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Americas

Defeated ex-CFO reemerges to upend Colombia’s privatisation plan

16/06/2015

Rodrigo Toro, Isagen’s former chief financial officer, isn’t going to watch his old company be sold off without a fight. The 62-year-old engineer, who led a failed attempt to buy the Colombian state-controlled hydropower producer in 2013, is among a group that successfully sued to suspend the latest auction last month of the government’s 5.3 trillion peso ($2.1 billion) majority stake. The delay has left bidders from Canada to Europe in limbo on a transaction that could have highlighted Colombia’s potential as an investment destination and helped offset slowing economic growth. Instead, it has become a reminder of the difficulty of doing business in the Latin American nation, drawing attention to a legal and administrative system the World Economic Forum ranks below those in Guatemala and Honduras.

Oil & Gas

Sound Oil to have EIA on Italy assets

16/06/2015

Sound Oil has been given approval for an environmental impact assessment for a permit covering its Dora and Dalla assets in Italy. The award covers the D503-BR-CS offshore license in the central Adriatic and includes the Dora gas discovery and the Dallas exploration prospect.

Oil & Gas

Northern Petroleum given EIA approvals

16/06/2015

Northern Petroleum has been given approval on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of three potential exploration permits in the southern Adriatic. The EIA approvals have been received from the Ministries of the Environment and National Heritage and are awaiting decree by the Ministry of Economic Development.

Middle East

Air Energi lands BP Iraq staffing contract

16/06/2015

Air Energi has landed a contract with BP Iraq to supply personnel for its operations for the giant Rumaila and Kirkuk oil fields. The five-year deal is Air Energi’s biggest ever win in the region. The fields, which represent 40% of Iraq’s total production last year, are estimated to hold 20 billion barrels of reserves.

Oil & Gas

Job losses in UK’s North Sea raise skills and safety concerns

16/06/2015

Cost-cutting in Britain's North Sea oil and gas sector could lead to more acute skills shortages in future, industry experts have warned, with some expressing concerns that safety could be compromised. A plunge in crude prices over the last 12 months has prompted oil majors such as Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Chevron and ConocoPhillips to lay off hundreds of workers. Oil field services groups such as Amec Foster Wheeler, Wood Group and Petrofac are also in consultation with employees over job cuts.

Oil & Gas

Statoil’s Aberdeen base safe amid company cuts

16/06/2015

Statoil’s growing Aberdeen base will be safe from the firm’s latest round of job cuts, a spokesman confirmed. The firm announced earlier today it would cut up to 2,000 posts, comprised of permanent and consultant positions, by the end of 2016. The move is part of the Norwegian operator’s robust austerity measures.

Oil & Gas

Statoil to reduce workforce by up to 2,000

16/06/2015

Statoil today confirmed it would cut 1100 to 1500 permanent positions by the end of next year. The firm cited standardisation for the decrease. "We regret the need for further reductions, but the improvements are necessary to strengthen Statoil’s competitiveness and secure our future value creation," said Anders Opedal, executive vice president and chief operating officer in Statoil. The firm confirmed a further 525 consultant posts would also be cut. More to follow.

Americas

Shell gets permission to disturb marine life

16/06/2015

The US has issued a permit which allows Shell to resume its oil exploration off Alaska’s Arctic coast. The permit, which approves Shell’s ability to disturb marine mammals, was granted in the wake of a Greenpeace protest targeting the company’s Polar Pioneer drilling rig. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration signed off on a permit which allows noise from air guns, icebreaking, drilling and anchor handling. The move is in line with the Department of Interior’s earlier decision which approved Shell’s general plan for its oil exploration in the area.

Americas

Storm Bill threatens Texas with floods as oil workers evacuated

16/06/2015

Tropical Storm Bill formed in the Gulf of Mexico, leaving Texas bracing for another round of flooding in less than a month. Bill, which prompted some energy companies to evacuate non- essential personnel earlier, has sustained top wind speeds of 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour), the National Hurricane Center said in an 11 p.m. New York time advisory. It was located about 155 miles south-southeast of Galveston, Texas, moving northwest at a speed of 12 mph. Tropical storm warnings were in effect from Baffin Bay to High Island, Texas, the Miami-based agency said.

Americas

Houston’s filet mignon special shows oil slump is no problem

16/06/2015

Thirty years ago, times were so tough in Houston that Steve Zimmerman introduced the Oil Barrel Special, a three-course lunch tied to the plummeting price of crude. He revived the special at his restaurant Cinq in January, in the midst of another precipitous decline, but there haven’t been many takers, about 10 a week compared with the 70 a day who used to queue for the chance to enjoy filet mignon for a steal. Houston -- known in some parts of town as the Energy Capital of the World -- has been doing just fine in this oil bust. “In the 1980s, there was a major crisis,” said Zimmerman, who’s owned the La Colombe d’Or hotel, where the special is now a dinner option at Cinq, for 35 years. “This is just a blip.” Houston, the fourth-largest city in the U.S., was slammed by the ’80s crash, when oil took a 67 percent nosedive in four months. Banks failed, shopping malls emptied out and foreclosures shot up. Tax revenue shriveled and the city fired dozens of sanitation workers, which led to a strike that completely halted trash pickup. Back then, 87 percent of all so-called base-employment jobs were tied to the oil and gas industry, while as of 2010 fewer than half were, according to an analysis by the University of Houston. That explains why Mayor Annise Parker in a recent speech called the 59 percent price-drop of 2014 and 2015 “just a pothole in the road.”

Oil & Gas

Total restarts La Mede refinery after strike

15/06/2015

French oil major Total said on Monday it had begun procedures to restart its La Mede refinery near Marseille, which management had decided to halt after the CGT union called a strike against plans to stop crude processing.

Oil & Gas

LGO spuds 12th Trinidad well

15/06/2015

Leni Gas & Oil (LGO has confirmed the spudding of the 12 well in its Goudron field development. The company acquired the prospect on the south-eastern edge of Trinidad in 2011 and has so far drilled 12 out of 30 planned wells.

Oil & Gas

North Sea oil to Korea nears record as refiner rates seen rising

15/06/2015

Oil traders may send a record amount of crude from the North Sea to South Korea this month, amid signs that refining rates in the Asian country are surging. Three tankers each able to ship 2 million barrels of oil have been hired to load the North Sea grade Forties so far in June, according to six shipbroker reports compiled by Bloomberg. That could rise to four if another vessel, provisionally booked for late this month or early next, ships its consignment by the 30th. South Korean data show the country hasn’t imported 8 million barrels of North Sea oil in a single month since at least 2000.

Oil & Gas

Cuadrilla’s UK fracking scheme gets planners’ go-ahead

15/06/2015

roposals for fracking for shale gas at a site in Lancashire should be approved, planning officers have recommended. Lancashire County Council has published reports with recommendations on planning applications from shale company Cuadrilla to develop two new sites between Preston and Blackpool to explore for shale gas by drilling, fracking and testing the flow of gas. The report recommended that the application for a site at Preston New Road near Little Plumpton be passed, subject to a lengthy number of conditions being met, said the council. But planning officials recommended an application for a similar site at Roseacre Wood should be turned down because of an increase in traffic. The council’s development control committee is due to make decisions on the planning applications next week. Cuadrilla submitted revised plans after planning officers recommended refusal for both sites in January for different reasons.

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