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Oil Price Volatility Is Set To Return

September 18, 2017 Irina Slav 0

Oil markets could experience more intense price volatility in the coming years because of insufficient investment in new production, according to the head of the International Energy Agency’s oil market and industry unit, Neil Atkinson. Speaking at a conference in Manama, Bahrain, Atkinson noted that investment is returning to the oil industry too slowly to eliminate the risk of tighter supply that would, in turn, cause price volatility even in the context of slowing global oil demand growth. Over the next five years, it is not impossible…

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Shell To Restart Major Oil Refinery

September 18, 2017 Irina Slav 0

Shell is set to restart its 325,700-bpd Deer Park refinery in Texas, after shutting it down for three weeks during and after Hurricane Harvey’s sweep of the U.S. Gulf Coast. By noon on Sunday, the refinery’s biggest crude oil distillation unit, with a capacity of 270,000 bpd, was up and running again. The rest of the units are being restarted currently. The biggest unit, DU 2, is crucial for the operation of the refinery along with DU 1, which has a capacity of 70,000 bpd, because this is where crude petroleum is initially refined and…

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China Cracks Down Oil Smuggling Network

September 15, 2017 Irina Slav 0

Chinese authorities have busted an oil smuggling group in the Fujian Province, in eastern China, that has since the start of the year smuggled fuel worth US$138 million, Xinhua reports. The police arrested 99 suspects and confiscated 1,700 tons of smuggled fuel. The network, local border police reported, had been operating since June last year and involved four gangs operating nine midsized oil tankers to smuggle the fuel. The total amount of fuel smuggled to date is 180,000 tons. The police seized seven vessels, ten oil trucks, and nine underground…

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South Korea To Begin Phasing Out Nuclear Plants

September 15, 2017 Irina Slav 0

South Korea is eyeing independence from nuclear energy, to be implemented gradually over the next six decades, as it seeks to switch to safer clean energy sources. The country’s Trade, Industry, and Energy Minister Paik Un-gyu said at a conference in Seoul today that “There is a need to move away from the energy scheme of the past, which focused on promoting nuclear power plants.” So far, as part of this shift away from nuclear power and into renewables, the government shut down a nuclear power plant built in the 1970s and temporarily suspended…

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Venezuela Suspends Trade In U.S. Dollars

September 14, 2017 Irina Slav 0

Venezuela has told oil traders it will no longer accept or offer U.S. dollars in payment for crude oil and fuels, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources familiar with the developments. As a result, traders have started converting dollars into euros, and PDVSA’s foreign partners operating in the country may have to switch to euros as well. At the same time, Reuters reports, Venezuela yesterday suspended the sale of U.S. currency through its Dicom auction system that President Nicolas Maduro said the government will use to switch from…

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Plastics Won’t Save Oil

September 13, 2017 Irina Slav 0

Petrochemicals are Big Oil’s big hope for the future—the distant future. Petrochemicals are used in thousands of products, with the biggest group among these being single-use plastic products. The bad news for oil is that green initiatives around the world are mounting and many of them are targeting precisely this group of products. The latest such initiative came from Kenya. Last month, the East African country introduced what is considered one of the toughest bans on plastic bags globally. The making, marketing, and use of plastic…

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Alberta Wildfires Shut Down 24 Shell Gas Wells

September 13, 2017 Irina Slav 0

Wildfires raging in southwestern Alberta have prompted Shell to shut down 24 natural gas wells and pipelines around them, Canadian media reported, adding that other companies, including Questfire Energy and West Lake Energy, were also shutting in gas-producing facilities. Shell’s Waterton sour gas processing complex remains in operation for the time being, but the company has a contingency plan to shut it down if the fires approach it, a Shell spokesman told media. The company, however, has reduced staff numbers at the site, including in…

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Oil Prices Rise On Huge Draw In Gasoline Stocks

September 13, 2017 Irina Slav 0

Crude oil prices inched up after the EIA reported a smaller-than-expected build of 5.9 million barrels in crude oil inventories for the week to September 8, after a 4.6-million-barrel build in the prior week due to the Gulf Coast refinery shutdowns. A day earlier the American Petroleum Institute had estimated crude oil inventories had risen for the second week in a row, by a hefty 6.18 million barrels, which was only to be expected as the market is prepared for the Hurricane Harvey effects on Gulf Coast refining to linger for another few weeks.…

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Is Russia Pushing Saudi Arabia Out Of Asia?

September 12, 2017 Irina Slav 0

Chinese industrial conglomerate CEFC has agreed to buy 14.16 percent in Russia’s Rosneft for approximately US$9 billion. The deal was no surprise as it came on the heels of a Rosneft announcement regarding the sealing of a strategic partnership deal with CEFC, but it is clearly indicative of a continuing warming between Moscow and Beijing that has given the former the upper hand in a race for market share with Saudi Arabia. True, the Kingdom and Russia have been forging closer ties in recent months, thrown together by the persistent depression…

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Norway’s Pro-Oil Government Wins Re-Election

September 12, 2017 Irina Slav 0

The Conservative ruling party of Norway yesterday won re-election for the first time since 1985, in a vote where oil policies took center stage, as befits Europe’s largest oil and gas producer. It was a narrow win, however, for Erna Solberg’s tax-cutting, oil industry-stimulating platform. To win, the Conservative Party joined forces with the populist Progressive Party as well as two smaller parties from the center-right. These will have a say in future policies, including on oil, and the industry may suffer some blows. The center-right…

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