The Chinese Giant Taking Over Energy Markets

Last week’s announcement of the US$9-billion acquisition by Chinese CEFC of a more than 14-percent stake in Rosneft sent ripples across the oil industry and among commodity traders. The Chinese conglomerate, which started as a small oil trader, bought the stake from none other than Glencore, which acquired it at the end of last year in tandem with the Qatar Investment Authority. The deal, besides making Glencore’s lenders breathe a deep sigh of relief, considerably expanded the access of the Chinese company to Russian oil. And it’s…

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The Chinese Giant Taking Over Energy Markets

Last week’s announcement of the US$9-billion acquisition by Chinese CEFC of a more than 14-percent stake in Rosneft sent ripples across the oil industry and among commodity traders. The Chinese conglomerate, which started as a small oil trader, bought the stake from none other than Glencore, which acquired it at the end of last year in tandem with the Qatar Investment Authority. The deal, besides making Glencore’s lenders breathe a deep sigh of relief, considerably expanded the access of the Chinese company to Russian oil. And it’s…

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Oil Price Volatility Is Set To Return

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

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Shell To Restart Major Oil Refinery

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

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Aramco IPO Remains On Track, Company Says

Aramco’s initial public offering remains on track for next year, the company told UAE’s The National in an email, following a report that suggested the initial schedule might be delayed. The delay, sources told Bloomberg yesterday, would be because of a number of still unresolved issues around the offering, which many believe could be the biggest IPO in history, beating Alibaba’s US$25-billion initial placement by as much as US$75 billion. “The IPO process is well underway and Saudi Aramco remains focused on ensuring that…

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South Korea To Begin Phasing Out Nuclear Plants

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

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Venezuela Suspends Trade In U.S. Dollars

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

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Plastics Won’t Save Oil

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

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Alberta Wildfires Shut Down 24 Shell Gas Wells

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

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Alberta Wildfires Shut Down 24 Shell Gas Wells

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

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