Asia

How Tesla Just Tripled Its Earnings In China

21 Mar 2017   China, Electric Cars

Earlier this month, Tesla Inc reported that its revenues in China topped $1 billion in 2016, more than triple the revenues it generated there in 2015. The Chinese market was only second to the U.S. in terms of revenue generation for Tesla last year. The electric carmaker is not breaking down revenues by items, and has not offered any explanation for the triple revenues in China. The revenue jump could have been the result of China’s license plate-issuing policies in major cities that fast track EV license plates issuing as the country grapples with perpetual pollution and traffic jams. Tesla’s Chinese revenues last year were $1.065 billion, compared to $318.5 million in 2015, and $477 million in 2014, the EV carmaker’s regulatory filing from March 1 shows. According to Reuters Breakingviews ’ Robyn Mak, one of the key contributors to Tesla’s soaring Chinese revenues is the local green-car, or […]

Analysis: Chinese independent refiners’ crude oil imports set to slow on quota issues

21 Mar 2017   China

Crude imports by China’s independent refiners are expected to slow down in the coming months as several refiners have used up most of their allocation from the first round of import quotas and will need to wait until June for the second round before resuming purchases. Independent refiners need government-allotted quotas to import crude oil. A total of 45.64 million mt of quotas were allocated to 19 independent refineries in the first round in January. The refiners have submitted applications for a second batch of quotas, but the government is only expected to allocate fresh quotas in June leaving the refiners with the option of either reducing throughput or buying barrels from the domestic spot market, market sources said. China’s independent refineries imported a total of 60 million mt (1.2 million b/d) of crude oil in 2016, according to S&P Global Platts estimates. This represented 16% of China’s total […]

Robot Successfully Reports Killer Radiation Levels Inside Fukushima Reactor

21 Mar 2017   Japan, Nuclear

Tokyo Electric on Sunday confirmed lethally high radiation levels inside the primary containment vessel (PCV) of the heavily damaged unit 1 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. A magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 resulted in the meltdown of three of Fukushima’s six reactors. The disaster in Japan left around 19,000 people dead and more than 100,000 homeless. In the largest nuclear incident since Chernobyl, radiation levels were so high that every robot sent to explore the site has failed. Russia-Japan Relations Have Good Prospects if Tokyo Cuts Ties With ‘American Cerberus’ Finally, on Saturday the PMORPH robot inserted into unit 1 in the first of a series of four missions into the PCV basement area managed to provide the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) with the radiation and temperature measurements within it. Devices on the camera-equipped robot measured radiation levels of 7.8 sieverts per hour on a […]

Beijing, Saudi Arabia agree to more oil cooperation, exports to China

20 Mar 2017   China, Saudi Arabia

China and Saudi Arabia will increase their cooperation in the oil sector, including in Saudi oil exports to China, the two countries said in a joint communique issued on Saturday at the end of Saudi Arabian King Salman’s visit to Beijing. The world’s largest oil exporter has been looking to cement ties with the world’s second-largest economy. After losing market share to Russia last year, Saudi Arabia has sought to boost oil sales to China, the world’s second-largest oil market, by working mostly with China’s top three state oil firms. “Both countries are willing to raise their level of cooperation in the oil sector, including supplying Saudi oil to the continuously growing Chinese market,” the two said in […]

Beijing, Saudi Arabia agree to more oil cooperation, exports to China

18 Mar 2017   China, Saudi Arabia

China and Saudi Arabia will increase their cooperation in the oil sector, including in Saudi oil exports to China, the two countries said in a joint communique issued on Saturday at the end of Saudi Arabian King Salman’s visit to Beijing. The world’s largest oil exporter has been looking to cement ties with the world’s second-largest economy. After losing market share to Russia last year, Saudi Arabia has sought to boost oil sales to China, the world’s second-largest oil market, by working mostly with China’s top three state oil firms. “Both countries are willing to raise their level of cooperation in the oil sector, including supplying Saudi oil to the continuously growing Chinese market,” the two said in […]

China’s Crude Oil Production Falls 8% Year Over Year

17 Mar 2017   China

China’s crude oil production dropped by 8 percent annually to 31.44 million tons in January and February, as high domestic production costs prompted refineries to import more crude oil, according to data by the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). In the first two months of this year, the total crude processing volume stood at 90.76 million tons, up by 4.3 percent compared to the same period last year. Crude oil imports, on the other hand, rose by 12.5 percent to 65.8 million tons, Xinhua news agency reports, quoting NBS figures. Despite the higher global oil prices at around $50 this year, compared to last year’s lows, Chinese refineries still preferred to import crude rather than buy domestically produced oil due to the high production costs, NBS noted, as reported by Xinhua. China’s domestic crude oil output faltered in 2016, after the oil price slump pushed many of its […]

