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US

Oil & Gas

Renowned trader Hall sees $40 oil ‘absolute price floor’

Oil prices have almost bottomed out and “some recovery” is likely by the second half of the year as demand picks up, commodity hedge fund manager Andrew J. Hall told investors. Crude could trade in the $40-a-barrel range in 2015, close to “an absolute price floor,” the head of Astenbeck Capital Management wrote in a letter.

Markets

Oil exports from US jump to record as shale output booms

The US exported a record amount of crude oil in November after a five-year run of production growth that has made the country the most oil-independent in 20 years. Shipments surged 34% to average 502,000 barrels a day in November, the highest on record dating back to 1920, surpassing the previous monthly peak of 455,000 barrels set in March 1957, data from the US Census Bureau and the Energy Information Administration show. The US is now the 17th-largest exporter.

Oil & Gas

Obama Keystone veto threat spurs Democrat’s plea for compromise

President Barack Obama will not sign a bill introduced that would approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, his spokesman said, as a top Democratic supporter urged the administration to seek a compromise. A bill to sidestep an agency review was the Republican’s first legislation introduced as they took control of both the House and Senate for the first time since 2007. The measure has enough sponsors to pass but not enough to override a veto.

Americas

Biggest oil rig drop since 2009 spells tough year ahead

US oil drillers laid down the most rigs in the fourth quarter since 2009. And things are about to get much worse. The rig count fell by 93 in the three months through December 26, and lost another 17 last week, Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) data show. About 200 more will be idled over the next quarter as US oil explorers make good on their promises to curb spending, according to Moody’s Corp.

Americas

US studies implicate fracking fall-outs as a health hazard

Unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations in the US that involve fracturing may be harming human health. By inference, research being carried out at the University of Missouri may sound alarm bells in the UK and wider EU where shale gas extraction (and oil) industry has yet to start. Up to now in the US, discussions have largely concentrated on potential air and water pollution from chemicals used in these processes and how it affects the more than 15million Americans living within one mile of UOG operations.

Americas

Oil below $60 tests US drive for energy independence

Oil’s biggest bust since the global recession was good for a few cases of whiplash. Just two months ago, Continental Resources Inc. (CLR), the shale driller founded by billionaire Harold Hamm, budgeted for $80-a-barrel oil and planned to spend $4.6billion in 2015. Six weeks later, with crude down 29% in the interim, Continental cut its 2015 budget to $2.7billion.

Americas

Rose Petroleum spuds Mancos well

Rose Petroleum has spudded the State 1-34 Mancos well in Utah. The company said it had used a smaller rig for better cost efficiency and will bring in a larger rig in early January to drill the balance of the well to total depth. Surface casing will be set to 300 feet and once the surface casing is cemented in place, drilling operations will recommence.

Oil & Gas

Oil set for biggest slump since 2008 as OPEC battles US shale

Oil headed for the biggest annual decline since the 2008 global financial crisis as US producers and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries ceded no ground in their battle for market share amid a supply glut. Futures slid as much as 1.4% in New York, bringing losses for 2014 to 46 percent. US guidelines allowing overseas sales of ultralight oil without government approval may boost the country’s export capacity and “throw a monkey wrench” into Saudi Arabia’s plan to curb American output, according to Citigroup I

Other News

Cheniere Energy chief takes pay cut

The chief executive of Cheniere Energy has had his salary cut to $1 following a revolt by the company’s shareholders. Last year, Charif Souki took home a $142million pay package. However, Cheniere Energy said it was cutting his salary from $800,000 to just $1, but also approved a cash bonus of $2.4million.

Other News

BP says US shale boom is making energy trading more global

The US shale boom is connecting markets and changing the way oil and gas is bought and sold, according to BP’s trading unit. Understanding one commodity in a region is no longer enough, Carol Howle, head of global oil Europe and finance at BP Integrated Supply & Trading, said. Change in trade flows will come as the US turns from an importer of liquefied natural gas to an exporter and liquefied petroleum gas export capacity increases, she said.

Oil & Gas

Billionaire shale pioneer cuts spending 41% on oil crash

Billionaire Harold Hamm, whose early adoption of shale drilling in North Dakota helped usher in a US energy renaissance, plans to cut spending by 41% at his company after the plunge in oil prices. Continental Resources Inc. and other US producers can adjust quickly to the crude collapse and will be able to withstand the downturn better than many producing countries, which face economic “ruin,” Hamm said in an interview. “The oil and gas industry has lowered the cost of gasoline to consumers in this country,” Hamm, chairman and chief executive officer of Continental, said yesterday.

Americas

Oil trades near two week high as US economy bolsters demand bets

Oil traded near the highest price in almost two weeks as the US economy expanded at the fastest pace in more than a decade, signalling fuel demand may increase in the world’s biggest consumer. West Texas Intermediate futures were down 0.6% in New York, paring a 3.4% gain yesterday. Gross domestic product rose at a 5% annual rate from July through September, the most since 2003, according to revised Commerce Department data.

