Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Canada Moves Crude One Truckload at a Time

File Image: A Crude oil train moves alongside an inland river in the U.S. heartland. (CREDIT: Dagmar Etkin)

At an Alberta oil loading terminal, a convoy of big rigs are gearing up to haul Canadian crude oil hundreds of miles through bone dry fields across the U.S. border into Montana, where the oil will be transferred to pipelines and rail cars headed south and west. Trucks loaded with crude are an increasingly common sight at the border. Production has risen in the world's fifth largest producer but full pipelines and a rail car shortage have made it difficult for drillers to ship oil out of Canada.

Post-Bankruptcy, Seadrill Eyes Closer Oil Service Ties

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © xmentoys)

Offshore oil driller Seadrill aims to expand relations with Schlumberger, the world's largest oil services firm, and other suppliers to the global oil and gas industry, its chief executive told Reuters on Wednesday. Seadrill plans to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in late June or early July, following a U.S. court's approval on Tuesday of its multi-billion dollar debt restructuring plan, CEO Anton Dibowitz said.

US Court Approves Seadrill's Bankruptcy Exit Plan

(Photo: Seadrill)

A U.S. judge said on Tuesday he would approve Seadrill Ltd's plan to exit its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in which the global offshore oil and gas drilling company would shed billions of dollars of debt and raise $1 billion in new investment. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David Jones in Houston overruled two minor objections to the reorganization plan during a 90-minute hearing. The plan extends maturities on more than $5 billion of bank loans and converts about $2.3 billion in bond debt into equity in a reorganized Seadrill.

Greece Launches Tender to Shed Hellenic Petroleum Stake

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

Greece on Wednesday launched an international tender to sell a majority stake in Hellenic Petroleum as part of its third international bailout. Greece's privatisation agency said it will sell no less than 50.1 percent in the country's biggest oil refiner and interested investors must submit expressions of interest by May 18. Major shareholders Greece and Paneuropean Oil and Industrial Holding agreed this month to divest at least 50.1 percent of the company.

Total Pays $1.7 bln for French Electric Retailer

Acquisition makes Total major competitor for EDF; and they paid 30 pct premium on Direct Energie's last close. Oil company Total said it will buy a majority stake in French electricity retailer Direct Energie in a 1.4 billion euro ($1.73 billion) deal that beefs up its challenge to state-owned market leader EDF. The deal is part of Total's strategy to grow its low-carbon energy assets to 20 percent of total assets by…

Venezuela Arrests Two Chevron Execs

Chevron Corp said on Tuesday two of its executives were arrested in Venezuela, a rare move likely to spook foreign energy firms still operating in the OPEC nation stricken by hyperinflation, shortages and crime.Venezuelan Sebin intelligence agents burst into the Petropiar joint venture's office in the coastal city of Puerto La Cruz on Monday and arrested the two Venezuelan employees for alleged wrongdoing, a half-dozen…

Halliburton Revenue Jumps 34 pct

File Image: Credit DNV GL

Oilfield services provider Halliburton Co reported a 34 percent jump in first-quarter revenue on Monday as rising oil prices prompted North American companies to boost oil and gas production. Net income attributable to Halliburton was $46 million, or 5 cents per share to shareholders, for the three months ended March 31. The company posted a net attributable loss of $32 million, or 4 cents per share to shareholders, in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue rose to $5.74 billion from $4.28 billion.

Schlumberger Profit Surges on Higher Oil Prices

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © xmentoys)

Oilfield services provider Schlumberger NV reported an 88 percent rise in quarterly profit on Friday as rising crude oil prices encouraged its North American clients to ramp up spending. The company's revenue from North America jumped nearly 52 percent to $2.84 billion. Schlumberger is a bellwether for the oilfield services and drilling industries. U.S crude oil prices rose 7.5 percent in the first quarter, supported by a strengthening global economy and an OPEC-led supply cut that helped ease oversupply of crude.

Odebrecht unit vows to fight sanctions imposed by Mexico

Baker Hughes Profit Beats on Oilfield Services Growth

File Image: An offshore Gulf of Mexico energy operation and OSV (CREDIT: BSM)

Baker Hughes, the oilfield services company controlled by General Electric, posted a quarterly profit that beat Wall Street estimates on Friday as improving oil prices prompted companies to ramp up production. The cost of a barrel of U.S. crude rose 7.5 percent in the first quarter, energizing oil producers to step up investments after holding back over the past few years to counter a steep drop in prices. Baker Hughes said oilfield services revenue…

Trump Administration Mulls Opening Alaska Refuge to Drilling

(File photo: USFWS)

The Trump administration this week will begin the environmental review process for oil and gas drilling on a section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a region in northern Alaska rich in crude but prized by conservationists.In a notice from the U.S. Department of the Interior seen by Reuters, which the agency will post on Friday, it says it will hold meetings in five Alaskan towns where the public can speak about drilling in the refuge.

Petrobras to Shed Selected Refinery Stakes

Brazil's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA is considering selling 60 percent stakes in two regional blocks comprising four refineries, and keeping full ownership of nine other units, it said in a securities filing on Thursday. Petrobras, as the company is known, is considering the sale of a 60 percent stake in two blocks of refineries in the Northeastern and Southern regions. Each block would have two refineries and logistical assets, and Petrobras would keep a minority stake.