China, Saudi Arabia Ink $65-Billion Worth Of Preliminary Deals

17 Mar 2017   China, Saudi Arabia

China and Saudi Arabia have signed preliminary deals that could be worth as much as $65 billion if finalized, Xinhua reports . The news came on the first day of a four-day visit by Saudi King Salman to China. China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Ming said that President Xi Jinping and King Salman inked a total 14 cooperation agreements, including a memorandum of understanding on 35 projects for “production capacity and investment cooperation”. Among the industries that the agreements cover are oil production, petrochemicals, and even space. China is a crucial market for Saudi oil, and the king’s visit is widely seen as an attempt to secure future exports, preferably under long-term contracts, which is the standard approach of the Kingdom toward crude oil exports. Outside oil exports, Saudi Arabia is also looking for opportunities to expand its refining and chemical production markets, Reuters notes , as part of […]

China’s crude oil output falls 8 pct

17 Mar 2017   China

China’s crude oil output fell 8 percent year on year in the first two months of 2017 as refineries slashed production and imported more due to high exploitation costs, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed Thursday. Crude oil output came in at 31.4 million tonnes during the period, while imports gained 12.5 percent to 65.8 million tonnes. Although the global oil price has hovered around 50 U.S. dollars per barrel this year, domestic refineries still opted for more imports due to high production costs, according to the NBS. In the first two months, natural gas output totaled 25.2 billion cubic meters, unchanged from the same period last year. Imports of natural gas grew 7.5 percent. China aims to increase domestic crude oil output to 200 million tonnes by 2020, while supply capacity for natural gas should exceed 360 billion cubic meters. […]

China’s Sinopec nears deal to buy Chevron’s South African oil assets: sources

17 Mar 2017   China

China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) is nearing an agreement to buy a majority stake in Chevron Corp’s South African assets, which are estimated at $1 billion, two people familiar with the transaction said. The sources said that Sinopec, Asia’s largest oil refiner, was the last bidder remaining, and close to completing a deal with the U.S. oil major. If the deal is finalised, it will be Sinopec’s first refinery asset in Africa, forming a part of the Chinese major’s global fuel distribution network. Sinopec declined to comment. Chevron first announced plans in January 2016 to sell the stake in the business unit, which includes a 110,000-barrels-per-day refinery in Cape Town, South Africa. Chevron spokesman Braden Reddall said “the process of soliciting expressions of interest in the 75 percent shareholding is ongoing.” The remaining 25 percent interest is held by a consortium of Black Economic Empowerment shareholders and an […]

Big energy fears peak oil demand is looming

15 Mar 2017   China, Peak Oil

In an attempt to improve the quality of Beijing’s polluted air , the authorities are planning to mandate that every new taxi in the city must be electric or gas-fuelled, China’s National Business Daily reported last month. Beijing’s taxi drivers are no fans of the electric cabs in use there since 2014, complaining about inadequate battery range, alarming performance dips in cold weather and insufficient charging stations. But the thought of the Chinese government taking concerted action to push road transport towards alternative fuels will send chills down the spine of every oil producer worldwide. The prospect of “peak demand” for oil — an end to growth in global consumption — has been discussed in the energy industry for many years, without apparently coming much closer. But some of the world’s leading oil companies now see peak demand and sustained lower crude prices as a risk that they need […]

China ramping up controls on imports of low-quality coal: official

15 Mar 2017   China

China is ramping up controls on imports of low-quality coal due to concerns about smog and overcapacity in the world’s top coal consumer, a government official said on Wednesday, as traders report some cargoes have been delayed by customs checks. “As long as coal meets standards, we don’t forbid imports, but we are imposing controls on low-quality coal imports,” said Zhi Shuping, head of the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine which oversees imports safety. The official was speaking on the sidelines of the annual meeting of China’s parliament. “If we let all kinds of coal import into domestic market, it will hit the domestic market,” Zhi said. Last year, the agency rejected 1.5 million tonnes of imported coal, […]

