Here are some more selected news articles for the week ending 19 June 2021. Go here for Oil, Gas, And Fracking News Read 20June 2021 – Part 1.
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When the Frackers Get Too Close for Comfort – When Wanda Vincent looks out the windows of her daycare center in Arlington, Texas, past the playground, she sees a row of enormous beige storage tanks. They’re connected to two wells that produce natural gas for Total, one the world’s largest fossil fuel companies. No government agency – city, state or federal – monitors the air here or inspects regularly for emissions. So Vincent has no way of knowing whether dangerous gases are leaking out of all that equipment, potentially harming the children and staff who spend their days so close to those wells. She feels surrounded. Within two miles of her daycare, 35 wells produce gas at six different sites, most of them operated by TEP Barnett USA, a subsidiary of the French energy giant Total, the dominant gas producer in Arlington. The diverse Dallas suburb of 400,000 has the fortune and misfortune of sitting atop one of the country’s largest onshore natural gas fields, the Barnett Shale. “No one is held accountable to determine whether it’s safe or not, and yet they allow them to be there,” Vincent said. “There’s not any documentation showing we’ve done testing and you’re safe.” Last year, as the Black and Latinx neighborhood around her daycare was grappling with high COVID-19 numbers, Vincent learned from a local activist that Total wanted to drill three more wells behind her playground. Neither the company nor the city had informed her, and she took that personally. “I’m African American, and it makes me feel like they don’t value our lives.” Twenty years of fracking in the United States has delivered not only energy independence, but also an expanding export industry in oil, natural gas and liquified natural gas. America’s drilling boom, led by Texas, has also brought heavy industry into many rural and urban communities. Millions of people now live in the shadow of oil and gas wells, unwitting participants in a massive experiment with their health. That drilling poses substantial risks to the climate as well, because methane, the main component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas. Arlington itself is home to 52 gas well sites and hundreds of wellheads. These wells are often near residential neighborhoods, commercial strips and doctor’s offices. More than 30,000 Arlington children go to public school within half a mile of wells, according to an analysis by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, and up to 7,600 infants and young children attend private daycares within that radius. Eighty-five percent of the public school students are children of color, and more than two-thirds live in poverty. Altogether, more than half of Arlington’s public schools and daycare facilities are within a half-mile of active gas production. Eight daycare centers are within 600 feet, the standard setback in Arlington.
Biden Pause on Oil Leases on Public Lands Blocked by Judge – A federal judge lifted the Biden administration’s temporary ban on new oil and gas leases on public lands and offshore waters. In a victory for 13 red states that filed the legal challenge in Louisiana, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday blocking President Joe Biden’s Jan. 27 executive order while the litigation continues. Biden’s order called for a 60-day pause during which the Interior Department would conduct a “comprehensive review” of its leasing program. The president said the agency should consider its “broad stewardship responsibilities,” including the impact of global warming. Oil industry advocates cheered the ruling after warning that any long-term halt in leasing jeopardizes jobs and domestic energy production. Environmental groups countered that the judge’s order fails to account for the damage done by climate pollution. The Interior Department said it’s reviewing the ruling and will comply with it. The agency said it’s working on an interim report that will “outline next steps and recommendations for the department and Congress to improve stewardship of public lands and waters, create jobs and build a just and equitable energy future,” according to an emailed statement. Read More: Biden ‘Moratorium’ on Oil Leasing Targeted by GOP-Led States Doughty’s ruling requires the Interior Department to immediately restart its leasing program, even as the agency continues its review of the effects of drilling.
Keystone XL-Quashing Activists Demand Biden Block Other Pipelines – Environmentalists emboldened by this week’s defeat of Keystone XL are pressuring President Joe Biden to revoke permits for other oil and gas pipelines, warning their votes depend on the administration blocking fossil fuel infrastructure.”If you need and want us — as I know the Biden team does — to come out in stronger numbers for 2022, then you have to do right by our community,” Jane Kleeb, the president of Bold Alliance, who spent more than a decade battling TC Energy Corp.’s Keystone XL, said in a call with reporters Friday. “You have to stand up to these big oil and fracked-gas pipelines and say ‘no more.'” Pipelines have been a focal point in the fight against climate change, putting leaders such as Biden and Canada’s Justin Trudeau in a tough spot as they pledge to help cut global carbon dioxide emissions at a Group of Seven summit in the U.K. The U.S. is the world’s biggest producer and consumer of oil, and it’s still unclear how plans to wean Americans off gasoline will pan out. Canada holds the world’s third-largest crude reserves and its economy benefits enormously from their development.Environmentalists and indigenous groups in both countries are putting mounting pressure on the two leaders to stop pipeline developments, with protests in Minnesota against Canadian giant Enbridge Inc.’s expansion of its Line 3 oil-sands conduit turning violent this week.Other projects activists are targeting include Energy Transfer LP‘s Dakota Access pipeline, which has been shipping crude from North Dakota’s Bakken oil field to Illinois for four years, and the proposed Byhalia Connection Pipeline, a joint venture betweenPlains All American Pipeline LP and Valero Energy Corp. to carry oil from Memphis to Mississippi.The Enbridge project, permitted by the Army Corps of Engineers under former President Donald Trump, involves the replacement and expansion of an existing pipeline, which will enable it to carry 760,000 barrels per day of Canadian crude across about 350 miles on the U.S. side.Opponents say it imperils indigenous land and watersheds throughout Minnesota, and they argue it is not compatible with Biden’s ambitions to combat climate change. About 200 anti-pipeline activists were arrested after clashes with law enforcement along Line 3’s route through the state earlier this week, in an episode recalling altercations over the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Activists are still camped at multiple spots along the pipeline’s path, with Winona La Duke, executive director of Honor the Earth, vowing to keep up the pressure. “We will be on the rivers — protecting our rivers — as long as needed,” she said.
Michigan’s indigenous tribes ramp up efforts to shut down oil pipeline through sacred waters – Indigenous tribes are asserting their rights under a treaty that predates Michigan’s statehood while pursuing strategies to stop the construction of a new oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. Tribes concerned about the destructive potential of an oil spill in the Great Lakes have long been opposed to Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 pipeline, which was built in 1953 without their input. As Enbridge moves forward with plans to replace its 68-year-old pipeline with a tunnel buried under the lakebed, members of 12 federally recognized tribes in Michigan are using newfound political pressure and legal tools to protect their sacred waters. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer acknowledged tribal treaty rights when she yanked an easement that allows Enbridge to transport, on average, 22.6 million gallons of crude oil per day through the Great Lakes region. But Whitmer’s May 12 deadline to shut down Line 5 came and went, and Enbridge is still operating the pipeline. David Arroyo, tribal chairman of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, said Whitmer’s recognition of treaty rights represented a “paradigm shift” in how U.S. governments view their responsibility to protect the Great Lakes. “We were here for millennia and this is the land of our ancestors,” Arroyo said. “We should have been part of the conversation decades ago.” The Grand Traverse Band was among the signatories of the 1836 Treaty of Washington, which ceded nearly 14 million acres to the United States in exchange for the right to fish, hunt and gather throughout the territory. The tribe is also joined in legal efforts to shut down Line 5. An oil spill would “change the universe” of tribal communities that depend on the Great Lakes for survival and assign significant historic and cultural value to the area, Arroyo said. The Tribal Council formally called for the removal of Line 5 in 2015. “There should have been meaningful consultation before the pipeline was put in,” Arroyo said. “Not that I’m saying we would have approved it, but we were never even considered. I think there’s outreach now, but it’s too late.” Enbridge said it is committed to engaging with tribes in a statement. “Engagement with and respect for First Nations, Tribes and Indigenous peoples where we do business is very important to us,” the statement read. “Enbridge recognizes the legal rights of Indigenous Peoples and the important relationship they have with their traditional lands and resources. We work with Indigenous communities in a manner that recognizes and respects these rights.” Matthew Fletcher, a member of the Grand Traverse Band and director of the Indigenous Law & Policy Center at Michigan State University, said the pipeline itself likely represents a violation of the treaty. But those rights haven’t been historically recognized.