Noble Amends Restructuring Plan, Scrambles for Shareholder Support

Noble's action on shareholders was criticised by SGX; Noble needs shareholders to support its restructuring. Bowing to criticism from the Singapore Exchange (SGX) and other investors, embattled Noble Group is removing a provision in its $3.4 billion debt restructuring proposal that penalised shareholders voting against the plan. The debt-for-equity swap is crucial for the survival of the Singapore-listed company, which has sold billions of dollars of assets…

Commodities Ride Rollercoaster on $100 Oil Talk

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Lucadp)

Oil highest in over 3 yrs on report Saudis want higher prices; nickel sees biggest jump in 6-1/2 years on sanctions worries. Talk that Saudi Arabia has its sights on $80-$100 a barrel oil again and of more U.S. sanctions on Russia ignited a rally in commodities and resource stocks on Thursday, though the potential boost to inflation hit fixed-income assets. It was set to be the strongest day for the commodity complex in eight months as Brent crude futures climbed past $74 a barrel after a near 3 percent jump overnight.

To Frack or Not to Frack? Australia's NatGas Dilemma

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Shamtor)

The decision by the government of Australia's Northern Territory government to allow the resumption of fracking for natural gas will do little to immediately solve the country's energy woes, but will likely sharpen political battle lines. The territory's government said on April 17 that it has lifted a near two-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, accepting the recommendations of its own commission of inquiry into the practice.

Tax Change Could Boost Russian Oil Output

© ping han / Adobe Stock

The Russian energy ministry has proposed changes to a draft oil production law that it says could boost production by around 900,000 tonnes per year, First Deputy Energy Minister Alexei Texler said on Wednesday.Debate about the law has dragged on for years, as the Finance Ministry expressed concerns the changes could reduce state revenues.Oilfields, especially in West Siberia, have become increasingly depleted and the…

Under Military Rule, PDVSA Workers Quit in Stampede

Chauffeured around in a sleek black pick-up, the head of Venezuela's oil industry, Major General Manuel Quevedo, last month toured a joint venture with U.S. major Chevron. Flanked by other trucks carrying security guards, Quevedo passed a handful of workers waiting by an oil well cluster. They wanted a word with the OPEC nation's oil minister and president of its state-run oil firm, PDVSA, about the sorry state of the company. Quevedo and his caravan drove on by.

LNG exits Fisherman’s Landing Project

Gregory M Vesey - Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Photo Gittings Photography; LNG Ltd

Liquefied Natural Gas Limited executed a Share Sale Agreement (the Agreement) with a third-party (the Buyer) for the acquisition of all the shares of LNGL’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Gladstone LNG Pty Ltd (Gladstone LNG). In return, LNGL received US$800,000, previously held in a trust account under a previously disclosed Licence Transfer Agreement, and a reimbursement for security deposits posted by Gladstone LNG related to the Fisherman’s Landing project licences.

Schlumberger Fights to Boost Patent Damages at US Supreme Court

© sframe / Adobe Stock

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday appeared divided over whether to make it easier for companies to recoup profits lost due to the unauthorized use of their patented technology overseas in a dispute involving Schlumberger NV, the world's largest oilfield services provider.The nine justices heard about an hour of arguments that will resolve the amount of money that rival ION Geophysical Corp must pay for infringing Schlumberger technology that helps search for oil and gas beneath the ocean floor.

Vermilion Energy to Acquire Spartan Energy

Oil and gas producer Vermilion Energy Inc said it would buy rival Spartan Energy Corp for about C$1.40 billion ($1.11 billion).   Spartan shareholders will get 0.1476 of a Vermilion share for each share they own, Vermilion said.   Reporting by John Benny 

UN Body Adopts Climate Change Strategy for Shipping

Photo: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Nations meeting at the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London have adopted an initial strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, setting out a vision to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping and phase them out, as soon as possible in this century. The vision confirms IMO’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping and, as a matter of urgency, to phasing them out as soon as possible.

US Sanctions Will Push Gazprom CEO into Shadows

Alexey Miller (Photo: Gazprom)

Alexey Miller, head of Russian gas giant Gazprom, will have to lower his public profile and delegate to someone else his powers to clinch deals and raise financing now that he has been added to a U.S. sanctions blacklist, analysts said. Washington last week imposed sanctions against several Russian businessmen, companies and government officials, striking at associates of President Vladimir Putin to punish Moscow for a range of activities, including alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

Massachusetts Top Court Rules Against Exxon in Climate Change Probe

© jzehnder  / Adobe Stock

Massachusetts' top court on Friday rejected Exxon Mobil Corp's bid to block the state's attorney general from obtaining records to investigate whether the company for decades concealed its knowledge of the role fossil fuels play in climate change. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that Attorney General Maura Healey had jurisdiction to seek records to probe whether the oil company's marketing or sale of fossil fuel products violated the state's consumer protection law.

Trump Orders EPA to Speed Air Quality Permits

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Snap Happy)

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to speed up its decision-making on air quality permitting to make it easier for manufacturers to expand and open new plants. "These actions are intended to ensure that EPA carries out its core missions of protecting the environment and improving air quality in accord with statutory requirements, while reducing unnecessary impediments to new manufacturing and business expansion essential for a growing economy," Trump said in a memorandum.