China crude oil stockpiling impervious to OPEC price hike: Russell

15 Mar 2017   China

China’s stockpiling of crude oil appears to have increased in the first two months of the year, despite prevailing higher prices caused by OPEC and its allies curbing output. The country rarely releases detailed inventory levels for strategic and commercial storage, but it’s possible to work out an estimate from net crude imports, domestic output and refinery throughput. In the first two months of 2017 the total amount of crude available from net imports and domestic output was 96.72 million tonnes, equivalent to about 11.97 million barrels per day (bpd), according to official statistics. The refinery throughput for January and February was 90.76 million tonnes, or about 11.23 million bpd, according to data released on Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics. On a daily basis, the runs for the first […]

China makes first-ever US SPR crude oil purchase

15 Mar 2017   China

PetroChina pays highest price among all winners Final destination of the crude not yet decided Analyst calls it a profile-building exercise PetroChina International has bought crude oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve — the first such purchase by a Chinese company — in a move that further underscores growing Chinese interest in US crude. PetroChina International, the overseas trading arm of state-owned oil giant PetroChina, bought 550,000 barrels from the SPR in the US Department of Energy’s latest sale for a total of $28.8 million ($52.36/b). A Beijing-based senior crude trader with PetroChina International Tuesday said that the deal, announced last week by the US Department of Energy, was not yet completed and they have not decided whether to bring the barrels back to China or send them elsewhere as the volume is small. PetroChina’s Houston office would not comment. “We notice that more and more crude barrels […]

China to set up special fund on smog research: premier

15 Mar 2017   China

Premier Li Keqiang said Wednesday China will set up a special fund and pool the country’s best scientists to find out the “unique” cause of smog that frequently blankets north China in winter. “The cause of smog should be found out as soon as possible so our response will be more effective,” Li said while addressing a press conference after conclusion of the annual national legislative session. The government is determined to spend as much as needed for the research, he said, pledging that the country will fight and win the battle against smog. “Smog tackling methods will focus on coal-burning, automobile exhaust, and dust,” he said, but acknowleging that the it takes time to win the battle. “The […]

Saudi King Visits Japan, Seeks Help on Diversifying Economy

13 Mar 2017   Japan, Saudi Arabia

King Salman and hundreds of business leaders from Saudi Arabia are in Japan for talks Monday mainly expected to focus on economic ties. The visit is the first by a Saudi king in 46 years, though Salman visited more recently as crown prince. Saudi Arabia is one of Japan’s biggest suppliers of crude oil, accounting for about a third of its total imports of oil from the Middle East. The kingdom is striving to diversify its economy away from its heavy reliance on oil exports, and Salman is on a month-long tour of Asia to advance his kingdom’s economic and business interests. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters Monday that Japan is willing to provide support for the economic power […]

Iran leapfrogs Iraq as India’s no. 2 oil supplier in February: trade data

13 Mar 2017   India, Iran, Iraq

India’s oil imports from Iran rose nearly 17 percent in February from a month earlier as refiners received less crude from key OPEC producers Saudi Arabia and Iraq after an OPEC deal to cut output, shipping data showed on Monday. The jump meant Iran replaced regional rival Iraq as India’s second-biggest oil supplier – a role Tehran used to occupy before Western sanctions were imposed against it over the country’s disputed nuclear program. While Saudi Arabia remained the biggest oil supplier to India, ship tracking data and a report compiled by Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecasts showed imports from Iran rose to 647,000 barrels per day (bpd) in February. That was 16.7 percent more than January, and almost trebled from February […]

China Teapot Refineries Lobby For Fuel Export Ban Removal

11 Mar 2017   China

Independent Chinese refineries, known as teapots, are lobbying with the government for the lifting of a fuel export ban that has cut a major source of income. The export quotas were suspended at the end of last year without an official warning or explanation. Teapots last year got their first fuel export quotas, which led to improved crude oil demand in China, positively affecting international prices. In fact, the teapots were considered by many to be among the factors that put a stop to the oil price slide that brought prices below $30 a barrel in February 2016. The leaders of the lobbying drive are two members of parliament and heads of two major teapots: Wang Youde of Hengyuan Petrochemical Co. and Li Xiangping, the chief of the largest teapot, Shandong Dongming Petrochemical Group. Li told Reuters that the ban increased the pressure from domestic competition for independent refiners […]

Can China Lead The World Economy?

