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All the latest in Oil, Gas, Commodity news and analysis

Mexico Scrambles To Save Its Sinking Oil Company
by OilPrice.com
25 Mar 2019 at 4:00pm
On February 15 President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced the launch of Pemex?s Strengthening Programme, a six-year plan designed to improve the company?s financial position through the liquidation of assets, a reduction in tax payments and improved efficiency. It includes the monetisation of promissory notes worth MXN35bn ($1.8bn), a pledge to crackdown on corruption and fuel theft, expected to save MXN32bn ($1.7bn), and tax relief amounting to MXN90bn ($4.7bn) through to the end of 2024. The reforms are set?

Exxon Expects Demand For High-Sulfur Fuel Oil To Drop 25%   
by Tsvetana Paraskova
25 Mar 2019 at 3:00pm
Global demand for high-sulfur fuel oil is expected to drop by 25 percent through 2025 because of the stricter emissions regulations for ship fuel beginning in 2020, Reuters quoted Bryan Milton, President of ExxonMobil Fuels and Lubricants, as saying at the Scotia Howard Weil 47th Annual Energy Conference in New Orleans on Monday. The new sulfur content regulations by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as of January 1, 2020, limit the sulfur content in fuels for ships to 0.5 percent, slashed from the current 3.5-percent limit.?

Trump Boosts U.S. Presence In Taiwan Strait
by Tim Daiss
25 Mar 2019 at 3:00pm
As Washington and Beijing try to reach a deal after months of disagreement and trade tensions that have impacted not only both countries but the global economy as well as global oil demand growth and oil prices, new developments broke this weekend that will likely create more headwinds between the two countries. On Sunday, two American ships sailed through the growingly controversial Taiwan Strait. U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS Curtis Wilbur, and U.S. Coast Guard cutter, USCGC Bertholf, "conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit March 24-25 (local?

Chinese LNG Imports Drop As Winters Nears End
by Tsvetana Paraskova
25 Mar 2019 at 2:00pm
China?s liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports increased in February compared to the same month last year, but fell from the record highs from January as the winter heating season approaches its end amid ample supplies in Asia. According to data from China?s General Administration of Customs, cited by Reuters, Chinese imports of LNG in February 2019 increased by 9.7 percent compared to February 2018, to 4.35 million tons. The February 2019 imports, however, were off the record high LNG imports from January 2019, when Chinese imports reached?

Schlumberger Won?t Take New Full-Oilfield Management Projects
by Tsvetana Paraskova
25 Mar 2019 at 1:00pm
Oilfield services provider Schlumberger will focus on monetizing existing full-field production management contracts in the near to medium term and will not undertake new such deals in the meantime, chairman and chief executive officer Paal Kibsgaard said on Monday. Schlumberger Production Management (SPM) is the full-field production management business model of the oilfield services provider, in which it has actively invested for several years. Schlumberger, however, will not be taking new such projects until it executes and monetizes part of?

World?s 2nd Largest Oil Company Sees Huge Drop In Profit
by Irina Slav
25 Mar 2019 at 11:00am
Sinopec reported a 76-percent drop in its latest quarterly profit for October-December 2018, which is the lowest since at least the third quarter of 2016, Reuters reports, citing the company. However, the bad news was not a result of the company?s normal operations but of derivatives trading losses incurred by its trading arm Unipec. The division booked net losses of US$690 million (4.65 billion yuan) in the fourth quarter of last year on bad oil hedging bets. This pressed the parent company?s net result to US$461.57 million (3.1 billion?

Gulf Of Mexico Oil Replaces U.S. Venezuelan Purchases
by Tsvetana Paraskova
25 Mar 2019 at 11:00am
Sour medium oil from Shell?s and BP?s Gulf of Mexico platforms is replacing Venezuela?s heavy oil for many U.S. refiners who are on the lookout for alternatives sources of crude after the U.S. sanctions on the Venezuelan oil industry, Reuters reported on Monday, citing trade sources and data. The two supermajors BP and Shell are also major operators and producers in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, and their crude is being purchased by U.S. refiners, with the medium sour Mars grade from the Mars platform operated by Shell with partner?

