Posts By Irina Slav

Trudeau, Where Is Your Back Up Plan For The Arctic Ban?

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When Canada’s federal government issued a five-year moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic at the end of last year, the environmentalist community rejoiced, just as it did in the United States, when the Obama administration did the same. Everyone seemed sure the move would bring benefits to everyone. Or perhaps they just didn’t really care that there are communities heavily dependent on the oil and gas industry for their livelihood. Now, the premier of Canada’s Northwestert Territories has slammed Ottawa for its…

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Big Oil Plans Blockchain-Based Trading Platform

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A consortium involving Shell, BP, and Statoil is working on the development of a blockchain-based energy commodity trading platform, along with three large commodity traders—Gunvor, Koch Supply & Trading, and Mercuria, Reuters reports, citing the consortium. The platform, which has financial backing from Dutch ABN Amro, ING, and French Societe Generale, should launch by the end of next year. In January this year, Mercuria, in partnership with ING and Societe Generale, announced it was preparing the first oil trade using blockchain technology.…

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Aramco Board Targeted In Anti-Corruption Crackdown

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A string of arrests of senior government officials in Saudi Arabia has also struck Aramco board member Ibrahim al-Assaf, a former Finance Minister in the Kingdom. The situation apparently remains volatile and the arrest could spell further trouble for Aramco’s IPO next year. The arrests came after late on Saturday King Salman surprised the public with the unveiling of a new government agency, an anti-corruption committee. The committee is headed by his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), and by the end of the week it had made 11…

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Niger Delta Chief Calls On Avengers To Stop War

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After on Friday the Niger Delta Avengers threatened oilfield operators in the region with a “brutish, brutal and bloody” end to the ceasefire agreed earlier this year, a local community chief has been quick to approach the militant group with a request to hold off the resumption of violence. Edwin Clark, the leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, has asked the NDA to have more patience. The PNDEF has been negotiating with the government about the terms of the peace agreement with NDA and other militant groups. In a statement issued by…

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Is $60 Oil Too Tempting For OPEC?

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Last week, a Bloomberg energy journalist tweeted from Riyadh, wondering why there are no mass celebrations of the fact that Brent was coming closer to $60 a barrel. Now that the international benchmark has passed the $60 barrier, one could imagine the top OPEC men rejoicing, albeit in private, as this was the much-coveted price level the cartel was after from the start. Yet, this price level may provide an undesired outcome for OPEC, as some analysts have been warning for a while now. Here’s the danger: OPEC members have a history of cheating…

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LNG Prices Climbing As China Scrambles To Secure Supply

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As millions of Chinese households make the switch from coal to natural gas for the first time this winter season, China is buying up liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes on the spot market, pushing prices higher than the prices of the oil-indexed LNG cargos in the long-term delivery contracts. Asia’s spot LNG prices have jumped by more than two-thirds since May this year to $9 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), according to Reuters. This compares with oil-pegged prices of some $8 per mmBtu. In July, the International Energy Agency…

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Exxon Splashes Big On Renewables

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ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest public oil company that has come under fire for concealing its knowledge about the effects of the oil industry on climate change, is spending US$1 billion every year to research renewable energy. Speaking with Bloomberg, the company’s Vice President of Research and Development, Vijay Swarup, said that Exxon is investing in over a hundred projects in up to 10 key research areas. “These areas are massively challenging, and if we can solve those, they will have huge impacts on our business. We bring…

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Venezuela Desperate For Debt Restructure

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Venezuela will seek options for restructuring its debt after state-owned PDVSA pays US$1.2 billion on a bond that matured yesterday. This is what the country’s president, Nicolas Maduro, said in a statement, which has reinforced concern that Venezuela is close to defaulting on debts, whose total amount is about US$150 billion. Any attempt at debt restructuring, AFP notes, would run into the wall of U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, which include a ban on trade in Venezuelan debt for U.S.-based entities. Since any debt restructuring and refinancing…

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Big Oil CEO Slams Saudi Energy Reform

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Total’s chief executive Patrick Pouyanne has warned that Saudi Arabia’s social and economic reforms might be a bit too ambitious, and might not go as smoothly, not to mention as quickly, as their proponents seem to believe. Speaking at an event in London, Pouyanne said “You don’t change into a secular regime just like that,” reminiscing about the situation in Russia after the toppling of its last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbatchev. Chaos, Pouyanne said, was the first stage of the transition. The Saudi Vision 2030 program,…

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BP Boosts The Bullish Case For Oil

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BP is buying back shares the company issued to cover its dividend payout amid the oil price crash. The news was widely seen as a clear indication that one of the world’s supermajors has successfully adjusted to the new price normal and is now settling in the business-as-usual rut once again. Yet this is a new rut of strict cost controls, continuous efforts to keep lowering production costs, and working to mend the reputation stain left by the 2011 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The combination of these factors, along with higher oil prices,…

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