Appeals court backs Minnesota approval of new Enbridge Line 3 –The Minnesota Court of Appeals has affirmed the state’s approval of Enbridge’s controversial new pipeline, a blow to environmental groups and Ojibwe tribes trying to halt its construction. Opponents of the project, a replacement for the current Line 3, had appealed the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s 2020 approval of a certificate of need for the $3 billion-plus, 340-mile pipeline across northern Minnesota. They had hoped the appellate court would halt or otherwise delay the pipeline’s construction. On Monday, a three-judge panel handed down its decision, with judges Lucinda Jesson and Michael Kirk upholding the commission’s decision and Peter Reyes Jr. dissenting. “While reasonable minds may differ on the central question of need for replacement Line 3, substantial evidence supports the commission’s decision to issue a certificate of need,” Jesson wrote in the majority opinion. Enbridge’s current Line 3 is corroding and operating at only half-capacity. Calgary-based Enbridge said the ruling “is an important acknowledgement of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s thorough review of the Line 3 replacement project – and confirmation that commissioners appropriately approved” its permits. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) declined to comment. Pipeline opponents were disappointed with the decision, though some said they weren’t surprised. “I guess I didn’t have any hope in our court – I wanted to, but I did not,” said Dawn Goodwin,a leader of RISE Coalition, an indigenous-led group opposing Line 3. “The good thing is that one of those judges gave a powerful dissent.”
“Activism Uncensored”: The Line 3 Pipeline Protests — Matt Taibbi.and Ford Fischer –In late May, Biden administration lawyers went into court to defend the Willow project, a huge oil and gas endeavor on the North Slope of Alaska. This followed an earlier decision not to intervene to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline thatdisappointed activists, who feel they’ve been getting mixed signals from an administration whose president made a lot of promises on environmental issues as a candidate.In this segment of “Activism Uncensored,” Ford Fischer travels to northern Minnesota and films the arrest of dozens of activists protesting the Line 3 Pipeline, a $9 billion project run by a Canadian company called Enbridge that’s slated to bring hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil through tribal lands. Activists say the development violates treaties and will have serious environmental consequences, and the Biden administration has been conspicuously silent about it.Biden got a lot of kudos from environmental activists early on for canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, but in recent months has settled into a Star Trek-ian pattern of obeying the Prime Directive when it comes to energy deals. Protests of Line 3 ended in mass arrests, shown here, and reportedly, the use of a “crowd-dispersing sonic device” as well as bolt cutters and saws to cut down activists who chained themselves to equipment.Stay tuned in this space for more footage, from here and abroad.
‘We held a lot of good ground’: Line 3 protest and prayer camp disbands near Mississippi River crossing – An eight-day occupation of one of the two spots in northern Minnesota where the Line 3 oil pipeline will cross underneath the Mississippi River ended peacefully on Monday. A group of about 100 people who oppose the pipeline that is primed to be laid here this summer had pitched tents, built compost toilets and established a camp along the timber-mat boardwalk that extends to the riverbanks. After Canadian company Enbridge Energy sent a formal letter asking Clearwater County Sheriff Darin Halverson to evict the campers, Halverson notified the campers that they had the day on Monday to pack up and leave. Most did, marching down the boardwalk and out of the gate without incident around 5 p.m. But about 50 opponents of the pipeline stayed, choosing to receive a citation for misdemeanor trespassing that they hope to fight in court. One person wanted to be arrested and was taken to jail, Halverson said. The leaders of the Fire Light Camp, Dawn Goodwin and Nancy Beaulieu, are the founders of the RISE Coalition – Resilient Indigenous Sisters Engaging with our Allies – formed, in part, in opposition to Line 3. “I just want to reassure you that we held a lot of good ground,” Beaulieu told the pipeline opponents, who call themselves water protectors. “Our story is being heard loud and clear. And when we do an exit today, it is not a surrender.” The 340-mile crude oil replacement pipeline has been contentious since it was first introduced in 2014. Enbridge says the existing Line 3 needs to be replaced because it was built in the 1960s and is deteriorating.
Protests continue at Minnesota Line 3 oil pipeline project Opponents of the Enbridge Energy Line 3 oil pipeline project in northwestern Minnesota continued their protests this week by disrupting traffic in front of an Enbridge equipment site, leading to 31 arrests. Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes said the incident began about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday when a van pulled in front of the semitrailer and forced it to stop on a county highway. One woman crawled under the semi and attached herself to the rear axle and another person clipped on to an item on top of the trailer, Aukes said. Several carloads of protesters arrived and gathered on the side of the roadway, at which point Aukes said they were told by deputies they were breaking Minnesota’s public nuisance and unlawful assembly laws. Aukes said deputies began arresting demonstrators after they began “yelling vulgarities, being a traffic hazard, and refusing to leave.” The protesters were brought to the Hubbard County Jail, where they were charged with public nuisance, unlawful assembly, and disorderly conduct, Aukes said. At least 1,000 activists from across the country gathered at construction sites near the headwaters of the Mississippi River last week. Nearly 250 people were arrested. The Line 3 replacement would carry Canadian tar sands oil and regular crude from Alberta to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. The project is nearly done except for the Minnesota leg, which is about 60% complete.
U.S. judge orders resumption in federal drilling auctions in setback for Biden – (Reuters) – A federal judge in Louisiana on Tuesday blocked the Biden administration’s pause on oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters, dealing a setback to a key White House effort to address climate change. The order granted a preliminary injunction to Louisiana and 12 other states that sued Democratic President Joe Biden and the Interior Department over the freeze on new drilling auctions. Louisiana is a major hub for offshore oil and gas production. Biden paused the government’s leasing auctions in January pending a review that is expected to be completed in the coming weeks. The move was part of a sweeping plan to rein in fossil-fuel extraction and combat the effects of climate change. The Interior Department said it would comply with the ruling, but did not say when auctions might resume. The nation’s top oil and gas trade group, the American Petroleum Institute, issued a statement urging the administration “to move expeditiously to follow the court’s order and lift the federal leasing pause.” The Center for Biological Diversity environmental group said in a statement the order “turns a blind eye to runaway climate pollution that’s devastating our planet.” The judge’s decision, which applies to onshore and offshore leasing nationwide, will remain in effect pending the final resolution of the case or orders from higher courts, according to a court document. In the ruling, Judge Terry Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana said the states had met the requirements to establish that they would suffer injury from the pause on new oil and gas leases. “Millions and possibly billions of dollars are at stake,” Doughty wrote. He also said the states had a “substantial likelihood of success” with their lawsuit. In a statement, an Interior Department spokesperson said the agency’s upcoming report “will include initial findings on the state of the federal conventional energy programs, as well as outline next steps and recommendations for the Department and Congress to improve stewardship of public lands and waters, create jobs, and build a just and equitable energy future.”
Federal Judge Says Biden Cannot Pause New Leases for Drilling on Public Lands – The New York Times – A federal judge in Louisiana has blocked the Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters, in the first major legal roadblock for President Biden’s quest to cut fossil fuel pollution and conserve public lands. Judge Terry A. Doughty of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday against the administration, saying that the power to pause offshore oil and gas leases “lies solely with Congress” because it was the legislative branch that originally made federal lands and waters available for leasing. Judge Doughty also ruled that 13 states that are suing the administration over its temporary halt to new leases “have made a showing that there is a substantial likelihood that President Biden exceeded his powers.” Jeff Landry, the Republican attorney general of Louisiana and attorneys general from 12 other states, all Republicans, filed suit in March to lift the White House executive order that temporarily halted new drilling leases on federal lands and waters. Mr. Biden had signed the order during his first week in office in January, saying he wanted a pause in order to conduct a comprehensive review of the program. Judge Doughty ruled that Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and her agency “are hereby enjoined and restrained from implementing the pause of new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters.” until the states’ legal case against the administration is decided. He wrote that the pause on new leasing should end nationwide and noted that such sweeping preliminary injunctions against federal actions were exceedingly rare. But the judge, who was appointed by President Donald J. Trump, concluded that the 13 states had demonstrated that their economies could be irreparably harmed by the pause on drilling. Joining Louisiana were Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia. The suspension of the leases has been one of the most high-profile and controversial policy moves by a president who has made climate action central to his agenda. Environmentalists celebrated the pause as a sign that Mr. Biden is serious about shutting down production of fossil fuels, the burning of which is the chief cause of global warming.Scientists have warned that the world needs to urgently cut emissions if it has any chance to keep average global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels. That’s the threshold beyond which experts say the planet will experience catastrophic, irreversible damage. Temperature change is not even around the globe; some regions have already reached an increase of 2 degrees Celsius.
