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The EV Battery Conundrum: Commodity Rally Could Reverse Cost Curve
by Irina Slav
26 Jul 2021 at 5:00pm
At the end of last year, BloombergNEF reported that the price of electric vehicle batteries had for the first time fallen to $100 per kWh. This is widely considered the tipping point for EV adoption because this battery price level makes the vehicle as cheap as an internal combustion engine car. Yet before anyone could really celebrate the news, other reports started coming in: a shortage of semiconductors, used generously in EVs as well as ICE cars; a looming shortage of steel because of supply chain disruptions resulting from the pandemic; but?

Could A Helium Shortage Derail The Tech Boom?
by James Burgess
26 Jul 2021 at 4:00pm
Discovered over a century ago, helium was never intended for balloons. It wasn?t supposed to be a party gas. At the height of the Cold War, the United States recognized its strategic nature and started stockpiling it and controlling supply and pricing at a Federal Helium Reserve in Amarillo, Texas.  Three decades later, in the 1990s, the federal government decided that helium could be sold to private entities. Now, reports say those reserves have been depleted, and the reserve is slated for shutdown in September, while the United States?

Biden Faces Major Challenge As China Zeroes In On Iraq
by Simon Watkins
26 Jul 2021 at 3:00pm
A series of deals between China and Iraq in the run-up to this week?s visit of Iraq President Mustafa al-Kadhimi to Washington, including the latest involving China?s build-out of Iraq?s critical Fao refinery complex, might finally push the U.S. into formulating a genuinely workable strategy for continued engagement in Iraq.The Fao facility to the south of Basra and its surrounding and connected infrastructure is the key to much of Iraq?s current and future crude oil supplies. Together with the build-out of China?s?

Argentina?s Oil Industry Is Finally Bouncing Back
by Matthew Smith
26 Jul 2021 at 2:00pm
While the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020?s oil price collapse hit Argentina?s hydrocarbon sector hard, leading to some analysts to claim that it may never fully recover, there is evidence of a healthy rebound is underway. This is especially positive news for the national government in Buenos Aires which for nearly a decade has pinned its hopes on fueling an economic revival by exploiting the massive hydrocarbon wealth of the Vaca Muerta shale play. The massive shale play, located in the oil-rich Neuquén province, is thought to hold?

China To Build Airport, Houses Under Oil-For-Projects Deal In Iraq
by Charles Kennedy
26 Jul 2021 at 1:30pm
Chinese firms are set to build an airport and 90,000 houses in Iraq as part of a 2019 agreement for crude supply in exchange for projects, an Iraqi official was quoted as saying. Companies from China are expected to build an airport in Nasiriyah and 90,000 houses in Sadr City, in exchange for 100,000 barrels of Iraqi crude, Zawya quoted Sabah Abdul Lateef, an adviser to the Iraqi Prime Minister, as saying. ?These projects will be carried out in line with the Iraq-China agreement after all legal issues that have faced the agreement have been?

Automakers Take Multi-Billion Profit Hit As Battery Metals Boom
by Tsvetana Paraskova
26 Jul 2021 at 1:00pm
Rising prices of critical electric vehicle (EV) metals are denting the profits of global automakers, just as a growing number of legacy carmakers are investing more in zero-emission vehicles.  The rally in lithium and copper prices?key battery metals?comes at a time when the global auto industry faces increased supply chain pricing pressure from the chip shortage and higher prices of steel and other input materials.  The rally in the prices of raw materials highlights the challenges the industry, and the world, face in accelerating?

Armenia Looks At UAE To Help Build Major Solar Plants
26 Jul 2021 at 12:30pm
The Armenian government is looking to expand the country?s renewable energy capacity with an ambitious plan to build two new solar power plants. This month, the government finalized a deal with United Arab Emirates-based renewable energy company Masdar to build the first plant by 2025. The 200-megawatt plant, to be known as Ayg-1, will become the country?s largest solar power plant and will have nearly half of the current capacity of Armenia?s main energy generator, the Metsamor nuclear power plant? According to the government,?

U.S. Shale Is Scrambling To Reinvent Itself
by Haley Zaremba
26 Jul 2021 at 12:00pm
Oil has dominated global economics and dictated the shape, terms, and function of the geopolitical map for nearly 200 years. While two centuries is the merest of blips on the timeline of human history, it?s hard for us today to imagine a world without oil in all of its myriad forms and byproducts, not to mention its hefty environmental externalities. For better and for worse, we live on a petro-planet. Since the black gold rush of the mid 19th century, oil has made the world smaller, connecting people as well as markets and making international?