11 Mar 2017   China

Summary China is routinely presented in media as the world’s next economic leader. It has delivered impressive GDP growth. However, it is not as developed as its image in media suggests. Also, it does not innovate. Its growth may not continue as expected due to the rise of automated manufacturing. China is routinely presented in media as the world’s next economic leader. To consider the idea in-person, I spent time in Shanghai in December, and in Guangzhou last month and again last week. I took trains, stayed in hotels, ate in restaurants, walked the cities, rode a rented bicycle, bought a suit, shot photos, and wrote notes. China’s historical GDP growth has been impressive, and when projected along its current path puts the country on track to become the largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP by 2033, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit . The […]

Fukushima Mysteries Rattle Japan’s Nuclear Industry

10 Mar 2017   Japan, Nuclear

Six years after Japan’s nuclear disaster, popular resistance has stymied efforts to rebuild an atomic energy industry that was once among the world’s biggest, as mysteries endure over the calamity. Authorities are struggling to determine what precisely happened after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors here, triggering an evacuation of thousands of people and costing…

Australia’s 100% Renewable Energy Grid

9 Mar 2017   Australia

Australia is posed to build an electricity network with 100 percent renewable energy, that is both affordable and secure, and that utilizes existing technology. The Australian National University has published a study detailing how a zero-emissions grid would work. The grid would rely on wind and solar technology, but the innovation comes from the pumped hydro storage, which would support the network. A move like this would eliminate the need for coal and gas power. As many aging coal-fired power stations close (on which 2/3 of Australia’s electricity relies) demand for new types of energy is spiking. Professor Andrew Blakers at the ANU believes that wind and solar energy could be that replacement. The short-term off-river pumped hydro energy storage (STORES) utilizes reservoirs at different altitudes to both store and generate power. This system would provide Australia with a cheap, stable, zero-emissions network that can support a larger share […]

China’s Newest Economic Data Don’t Add Up

9 Mar 2017   China

For the second day running, China data have economists scratching their heads. Tuesday came a surprise increase in foreign-exchange reserves. Wednesday, it was an unexpected trade deficit—China’s first in three years—which made the rise in…

Vietnam’s Only Crude Exporter Attracts Oil Majors for Stake Sale – Bloomberg

8 Mar 2017   Vietnam

PetroVietnam Oil Corp., Vietnam’s sole crude exporter, said it’s in talks to sell as much as 40 percent to strategic investors and expects to narrow down to a list of about five potential bidders for the government this month.  PV Oil, as it’s commonly known, expects to raise at least $270 million from one or two investors from the stake sale, President and Chief Executive Officer Cao Hoai Duong said at the company’s Ho Chi Minh City headquarters. About 10 potential strategic investors, including “major oil companies” from Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the Middle East, have applied to buy the shares, he said.  PV Oil will also offer as much as 15 percent of its shares in an initial public offering in the first half this year, the CEO said, adding that the stake sale to strategic investors will occur simultaneously with or after the IPO. The company will list shares at an undetermined time on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange after the IPO, he said. “We are looking for good strategic partners so we can make another M&A success,” Duong said in an interview on Tuesday, referring to past acquisitions to expand its retail network.

 

China’s February crude oil imports hit second highest on record

8 Mar 2017   China

China’s crude oil imports rose to the second-highest level on record in February, as strong demand from independent “teapot” refiners continues to drive growth. February’s imports came in at 31.78 million tonnes or 8.286 million barrels per day, up 3.5 percent on a year ago, Chinese customs data showed on Wednesday. Daily shipments were only behind December’s record 8.57 million bpd, but up on 8.01 million bpd in January. “Teapots have been the main driver of strong oil imports in January and February. Chinese crude oil buying wrapped up 2016 with a record and the momentum will continue this year as we expect private refiners to keep high run rates,” said Li Yan, an analyst with oil consultancy Zibo Longzhong information Group. Imports are expected to ease from March when several major plants […]

China’s February exports up 4.2 pct, imports up 44.7 pct

8 Mar 2017   China

China’s exports in yuan-denominated terms rose 4.2 percent year on year in February, while imports up by 44.7 percent, customs data showed on Wednesday. That led to a monthly trade deficit of 60.36 billion yuan (8.74 billion U.S. dollars), in contrast with a surplus of over 354 billion yuan in January, according to the General Administration of Customs.