Oil & Gas

BP claims Gulf spill payment should reflect oil price drop

BP has claimed any gulf spill compensation payments by it should be less to reflect the oil price plunge. The oil giant is currently in a legal wrangle over what civil penalties it should make following the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster in 2010. The company said in legal filings before the final round of the case next month that penalties – which could beup to $18billion – would have a “very significant economic impact” on BP and its exploration and production business. BP claims any future ruling should take into account the fall in the oil price, the company’s clean-up efforts and the environmental improvement in the Gulf of Mexico.

Markets

Statoil agrees $394million Marcellus formation deal

Statoil has reduced its working interest in the US southern Marcellus onshore asset from 29 to 23% in a $394million deal with Southwestern Energy. The deal covers 515,000 acres in the southern part of the Marcellus, with the divested share representing 30,000 acres. The Norwegian company’s third quarter production from the Marcellus play amounted to 130,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Oil & Gas

Oil surges from five-year low as OPEC comments add volatility

Crude prices surged from the lowest closing levels since May 2009 as comments from Saudi Arabia’s oil minister yesterday added to the most volatile market in three years. West Texas Intermediate climbed 4.5% in New York, the biggest gain since August 2012. Both WTI and Brent rose more than 5 percent during the session. A measure of expected WTI futures movements and a gauge of options value was at the highest level since October 2011, data shows.

Other News

Former energy minister urges Scots firms to take up opportunities in Cuba

A new era for US-Cuba relations creates opportunities for Scottish businesses in the Caribbean, former energy minister Brian Wilson says. After half a century of Cold War acrimony, the US and Cuba are trying to restore diplomatic links in a historic shift that could revitalise the flow of money and people across the narrow waters that separate the two nations. It could mean an end to the US trade embargo which has stifled investment and hampered business in Cuba for more than 50 years.

Health, Safety & Environment

Oil workers killed in US rig explosion

Two oil workers have been killed in an explosion and fire at an oil rig in Oklahoma. Another two members of staff have also been critically injured. Authorities said the explosion happened at the rig about two miles west of Coalgate, about 100 miles south east of Oklahoma city.

Oil & Gas

Oil investors keep betting wrong on when market will hit bottom

Investors betting on a rebound in oil prices are nothing if not tenacious. They have poured the most money in more than four years into exchange-traded products that track oil as prices fell 18% this month. It’s the third consecutive month that the four biggest US funds have received money, during which time futures have plunged 41%.

Markets

Markets boosted by rates pledge

A pledge by US policymakers that they will be patient in their approach to raising interest rates helped ease global market jitters today. The latest meeting of the US Federal Reserve highlighted optimism over the country’s economic performance but appeared to rule out a rates rise in the first quarter of the year. The message lifted the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wall Street by more than 1.5% and helped the FTSE 100 Index improve 35.3 points to 6371.9 after a strong session for Asian markets overnight.

Africa

South Sudan hires former Blackwater chief to restore war-hit oil

The former head of US security company Blackwater USA, Erik Prince, was hired by South Sudan to help repair damaged oil facilities and boost output cut by a year of civil war. Prince’s Frontier Services Group Ltd. (500), a Hong Kong-listed logistics and transportation company, is being paid 18.7 million euros ($23.3 million) by South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum to transport supplies to and perform maintenance on the production facilities at the oil fields, Chief Executive Officer Gregg Smith said. About 30 employees including pilots, engineers and logistics technicians have been using helicopters and airplanes to reach South Sudan’s oil fields since September, Smith said.

Americas

Subsea 7 wins Gulf of Mexico contract

Subsea 7 has been awarded a contract by the Hess Corporation for installation work on the Stampede Project in the Gulf Of Mexico. The deal includes work on flowlines, steel catenary risers, umbilicals, jumpers and associated subsea architecture which will tie-back two drill centres to a tension leg platform. The company said production would be via two 10-inch flowlines from each drill centre.

Oil & Gas

US oil rigs drop most in two years, Baker Hughes says

US oil drillers idled the most rigs in almost two years as they face oil trading below $60 a barrel and escalating competition from suppliers abroad. Rigs targeting oil dropped by 29 this week to 1,546, the lowest level since June and the biggest decline since December 2012, Houston-based field services company Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) said. As OPEC resists calls to cut output, US producers including ConocoPhillips (COP) and Oasis Petroleum Inc. (OAS) have curbed spending. Chevron Corp. (CVX) put its annual capital spending plan on hold until next year.

Markets

Wood Group expands US construction capabilities

Wood Group has bought over a construction and fabrication services company in the US for $36.3million. The company has acquired Swaggart Brothers which employs 200 staff in locations across America. It covers a number of oil and gas activities in shale basins including the Permian, Eagle Ford, Niobrara and Bakken.

Americas

US getting rid of oil addiction as price plummets in glut

The US is producing the most oil in 31 years, economic growth is picking up and crude prices are plunging. So why is Americans’ use of petroleum waning? As the US moves closer and closer to energy independence, greater fuel efficiency, changing demographics and an increase in renewables are altering the dynamic that in the past would have seen demand for gasoline climbing. Gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced in the US, grew at a 2.4 % pace in the third quarter from the year-earlier period. Oil consumption fell 0.3%, government data show.