Britain: Biofuel Targets Will Reduce Diesel Reliance

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © scanrail)

British biofuel targets coming into force this weekend will double the use of renewable fuels in the UK transport sector in 15 years and reduce reliance on imported diesel, the government said on Friday. The new targets, which take effect on April 15, will compel transport fuel suppliers who sell at least 450,000 litres a year or more to make sure the mix is at least 12.4 percent biofuel by 2032, the government said. The industry supplies fuel to transport companies such as haulage businesses and airlines.

Total Snaps up GoM Assets

French oil major Total said it had bought several assets in the Gulf of Mexico for around $300 million, as part of the Cobalt International Energy company’s bankruptcy auction sale. Total said it was buying a 20 percent stake in the North Platte asset. Following this move, Total will have a 60 percent overall stake in North Platte, with Statoil holding the remaining 40 percent. Total also bought a further 20 percent stake in the Anchor discovery…

Premier Oil Mulls Longer-Term Hedging

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Redindie)

Premier Oil will look at extending the timeframe for oil price hedges beyond 12-18 months to protect its balance sheet and return on investments which might take years to start operating fully, Finance Director Richard Rose said. "One concern in the industry has been the depth of this bear market... I think extending the timeline is something we will look at, to put some small hedges on beyond the 12 to 18 months period," Rose told Reuters on Wednesday.

Statoil Buys U.S. GoM Deepwater Discovery

File Image: A typical Statoil offshore installation. CREDIT: Statoil

Statoil and Total have completed their acquisition of Cobalt international Energy's 60 pct operated interest in North Platte discovery in US Gulf of Mexico for an aggregate purchase price of USD 339 million. The partners had jointly presented the winning bid for the asset in a bankruptcy auction of some of Cobalt’s assets that was held on 6 March 2018. "We will now work together with Total to clarify the resource potential of this field and we hope to start production in the mid 2020's"…

DNV GL Advises on Acquisition of UK's Wind Farm

Image: DNV GL

DNV GL secured a leading role as technical advisor to GVO Wind Ltd and Bluemerang Capital Ltd, supporting the sale of an 80% stake of the 26.1 MW Ventus portfolio of wind projects. Ventus is the UK’s largest portfolio of feed-in-tariff wind turbines, comprising 53 operational projects located across the UK. The portfolio was acquired by Malaysian power utility Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB). This is TNB’s second acquisition in the UK, which brings its renewables portfolio to a total capacity of approximately 280 MW.

Glencore Suspends Rusal-EN+ Share Swap due U.S. Sanctions

Swiss-based trader Glencore said on Tuesday it would not "at this time" be swapping its shares in Russian aluminium producer Rusal for Global Depository Receipts in EN+ due to U.S. sanctions on both firms. Foreign partners of Russian firms like Rusal, which was hit by new U.S. sanctions on Friday, have a narrow window to ensure they are compliant with the new regulations that generally prohibit U.S. entities from having dealings with sanctioned Russian individuals and firms.

Exxon, Qatar Mull U.S. Shale Deal - WSJ

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Shamtor)

Exxon Mobil is in talks with Qatar over a possible deal that could see the country investing in the company's U.S. gas resources, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. The deal could take the shape of a joint venture in which Qatar, through state-owned Qatar Petroleum, could partner or invest in future wells with Exxon's unit XTO Energy, the paper said. Exxon already partners Qatar Petroleum to explore oil and gas off the coast of Cyprus and for drilling rights in Brazil.

Oklahoma Orders Cut to Disposal Well Volumes Following Quakes

© Jim / Adobe Stock

Oklahoma regulators forced an oil and gas producer to reduce operations on a well used for disposing saltwater following a large earthquake over the weekend that set off a series of seismic activity in the state, Matt Skinner, spokesman for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC), said on Monday. The temblors occurred near Perry, Oklahoma, in the northwestern part of the state, within an area signaled out by regulators for the frequency of earthquakes from oil and gas production activities.

New Projects in Brazil's Amazon? Not Without Congressional Approval, says court

© Michael Flippo / Adobe Stock

Brazil's government has been told that development projects, including hydropower dams, in protected areas can no longer go ahead without the prior approval of lawmakers. Last week's ruling by the supreme court followed the use by the government in recent years of the controversial "provisional measure", a legal instrument that allowed the president to approve projects by reducing the size of protected areas. Campaigners said the decision should ensure the country's forests and reserves…

Kinder Morgan Halts Most Work on Disputed Canada Pipeline

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Berkut 34)

Kinder Morgan Canada on Sunday suspended most work on a C$7.4 billion ($5.8 billion) oil pipeline expansion that has become the focus of protests, a move underscoring uncertainty over major energy projects in Canada. Company Chairman Steve Kean said he would scrap plans to nearly triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which takes crude from Alberta's oil sands to a facility in the Pacific province of British Columbia, unless the various legal challenges could be resolved by May 31.