Dakota Access foes seek environmental review updates from US – (AP) – Dakota Access oil pipeline opponents asked a judge Friday to require the pipeline company and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide detailed monthly status reports while the federal government conducts an extensive environmental review of the project. The request comes after U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled in May that the pipeline, which carries oil from North Dakota to a shipping point in Illinois, may continue operating while the Army Corps of Engineers conducts the review known as an environmental impact statement. In court documents, attorneys for the pipeline company said Boasberg should not require the monthly reports and also renewed their longstanding request to have the case dismissed. Boasberg issued his May ruling after attorneys for the pipeline’s Texas-based owner, Energy Transfer, argued that shuttering the pipeline would be a major economic blow to several entities, including North Dakota, and the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, in the heart of the state’s oil patch. Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman, who represents the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes, said a decision on whether to appeal that order could come later. Attorneys for the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes say the pipeline is operating illegally without a federal permit granting easement to cross beneath Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir near the Standing Rock reservation that is maintained by the Corps. They said preventing financial loss should not come at the expense of the other tribes, “especially when the law has not been followed.” The Standing Rock Sioux, which more than four years ago sued the Corps for granting permits that led then-President Donald Trump to approve pipeline construction, draws its water from the Missouri River and says it fears pollution. The company has said the pipeline is safe. The $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile (1,886-kilometer) pipeline began operating in 2017, after being the subject of months of protests during its construction. Environmental groups, encouraged by some of President Joe Biden’s recent moves on climate change and fossil fuels, were hoping he would step in and shut down the pipeline.. But the Biden administration left it up to Boasberg. Attorneys for the tribes on Friday also requested that Boasberg’s court retain jurisdiction over the litigation until the environmental work is completed and a new easement is issued. Boasberg ordered further environmental study in April 2020, after determining the Corps had not adequately considered how an oil spill under the Missouri River might affect Standing Rock’s fishing and hunting rights, or whether it might disproportionately affect the tribal community.
Pipeline leaks saltwater into McKenzie County wheat field – An equipment failure caused a pipeline to spill saltwater into a McKenzie County wheat field. Goodnight Midstream estimated that 1,800 barrels or 75,600 gallons of fluid spilled from its pipeline last Thursday. Saltwater is known as brine or produced water within the oil industry. It’s a byproduct of oil production and is typically injected deep underground for permanent storage. It can render land infertile when it spills. “We had cleanup crews there within hours and they were already moving out water and soil that afternoon,” Goodnight Midstream CEO Patrick Walker said. “We are optimistic we have already cleaned most of the affected area.” The response involved putting up berms to contain the spill, he said. A report maintained by the state Department of Environmental Quality indicated that cleanup efforts continued Monday. The spill began on a hill and the fluid flowed downward through the wheat field, traveling along “many small paths,” the report said. The spill involved a pipeline made out of a fiberglass-reinforced material known as Fiberspar LinePipe, Walker said. That material has been tied to several major saltwater spills within North Dakota in years past. Walker said Goodnight Midstream has had a good safety record with Fiberspar. The company is still investigating what caused the pipeline to leak, but it likely involved an issue with a valve set at a junction with stainless steel. The incident happened about 3 miles north of Johnsons Corner, which lies east of Watford City. Environmental Quality staff are inspecting the site and will continue to monitor cleanup, the agency said.
As Harsh Financial Realities Emerge, St. Croix’s Limetree Bay Refinery Could Be Facing Bankruptcy – When the long-mothballed Limetree Bay oil refinery reopened in February, environmentalists saw it as a parting gift from the Trump administration to the deeply divided people of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Some thought the massive facility would help revive the island’s economy while others feared environmental disaster and a looming climate nightmare. The Environmental Protection Agency discovered as far back as 1982 that the Caribbean refinery was leaking tens of millions of gallons of oil into St. Croix’s groundwater. And in 2011, regulators required the plant to make hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades and slapped it with environmental penalties for violating the Clean Air Act – moves that inevitably pushed its owner to close the facility for good in 2012. But after reopening earlier this year under new ownership, thanks to what activists and analysts considered highly favorable regulatory consideration from Trump officials, the refinery has been plagued by environmental scandals, including two incidents where an oil mist was sprayed onto nearby homes and into residents’ drinking water. The accidents prompted federal regulators in May to order the facility to fully shut down for 60 days, pending further investigation into the cause of the accidents and possible permit violations. Now, some oil and gas experts say Limetree Bay could be at risk of bankruptcy, as the harsh financial realities the plant faces begin to emerge, including significant loan defaults and a growing number of lawsuits. The refinery has lost investors hundreds of millions of dollars since restarting and Limetree Bay Ventures – its managing company – has dissolved, according to a report last week from Reuters. The refinery also faces four class action lawsuits from local residents seeking compensation for property damage and medical expenses related to recent accidents, the St. Thomas Source reported Thursday. Financial analysts who have looked at the circumstances facing the refinery say it might not be able to recoup its losses, even with oil prices returning to pre-pandemic levels as economies reopen and travel rebounds, making bankruptcy a likely possibility.
Equinor progress on Grand Bahama oil spill – Joseph Darville is pleased with the efforts being made by Equinor to clean up the oil spill in East Grand Bahama, but has indicated there is still lots of remediation work to be done. #On Monday, Equinor met with representatives from Save The Bays (STB) and the Grand Bahama Utility Company at the Pelican Bay Resort, where they gave a comprehensive update of the oil spill clean up. #The Tribune was informed that corporate executives at Equinor also attended via Zoom, but did not participate. #STB and Waterkeepers Bahamas have been closely monitoring the cleanup efforts of the oil spill in East Grand Bahama. They have made regular visits to the area to inspect, collect samples and take photographs of the affected forest and wetlands. #Mr Darville said they were informed on Monday by a technician at Equinor that their findings show no penetration of oil to the water table in the area. #”The technician … gave a detailed analysis of what has been done so far. They dug 24 to 27 wells in the area and there is no sort of penetration of petroleum or oil products into the water table from those wells that they have dug. They have been monitoring that for over a year and they plan to do so for a certain period into the future.” #However, the environmental activist noted that there was no mention of the affected wetlands. #”One of the areas that were not covered was the wetlands for any monitoring of oil in the water, but I brought that up,” he said. #According to Mr Darville, during their initial and previous follow-up visits to the area, including one not more than three weeks ago, STB had observed oil sheen on the wetlands. #The technician, he said, had indicated that going into the wetland to try to collect the oil residue from the plants would cause more damage. #”I agreed with that because the wetlands are extremely delicate,” Mr Darville added. #He noted that Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays are the only groups that have been regularly monitoring that area almost every other week. #”We go and take samples and see how the cleaning is being done by workers in that area, and we make suggestions to the workers,” Mr Darville said.
