Wednesday, December 11, 2019

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Operations Suspended at Ecuador Oilfields Amid Protests

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Ecuadoran state-run oil company Petroamazonas EP suspended operations at three oil fields in the Amazon region on Monday, the country's energy ministry said, as protests against austerity measures convulse the country.Taken together, the suspensions could reduce crude output by 59,450 barrels per day (bpd) if not lifted, the ministry said in a statement posted on Twitter. It added that the suspension took place after the fields were "taken" by "individuals not affiliated with the operation," without providing any details."At the moment no staff have been retained…

Iran building oil pipeline to terminal outside Gulf

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Iran is building a $1.8 billion oil pipeline to its port of Jask outside the mouth of the Gulf, the country's oil minister said, as part of plans to protect its exports against potential problems in the region and to boost shipments of Caspian oil.Iran has been planning since at least 2012 to set up the terminal on the Gulf of Oman, just outside the Strait of Hormuz.Tehran has threatened to block the vital Gulf oil shipping route during its standoff with the United States, after Washington last year withdrew from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and reimposed sanctions…

U.S. Slaps Sanctions on Firms Moving Venezuelan Oil to Cuba

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The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday imposed sanctions on four maritime firms and vessels transporting Venezuelan oil to Cuba, amid an acute fuel scarcity in the island that is forcing people to line up for gasoline and public transport.Despite tough U.S. measures against Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA in January, Cuba's state-run oil import and export company Cubametales and other Cuba-based entities "have continued to circumvent sanctions by receiving oil shipments from Venezuela," the Treasury…

Ireland to Freeze New Offshore Oil Exploration Licences

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Ireland plans to freeze the issuing of new exploration licences for oil in Irish waters but not for gas, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told journalists on Monday during a visit to New York, Irish media reported.Varadkar said he would announce at a U.N. climate summit "that Ireland will also decline to issue any new exploration licences for oil in Irish waters (though new licences for gas will continue to be issued)," Virgin TV News reporter Gavan Reilly said in a Twitter post.Reporters for the Irish Times and Examiner newspapers also reported the comments.

Oil Prices Extend Losses After Saudi Pledge

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Oil prices retreated about 2% on Wednesday, extending the previous day's declines after Saudi Arabia said it would quickly restore full production following last weekend's attacks on its facilities and as U.S. crude stockpiles rose unexpectedly.Tension in the Middle East remained elevated, however, after the Saudi Defence Ministry held a news conference, displaying drone and missile debris it said was "undeniable" evidence of Iranian aggression. U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he ordered a major increase in sanctions on Iran in the latest U.S.

Two Tankers Attacked in Gulf of Oman

(Photo:  Islamic Republic News Agency)

Two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, leaving one ablaze and both adrift, shipping firms said, driving oil prices as much as 4% higher over worries about Middle East supplies.The Front Altair, carrying petrochemical feedstock, was on fire in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran after an explosion that a source blamed on a magnetic mine. The Norwegian owner said its crew were safe.A second Japanese-owned tanker was abandoned after being hit by a suspected torpedo, the firm that chartered the ship said.

Oil Prices Fall After Trump's Tariff Threat Against China

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Oil prices fell on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would sharply raise tariffs on Chinese goods this week, risking the derailment of trade talks between the world's two biggest economies.U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $61.68 per barrel at 1338 GMT, down 26 cents. WTI hit $60.04 earlier in the session, its lowest since March 29.Brent crude futures were broadly steady at $70.88 per barrel, having earlier hit its lowest since April 2 at $68.79.Trump said on Twitter on Sunday that he would hike U.S.

Trump, Saudi Arabia at Odds Over Oil Price

(File photo: Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

U.S. President Donald Trump and the Saudi government have closely aligned views on most issues but they disagree significantly on the desirable level for oil prices, which could become a source of volatility in 2019/2020.In keeping with his iconoclastic approach to governing, Trump has kept up a public commentary on oil prices and the role of Saudi-led OPEC in messages on Twitter as well as television interviews.So far in 2018/19, the president’s interventions have revealed his preference for a benchmark…

Trump Calls for OPEC to Boost Production

File photo: The floating, production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) PSVM in Block 31 offshore Angola. (Photo: BP)

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday called for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to boost oil production to lower the price of the commodity."Very important that OPEC increase the flow of Oil. World Markets are fragile, price of Oil getting too high. Thank you!" Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.Immediately following Trump's tweet, U.S. crude oil futures fell by more than $1 to $58.33 a barrel and Brent futures were down by more than $1 to a session low of $66.76 per barrel.Crude oil prices have risen this year amid supply cuts by OPEC as well as U.S.