Philippines Eyes Exploration Deal with China in S.China Sea

© Regormark / Adobe Stock

The Philippines is looking to seal a pact with China within a few months to jointly explore for oil and gas in a part of the busy South China Sea waterway claimed by both countries, a Philippine official said on Monday. In February, the two countries agreed to set up a special panel to work out how to jointly explore for offshore oil and gas in areas both sides claim, without needing to address the touchy issue of sovereignty.

Shell: Nigeria Payments, Oil Theft Climbed in 2017

Shell's payments to the Nigerian government grew to $4.32 billion in 2017, up nearly 19 percent from $3.64 billion in 2016, according to its annual sustainability report released on Monday. The bulk of the payments, $3.197 billion, went to state oil company NNPC for production entitlement. Crude oil theft from pipelines of Shell's Nigerian subsidiary SPDC increased by some 50 percent, rising to roughly 9,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2017 from 6,000 bpd in 2016, the report said.

SandRidge to Evaluate All Buyout Offers

SandRidge Energy Inc, which is in the middle of a proxy fight with top shareholder Carl Icahn, said on Monday it would evaluate buyout offers, including one from Icahn.   The activist investor, who offered to buy the company last week, said he planned to nominate directors who would push for a sale of SandRidge Energy.   Reporting by Karan Nagarkatti 

Andurand's Hedge Fund Down 6.7 pct in Q1

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

Oil trader Pierre Andurand's hedge fund lost 6.7 in the first quarter of the year after recouping some of the heavy losses it had suffered in February, data compiled by HSBC showed. Andurand Capital made gains of 3.6 percent in March after losing 14.5 percent in February following returns of 5.2 percent in January, the data showed. Many commodities-focused hedge funds lost out on trades in commodities and energy betting on higher prices in February, a separate report from industry tracker Eurekahedge showed.

JP Morgan Knew Ex-minister Linked to Firm in Nigeria Oilfield Deal

JP Morgan Chase has acknowledged it knew a former Nigerian oil minister convicted of money laundering would benefit when it transferred over $800 million of government funds to a company he controlled, according to a court document seen by Reuters. JP Morgan made the acknowledgement in its legal response to a lawsuit filed by Nigeria over transactions made by the U.S. bank when Royal Dutch Shell and Eni bought offshore oilfield OPL 245 from Malabu Oil and Gas in 2011.

Mexican Presidential Front-Runner Eyes Pemex Reforms

File Image: an offshore GoM oil platform. (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Mike Mareen)

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the leftist leading the race to win Mexico's presidency in July, will root out corruption at Pemex and also aims to slim down the state-owned oil and gas company, his pick for finance minister said on Thursday. In an interview with Reuters, Carlos Urzua, a respected economist trained at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said Lopez Obrador was not resolved to end oil and gas auctions started under the current government…

Oil Dips on Trump's Latest China Trade Talk

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

Trump threatens tariffs on $100 bln more of China trade. Oil prices fell on Friday after U.S. President Donald Trump's threat of new tariffs on China reignited fears of a trade war between the world's two biggest economies. Trump said on Thursday he had ordered U.S. trade officials to consider tariffs on an extra $100 billion of imports from China, escalating tensions with Beijing. "There is a risk for oil prices that China uses the bazooka option it has on U.S. crude oil exports.

Four Bunker Barges Seized in Singapore over Unpaid Debt

Singapore law firm asks for vessels to be arrested; bunker barges owned by Vermont UM Shipping. Four marine refuelling barges owned and operated by Vermont UM Shipping Pte Ltd were seized in Singapore on Monday night, according to the website of Singapore's Supreme Court. Singaporean law firm Rajah & Tann seized the vessels over unpaid claims on behalf of its client, Malayan Banking Berhad, or Maybank, said a source with…

Cenovus hires McKenzie as CFO from Husky Energy

Ivor Ruste, outgoing CFO at Cenovus Energy

Canadian oil and gas producer Cenovus Energy Inc named Jon McKenzie as chief financial officer on Thursday, bringing in an oil industry veteran who most recently helped rival Husky Energy Inc rein in costs and strengthen its finances. McKenzie will replace Ivor Ruste, who will retire later this month. McKenzie joined Husky as CFO in 2015 and was tasked with bringing down costs at a time when oil prices hit record lows. During his term, Husky resumed dividend payments this year after more than two years.

Husky Energy CFO McKenzie Resigns

Jeff Hart, Interim CFO, Husky Energy

Canadian oil and gas producer Husky Energy Inc said on Thursday its chief financial officer, Jon McKenzie, has resigned effective immediately. The company did not give any reason for McKenzie's departure. Husky named Controller Jeff Hart as interim CFO and said it would update on its five-year plan and 2022 targets at its 2018 Investor Day to be held next month. The company is facing provincial and federal charges related to a July 2016 pipeline leak that spilled oil into a river in Western Canada.

Iron Ore Cleared to Transport from Goa

Photo: Vedanta Resources

Vedanta Resources, controlled by billionaire Anil Agarwal, and other miners can transport already mined iron ore from Goa on which royalties have been paid, India's top court ruled on Wednesday, providing relief to the state's miners. India's Supreme Court in February quashed all iron ore mining permits in the southwestern state of Goa, one of the top producing states for the steel making raw material. "The State of Goa…

Norway Labour Unions Threaten Strike by 35,000 Workers

Image: Credit Aker Solutions

Almost 35,000 private-sector workers organised by Norway's largest labour unions plan to go on strike from April 8 unless a deal is found over wages, pensions and other compensation, the unions said on Tuesday. The first wave of a strike would hit large parts of Norway's metals production by leaving smelters idle, and would have significant impact on the output of fertilisers. But the output of oil and gas from western Europe's largest producer would initially be spared, the unions said.

