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Jul 31, 2014

LyondellBasell stops buying Kurdish crude amid dispute

NEW YORK/HOUSTON, July 31 (Reuters) – Chemicals firm
LyondellBasell, part of Ukrainian-born billionaire
Leonard Blavatnik’s business empire, said it will quit buying
“disputed” oil from Iraq – one day after Reuters identified it
as the mystery American importer of Kurdish crude.

Following a Reuters report on Wednesday that, for the first
time, identified the company’s Houston Refining LP unit as
having imported two small cargoes of heavy, sour Kurdish crude
in May, LyondellBasel confirmed that the company had recently
purchased “modest quantities” of what it called “Iraqi crudes”.

Jul 31, 2014

LyondellBasell emerges as mystery U.S. buyer of Kurdish oil; says no more

NEW YORK/HOUSTON, July 31 (Reuters) – Chemicals firm
LyondellBasell, owned by Ukraine-born billionaire
Leonard Blavatnik, has emerged as the mystery American buyer of
Kurdish crude oil this year, but said on Thursday it will not be
buying any more due to an ownership dispute.

Following a Reuters report that for the first time
identified the company’s Houston Refining LP unit as having
imported two small cargoes of heavy, sour Kurdish crude in May,
LyondellBasel told Reuters that the firm had recently purchased
“modest quantities of Iraqi crudes”.

Jul 29, 2014

U.S. judge signs order to seize Kurdish oil from tanker off Texas

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Acting on a request from the central government in Iraq, a U.S. judge has signed an order telling the U.S. Marshals Service to seize a cargo of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan aboard a tanker off the Texas coast, court filings showed on Tuesday.

The United Kalavrvta tanker, carrying some 1 million barrels of crude worth about $100 million, arrived near Galveston Bay on Saturday but has yet to unload its disputed cargo. The ship, which is too large to enter ports near Houston and dock, was given clearance by the U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday to transfer its cargo offshore to smaller boats that would deliver it to the U.S. mainland.

Jul 27, 2014

Tanker with Iraqi Kurdish crude cleared to unload cargo off Texas

HOUSTON, July 27 (Reuters) – A tanker carrying crude oil
from Iraqi Kurdistan was cleared by the U.S. Coast Guard to
unload its cargo at sea off Texas on Sunday as a State
Department official signaled Washington would not intervene to
block delivery of the controversial crude.

Coast Guard officials went aboard the tanker United
Kalavrvta on Sunday and verified the ship and crew’s ability to
safely offload the oil, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

Jul 27, 2014

Tanker carrying Iraqi Kurdish oil anchored off Texas port

HOUSTON (Reuters) – A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan was anchored near the Port of Galveston, Texas, and must undergo a routine safety inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday before it can unload its cargo, an official said.

The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker United Kalavrvta sailed from the Turkish port of Ceyhan in June bound for the U.S. Gulf Coast despite Washington’s concerns over independent oil sales from the autonomous region and threats from the Iraqi central government.

Jul 26, 2014

Iraqi Kurdish oil nears Texas port for likely offloading

HOUSTON (Reuters) – A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan is hours away from the Port of Galveston in Texas, according to Reuters ship tracking data and the U.S. Coast Guard, its arrival imminent despite Washington’s concerns about independent oil sales from the autonomous region.

The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker United Kalavrvta, which left the Turkish port of Ceyhan in June carrying oil from a new Kurdish pipeline, is slated to approach the Texas port of Galveston on Saturday evening and has issued a notice of pre-arrival to ship traffic managers.

Jul 23, 2014

Greenbrier says rapid phase-out of older oil-by-rail tank cars doable

HOUSTON, July 23 (Reuters) – A top U.S. railcar maker, The
Greenbrier Companies Inc, said on Wednesday a two-year
timeline to retire older railcars that carry dangerous flammable
liquids, including North Dakota Bakken crude, is “aggressive”
but can be done.

Those comments came after the U.S. Department of
Transportation proposed new safety standards for moving crude
and ethanol by rail in light of several fiery accidents over the
past year.

Jun 23, 2014

Houston, a bright spot in U.S. economy, frets about labor shortage

HOUSTON, June 23 (Reuters) – Bustling Houston, one of the
bright spots in the U.S. economy, is growing so fast that
business leaders fear running out of skilled labor as billions
are spent building new energy infrastructure on the Gulf Coast.

The Greater Houston Partnership, the business chamber for
the 10-county region, on Monday launched a training plan with
companies, junior colleges, high schools and social service
agencies to prepare people for thousands of new jobs being
created for welders, pipefitters and plumbers.

Jun 10, 2014

Climate change heats up ‘quants’ v old school forecast battle

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Computer scientists are picking a new fight with old school meteorologists, claiming finally to have cracked the code on weather forecasting at a pivotal, profitable moment for the field, as climate change roils commodities markets and industries.

Banks and traders are reporting outsized profits, and losses, on everything from natural gas to grains as severe weather causes extra price volatility; power grid operators are struggling with bouts of extreme cold or droughts that crimp supplies while demand spikes; and more and more retailers and manufacturers are using forecasts to manage inventories.

May 29, 2014

Exclusive: Energy staffing company Swift Worldwide eyes IPO – CEO

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Swift Worldwide Resources, a firm that staffs big global energy projects with mainly engineers, expects to go public or be acquired within the next five years, the company’s CEO told Reuters on Thursday.

Swift, based in Houston, was acquired by New York-based $3 billion private equity firm Wellspring Capital LLC in November for an undisclosed sum.

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