), a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, is buying a stake in Rotterdam crude storage from commodities trader Gunvor, the companies said on Thursday, in a move to expand its share of the market in northwest Europe, long dominated by Russia. Saudi Arabia and Russia have cooperated on production cuts to rebalance the oversupplied oil market and boost prices over the past year. However, competition for market share has increased over the last few years as U.S.

ConocoPhillips Beats Street, Cuts Budget Anyways

Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips CEO

ConocoPhillips, the largest U.S. independent oil producer, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday helped by rising crude prices, though it slashed its capital budget to further cut costs. Those cost curbs come as other U.S. oil producers as well bid to control spending and focus on shareholder returns, with crude prices not expected to markedly rise before the end of the decade. "We are focused on free cash flow generation…

CGT Strike Could Extend to French Oil Sector

France's far-left CGT trade union has called for a 24-hour strike on Nov. 23, and said the strike could be extended and production facilities in the sector halted if their demands are not met, the union said on Wednesday. The union said requests for special dispensations for oil sector workers threatened by labour reforms pushed by President Emmanuel Macron have been rejected by oil company bosses. The CGT added that without an appropriate response…

Perry: Obama Discriminated Against Coal, Nuclear Energy

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry (CREDIT: DoE)

The United States discriminated against the nuclear and coal industries under the administration of former President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said on Wednesday. "Nuclear and coal ... Those two industries were discriminated against over the course of the last administration," Perry told reporters at an oil conference in Cape Town, when asked about a U.S. government directive to support ageing coal and nuclear plants.

Statoil Refinery Leak Ends, Unit down

File Image: Statoil's Mongstad Refinery (CREDIT: Helge Hansen)

A naphtha leakage at Statoil's Mongstad refinery in western Norway has now ended, but the plant's petrol-making unit remains shut and the company is investigating the causes of the accident, a company spokeswoman said on Tuesday.   There were no reports of injuries, she added.   Reporting by Ole Petter Skonnord 

Aker BP buys Hess' Norway unit for $2 bln

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

Output from Hess Norway field stakes 24,000 boepd. Aker BP will add the Norwegian operations of U.S. oil company Hess to its expanding exploration and production portfolio under a $2 billion deal announced on Tuesday. Under billionaire investor Kjell Inge Roekke, who controls a 40 percent stake, the Norwegian company has made eight acquisitions since 2014 including a merger with BP's Norway operations in mid-2016. The Hess operations will bolster Aker's production by about 17 percent…

Aramco CEO: Multiple Exchanges Being considered for Listing

Saudi Aramco's chief executive said on Tuesday that domestic and international exchanges such as New York, London, Tokyo, and Hong Kong have been looked at for a partial listing of the state oil giant. "All detailed information is currently being reviewed by our shareholder and in due course a decision will be made about the listing venue," Aramco CEO Amin Nasser told reporters at an investment conference in Riyadh. The company has said it plans to list in 2018.

Saipem Confirms Profit Guidance

Italian oil services group Saipem swung back to profit in the third quarter despite an industry slowdown, flagging more orders on the way and confirming profit guidance. Its shares were up almost 10 percent at 1133 GMT while the oil and gas sector across Europe was up 0.5 percent. Oil service companies have been struggling to fill order books as oil majors defer projects and cut billions of dollars in costs to offset low crude prices.

Hedge Funds Bet on Oil as Futures Market Wavers

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

Hedge funds have stuck to their bet that oil prices will extend gains, even though the futures market shows some investors are losing faith in a rebalancing of supply and demand. The premium of front-month December Brent futures over the January contract is at its narrowest since early September. A larger premium, or backwardation, of the front month over future months tends to indicate that traders and investors believe oil supply will fall short of demand.

London Ups Vehicle Emissions Tax

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

London brought in a new levy on the oldest and most polluting cars entering the city centre from Monday, almost doubling how much motorists have to pay in the latest blow to diesel. Drivers are already charged 11.50 pounds ($15) to enter the financial district and parts of west London under a congestion charge. But those driving petrol and diesel vehicles typically registered before 2006 will need to pay an additional 10 pounds.

Noble Group sells Oil Unit to Vitol

Oil liquids unit to be sold for about $580 million. Struggling commodities trader Noble Group agreed to sell its Americas-focused oil trading business to Vitol for about $580 million as part of a debt-cutting strategy, and warned of a big loss for its third quarter. Monday's move came after Reuters reported late on Friday that Vitol, the world's largest oil trader, was nearing a deal to buy Singapore-listed Noble's oil liquids unit.

EPA Abandons Biofuel Program Changes

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Jason Lee)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has backed off a series of proposed changes to the nation's biofuels policy after a massive backlash from corn-state lawmakers worried the moves would undercut ethanol demand, according to a letter from the agency to lawmakers seen by Reuters. The letter could end uncertainty about the future of the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard under the administration of President Donald Trump that has roiled commodity and energy markets for months.

Vitol Close to Acquiring Noble's Oil Business

The world's largest oil trader Vitol Group is nearing a deal to buy Noble Group's global oil liquids business, which analysts had valued at about $1 billion, three people familiar with the matter said on Friday. One of the sources said an announcement of the deal could come as early as Monday. Shares of Noble Group were halted in the afternoon, pending the "announcement of a major transaction," the company said. Vitol and an external spokeswoman for Noble declined to comment on the Reuters story.