China Tariffs on U.S. Ethanol to Cut Off Imports in Short-Term

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

Chinese buyers of U.S. ethanol will have to cut their imports because of new higher tariffs but they will have to return to the overseas market to meet the government's targets for using the fuel, industry participants and analysts said on Monday. China said late on Sunday it will slap an extra 15 percent tariff on ethanol imports from the United States, as part of its response to U.S. duties on aluminium and steel imports. The previous duty was 30 percent.

Glencore Inks US$9.085bn Loan Refinancing

Global diversified natural resource company Glencore has signed US$9.085bn of loans to refinance its existing short-term revolving credit facilities, the company said on Thursday. The facilities replace Glencore’s existing US$7.335bn one-year revolving credit facility agreed in May 2017. The financing launched at US$6bn and closed oversubscribed, raising US$9.7bn from the market after receiving strong support from the company’s broad group of existing banks.

Oil Slips as U.S. Supplies Outweigh OPEC Support

file Image: CREDIT: BMT

Rising U.S. crude inventories, output cap prices as Shanghai crude futures fall 10 pct since Monday's launch. Oil prices slipped on Thursday, as supportive comments from OPEC that its output curbs were likely to stay in place for the rest of the year were offset by another rise in U.S. inventories. The oil price had touched $71 a barrel on Tuesday, near its high for the year, but has dipped since then. June Brent crude futures were down 35 cents at $68.41 a barrel by 1229 GMT…

BP's Dudley Sees Pay Rebound

File Image: BP CEO Bob Dudley (CREDIT: BP PLC)

BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley's remuneration rose to $13.4 million in 2017, when the oil and gas giant's profits more than doubled and production soared. Dudley's salary was up 13 percent from 2016, when his pay package was cut by 40 percent after a majority of shareholders opposed the company's pay policy. Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden saw his total remuneration in 2017 rise to 8.9 million euros ($11 million) from 8.6 million euros the previous year.

Brazil Seeks to Auction 2 Santos Blocks

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

Brazilian oil Secretary Marcio Felix said on Thursday the ministry will seek to auction two choice oil blocks located in the offshore Santos basin in a June pre-salt auction.   The two blocks were eliminated from Thursday's auction by a surprise court decision on Wednesday. He also said the ministry expects to rake in 6.9 billion reais through Thursday and the June auctions, including those blocks.   Reporting by Alexandra Alper  

China's Crude Futures Contract Should Confound the Sceptics: Kemp

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

China’s new crude oil futures contract, which began trading this week, has a good chance of confounding the doubters and becoming a regional benchmark where other contracts have failed. The history of futures and options trading is littered with new contracts launched amid great fanfare but which subsequently failed to develop sufficient liquidity and have been discontinued or faded into irrelevance. But the new crude…

Shell Targets Former Senior Executive in Nigeria Graft Complaint

Royal Dutch Shell has filed a criminal complaint against a former senior employee over suspected bribes in the $390 million sale of an oilfield in Nigeria, where the company is already under investigation over a separate deal. Dutch prosecutors confirmed they had received the complaint against Peter Robinson, a former vice president for sub-Saharan Africa. They said it would be included in an ongoing investigation into Shell and Italy's Eni over the acquisition of a different Nigerian oilfield, known as OPL 245.

Heavy Night-time Volumes Crush Shanghai Oil Futures

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

Many investors worry about volatility overnight as low liquidity added to wild gyrations. Shanghai crude oil futures slumped on Wednesday, the third day of trading since their launch, after heavy selling overnight, as traders scrambled to follow cues from the main international markets. The big volumes done in the late evening in China underscore the complexity of trading the new contract when London's Brent and WTI in the United States…

Concho to buy RSP Permian for $8 bln

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

Oil and gas producer Concho Resources Inc said on Wednesday it would buy smaller rival RSP Permian Inc in an all-stock deal valued at about $8 billion to expand its presence in the Permian Basin. RSP shareholders will get 0.320 of Concho shares for each stock held, worth about $50.24 per share - a premium of nearly 29 percent to RSP's close on Tuesday. The company said including debt the value of the deal is $9.5 billion. The equity value of the deal was calculated based on 155.53 million outstanding shares of RSP.

OPEC Seeks "very long-term" Cooperation with Other Exporters

A long-term deal with Russia seen as unprecedented. OPEC is seeking "very long-term" cooperation with other crude exporters, the secretary general of the oil exporting group said on Wednesday. Mohammad Barkindo was commenting on news that top OPEC producer Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC Russia were working on a long-term pact that could extend controls over world crude supplies by major exporters for up to 20 years. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the plan in an interview with Reuters on Monday.

British VW Drivers Kick Off "dieselgate" in High Court

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

Lawyers for more than 50,000 British car owners kicked off a lawsuit against Volkswagen in London's High Court on Tuesday in a battle for compensation over a diesel emissions scandal that has engulfed Europe's largest carmaker since 2015. The three-day hearing will determine whether the claims can be managed collectively under a Group Litigation Order (GLO) and will set a deadline for claimants to sign up to what lawyers say could become the largest group action in British legal history.