China will not force big coal output cuts if prices reasonable: NDRC

7 Mar 2017   China, Coal

China will not force coal mines to cut output on a large scale if prices remain within a reasonable range, the country’s state planner said on Tuesday, the latest comments from the government on its efforts to tackle excess supplies and smog. In a statement, the National Development and Reform Commission said provincial governments and relevant agencies will decide whether to implement cutbacks at mines that are not considered “advanced”. It did not say what price range it would consider reasonable. (Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Writing by Josephine Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

Australia Gas Firms Locked in Legal Battles After $200 Billion Spree Sours

7 Mar 2017   Australia

After splurging $200 billion building the world’s biggest gas export plants, producers in Australia are now locked in legal battles with contractors over who should shoulder billions of dollars in liabilities sparked by delays and cost blow-outs. Chevron Corp. , owner of the $54 billion Gorgon facility, Australia’s largest resource development, along with Inpex Corp. and Santos Ltd. are among energy heavyweights trying to claw back funds. The number of disputes is growing weekly in a chain reaction of litigation, which extends to small businesses subcontracted to supply materials and services. “There are billions and billions of dollars of claims out there in the market, and claims of hundreds of millions of dollars are not uncommon,” said Matthew Croagh, who handles liquefied natural gas matters as a partner in Melbourne with London-based law firm Norton Rose Fulbright. Croagh wasn’t referring to any specific dispute. After an investment bonanza at […]

China Softens Coal Focus in Bid to Clean Up Its Skies

6 Mar 2017   China

China’s government pledged to dramatically slow a coal-power building binge that is threatening its environment, saying Sunday it would shut down dozens of coal-power plants and stop some new construction. In his annual report delivered Sunday, Premier Li Keqiang said China would eliminate more than 50 gigawatts of coal-power…

Electric cars: China’s battle for the battery market

The headquarters of CATL, China’s fastest growing battery maker, lie on the edge of the city of Ningde, a stone’s throw from ponds where farmers raise carp and a street of cheap noodle restaurants and vehicle repair shops frequented by migrant workers. Inside the vast factory, battery parts move silently on automated conveyor belts. Signs on the walls encourage workers not to waste materials or time, or indulge in “unnecessary bending” for their own safety. The plant looks like lots of others dotted across the country. But with a valuation of $11.5bn, Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd, to give it its full name, is anything but mundane. It is set to become China’s Panasonic — a national champion — and a key part of Beijing’s ambitious plan to remake the global battery market and exploit rising demand for electric cars. “We want to become a leading enterprise, like the front carriage of a train, driving an entire supply chain,” says Neill Yang, CATL’s marketing director. His office overlooks cranes and cement mixers, which are building a dormitory and offices to house 20,000 workers.

China Shifts Stance, Letting Dying Firms Go Bankrupt

4 Mar 2017   China

Bankruptcies of Chinese businesses have surged in the past two years, in a sign the state is beginning to take painful steps to trim the bloated industrial sector as it tries to rein in debt. China’s search for ways to manage its slowest growth in a quarter-century hangs over the annual National People’s Congress, which starts on Sunday. The challenge is expected to drive discussions among delegates on how to unwind…

KBR hired as consultant by Kazakh oil producer

3 Mar 2017   Kazakhstan

U.S. engineering services company KBR said it secured a contract for conceptual studies for oil field basins located in the Kazakh waters of the Caspian Sea. The North Caspian Operating Company, working on behalf of a consortium of producers, secured KBR’s services for conceptual studies and engineering work for offshore basins, including the giant Kashagan oil field. “Our Caspian team is excited to provide fresh and cost effective ideas to NCOC with a commitment of maximizing local content,” Jay Ibrahim, KBR’s regional president, said in a statement . Production at Kashagan, which holds an estimated 16 billion barrels of oil, was halted in October 2013, less than a month after it started, when a pipeline associated with the […]

China’s largest ‘teapot’ refiner, CEFC team up in Shandong oil terminal venture

3 Mar 2017   China

Dongming Petrochemical Group’s logo is pictured at its office in Beijing, March 4, 2016. Dongming Petrochemical, China’s largest independent or ‘teapot’ refiner, has signed a deal with privately run CEFC China Energy and a local port authority to build a crude oil terminal in Shandong province, seeking to ease a logistics bottleneck gripping the country’s teapot oil sector. The 3.9 billion yuan ($566 million) project with conglomerate CEFC China Energy and Rizhao port authorities comes as China’s teapots refiners emerge as a catalyst in the global oil market, ramping up Russian and U.S. imports in frenzied buying that has led to tanker queues and scarce storage space. Executives at Dongming, formally known as Shandong Dongming Petrochemical Group, and private firm CEFC said on Friday that publicly owned Rizhao Port Authorities will take 51 percent of the project, CEFC 25 percent and Dongming 24 percent. Plans include a 300,000 deadweight […]