Pembina Terminates Agreement To Buy Inter Pipeline In All-Stock Deal
by Tsvetana Paraskova
26 Jul 2021 at 11:30am
Pembina Pipeline Corporation has terminated its previous agreement to buy Inter Pipeline in the latest twist in the biggest multi-billion fight over pipeline resources control in Canada since 2019. On Monday, Pembina Pipeline said it had terminated its previous arrangement to buy Inter Pipeline in an all-stock transaction that had valued Inter Pipeline's common shares at around US$6.6 billion (C$8.3 billion), based on the closing price of Pembina's common shares on May 31, 2021. The initial deal, announced in June, was expected to create one of?

Growing Activist Pressure Puts Key Middle East Oil Deal On Hold
by Felicity Bradstock
26 Jul 2021 at 11:00am
A UAE oil transport deal is now on hold due to environmental concerns from Israel?s environmental protection ministry following pressure from activists. The agreement between the UAE and Israel expects to see Middle Eastern oil transported to Eilat, a red seaport, by tanker, which would then be carried by a pipeline across Israel to reach the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon for it to be shipped to Europe. If approved, this would allow for the transportation of tens of millions of tonnes of petroleum projects, through a new transport link between?

China Strikes Back At EU For Carbon Border Tax
by Irina Slav
26 Jul 2021 at 10:30am
The European Union is breaching trade principles with its proposal to impose a so-called carbon border tax that would push up the prices of non-EU products sold in the bloc to account for their carbon footprint. "CBAM is essentially a unilateral measure to extend the climate change issue to the trade sector. It violates WTO principles ... and (will) seriously undermine mutual trust in the global community and the prospects for economic growth," a spokesman for China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment told media today, as quoted by Reuters. The?

Big Oil Doubles Down On Brazil?s Exploding Offshore Sector
by Tsvetana Paraskova
26 Jul 2021 at 10:00am
Big Oil is betting big on oil exploration offshore Brazil, where the prolific pre-salt basin promises a lot of additional supply over the coming years. From Shell to Exxon, many major corporations continue to win acreage and explore for oil off Brazil, which is expected to be one of the key non-OPEC contributors to global oil supply this decade. ?We are going through the best moment in years,? Matheus Rangel, a Rio-based oil worker told Bloomberg?s Peter Millard. ?Exploration activity, and more importantly expenditure, is?

Volkswagen CEO: EVs Will Be Cheaper Than ICE Vehicles In ?2 To 3 Years?
26 Jul 2021 at 9:30am
Ever since the forced adoption of EVs by governments worldwide, all eyes have been on when the electric vehicles would finally make economic sense to produce. According to Volkswagen, that milestone is still years away but is moving closer. CEO Herbert Diess said at the company's annual general meeting this week that its EVs would see margins at the same level of combustion cars "in two to three years".  The company also disclosed that its shift to EVs continues on schedule, as it delivered 170,939 all-electric vehicles in the first half of?

Iraq Oil Expert: Baghdad Shouldn't Replace Oil With Renewables
by Tsvetana Paraskova
26 Jul 2021 at 9:00am
It is not in Iraq's best interest to adopt renewable energy at the expense of fossil fuels, energy and oil expert Hamza al-Jawaheri told local Shafaq News Agency in an interview on Monday. Iraq, OPEC's second-largest producer behind Saudi Arabia, has been suffering from power outages and disruptions due to a lack of investment in its transmission grids. Iraq also relies on electricity and natural gas imports from neighboring Iran for its power supply and has received waivers from the United States to continue importing electricity from Iran despite?

Chinese Refiner Reportedly Dodged $2 Billion In Fuel Taxes
by Irina Slav
26 Jul 2021 at 8:30am
An independent Chinese refiner may have avoided paying some $2 billion in taxes by falsifying the kind of fuels it sells, Bloomberg has reported, citing a report in a Chinese outlet owned by state news agency the People?s Daily. The company, Hengli Petrochemical Co., according to the report, sold gasoline and diesel under false names, as fuels that carry a lower tax burden, which resulted in it saving some 13 billion yuan, or about $2 billion. If the report proves accurate, this could prompt a further government clampdown on independent refiners?

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