Gail India Offers Sabine Pass LNG Liftings

File Image: cheniere's Sabine Pass facility. (CREDIT: Cheniere)

Gail India has offered three liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes for May to July loading from Sabine Pass in the United States, two traders said on Tuesday. The cargoes will be sold based on the U.S. benchmark Henry Hub gas price, one of them said. The tender closes on March 29 with same-day validity, the trader added. The Indian importer has 20-year deals to buy 5.8 million tonnes per annum of U.S. LNG in total, split between Dominion Energy's Cove Point plant and Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass.

China Crude Futures Enjoy Champagne Start

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

China's new crude oil futures contract enjoyed a successful first day of trading in Shanghai, most likely exceeding the wildest hopes of its backers, but much of the hard work of building a viable benchmark still has to be done. The new contract, launched on Monday by the Shanghai International Energy Exchange (INE), attracted interest from Western oil traders as well as domestic investors. Some 20 million barrels of oil changed hands on the first day…

India's Reliance Sheds TX Shale Assets

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

Reliance Industries Ltd said on Tuesday its unit would sell some of its shale assets in the United States to privately held Sundance Energy Inc for $100 million, as the Indian oil-to-telecom conglomerate moves closer to exit U.S. shale investments. The sale includes Reliance's interest in the assets in the Eagle Ford shale in Texas, it said in a statement https://www.bseindia.com/xml-data/corpfiling/AttachLive/ffee7019-ddc0-498a-a7b9-2bd29972adc8.pdf.

EU Okays German Offshore Power Surcharge Reductions

File Image: A typical offshore wind installation. (CREDIT: Siemens)

The European Commission said on Tuesday it had approved a German plan to grant reductions of an offshore power surcharge to intensive electricity users and to railway operators. The German plan foresees that from 2019 the cost of connecting offshore wind installations to the main electricity grid will be financed by a surcharge, which electricity customers would pay. However, it has also proposed that there would be a reduced levy to pay for certain intensive electricity users and for railway companies.

BSEE Ramps up Quality Assurance Measures

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has implemented a new quality assurance process for reviewing and assessing its permitting systems. The new process seeks to reflect on permits issued by the agency and helps inform best practices for offshore energy permitting. The new directive, issued by BSEE’s Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs, requires the agency to conduct periodic review and assessment of permitting processes for consistency…

Trafigura Among First to Trade China Crude Futures

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

Trading giant Trafigura has been among the first foreign companies trading China's just-launched crude oil futures, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.   Shanghai crude oil futures launched on Monday and are the country's first commodity derivative contracts to be open to foreign investors.   Reporting by Ruby Lian and Josephine Mason 

Petrobras Secures $606 mln Credit Line from Banco do Brasil

Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA said on Monday it has hired a 2 billion real ($606 million) credit line from state lender Banco do Brasil SA expiring in Feb. 2023.   In a securities filing, Petrobras, as the company is known, said the newly-contracted credit line will cost 0.40 percent a year.   Reporting by Bruno Federowski 

US LNG Firms Lament Bad Timing of Tariffs, China Trade Spat

The Trump administration's planned steel tariffs and a potential trade battle with China could hurt U.S. liquefied natural gas companies just as a new wave of developments in the fast-growing market is gaining steam, company executives say. China is the fastest growing major buyer of LNG, making it an important customer for U.S. producers. It is also a significant exporter of the steel components used in LNG plant construction.

South Sudan: U.S. Sanctions Undermine 'search for peace'

U.S. sanctions on 15 South Sudanese oil operators will work against efforts to restore peace and stability in the nation, the government said on Thursday. The sanctions, which were announced on Wednesday, will require companies and government bodies to apply for special licences to do business in the United States, an action designed to increase pressure on President Salva Kiir to end the conflict and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.

Rio Tinto Sheds Another Coal Asset

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Lidian Neeleman)

Rio's second coal deal this week charts its future course. Rio Tinto is to sell its 75 percent stake in a Queensland project to Australia's Whitehaven Coal for $200 million, in its second deal this week to shed coal assets. Rio is also in the process of selling its remaining Australian coal asset - a stake in the Kestrel underground mine. "We believe this agreement for the sale of Winchester South represents the best option for the future development of the project while delivering attractive value for Rio Tinto…

Greenpeace Boards Statoil Rig

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Greenpeace activists have boarded a rig that was due to sail to the Arctic to drill prospects on behalf of oil firm Statoil, the environmental group said on Thursday. "We have two people on board and 10 on the water to ensure the rig does not leave port. Our activity started at 8am (0700 GMT) this morning," Truls Gulowsen, the head of Greenpeace in Norway, told Reuters. "We are prepared to stay as long as necessary," he added.

Antwerp Port Pushes Onshore Power for Ships

Antwerp Port Authority has installed seven new onshore power connection points on Quay 75,

The Antwerp Port Authority aims to create the necessary conditions to supply onshore power for seagoing ships in the port. In order to realize this ambition, it will sign two agreements on Friday, 23 March, during the World Ports Sustainabaility Program-event in Antwerp. The first agreement will receive the signatures from the Port Authority and Alfaport-VOKA, the representative of the private port community whose support is essential for the project to succeed.