China takes climate mantle from U.S., Greenpeace says

1 Mar 2017   China, Climate, USA

A survey of data from China finds the world’s second-largest economy is advancing on efforts to cut emissions, an environmental group said. Environmental advocacy group Greenpeace said its review of data from the Chinese government shows a decline in emissions of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas, of around 1 percent, the fourth year in a row for either zero growth or a decline. In early February, Beijing Mayor Cai Qi said the city would move to improve air quality across the region by taking a dramatic step away from the use of coal. China accounts for about 50 percent of the global demand for coal and, because of the size of its economy, that translates […]

Saudi Aramco buys $7 billion stake in Petronas’ RAPID refinery project

Saudi oil giant Aramco IPO-ARMO.SE will buy an equity stake in Malaysian firm Petronas’ refining and petrochemicals project in the southeast Asian country, the companies confirmed on Tuesday, investing a total of $7 billion. In a joint statement, the firms said Aramco will take a 50 percent stake in select ventures and assets in the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project developed by Malaysian state-controlled Petroliam Nasional Berhad, known as Petronas. The deal signing was formally witnessed by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Saudi King Salman, currently on a state visit to Malaysia. Petronas’ Chief Executive Officer Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin told reporters Aramco will take a 50 percent stake in RAPID’s refinery and cracker project. Aramco will supply up to 70 percent […]

China’s coal imports from North Korea ease after sanctions

25 Feb 2017   China, North Korea

China’s coal imports from North Korea eased last month after new U.N. Security Council sanctions curbing the isolated country’s sales abroad came into effect, while Russia, Mongolia, Australia and Indonesia raised shipments, data showed on Friday. January imports from North Korea eased 13 percent from a year earlier to 1.45 million tonnes, the data showed. They were down 28 percent from December. January’s volume accounted for almost 20 percent of the latest U.N. annual sales quota of 7.5 million tonnes or $400.9 million, whichever is smaller, on North Korea’s biggest export. The imports last month came before Beijing’s decision last Saturday to ban coal shipments entirely after Pyongyang tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile in its first […]

Oil production from Kazakhstan on the rise

24 Feb 2017   Kazakhstan

Production from part of Kashagan oil field in the Kazakh waters of the Caspian Sea should reach capacity by the end of the year, an operating company said. According to the economists at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Kazakhstan was producing around 1.38 million barrels of oil per day last year with the main share of growth coming from Kashagan. The North Caspian Operating Co., a joint venture operating the giant oil field in the Kazakh waters of the Caspian Sea, confirmed to UPI that production from Kashagan was holding steady at 160,000 bpd and production would accelerate to 180,000 bpd in the coming months. Once secondary production methods are optimized to increase pressure in the reservoir, […]

North Korea says China ‘dancing to the tune of the US’

24 Feb 2017   China, Coal, North Korea

Coal exports to China are a key source of cash for the politically isolated nation North Koreans look over coal exports in the border town of Siniuju N Korea condemns Kim death investigation ‘Hunt’ for refugees who helped Snowden Japan ‘baldies’ hold annual get-together

Oil sold out of tanker storage in Asia as market slowly tightens

24 Feb 2017   Asia

Traders are selling oil held in tankers anchored off Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia in a sign that the production cut led by OPEC is starting to have the desired effect of drawing down bloated inventories. Yet in the short-term, the crude released from tankers will weigh on markets and possibly undermine OPEC’s goal of achieving a balanced market by mid-2017. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers outside the group, including Russia, announced late last year that they would cut output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) during the first half of 2017, looking to drain a glut that pulled down prices from over $100 per barrel in 2014 to around $56.50 currently LCOc1. “OPEC’s strategy is targeting inventories – given the scale of the […]

India’s Oil Demand Is Set To Break More Records

22 Feb 2017   India

India continues to look for alternatives to oil imports as its auto sector, economy, and population continue to boom. India’s oil consumption growth reached a record-level 11 percent last year as an increasing urban population with rising income fueled greater use of cars, trucks, and motorbikes. The country consumed 196.5 million tons of oil products in 2016, up from 177.5 million tons in 2015, according to the Oil Ministry’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell. Demand for gasoline jumped 12 percent last year to 23.7 million tons, while diesel demand grew 5.6 percent to 76.7 million tons. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that India was the fourth largest consumer of crude oil and petroleum products in the world in 2015, after the U.S., China, and Japan. The country depends heavily on imported crude oil, mostly from the Middle East, similar to China. More than 80 percent of its crude […]