Equinor plans upstream exit from three countries –Norway’s state-controlled Equinor plans to exit Nicaragua, Mexico and Australia and sell or relinquish some of its oil and gas assets in the Americas as it looks to optimise its upstream portfolio.The plan was announced by executive vice-president of international upstream operations Al Cook at today’s strategy update. In addition to its exploration assets in Nicaragua, Mexico and Australia, Equinor is looking to offload its stake in Canada’s Terra Nova oil field offshore Newfoundland, its operated onshore position in Louisiana’s Austin Chalk in the US and its interests in the Aguila Mara Noreste and Baja del Toro Este onshore exploration licences in Argentina. It also plans to relinquish its operated Utica shale acreage in the US.The plan is part of Equinor’s strategy to no longer operate onshore unconventional oil and gas assets and to partner local companies onshore instead. “That way we can enjoy regional expertise and economies of scale in a way we never could as an onshore operator,” Cook said, adding that confining its operatorships to offshore projects will allow the firm to focus efforts in its areas of expertise.Equinor has previously acknowledged that its foray into the US onshore sector has been far from smooth sailing. The firm disposed of its operated assets in the Eagle Ford shale in 2019, and sold its entire operated and non-operated acreage in the Bakken shale earlier this year.
16km slick off Brittany coast after ship accidentally dumps oil in sea – A 16km-long oil slick has been reported off the Brittany coast, after a drilling ship helping to build a new wind farm accidentally dumped oil into the sea. The 138-metre-long drill ship Aeolus was working in the bay of Saint-Brieuc, near the site of a future wind farm run by Breton wind farm company Ailes Marines, when the accident happened yesterday, at around 06:30 on June 14. The commander of the ship raised the alert.
French authorities race to clean up oil spill drifting to Corsica’s coast – French authorities were racing to clean up an oil spill approaching the island of Corsica on Saturday, launching an “anti-pollution plan” to prevent the slick from reaching sunbathers on the coast. The spill was spotted on Friday by the French navy during an exercise carried out from the Solenzara air base in Ventiseri, Corsica, according to maritime officials. By Saturday morning, officials had detected two oil slicks over 19 nautical miles (35 kilometers), which were drifting about 5 nautical miles from Corsica’s east coast, between Aleria and Solenzara, France’s Mediterranean Maritime Prefecture said in a statement. Pollution experts concluded the spill was heavy-grade oil and likely the result of a “degassing,” which involves the release of any gases left in fuel tanks or crude oil tanks after they’ve been emptied. “The size and nature of the products involved do not allow for natural dilution and require specific anti-pollution units and equipment,” the prefecture said, adding that “the pollution (is) currently drifting towards the coast.” “Some materials are visible up to 800 meters from the coast,” Christine Ribbe, a prefecture spokeswoman told French radio station France Inter on Saturday morning. “We fear that some of this pollution will reach the Corsican coast today,” she added.
Oil spill drifts away from Corsica coast Fears two oil slicks would pollute eastern Corsica’s holiday beaches eased Saturday after French officials prepared for the worst and naval boats armed with clean-up equipment arrived off the Mediterranean island. “We are more reassured now because the pollution is drifting away from the coast,” maritime prefecture spokesperson Christine Ribbe told AFP. “The pollution is breaking up and now about 10 kilometres (six miles) or so offshore. But we have to remain very careful because the situation can change with the currents.” The authorities had voiced concern the oil would pollute the coast from Aleria to Ventiseri on Saturday and closed beaches along the 40-kilometre stretch and banned fishing. Two naval ships, equipped with “anti-pollution material and specialised staff” were already picking up oil from the surface of the sea. Some 80 members of the security forces and rescue services were also being drafted in to aid with any clean-up. The heavy-grade oil, which local authorities said appears to have come from a ship cleaning out fuel tanks, was first detected around midday Friday during an aerial surveillance operation. By Saturday, officials had detected two large slicks stretching over 19 nautical miles (35 kilometres), one 800 metres offshore, the other 3.5 kilometres. Francis Giudici, mayor of Ghisonaccia, where the beach was closed, told AFP: “We are hoping we’ll avoid the pollution, but it will be complicated. “There’s also been a lot of anger,” he said. “We really don’t need this at the start of the (holiday) season.” France’s Minister for the Sea Annick Girardin told reporters: “We have come here determined to find those who” caused the oil spill. “They are thugs and should be treated as thugs.” Prosecutor Dominique Laurens said France’s maritime gendarmerie had opened an investigation and the polluting vessel would be identified.
Spain detains tanker Aldan for oil spill – The Spanish government has detained an oil tanker for allegedly spilling a large quantity of hydrocarbons in the Atlantic off the Canary Islands. TheAldan’s most recent port of call may have been in Venezuela. Spain’s transport ministry Mitma said the Liberia-flagged Aldan is being held in the port of Almeria after a spill that spread across a 55km area.”The ship will remain detained until its managers proceed to deposit the fixed bond,” Mitma said. “Given the seriousness of the events, they could face one of the highest sanctions imposed so far.”The Aldan‘s ultimate owner is probably Muhit Maritime FZE, which is headquartered in the Jebel Ali Free Zone, UAE, according to IMO registration documents.It is unclear what the tanker was carrying. Last month it loaded 150,000 bl of gasoline on behalf of Switzerland-based ES Euro Shipping from Trinidad’s state-owned Paria Fuel Trading, and was bound for Aruba. But multiple shipping sources said that it instead entered Venezuelan waters. Venezeula is suffering an acute gasoline shortage. If the Aldan did call at a Venezuelan port, there is a possibility it could be carrying that country’s heavy crude or fuel oil. Oil trade with Venezuela brings acute political sensitivities, because of US sanctions that were imposed by Washington in January 2019. Most of Venezuela’s crude exports end up in China’s Shandong province, home to much of thatg country’s independent refining sector, but even this could be shut off by Beijing’s recent imposition of a new import tax.
Cleanup of oil spill on Northern Sakhalin shore to take 3 days – Authorities – It will take three days to clean up the coast of the Russian town of Aleksandrovsk-Sakhalinskiy, on northern Sakhalin Island, following an oil spill, the regional government said on Monday. On Sunday, the authorities reported that algae presumably covered with fuel oil were washed ashore off the Tatar Strait. The initial evaluation showed that the shore near the village of Due, the Three Brothers rocks, a former oil depot, and the village of Polovinka were all polluted. A probe into the incident was launched. “The cleanup of the sea coast from oil products has begun in Aleksandrovsk-Sakhalinskiy . .. The operation is set to last three days,” the government said, specifying that water and soil samples were earlier taken from different areas of the spill. The specialists plan to clean up the territory near the former oil depot on Monday. They will pick off the contaminated algae and place them in sealed plastic bags, which will then be transported to the south of the island for decontamination. The residents of Aleksandrovsk-Sakhalinsky are also offering their help in cleaning up the coast.
The Emirati oil deal that has infuriated Israeli environmentalists – The first cargo ships from Dubaithat docked last year in the Mediterranean port of Haifa were met by celebration in Israel. Flags waved. Reporters gathered. The prime minister walked the pier and gave a speech about the fruits of making peace. There was zero fanfare, however, when oiltankers began arriving at the smaller Israeli port of Eilat on the Red Sea in an arrangement with Emirati partners. Rather than washing machines and cleaning supplies for consumers, the ships unloaded oilto be transferred through a pipeline across Israelto the Mediterranean. The influx of ships set to dock alongside the fragile coralreefs in Eilat and the large amounts of oilto pass through Israel have outraged the country’s biggest environmental advocates. Fresh in their minds is an owshore oil spill in February that blackened much of Israel’s Mediterranean coast with tar. And in 2014, one of EAPC’s own pipelines ruptured, spilling 5 million litres of crude oil into a desert nature reserve. “Most of the details (of the deal) are confidential by law. We know just a little bit, but the little bit makes us very anxious,” saidNoa Yayon, head of the legal department at the Society for the Protection of Nature. Eilat’s coralreef is unique in that it has proved to be more resilient to climate change, when many reefs around the globe are dying. It is also a big tourism draw. But its proximity to the port means that even the smallest leak from one tankers would cause big, possibly irreversible, damage, Yayon said. “We are of course very happy with the current geopolitical status with the Arab countries in our area, but we don’t think that it has to come with the super-specific risks to our environment,” she said. “We think that we better promote business with these countries based on clean energy and not oil.” Minister of Environmental Protection Gila Gamliel last Tuesday sent a letter to Israel’s national security adviser saying “the warning lights are already flashing” and demanded the deal be scrapped. Too much was decided behind closed doors and remains secret, she said. EAPC has not made public details of the deal. “From a rate of six tankers a year, we expect an increase to more than 50 tankers a year docking in Eilat,” Gamliel wrote. “The continuation of this deal will be a tragedy for generations, whether from mishaps that may occur or in a wartime scenario.”