Britain to Stay in EU Carbon Market until 2020

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Britain intends to remain in Europe's emission trading system (ETS) until at least the end of its third trading phase running from 2013-2020, Britain's energy minister said on Wednesday. The status of Britain's participation in the scheme following the country's exit from the European Union in March 2019 had been unclear until now. Energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry said it had yet to be formally agreed with…

Record U.S. Oil Offshore Lease Sale to Test Trump Energy Push

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The U.S. Interior Department will hold the largest lease sale in American history in the offshore Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, in a major test of the oil industry’s appetite for federal acreage being offered by the Trump administration. The auction of more than 77 million acres (31.2 million hectares) - an area twice the size of Florida - is part of an effort by President Donald Trump's administration to ramp up U.S.

McDermott to Bid for Asia Offshore Oil, Gas Contracts

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U.S. engineering and construction company McDermott International plans to bid for $5 billion in contracts in the next few months in Asia Pacific as the region's offshore oil and gas sector recovers, company executives said on Tuesday. The value of contracts available for bids are up from $4 billion six months ago, the McDermott executives said. "We have seen a 15-20 percent increase in the number of projects that we can bid in the region…

Noble Group Hit by Shareholder Lawsuit

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Goldilocks Investment Co, a leading shareholder of Noble Group Ltd, has filed a lawsuit with the Singapore High Court against the commodities trader and some of its former and current senior executives, alleging the company inflated its assets. "We have filed it today," said Daniel Chia, a Morgan Lewis Stamford lawyer, who is representing Goldilocks. An external spokeswoman for Noble declined to comment. The move comes…

Trafigura Moves Hedging from Europe, Leads U.S. Exports Race

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Firm moves away from new tighter EU regulations and becomes largest exporter of U.S. crude. Trading giant Trafigura has moved its commodities hedging operations to the United States and Asia and away from Europe to avoid being subject to new, tighter MiFID II market regulations. "We moved our hedging business away from Europe into the U.S. and Singapore and other locations," Chief Financial Officer Christophe Salmon told reporters.

Glencore Acquires Rio Tinto's Hail Creek Coal Mine

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Glencore consolidating in coal as Rio exits; Rio Tinto shares rise 0.9 pct, Glencore slips. Glencore is buying Rio Tinto's Hail Creek coal mine and the Valeria coal project in Australia for $1.7 billion, tightening the Swiss trading and mining giant's grip on coal as its rivals exit the industry. The acquisition, announced by both companies on Tuesday, follows Glencore's purchase of half of Rio Tinto's Hunter Valley coal operations…

AISUS Bags Contract in the Middle East

AISUS - Stuart Lawson credit AISUS

Offshore inspection company AISUS  announced its first major contract win in the Middle East with North Oil Company (NOC). The six-figure agreement marks a  milestone for the firm and provides the foundation on which the company plans to build its growing business in the Middle East. The project, which is currently underway, will see AISUS carry out two caisson inspection programmes across two assets located in the Al Shaheen oilfield, off the north-east coast of Qatar. Further projects are planned for later in 2018.

Statoil Takes Over as Martin Linge Operator

Martin Linge is an oil and gas field under development west of the Oseberg field in the North Sea. (Photo: Statoil)

Statoil and Total have completed their previously announced transaction whereby Statoil has acquired Total’s equity stakes in, and taken over the operatorships of, the Martin Linge field and the Garantiana discovery on the Norwegian continental shelf. Statoil now has a 70 percent interest in Martin Linge and 40 percent in Garantiana. 121 employees from Total have been transferred over to Statoil in accordance with the Sale and Purchase Agreement and applicable legislation

Pennsylvania says Bankrupt Refiner Owes $3.8 bln in Taxes

Photo: PES

The state of Pennsylvania wants a federal judge to halt the bankruptcy of Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), arguing the refiner owes an estimated $3.8 billion in fuel taxes, according to a court filing on Friday. The state's Department of Revenue said the refiner must make several changes to the proposed restructuring plan to ensure the taxes are paid before it can support the plan. The $3.8 billion figure is significant…

Eni Raises Dividend, Production Targets

Italian oil and gas group Eni raised its dividend on Friday and held out the promise of a share buyback as it ramped up production and cash flow targets. In its 2018-2021 plan, the major said it would pay a dividend this year of 0.83 euros per share compared to 0.80 euros on last year's results. It also said a share buyback remained an option to distribute excess cash versus a leverage target of 0.20-0.25. Oil and gas…

Trafigura to Boost Urals Crude Liftings

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Oil trader Trafigura will regain its position as the largest buyer of seaborne crude from Russia's Rosneft, trading sources told Reuters on Friday, expanding their partnership as Rosneft reduces its dealings with Vitol and Glencore. Three trading sources told Reuters that Trafigura would increase its dominance in Rosneft’s Urals oil trading from April when Rosneft’s 5-year pre-finance deal with Vitol and Glencore expires. "Trafigura will be the lucky one," a trader in the Russian crude oil market said.