Rising US Oil Clout on Show in Houston

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A glance at the attendee list at one of the world's largest energy industry events in Houston this week left little question about the growing influence of the United States over global oil politics.Present: top U.S. diplomat Mike Pompeo. Absent: leading Saudi and Russian officials, and most OPEC nations.As the United States weans itself off foreign oil imports - thanks to booming domestic production - the complex web of politics and business interests that have shaped decades of Washington's energy diplomacy in the Middle East and beyond is changing.That shift was unmistakable in Houston this week.In his keynote address…

Hedge Funds Buying Oil Despite Trump's OPEC Comments

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Hedge funds continued to boost their bullish position in crude and fuels last week despite a call from U.S. President Donald Trump for OPEC to "relax and take it easy".Hedge funds and other money managers were net buyers of an extra 16 million barrels of Brent crude futures and options in the week to Feb. 26, according to ICE Futures Europe.Fund managers have been net buyers of 155 million barrels of Brent futures and options since Dec. 4, increasing their net long position in 11 out of the last 12 weeks (https://tmsnrt.rs/2EJUvB4).Funds were net buyers in the week to Feb.

DOE Chief Perry: OPEC Bill Could Spike Oil Prices

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry (CREDIT: US DOE)

The United States needs to be cautious about pending legislation that would allow the Justice Department to sue OPEC and other oil producers over supply cuts because it could result in higher prices in the long term, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Thursday."We need to be really careful before we pass legislation that may have an impact that goes way past its intended consequences," Perry said at a news conference.The bill could curtail supply management by oil producers in global markets, possibly leading to a petroleum glut and lower prices.

Trump Warns Saudi Arabia on Oil Prices

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U.S. President Donald Trump has warned OPEC not to tighten the oil market too much and risk another spike in prices that could harm the global economy – and his re-election campaign in 2020.“Oil prices getting too high,” the president warned in a message posted on Twitter on Monday. “OPEC please relax and take it easy. World cannot take a price hike – fragile!”The president has kept up a regular commentary on oil prices over the last year and has pressed Saudi Arabia, de facto leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries…

Oil Falls Towards $53 on Economic Worries, Surging Supply

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Oil fell towards $53 a barrel on Wednesday, under pressure from rising output in major OPEC and non-OPEC producers and concerns about an economic slowdown that could weaken demand.Russian production hit a post-Soviet record in 2018, figures showed on Wednesday. Other data showed U.S. output reached a record in October and Iraq boosted oil exports in December.Brent crude was 60 cents lower at $53.20 a barrel at 1422 GMT. On Dec. 26, it hit $49.93, the lowest since July 2017. U.S. crude slipped 73 cents to $44.68."The omens are far from encouraging…

Oil Down After Trump Urges OPEC Not to Cut Supply

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Oil prices fell more than 2 percent on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump put pressure on OPEC not to cut supply to prop up the market.Brent dropped $1.97 a barrel, or 2.8 percent, to a low of $68.15 before recovering to around $68.52, down $1.60, by 1420 GMT. U.S. light crude was $1.35 lower at $58.48.Both crude benchmarks have fallen more than 20 percent since peaking at four-year highs in early October."The market now increasingly looks concerned about the prospect of too much supply," said Norbert Ruecker…

Trump Hopes OPEC Won't Cut Production

(Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said he hoped there would be no oil output reductions, after Saudi Arabia said OPEC was considering cutting oil supply next year, citing softening demand."Hopefully, Saudi Arabia and OPEC will not be cutting oil production. Oil prices should be much lower based on supply!" Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.(Reporting by Lisa Lambert, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

NNPC, BP Swap Crude for Products

Nigeria's state oil firm NNPC said it had signed a crude-for-product swap deal with oil major BP.In its brief statement on Twitter late on Wednesday, NNPC said more details would be provided later. BP and NNPC did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.NNPC imports about 70 percent of Nigeria's fuel needs, mainly gasoline, via swap contracts. NNPC has contracts, known as Direct Sale Direct Purchase, with 10 consortiums that include trading houses Vitol, Trafigura, Mercuria and oil major…

Saudi Oil Minister Meets with Argentina's Energy Minister

Saudi oil minister Khalid Al-Falih met with Argentina's energy minister Javier Iguacel on Thursday, Al-Falih said on his twitter account.Al-Falih said they discussed cooperation and investment in oil sector, as well as "the importance of the continuing efforts of oil producers to stabilise the markets."Al-Falih is in Argentina with the Saudi delegation accompanying Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 summit. (Reuters, Reporting by Omar Fahmy, Writing by Nayera Abdallah; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

Oil Prices Climb on OPEC-led Cuts

(File photo: OPEC)

Oil prices ended more than 2 percent higher on Friday after OPEC members and allies like Russia agreed to reduce output to drain global fuel inventories and support the market, but the gains were capped by concerns that the cuts would not offset growing production.The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its Russia-led allies, referred to as "OPEC+," agreed to slash production by a combined 1.2 million barrels per day next year in a move to be reviewed at a meeting in April.This was larger than the minimum 1 million bpd that the market had expected, despite pressure from U.S.

Qatar to Leave OPEC

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Qatar said on Monday it was quitting OPEC from January to focus on its gas ambitions, taking a swipe at the group's de facto leader Saudi Arabia and marring efforts to show unity before this week's meeting of exporters to tackle an oil price slide.Doha, one of OPEC's smallest oil producers but the world's biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, is embroiled in a protracted diplomatic row with Saudi Arabia and some other Arab states.Qatar said its surprise decision was not driven by politics but in an apparent swipe at Riyadh…