Abu Dhabi Awards China’s CEFC 4% Of Oil Concession For $900MM

21 Feb 2017   Abu Dhabi, China

Abu Dhabi awarded a 4 percent stake in its giant onshore oil concession to CEFC China Energy Co for a fee of 3.3 billion dirhams ($900 million), state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) said on Monday. The stake is the last to be awarded in the concession after international energy companies including Total, BP and China’s CNPC secured stakes. ADNOC owns 60 percent of the concession. The onshore fields, operated by Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations (ADCO, have total resources estimated at between 20 billion and 30 billion barrels of oil equivalent over the term of the concession. On Sunday, CNPC secured an 8 percent stake in ADCO for about $1.8 billion. For little-known, privately run CEFC the deal, which has a term of 40 years and is […]

North Korea’s Regime In Jeopardy As China Bans Coal Imports

21 Feb 2017   China, Coal, North Korea

On Saturday, China said that it was suspending all imports of coal from North Korea as part of its effort to implement United Nations Security Council sanctions aimed at stopping the country’s nuclear weapons and ballistic-missile program. The ban, according to a statement posted on the website of the Chinese Commerce Ministry, takes effect on today and will last until the end of the year. While China will hardly suffer material adverse impacts, Chinese trade – and aid – have long been a vital economic crutch for North Korea, and the decision strips North Korea of one of its most important sources of foreign currency. The ban comes six days after the North Korean test of a ballistic missile that the Security Council condemned as a violation of its resolutions that prohibited the country from developing and testing ballistic missile technology. In the test, – which took place during […]

China coal firms to discuss moves to stabilize output on Tuesday: media

21 Feb 2017   China, Coal

China’s top coal producers will meet on Tuesday to discuss plans for stabilizing output this year, the official Shanghai Securities News reported. The meeting organized by the China Coal Association will assess current operations and explore further measures to ensure stable output, the newspaper said in a report on its website on Monday. Talk in the market that the government will reinstall daily limits on coal mining output after the winter heating period pushed up thermal coal futures last week. Coke and coking coal futures rose on Monday after Beijing suspended imports of North Korean coal as part of its efforts to implement United Nations sanctions against the country. The output cuts, introduced in April 2016, ordered mines to limit the number of days they operate each year to 276 from 330 […]

China steel mills caught on the hop by North Korea coal ban

21 Feb 2017   China, Coal

China’s steel mills and traders were scrambling to find alternative supplies of coking coal for steel making on Monday after Beijing slapped a surprise ban on coal imports from its isolated northern neighbor. Chinese prices of steel, coking coal and coke all rallied, as traders and analysts said mills will likely be forced to buy more expensive domestic material or seek alternatives further afield from Russia or Australia, driving up costs. While North Korea accounts for only a small portion of China’s total coal imports, it is the main foreign supplier of high-quality thermal coal, called anthracite, which is used to make coke, a key ingredient in steelmaking. “This news really took us by […]

After OPEC cuts heavy oil, China teapot refiners pull U.S. supply to Asia

21 Feb 2017   China, USA

Crude oil storage tanks are seen from above at the Cushing oil hub, in Cushing, Oklahoma, March 24, 2016. Chinese independent, or teapot, refiners are bringing in rare cargoes of North American heavy crude in a new long-distance flow that traders say has only been made possible by OPEC’s output cuts and ample supplies in Canada and the United States. In April, at least 1 million barrels of the heavy crude Mars, pumped from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, are expected to land in China’s Shandong province and 1 million barrels of a second unidentified heavy grade will arrive in China, trade and shipping sources said last week. This follows the arrival in January of 600,000 barrels of U.S. Gulf Blend, a heavy crude made up of a blend of various U.S. and Canadian grades loaded onto ships on the U.S. Gulf Coast, according to the sources and shipping […]

China’s North Korea import ban the latest gyrating coal policy: Russell

20 Feb 2017   China, Coal, North Korea

Coal markets could be forgiven for feeling slightly confused about the recent signals coming out of top importer China, with both bullish and bearish developments in evidence. The most obvious bullish news relates mainly to coking coal used in steel-making, and like many announcements in China it’s political in nature. China said on Feb. 18 that it will suspend all imports of coal from its nuclear-armed neighbor North Korea until Dec. 31, a move that, if implemented, would bring a dramatic halt to cargoes from China’s fourth-biggest supplier of imported coal. The statement from the Ministry of Commerce was brief and didn’t go into reasons for the ban, although it came shortly after Pyongyang tested an intermediate-range ballistic […]