Indian Coast Guard on alert after oil spill from Haldia-bound Portuguese ship – Indian Coast Guard is on alert as an oil spill from the Haldia-bound Portuguese flag container ship was reported on June 16 about 450 km southeast of Chennai, the Ministry of Defence reported on Friday.The investigation has revealed that a Portuguese flag container ship MV Devon, on passage from Colombo to Haldia, West Bengal, developed an underwater crack in the fuel tank containing about 120 KL of very low sulphur fuel oil, resulting in spillage of about 10 KL, before any preventive action was taken, the ministry added. The remaining oil in the tank was transferred to another tank by the ship’s crew, the ministry reported.Manned by a crew of 17, the vessel is carrying 10,795 tonnes of general cargo in 382 containers. The ship continued its voyage to Haldia and is likely to reach today.”The ICG is in continuous contact with MV Devon and the master has reported that the vessel is stable. ICG pollution response team at Chennai has been alerted and kept on standby. In addition, ICG ships and aircraft deployed at sea are also put on alert in pollution response configuration,” the ministry said.
Shell records 51 oil spills in six months – Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria says it recorded 51 spills from oil production activities in the Niger Delta within the past six months. Over the years, Shell has been accused of negligence on Niger Delta communities over the adverse effects of its production activities.Earlier this year, a Dutch appeal court ruled against the Nigerian arm of the British-Dutch oil company, asking it to pay for damages caused by oil spills in the Niger Delta. According to the spill incident data published on its website, 44 of the spill incidents were traced to sabotage, while seven of the leaks were caused by operational factors. “In May, eight spills which discharged 253.07 barrels of SPDC’s bonny light crude blended into the environment,” the firm stated. “Of the eight spills recorded, six were caused by sabotage whereas two were from operational factors.” The data also showed that operational spills accounted for 6.07 barrels of the 253.07 barrels, while sabotage accounted for 247 barrels.In 2020, the oil company reported a total of 159 spills, with sabotage responsible for 140 incidents, while operational factors were responsible for 19.
Total awards $1.9b oil project deal to British, Chinese firms – French company Total has awarded the $1.9 billion deal for the construction of its Lake Albert oil production Tilenga project in Uganda to a consortium led by British and Chinese firms, the company announced on Monday. Total, the lead investor in Uganda’s oil projects, said it signed contracts for the main surface facilities Engineering, Procurement, Supply, Construction and Commissioning (EPSCC) contracts as well as five drilling packages for the Tilenga project located in Nwoya and Buliisa Districts. The companies that won the lucrative deal include CB&I UK Limited, a McDermott subsidiary company, and Chinese firm Sinopec International Petroleum Corporation the EPSCC of the central processing facility, flowlines and other associated surface facilities. The deal also includes contracts with Schlumberger Oilfield Eastern Limited for three well engineering packages that include upper completions, artificial lift and associated services, directional drilling, well logging, measurement while drilling, buttonhole assembly, data transmission and real time operation centre services, as well as wellheads, Christmas trees and associated services. Other firms in the deal are Vallourec Oil and Gas France which was awarded the contract for one well procurement package, which also includes casing, tubing and associated services, and ZPEB Uganda Co. Limited for one oil rig package that comprises onshore drilling rigs, tubular running and fishing services. “Following a comprehensive, competitive and thorough tender evaluation and contracting process that began with the phased submission of Front-End Engineering and Design proposals to ensure project optimisation, we are pleased to sign these conditional letters of award for the Tilenga project to these five highly qualified industry players.
The Retreat of Exxon and the Oil Majors Won’t Stop Fossil Fuel — When Exxon Mobil Corp. decided to get out of a big oil field in Iraq, the government took on the unusual role of salesman. Iraqi officials pitched West Qurna-1 to likely buyers from among Exxon’s supermajor peers, including arch-rival Chevron Corp. There weren’t any takers. That left Iraq with narrowed options: sell to one of China’s state-backed oil majors, or else buy back Exxon’s stake itself. The sale process remains unresolved but either outcome would stand as a powerful indicator of what’s become of the global oil market. With supermajors from the U.S. and Europe in retreat around the world, national oil champions are set to fill the void. The supermajors – a group that, in addition to Exxon and Chevron, includes BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, TotalEnergies SE, and Eni SpA – are shrinking even while fossil-fuel demand holds strong. These companies are under growing pressure to pay down debt while cutting greenhouse gas and, for some, transitioning to renewable energy. Recent weeks saw Exxon and Chevron rebuked by their own shareholders over climate concerns, while Shell lost a lawsuit in the Hague over the pace of its shift away from oil and gas. National oil companies, or NOCs, are largely shielded from those pressures. When the owners are governments, not shareholders, there aren’t dissident board members like those now sitting inside Exxon. That means state oil producers like those who populate OPEC+ can be the buyers of last resort for fossil-fuel projects cast off by the shrinking supermajors. READ MORE: What Happens When an Oil Giant Walks Away State companies can also gobble market share by simply producing oil that their private-sector rivals won’t. Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. are spending billions to boost their respective output capacities by a million barrels per day each, and Qatar Petroleum is spending more than $30 billion to increase its liquefied natural gas exports by more than 50%. (Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil declined to comment.)
World oil demand ‘will rebound to pre-Covid levels by end of 2022’ – The world’s demand for oil will rebound to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, as recovering economies require oil-producing countries to pump more fossil fuels, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and their allies, including Russia, collectively known as Opec+, will need to “open the taps to keep the world oil markets adequately supplied”, the global energy watchdog said in its monthly oil report. Oil demand is expected to bounce back by 5.4m barrels a day this year, one of the fastest climbs on record, and by a further 3.1m in 2022, pushing consumption of crude above 100m for the first time by the end of next year, the IEA said. It follows a record decline in 2020 as Covid-19 took hold around the world, temporarily closing factories, interrupting trade and applying the brakes to international travel, which caused demand to sink by 9m barrels a day. The watchdog’s forecast of rising appetite for crude threatens to disappoint those who had hoped that global oil use might have peaked in 2019 before the pandemic, and underlines the “enormous effort required to get on track” to reach the energy sector’s goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, seen as crucial for fighting the climate emergency. The IEA’s had warned a year ago that the world’s daily oil demand could climb faster in 2021 than ever seen before, unless more green policies are adopted to dampen consumption.
Oil Ends Little Changed After Hitting 2-Year Highs on Demand Hopes — Crude oil prices settled little changed Monday after hitting their highest levels in more than two years, boosted by renewed confidence in the economic revival and an associated jump in oil demand. West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark for U.S. crude, settled down 3 cents at $70.88, after soaring to $71.78 earlier, its highest since October 2018. Brent, the gauge for global crude, settled up 17 cents at $72.86, after surging to $73.63, its highest since May 2019. Oil prices have gained over 40% this year to date, supported by economic recovery and the prospect of fuel demand growth as vaccination campaigns in developed countries accelerate. “The June preliminary reading for the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index shows confidence moved higher” on Friday, said analysts at ING, in a research note. “This is encouraging for the growth outlook given the historically strong correlation between the overall expectations indicator and consumer spending.” Additionally, U.S. daily air travelers have topped 2 million for the first time since the pandemic began with traffic returning to pre-pandemic levels in North America and much of Europe as lockdowns and other restrictions are being eased, even if England does decide to delay its full reopening later Monday. The International Energy Agency predicted last week that global oil demand will recover to pre-pandemic levels late next year, tying in with a bullish forecast from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that demand in 2021 would rise by 5.95 million barrels per day, up 6.6% from a year earlier. Also helping the tone was the tone of cooperation at the weekend’s G7 summit, where the world’s wealthiest democracies announced plans to donate 1 billion vaccine doses to poor nations. As far as additional supply from Iran is concerned, the Persian Gulf country said earlier Monday that it has reached a broad agreement with the U.S. over the lifting of sanctions on its industrial sectors, including energy, but warned there was “very little time left” for world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal.