Iran Governor Bans Officials From Leaving Oil-Rich Province Amid Flood Alarm
by Irina Slav
25 Mar 2019 at 10:00am
The governor of Khuzestan, the biggest oil-rich province in Iran, has banned government officials from leaving it despite the danger of floods in the region, Radio Farda reports, citing a statement by Gholamreza Shariati. "Since there are some concerns over the basin of Karkheh River, forces have been assigned to check the floodgates, and do whatever necessary to confront a possible flash flood in the province," the Khuzestan governor said. The local meteorological service has warned there is a danger of floods in parts of the west and southwest?

Good News And Bad News For The Ethanol Industry
by Robert Rapier
25 Mar 2019 at 10:00am
Last week the ethanol industry cheered when the EPA proposed a rule that would allow 15% ethanol blends to be sold year-round. But by the end of the week they were complaining as the EPA granted more waivers to refiners seeking exemption from ethanol-blending requirements. Ethanol supporters cheered last summer when Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned. As Oklahoma?s Attorney General, Pruitt had sued the EPA over the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). As EPA Administrator,?

IS Tries To Hit Oil Field In Northern Iraq
by Irina Slav
25 Mar 2019 at 8:30am
Security forces at the Alaas field in northern Iraq have thwarted an attack by Islamic State militants, killing and injuring several attackers, Iraqi media report citing a statement from the operator of the field, North Oil Company. This is the latest in several attacks by the terrorist group on the field after it was driven out of the area in 2017. At the time, Alaas was one of the fields that IS set on fire during its retreat. While Baghdad celebrated the defeat of Islamic State after the battle for Mosul, the last remaining stronghold of the?

Russian Troops Land In Oil-Rich Venezuela
by Irina Slav
25 Mar 2019 at 8:30am
Two Russian planes with 100 troops landed in Venezuela this weekend, Reuters reports, citing media reports and flight tracking websites. The move is the latest signal of strengthening ties between Caracas and Moscow amid growing pressure on the Maduro government from Washington. It also comes three months after the Venezuelan and Russian army conducted joint military exercises in Venezuela. At the time, the U.S. government slammed the exercises as Russian ?encroachment? in South America. An explanation for the presence of the troops?

What?s Keeping Oil From Rallying To $75?
by Nick Cunningham
24 Mar 2019 at 5:00pm
WTI recently hit $60 per barrel for the first time since November, driven higher by the OPEC+ cuts, as well as by outages in Venezuela and Iran. Those supply cuts have been tightening up the market for a while now, but the mid-week report from the EIA that showed a massive inventory drawdown helped push WTI over $60 per barrel. Oil prices had seemed to run out of steam just short of that threshold, but the decline of 9.6 million barrels was a surprise. ?It was also the biggest inventory reduction within a week since July 2018?Stocks?

A New Trend In Natural Gas: Just-In-Time Supply
by Arthur Berman
24 Mar 2019 at 3:00pm
U.S. natural gas prices reached the highest maximum level in 4 years this winter. That?s because of a new ?just-in-time? gas supply paradigm that relies more on wellhead production than storage. It has pluses and minuses. In November 2019, weekly Henry Hub spot prices were $4.68/mmBtu, a level only exceeded in January 2014 over the last several years (Figure 1). (Click to enlarge) Figure 1. Highest natural gas price maximum in four years.Source: EIA and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.That was because winter gas storage was?

What Norway?s Decision To Divest Means For US Shale
by Tsvetana Paraskova
24 Mar 2019 at 1:00pm
After months of deliberations, Norway?s government proposed in March that the country?s US$1-trillion fund?the world?s biggest sovereign wealth fund?divest from oil and gas exploration companies. The move by the fund, which has amassed its vast wealth on the back of Norway?s oil and gas revenues, comes at a time when investors are increasingly pressing major oil companies to start taking climate change seriously and to prepare their business portfolios for a world of peak oil demand, whenever that may come. Norway,?

Oil Markets Ignore Warning Signs Of Looming Recession
by Martin Tillier
24 Mar 2019 at 11:00am
When you write about financial markets as I do, being a profit of doom can be a good short-term strategy, and that short-term nature makes it an effective one in the modern ADHD world. A headline about an impending ?collapse? or ?crash? is, after all, much sexier than ?We will probably go a bit higher over time because that is what has happened consistently over the last two hundred years or so??, and a sexy headline draws clicks and eyeballs. Fear sells, but there are two reasons to avoid exploiting that.?

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