OPEC’s Oil Curbs Grant Russia’s Urals a Rare Ticket for S. Korea

17 Feb 2017   South Korea

The biggest oil producers in the Middle East are helping crude from Western Siberia boldly go where it’s rarely gone before. Top South Korean refiner SK Innovation Co. is set to receive about 1 million barrels of Urals crude in its first purchase of the Russian blend oil in a decade. The shipment was made viable because of rising costs for rival supply from the Middle East, as nations such as Saudi Arabia curb output to comply with a deal between global producers. The cargo is also another example that helps illustrate how the reductions by top OPEC members are rerouting the flow of oil across the globe. In recent weeks, Asia has become a destination for grades that typically don’t show up in the region — from U.S. Mars Blend and Southern Green Canyon to West Canadian Select, Hibernia and White Rose. The premium of Oman crude, often […]

Saudis Lose South Korean Market Share To Iran

South Korea doubled its imports of Iranian crude in January this year from the same time last year, when Iran returned on the international oil market and started exporting growing amounts of oil in a bid to regain market share lost to the Western sanctions. According to preliminary South Korean customs data reported by Reuters , the Asian country, which is also the world’s fifth-largest crude importer, last month imported 1.79 million tons of crude from Iran, which is equal to 424,143 bpd, compared to 859,223 tons in January 2016, when sanctions on Iran were lifted. This development takes market share away from Iran’s key rival, Saudi Arabia. South Korea’s imports of crude oil from Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia dropped by 17.3 percent in January compared to December 2016, to 785,084 bpd, as the Saudis are complying with the OPEC supply-deal cut. South Korea’s total crude oil imports […]

China’s oil demand growing, but at a slower pace

14 Feb 2017   China

A metric used to gauge oil demand in China, the world’s second-largest economy, show steady gains but at a slower pace than before, S&P Global Platts said. Platts measured China’s apparent oil demand, which measures the amount moving through domestic refineries against net imports, at 2.3 percent higher in December when compared with last year. When using official government data, apparent oil demand last year declined 0.8 percent as the economy moved from a quantitative growth phase to a qualitative one. The assessment from Platts, however, said it found an increase because of activity at independent Chinese refineries. “That said, the pace of growth fell in 2016 from 6.6 percent in 2015, when oil demand had been boosted by […]

India’s Air Pollution Rivals China’s as World’s Deadliest

14 Feb 2017   India

India’s rapidly worsening air pollution is causing about 1.1 million people to die prematurely each year and is now surpassing China’s as the deadliest in the world, a new study of global air pollution shows. The number of premature deaths in China caused by dangerous air particles, known as PM2.5, has stabilized globally in recent years but has risen sharply in India, according to the report, issued jointly on Tuesday by the Health Effects Institute, a Boston research institute focused on the health impacts of air pollution, and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, a population health research center in Seattle. India has registered an alarming increase of nearly 50 percent in premature deaths from particulate matter between 1990 and 2015, the report says. “You can almost think of this as the perfect storm for India,” said Michael Brauer, a professor of environment and health […]

China Set To Resume Work On Nuclear Power Plants

14 Feb 2017   China, Nuclear

In order to cater to growing power demand, China is likely to begin construction on inland nuclear reactors in the next four years, resuming plans for nuclear power plants that were halted after the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, a senior energy official told Chinese media on Monday. China has already decided which locations would host its inland nuclear power plants, Wang Yiren, vice director of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, and vice-chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority, has told China National Radio in an interview. As of 2015, China’s 2016-2020 Five-Year Plan had the government investing US$78 billion to build seven new reactors a year from 2016 for the next five years. According to the plan, the country will reach 88 gigawatts of nuclear power by the end of 2020. The resumption of the projects for China’s inland nuclear power stations […]

Beijing issues yellow alert for smog

14 Feb 2017   China

Beijing issued a yellow alert for heavy air pollution Tuesday as a new round of smog hit the city, authorities said. The alert indicates an air quality index of over 200, or over 150 micrograms of PM 2.5 per cubic meter of air for two consecutive days, was issued at 10 a.m., according to a statement by the city’s air pollution emergency response office. Air quality will improve around noon Thursday, according to the statement. Outdoor construction will be limited, while more road cleaning will be conducted. Beijing has a four-tier color alert system for pollution, with red the highest, followed by orange, yellow and blue. Smog is also predicted in large parts of northern China on Tuesday and Wednesday.