Oil futures ended slightly lower on Monday – Oil futures ended slightly lower on Monday, reversing earlier gains, as traders continued to monitor demand for crude oil. The rally is being fueled by bullish demand optimism and steady OPEC+ supply cuts. Demand growth is expected to increase and more economies to reopen. WTI has risen about 8% so far this month as air travel and road traffic picks up in both the U.S. and Europe amid an acceleration in COVID-19 vaccination programs. In the U.S; daily air travelers topped 2 million for the first time since the pandemic began. Speculators are the most bullish in WTI in about three years. July WTI slipped 3 cents, or 0.04%, to settle at $70.88 a barrel, its first loss in three sessions. August Brent tacked on 17 cents, or 0.2%, to settle at $72.86 a barrel, the highest finish since April 2019. Petroleum products slipped a bit, with July RBOB down 0.7%, to $2.17 a gallon and July heating oil shedding 0.4%, to $2.11 a gallon. While stronger fundamentals will continue to push this market higher, there is potential of running into headwinds. Among these headwinds are concern over gasoline demand and the potential for new oil supply from Iran. India, the third largest importer of crude oil, continues to suffer from resurging virus attacks, heavily impacting demand. There are expectations of achieving more gains, as more drivers take to the roads and air travel returns to pre-pandemic levels. That being said, we anticipate WTI reaching toward $75, but facing an uphill battle. Above $75, there is resistance set at $78. Support is seen at $69.29 and below that at $66.43. Refinitiv Oil Research said it was tracking exports of Northwest European gasoline to the United States at 407,000 tons last week, aboard eleven medium-range tankers. Gasoline exports increased by 47% on the week, as favorable arbitrage conditions supported chartering activity. Total June loadings are currently just under 760,000 tons. Analysts they expect a slowdown in bookings given the substantial build in U.S. stockpiles last week, suggesting weaker-than-expected fuel demand at the start of summer. The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed a state regulator’s decision that there is sufficient oil demand for Enbridge Inc to justify the replacement of its Line 3 pipeline. The decision marks another hurdle cleared for the Canadian pipeline company’s efforts to replace an aging pipeline that carries Alberta oil sands crude through the state. Replacing the pipeline would allow Enbridge to roughly double its capacity to 760,000 barrels per day. Enbridge expects the line to come into service in the fourth quarter of this year. IIR Energy reported that U.S. oil refiners are expected to shut in 313,000 bpd of capacity in the week ending June 18th, increasing available refining capacity by 88,000 bpd from the previous week. Offline capacity is expected to fall to 207,000 bpd in the week ending June 25th. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said U.S. oil output from seven major shale formations is expected to increase by about 38,000 bpd in July to about 7.8 million bpd.
Oil up nearly 2% to multi-year highs on demand expectations – Oil prices rose nearly 2% to their highest in more than two years on Tuesday, buoyed by expectations demand will recover rapidly in the second half of 2021. Brent crude rose $1.13, or 1.6%, to settle at $73.99 a barrel. The global benchmark during the session hit $74.07 a barrel, its highest since April 2019. US oil rose $1.24, or 1.8%, to settle at $72.12 a barrel. It hit a session high of $72.19 a barrel, its highest since October 2018. Boosting prices, the world’s biggest oil traders said on Tuesday they see oil prices staying above $70 a barrel with demand expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in the second half of 2022. Vitol Chief Executive Russell Hardy sees the oil moving between $70 and $80 a barrel for the remainder of 2021 on the expectation that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) keep supply discipline, even as Iran’s exports may resume if the United States rejoins a nuclear agreement with Tehran. “We have had those stock draws for a couple months, the market is heading in the right direction,” Russell Hardy told the FT Commodities Global Summit. Trafigura Chief Executive Jeremy Weir told the same event there was a good chance prices could reach $100 a barrel because of falling reserves before the world reaches peak oil demand. OPEC+ producers have been gradually relaxing record output curbs in recent months. “The decision by OPEC+ to be overly cautious in returning supply to the market, whether this is true caution or they are intentionally stoking oil prices higher, has been a main tenant in seeing $73 per barrel Brent,” said Louise Dickson, oil markets analyst at Rystad Energy. Analysts polled by Reuters expect U.S. crude stocks to have fallen for a fourth week in a row, dropping by about 3.3 million barrels last week. Industry data is due at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, followed by official figures on Wednesday morning. Investors and traders are also watching the outcome of a two-day U.S. Federal Reserve meeting that starts on Tuesday for signals on when it will start to scale back monetary stimulus.
U.S. oil futures settle at highest in over 2 1/2 years – U.S. oil futures topped $72 a barrel on Tuesday to climb back to their highest finish in over two-and-a-half years. Prices got a boost from expectations of higher energy demand, ahead of a weekly U.S. government report that’s expected to show a fourth-straight weekly decline in crude inventories. On average, analysts expect the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday to report a fall of 4.2 million barrels in crude supplies for the week ended June 11, following three consecutive weekly declines. On Tuesday, West Texas Intermediate oil for July delivery rose $1.24, or nearly 1.8%, to settle at $72.12 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest front-month contract finish since October 2018, FactSet data show.
WTI Extends Gains After Biggest Crude Draw In 5 Months – Oil prices extended their recent (meteoric) rise with WTI topping $72 – 32 month highs – as investors weighed the outlook for rising demand (hopes on gasoline and aviation fuel use rise from pandemic lows and global stockpiles are drawn down) against extended anti-virus curbs in some economies (with officials tackling the challenge posed by more infectious variants).“The continuing good news on the demand front and upbeat sentiment on the financial markets as the key reasons for the latest upswing,” Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said in a note.” … In our opinion, however, the crucial (fundamental) test for the oil market and its subsequent price performance is yet to come – will demand continue to recover as dynamically as it has been doing in recent weeks despite the new virus variants that keep sparking renewed restrictions?”The latest test for this thesis will be tonight’s inventory sneak peek ahead of tomorrow’s official data. API
- Crude -8.537mm (-4.2mm exp) – biggest draw since January
- Cushing -1.526mm
- Gasoline +2.852mm (unch exp)
- Distillates +1.956mm (+200k exp)
Analysts expected crude stocks to fall for the 4th straight week and were right as Crude stocks fell by the most since January (as product inventories rose for the 3rd straight week)…WTI hovered around $72.25 (the highest since Oct 2018) ahead of the print and spiked higher on the big crude draw…
WTI Bounces On Big Crude Draw, Gasoline Demand Pick-Up –Oil prices round-tripped overnight after a big crude draw (reported by API), along with fuel sales in India showing signs of recovery, sparked a push for $73 for WTI.“Demand growth is outpacing supply and will continue to do so over the coming months,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM, adding that “ongoing efforts to revive the Iranian nuclear deal have so far failed to bear any fruits.”Global oil demand will get back to pre-pandemic levels late next year, according to the International Energy Agency. If DOE confirms API’s data, this will be the biggest crude draw since January…. DOE:
- Crude -7.335mm (-4.2mm exp)
- Cushing -2.15mm
- Gasoline +1.954mm (unch exp)
- Distillates -1.023mm (+200k exp)
US crude inventories fell for the 4th straight week – with the biggest draw since April. Graphics Source: Bloomberg US crude output rose notably last week (+200k b/d) as firms perhaps finally take advantage of rising prices and rig counts… All eyes were on U.S gasoline demand today (as they have been since the start of spring and during the oil comeback from the pandemic) as the recent tumble is definitely not in keeping with the recovery narrative. The good news is… gasoline demand rebounded nicely…WTI hovered around $72.25 (right where it was before API) ahead of the official data and rebounded as DOE confirmed a notable crude draw…”The fact that oil prices are still showing few signs of slowing means there has to be some concern that if we go too much higher, we could start to see some early signs of demand destruction,”
Oil Prices Finish Higher at Midweek — Oil was virtually unchanged as gains driven by diminishing crude inventories were tugged lower after Federal Reserve officials suggested they expect two interest rate increases by the end of 2023. Futures in New York rose three cents on Wednesday. Equities fell and the dollar surged, reducing the appeal of commodities priced in the currency. Earlier, oil rose as much as 1.2% after a U.S. government report showed domestic crude supplies tumbled last week and inventories at the nation’s biggest supply hub in Oklahoma dropped to the lowest since March 2020. “If you’re holding oil, you’re going to be cautious that we could see a dip here,” . Brent futures traded in London are approaching the key psychological level of $75 as leading economies continue to reopen in the midst of widespread Covid-19 vaccination programs. That’s boosting the consumption outlook and driving prominent traders like Glencore Plc and Vitol Group to forecast further gains in oil. Exports of U.S. crude and fuels soared last week, the Energy Information Administration report showed. Chinese refiners recently raised activity to a record while gasoline and diesel sales in India have rebounded. Saudi Arabia issued a stark warning that an oil-price “supercycle” may be triggered by a lack of new exploration spending. “The rest of the world is finally getting better,” Moya said. “We’re seeing availability of vaccines has improved dramatically.” West Texas Intermediate crude futures for July delivery rose 3 cents to settle at $72.15 a barrel. Brent for August settlement climbed 40 cents to end session at $74.39 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. However, the Energy Information Administration report showed U.S. gasoline supplies ticked higher, despite rising demand, with refineries ramping up with the summer driving season underway. Refinery utilization has improved steadily for five weeks in a row.
