Senior Market Analyst, Commodities and Energy
John's Feed
Jan 17, 2014

Americans are driving less: Kemp

LONDON, Jan 17 (Reuters) – If America’s long love affair
with the motor car is not exactly over, it has certainly become
less intense in the past decade.

Statistics compiled by the Federal Highway Administration
(FHWA) reveal a remarkable turning point: for the first time
since the introduction of the internal combustion engine,
vehicle use is rising more slowly than the U.S. population.

Jan 14, 2014

Long live the Jones Act? Kemp

LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) – The Philadelphia-registered
schooner “Amity” was seized off the island of St Kitts on May 2,
1785 and accused of contravening the British navigation laws,
which required trade with Britain’s Caribbean possessions to be
carried in British-owned and crewed ships.

The captain who seized her was Horatio Nelson, the young
commander of the Royal Navy frigate “Boreas”. It was the first
in a string of seizures of American vessels by Nelson that
antagonised local merchants.

Jan 13, 2014

Crude export ban benefits only U.S. refiners: Kemp

LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) – It is a great time to be an oil
refiner, at least if you are located in the central United
States and have access to light oil from North Dakota’s Bakken
formation and similar crudes trapped in the region by transport
bottlenecks and the export ban.

While refiners in Western Europe struggle with overcapacity
in the global refining system and face pressure to close some of
their facilities, their rivals in the United States are
benefiting handsomely from locational advantages and outdated

Jan 9, 2014

Rail industry has underestimated risks of tank cars: Kemp

LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Train accidents involving crude
oil and other flammable liquids are becoming uncomfortably
common. The fiery train derailment in New Brunswick on Tuesday
is the third major accident involving crude by rail in just
three months, and the fourth since July 2013.

Serious accidents involving derailments and train fires are
running at one a month, which suggests the dangers of this form
of transport have been underestimated by the industry and

Jan 8, 2014

Rail regulators must phase out unsafe oil tank cars: Kemp

LONDON, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Most crude oil being transported
by rail in the United States and Canada is moving in tank cars
that will rupture and catch fire if the train derails, according
to accident investigations and reports filed with U.S. rail
regulators, posing a lethal danger to railway workers and
communities along the route.

Crude shipments by rail as a result of the shale boom have
risen 100-fold in eight years. While the risks from transporting
oil and other flammable liquids in conventional tank cars have
been understood for more than 20 years, regulators and shippers
have moved slowly to address the issue because of the costs

Jan 7, 2014

Texas comes close to rolling blackouts: Kemp

LONDON, Jan 7 (Reuters) – Texas struggled to keep the
heating working on Monday as unusually cold weather combined
with unexpected power plant outages to reduce reserve margins to
critically low levels.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) declared a
Level 2 Energy Emergency and appealed to customers to conserve
power by turning down thermostats, as the amount of spare
generating capacity available to meet demand shrank to less than
2,000 megawatts (MW) (2 percent).

Jan 6, 2014

Fireballs jeopardise oil-by-rail business: Kemp

LONDON, Jan 6 (Reuters) – The rising number of serious
accidents involving oil tank cars over the past 12 months
suggests that shippers are underestimating the safety risk of
transporting crude by rail.

If the industry and regulators do not resolve these issues
promptly, it is only a matter of time before a major disaster
occurs in the United States. The resulting political outcry
could imperil the business model for oil producers, refiners and
rail operators.

Dec 20, 2013

Britain wakes up to cost of winter evening electricity: Kemp

LONDON, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Britain’s energy regulator will
allow National Grid, the country’s transmission operator, to pay
businesses that agree to reduce their electricity consumption on
winter evenings from 2014 to help avoid strains on the network.

National Grid’s request to create a Demand Side Balancing
Reserve (DSBR) was approved by the Office of Gas and Electricity
Markets (Ofgem) on Thursday.

Dec 20, 2013

Demoralised U.S. commodities watchdog waits for new leaders: Kemp

LONDON, Dec 20 (Reuters) – The incoming chairman and new
members of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
will inherit an agency that has been severely demoralised by
overwork, defeats in court, infighting among the commissioners
and severe criticism from the futures industry.

CFTC staff are among the least satisfied at any federal
agency, according to “Best Places to Work in the Federal
Government 2013,” the influential annual rankings compiled by
the Partnership for Public Service from the Office of Personnel
Management’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.

Dec 19, 2013

Would-be U.S. oil exporters face tough politics: Kemp

LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama could
probably lift the prohibition on domestic oil exports on his
own, but the White House has little reason to favour U.S. oil
producers and it would be safer politically to involve Congress
in any eventual decision.

The principal effect of the export ban is to transfer
revenues from domestic oil producers to U.S. refiners because it
ensures producers are forced to sell their output at a discount
rather than exporting at world market prices.

    • About John

      "John joined Reuters in 2008 as one of its first financial columnists, specialising in commodities and energy. While his main focus is on oil markets, he has written broadly on the emergence of commodities as an asset class, regulatory issues and macroeconomic themes. Before joining Reuters, John spent seven years as a senior analyst for Sempra Commodities (now part of JP Morgan) covering base metals and crude oil. Previously, he worked as an analyst on world trade, banking and financial regulation for consultancy Oxford Analytica."
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