Petrobras Law Suit, Tax Provisions Weigh on Earnings

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Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro SA posted a significant net loss in the fourth quarter of last year, as a major class action settlement with U.S. shareholders weighed on results. Petrobras, as the company is known, posted a net loss of 5.477 billion reais ($1.68 billion), versus a 2.51 billion real profit during the same period last year. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) hit 12.986 billion reais.

Statoil to Rebrand as Equinor

Dudgeon offshore wind farm (Photo: Ole Jørgen Bratland / Statoil)

Rebranding would cost up to $32.5 mln but firm plans to ramp up renewables investment. Norway's Statoil plans to change its name to Equinor, reflecting its commitment to become a broad energy company rather than one focused only on oil, it said on Thursday. In a video posted on social media, Statoil presented the switch as a way to show its determination to develop investments in renewable energy. Reactions by various social media users were mixed.

FERC Mulls Action on NY Denial for NatGas Pipeline

File Image: A typical NatGas pipeline header. (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) pisotckii)

U.S. federal energy regulators gave themselves more time to decide whether to rehear their earlier order upholding New York's denial of a water permit for Williams Cos Inc's Constitution natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Wednesday rejected Constitution's request to overturn New York's denial of a water quality certification in January. If FERC did not act…

Commodities' Dilemma: Strong Demand or Trade War Fears?

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The tug-of-war between fundamentals and sentiment appears to be getting stronger for many commodities as the market tries to reconcile factors such as robust demand numbers from China and increasingly worrying rhetoric and actions from the United States. Iron ore, steel and copper all performed well on Wednesday after Chinese data showed real estate investment and industrial output rising at a faster than expected pace.

Noble Group Share Trading Halted

Trading in shares of Noble Group was halted on Wednesday, just days after the commodities trader said it was very close to reaching final terms with a group of senior creditors to restructure its debt. The Singapore-listed company asked for the trading halt pending the release of a statement. Embattled Noble has been negotiating a $3.4 billion debt-for-equity swap - crucial to its survival - after selling billions of dollars of assets, taking hefty writedowns and cutting hundreds of jobs over the past three years.

ExxonMobil Expects to Resume Paying Australian Corporate Tax in 2021

(File photo: ExxonMobil Australia)

ExxonMobil Corp said on Wednesday it is likely to resume paying corporate tax in Australia only in 2021, after recouping billions of dollars in investments made in the country in the past decade. The oil giant was grilled at an Australian Senate hearing on tax avoidance, after having paid no tax since 2013, despite reporting billions of dollars in income from operations in the country. The hearing is part of a broader inquiry in corporate tax avoidance in resource-rich Australia.

US States Slow Trump Offshore Oil Drilling Expansion Plan

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The Trump administration's plan to broadly expand drilling in U.S. offshore waters is moving slowly due to opposition from coastal states and indifference from oil companies that have turned their focus to other opportunities. The administration hopes encouraging U.S. energy development outside of shale oilfields will further its goal of "energy dominance." But existing Obama administration lease rules remain in place through 2022 unless the new rules gain approval.

NOIA Comments Support Offshore Leasing Program

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he National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) has submitted comments which strongly encourage the Secretary of the Interior to proceed with lease sale planning in all 25 planning areas proposed in the Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024 (DPP). Specifically, NOIA supports the annual offering of all acreage in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico and the opening of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico as soon as the current moratorium expires…

Sale of Maersk Oil to Total Complete

Total & Maersk Oil Photo courtesy Total

A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S [A.P. Moller - Maersk] has received all regulatory approvals and has today completed the sale of Mærsk Olie og Gas A/S [Maersk Oil] to Total S.A. [Total], which was announced on 21 August 2017. A.P. Moller - Maersk has transferred its shares in Maersk Oil to Total and as consideration received 97.5 million Total shares equalling USD 5.6bn as of 7 March 2018. In addition to the shares, Total has assumed a short-term debt of USD 2.5bn via a debt push down from A.P.

Shell, Blackstone in Joint Bid for BHP's Shale Assets

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Royal Dutch Shell Plc and American private equity firm Blackstone Group LP are working on a joint bid for BHP Billiton Plc's U.S. shale assets for $10 billion, Sky News reported.   The shale auction is expected to lead to a deal later this year, Sky News said.   BHP had put up the U.S. shale assets for sale last year.   BHP declined to comment. Shell and Blackstone could not be immediately reached for comment.   Reporting by Sangameswaran S 

Riverstone Unit Mulls Sale of WA Refinery

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TrailStone Group, a start-up commodity merchant backed by private equity firm Riverstone Holdings LLC, has retained Tudor Pickering & Holt to sell or find strategic alternatives for its Tacoma, Washington refinery, two people familiar with the transaction said on Thursday. The refinery, known as U.S. Oil, needs a capital infusion to pursue additional projects, including plans to expand into renewable energy, one of the people said.

U.S. to Sell 7 mln barrels of Crude From SPR

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The U.S. Department of Energy said on Thursday it will sell 7 million barrels of sweet crude oil from the country's petroleum reserve as it complies with a 2015 law to help fund the federal government. The DOE will accept offers on the oil until March 21. Delivery of the crude will be from May 1 to May 14, from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve's (SPR) West Hackberry site, and from May 1 to May 31 from its Bryan Mound site, the DOE said.