Oil Falls From Multi-Year Highs on Firmer Dollar, Hike in UK COVID Cases (Reuters) – Crude oil prices fell nearly 2% from their highest level in years on Thursday as the dollar strengthened after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled it might raise interest rates as soon as 2023. Oil demand worries resurfaced after new coronavirus cases jumped in Britain, while supply concerns over the return of Iranian barrels also weighed on the market. Traders, however, said Friday’s presidential elections in Iran could scuttle nuclear talks between Washington and Tehran and leave U.S. sanction on Iran’s oil exports in place. Brent futures fell $1.31, or 1.8%, to settle at $73.08 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell $1.11, or 1.5%, to settle at $71.04. On Wednesday, Brent settled at its highest since April 2019 and WTI at its highest since October 2018. Even though Thursday’s declines were the biggest daily percentage drops since May, both benchmarks were still up over 40% so far this year. The U.S. dollar strengthened to its highest since mid April against a basket of other currencies after the Fed signaled it might raise interest rates at a much faster pace than assumed. A firmer greenback makes oil more expensive in other currencies, which could dent demand. Britain reported its biggest daily rise in new cases of COVID-19 since Feb. 19 on Thursday, according to government figures which showed 11,007 new infections, up from 9,055 the day before. “This UK surge in COVID cases despite rapid vaccinations will raise many alarms over how quickly the rest of Europe will reopen,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA, noting “crude could be ripe for further profit-taking if more optimistic comments come from the latest round of Iran nuclear talks.” Indirect talks between Tehran and Washington on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have come closer than ever to an agreement, but essential issues remain to be negotiated, the top Iranian negotiator said on Thursday. Iran is heading to presidential polls on Friday, with hardline judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi among the front runners. “It is very possible that nuclear talks could fall apart if a deal is not done by August (when) the current reform president Hassan Rouhani will leave the government,”
Oil Futures Lose Luster As Greenback Strengthens — Oil slumped the most in a month as a rising dollar pushed financial investors, who had piled into commodities to guard against inflation, toward the exits for other sectors. Futures in New York fell 1.5% on Thursday. A strengthening U.S. dollar reduced the appeal of commodities priced in the currency a day after the Federal Reserve signaled its ultra-easy monetary policy will soon come to an end. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbed for a fifth straight session, the longest streak of gains since March 2020. “Everything commodity-related is down big,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC. “This is a liquidation that had been building up for weeks.” Despite the weakness in headline crude prices on Thursday, the oil market continues to display signs of strength as the pandemic ebbs. Citigroup Inc. said the international benchmark Brent could soon top $80 a barrel and pent-up leisure demand, enabled by vaccine roll-outs, will underpin global consumption. Exports of U.S. crude and fuels soared last week, according to a U.S. government report on Wednesday. Yet, oil as a hedge against inflation has lost its shine after the Fed announcement, prompting some investors to rotate into growth-oriented stocks. There were other signs that oil was due for a pause: technical indicators earlier this week suggested crude had become overbought and Brent prices struggled to make headway near the key, psychological $75-a-barrel level. Many momentum traders have been long on oil since the day after the approval of the first vaccine against Covid-19, a “Those guys are just pulling the plug.” The Bloomberg Commodity Spot Index, which tracks prices for 23 raw materials, fell for a sixth session. West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery fell $1.11 to settle at $71.04 a barrel. Brent for August settlement slid $1.31 to end the session at $73.08 a barrel. Meanwhile, Iranian remarks suggesting a nuclear deal is close to being revived sparked concerns about a potential flood of crude exports from the Islamic Republic. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said fundamental issues still remain to be negotiated and negotiators will continue talks regardless of the country’s June 18 election.
Oil slips again on surging US dollar, but holds above $70 – The dollar has rocketed in the two sessions since the US Fed Reserve projected possible rate hikes in 2023 Oil prices fell for a second consecutive day on Friday as the US dollar soared on the prospect of interest rate hikes in the United States, but were nevertheless on track to finish the week flat – only slightly off multi-year highs. Brent crude futures were down 52 cents, or 0.7 per cent, at $72.56 a barrel as of 0227 GMT, extending a 1.8 per cent decline on Thursday. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 48 cents, or 0.7 per cent, at $70.56 a barrel, after retreating 1.5 per cent on Thursday. On Wednesday, Brent settled at its highest price since April 2019 while WTI settled at its highest since October 2018. Also read: Transporters’ union to protest surge in fuel prices The dollar has rocketed in the two sessions since the US Federal Reserve projected possible rate hikes in 2023, earlier than market watchers previously expected. A rising dollar make soil more expensive in other currencies, curbing demand. The prospect of rate hikes also weighed on the longer-term growth outlook, which would eventually hurt oil demand, in contrast to the near-term outlook for growth in demand as Covid-19 related curbs on movement and business activity ease and road and air travel pick up, said West pac senior economist Justin Smirk. “The near term’s all very positive. The question is how much further can it rise, how much scope is there if you’re looking at an environment where interest rates are going to rise,” Smirk said. Oil prices also fell after Britain on Thursday reported its biggest daily rise in new cases of Covid-19 since February 19, with government figures showing 11,007 new infections versus 9,055 a day earlier. Also read: A deja vu of sorts in commodities market Adding to negative sentiment were remarks from Iran’s top negotiator on Thursday saying talks between Tehran and Washington on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have come closer than ever to an agreement. “Renewed negotiations have sparked concerns that this would lead to the US removing sanctions, resulting in a flood of oil hitting the market,”
Oil Gains on OPEC Outlook that U.S. Output Growth Will Slow (Reuters) -Oil futures rose on Friday, reversing early losses and set for a fourth week of gains after OPEC sources said the producer group expected limited U.S. oil output growth this year despite rising prices. Officials at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries got the U.S. production outlook from industry experts, OPEC sources said. This would give the producer group more power to manage the market before a potential surge in shale output in 2022. Brent crude futures rose 43 cents, or 0.6% to settle at $73.51 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 60 cents, or 0.8% to $71.64 a barrel. Both benchmarks were headed for a weekly gain of about 1.1%. “Oil markets are rallying because OPEC is skeptical that the increase in U.S. oil production is going to be enough to change their plans to support prices,” On Wednesday, Brent settled at its highest price since April 2019 and WTI closed at its highest since October 2018. Gains were capped by lingering concerns about the pandemic and a stronger U.S. dollar, which makes oil more expensive in other currencies. Sources told Reuters that on Tuesday, officials from OPEC’s Economic Commission Board (ECB) and external presenters attended a meeting focused on U.S. output. OPEC heard from more forecasters on the outlook for 2021 and 2022 at a separate meeting on Thursday. While there was general agreement on limited U.S. supply growth this year, an industry source said for 2022 forecasts ranged from growth of between 500,000 and 1.3 million barrels per day. “The general sentiment regarding shale was it will come back as prices go up but not super fast,” said a source at one of the companies that provided forecasts to OPEC. Higher oil prices have spurred some U.S. energy firms back to the well pad. The oil rig count, an early indicator of future output, rose eight this week to 373, the highest since April 2020, according to energy services firm Baker Hughes Co. On Thursday, Iran’s top negotiator indicated an agreement was close in talks between Tehran and Washington on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. This added to pressure on prices.
