LONDON, Oct 18 (Reuters) – For much of the last decade, energy researchers
at Goldman Sachs have been among the most influential and bullish
forecasters in the oil market, predicting, much of the time correctly, that
prices would continue to rise.
Like others, the bank failed to foresee the cataclysm that overtook the
market in late 2008. But it won respect for correctly predicting the smaller
downturn in prices ahead of the flash crash in May 2011.
LONDON, Oct 17 (Reuters) – Legislatures in 34 U.S. states,
from Alaska and California to Kentucky and Maryland, have
enacted no fewer than 94 separate laws relating to oil, gas and
coal so far this year, as the surge in exploration and
production pushes fossil fuels high up the agenda for state
The number of new laws passed on fossil fuels has soared
from 66 bills in 22 states last year, and 55 bills in 27 states
in 2010, according to the online bill-tracking database run by
the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
LONDON (Reuters) – Requests from Shell, BP and Vitol, among others, to start sending substantial amounts of U.S. crude to refineries in Canada have hit the headlines, as oil producers try to find outlets for surging production of light oil from North Dakota and elsewhere by easing decades-old restrictions on exporting domestically produced crude.
Less well-known is that record volumes of light hydrocarbons such as propane, butane and pentane are already being exported, as oil and gas producers seek alternative markets for the prodigious quantity of natural gas liquids (NGLs) now being produced alongside oil and gas from shale formations.
LONDON (Reuters) – Frantic drilling activity across the United States has at last begun to moderate, as the industry responds to the plunge in prices for natural gas and now liquids such as butane and natural gasoline.
Production companies have switched towards oil-rich and liquids-rich plays since 2008, driven by the gas glut and falling gas prices. But now the number of rigs targeting oil and condensate plays also appears to have peaked.
LONDON (Reuters) – The shale boom has left some of the most sophisticated refineries in the United States hunting across Europe and Africa for more of the heavy residue left over from other refiners’ crude distillation units, as they try to find a use for all the expensive coking units built in the last decade.
U.S. refineries invested heavily in delayed coking units, anticipating they would be processing increasing quantities of heavy crude from sources such as Venezuela, Canada and Saudi Arabia. Instead they have found themselves processing light crudes from shale plays such as North Dakota’s Bakken and the Eagle Ford in Texas.
LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) – The booming business of
transporting Bakken crude has thrown a lifeline to U.S.
railroads, at a time when shipments of coal, their main
commodity by volume, have fallen sharply.
Coal accounted for just over 43 percent of rail car loadings
by weight, and 25 percent of gross revenues, last year according
to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
LONDON (Reuters) – Now that domestic oil production is rising and imports are falling, should the United States reduce the amount of emergency oil it holds in giant salt caverns along the coast of Louisiana, or at least switch from stockpiling crude to holding refined products like gasoline, jet fuel and diesel?
“The United States will soon start selling oil from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR),” predicted leading energy analyst Phil Verleger in a thought-provoking article for “Petroleum Intelligence Weekly” last month (“Major SPR oil sales likely over next few years” Sep 17).
LONDON, Oct 4 (Reuters) – Now that domestic oil production
is rising and imports are falling, should the United States
reduce the amount of emergency oil it holds in giant salt
caverns along the coast of Louisiana, or at least switch from
stockpiling crude to holding refined products like gasoline, jet
fuel and diesel?
“The United States will soon start selling oil from its
Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR),” predicted leading energy
analyst Phil Verleger in a thought-provoking article for
“Petroleum Intelligence Weekly” last month (“Major SPR oil sales
likely over next few years” Sep 17).
LONDON (Reuters) – In throwing out controversial new rules on position limits, just two weeks before they were due to go into effect, U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins has delivered a stunning setback to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and handed a significant victory to derivatives dealers and investors fiercely opposed to new restrictions.
The practical impact is to preserve the existing system. The CFTC will continue to enforce federal limits on speculation in agricultural products like corn, wheat and soy, while futures exchanges will continue to enforce spot-month limits and broader position accountability levels for energy items like crude oil, gasoline and natural gas.
LONDON, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Even before new position limits
on energy contracts like crude and natural gas come into force
on October 12, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission
(CFTC) has taken an increasingly aggressive approach to
enforcing the existing limits on agricultural items like cotton,
wheat and soybeans.
In the last week alone, the CFTC has imposed civil monetary
penalties and disgorgements totalling nearly $2.5 million on
JPMorgan, Australia and New Zealand Bank, and a China-based
individual, Weidong Ge, to settle accusations they breached
federal speculative limits on cotton (all three respondents),
wheat (ANZ) and soybean oil (Weidong Ge).