Oil Prices Climb for Fourth Straight Week | Rigzone — Oil posted a fourth straight weekly gain as signs of a global demand recovery and supply discipline among producers encouraged investors. Futures in New York rose 1% this week. Strong U.S. demand growth is being passed on to Europe and emerging markets, where India is also starting to show improvements, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. In a Bloomberg Television interview on Friday, Energy Aspects Ltd.’s Amrita Sen said the oil market could see an “incredibly” tight summer, and earlier this week, Morgan Stanley boosted its crude price forecasts. Prices are continuing to be supported by OPEC+ producers’ discipline in returning supply to the market. “We continue to expect a demand rebound in the second half of the year,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategy at TD Securities. “We’re seeing vaccine programs being rolled out in earnest around the world, and much of America is already opening up as the driving season is starting.” Oil has rallied nearly 50% this year with widespread vaccinations boosting demand, while the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies have been cautious about returning shuttered supply to the market. Shale producers in the oil-rich Permian Basin have been largely holding back, too. The U.S. is pumping about 1.9 million fewer barrels a day since Covid-19 caused prices to tumble last year, a reduction that’s bigger than Nigeria and Venezuela’s production combined. “The proof is in the pudding,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC. “We haven’t seen a real strong rebound in Permian activity, and we’re continuing to watch pipelines out of that area be underutilized.” Global oil demand has likely hit 97 million barrels a day recently, up from 95 million a few weeks ago, according to Goldman Sachs. Consumption before the pandemic stood at around 100 million barrels a day. The bank said oil is its “highest conviction” bullish call in commodities. Earlier in the session, West Texas Intermediate crude’s discount to the global benchmark narrowed to less than $2 a barrel for the first time since November. The spread has shrunk significantly in recent weeks on signs of higher U.S. refining throughput and continued supply discipline by American producers. Prices: West Texas Intermediate for July delivery rose 60 cents to settle at $71.64 a barrel in New York. Brent for August settlement climbed 43 cents to end the session at $73.51 a barrel. The Federal Reserve’s announcement this week of two prospective interest rate hikes by 2023 contributed to a stronger dollar, making commodities priced in the currency more costly. That triggered a commodity selloff earlier in the week. “The prospect of earlier interest-rate rises propelled the dollar higher and provided traders with an excuse to take profit,”
The fraud of Israel’s new “government of change” Israel’s new coalition government was sworn in on Sunday, with far-right leader and settler advocate Naftali Bennett replacing Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest serving prime minister. It required a razor-thin confidence vote of 60 to 59 in the 120-seat Knesset, with one legislator from the United Arab List abstaining, to install the “government of change” – a motley crew assembled by opposition leader, Yair Lapid, a former TV news anchor, who heads the second largest party Yesh Atid. Under a power-sharing agreement, Lapid will take over as premier in two years’ time, in the event the highly unstable eight-party coalition lasts that long. In the meantime, he will serve as foreign minister. Lapid was tasked with forming a government after Netanyahu, who despite heading the largest party – Likud – in the March 23 elections, the fourth in two years, failed to do so. Two key small parties, Bennett’s Yamina Party and Mansour Abbas’ conservative Islamic Movement-affiliated United Arab List, or Ra’am, with seven and four seats, agreed to join forces with Lapid. While Bennett had indicated his willingness to join a coalition with Netanyahu, this was not enough to secure a majority in the Knesset, leading Bennett to switch sides to prevent a fifth election that was expected to cost him votes. The two-year long deadlock has left Israel without a budget, amid a soaring social and economic crisis exacerbated by the pandemic, and ethnic strife in the country’s mixed population cities, whipped up by far-right vigilantes from the settlements in the occupied West Bank with the backing of Netanyahu and the security establishment. Several thousand Israelis, many of whom have demonstrated for months against Netanyahu under the vacuous anti-corruption slogan of “Anyone but Bibi” (Netanyahu’s nickname), took to the streets of Tel Aviv to celebrate the end of his 12 years as head of government. This ignores the reality that Bennett, a 49-year-old millionaire businessman, is an ideologue further to the right than Netanyahu – a fervent annexationist and implacable opponent of Palestinian statehood, who has admitted he has no problem killing lots of Arabs. All of his senior colleagues have for years sat in government with Netanyahu and/or acted as aides to him. They include Avigdor Lieberman of the Israel is our Home Party, who served as finance and later defence minister; Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid as finance minister; Benny Gantz as Defence Minister and before that as chief of staff of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF); and Ayelet Shaked of Bennett’s Yamina Party as interior minister. Gideon Sa’ar of the New Hope Party, a more recent deserter from Likud, has held numerous portfolios, while Bennett has served as defence minister.
Israel’s new government sends planes to bomb Gaza – On Tuesday, in line with his hostile stance towards the Palestinians, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett authorised a new series of attacks on the Palestinians, including airstrikes on Gaza and a crackdown on protesters in East Jerusalem. While the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said that it had struck military compounds in Gaza City and the southern town of Khan Younis belonging to Hamas, the Muslim-Brotherhood-affiliated group that controls Gaza, Palestinian media reported that one of the strikes had caused property damage. There have been no immediate reports of casualties. The IDF said that it was “ready for all scenarios, including renewed fighting in the face of continued terrorist acts emanating from Gaza.” According to Al Arabiya, Egypt asked Hamas and Islamic Jihad not to escalate the crisis and the two groups told Cairo they were not seeking to do so. These latest airstrikes follow the launching of incendiary balloons from Gaza that caused some fires in open fields in southern Israel. Bennett, the multi-millionaire businessman, religious nationalist and settler advocate who was sworn in as prime minister on Sunday, is notorious for his hard-line response to the Palestinians, having boasted of killing “lots of Arabs” and criticised previous governments for failing to respond to incendiary balloons. Before becoming defence minister in 2019, he tweeted that those launching the balloons were “terrorists” who should be killed. According to the news site Ynet, he denounced these home-made devices as life-threatening and said, “An explosive balloon is like an anti-tank missile …Whoever launches one is a terrorist who is trying to murder Israelis and must be hit,” he added. The airstrikes come just four weeks after a fragile ceasefire on May 21 ended Israel’s criminal 11-day assault on the besieged enclave that killed more than 250 Palestinians, including 66 children and 39 women, injured 1,900 more and destroyed numerous buildings, displacing at least 60,000 people. These horrifying figures contradict Israel’s claims to have solely targeted Hamas’s arsenals, weapons manufacturing facilities and underground infrastructure network. They demonstrate, coming atop of Israel’s 2008-09, 2012 and 2014 wars and its lethal repression of the 2018-19 Great March of Return, that the bombing is aimed at terrorising the Palestinians into submission.