Asia

North Sea Oil Floods to Asia Like Never Before on OPEC Cuts

26 Apr 2017   Asia, Norway

Grade’s premium to Dubai oil has lowest close in seven years Smaller gap makes Brent more attractive to Asian refineries North Sea oil is flooding into Asia like never before thanks to the most competitive crude prices in seven years. OPEC’s own output cuts are partly to blame. Brent, a global benchmark, closed at a premium of just 57 cents a barrel to Dubai crude on Monday, the greatest incentive to move North Sea oil east since June 2010, data from PVM Oil Associates in London show. It was at about $2.50 at the end of November, when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said it would cut output. North Sea tankers sailing to Asia soared to a record this month, hauling at least 540,000 barrels a day. Supply of heavy grades, dominating much of the output of Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries, has diminished since OPEC and allied […]

Chevron to sell Bangladesh gas fields to Chinese co

25 Apr 2017   Bangladesh

U.S. oil and gas company Chevron Corp said on Monday it has agreed to sell its three gas producing fields in Bangladesh to Chinese firm Himalaya Energy, as part of a plan to raise billions of dollars by shedding non-core properties this year. “The agreement is for the sale of Chevron’s Bangladesh companies, which hold our interests in Bangladesh,” a company spokesman told Reuters, declining to share the deal value or any timeline. The spokesman said Himalaya Energy is owned by a consortium of China ZhenHua Oil and CNIC Corp Ltd. ZhenHua is a state-owned oil company while CNIC is an investment corporation established in Hong Kong. Reuters reported in February that ZhenHua Oil had signed […]

Chevron leaving Asian geothermal assets behind

25 Apr 2017   Phillipines

U.S. supermajor Chevron Corp. said Monday it was departing from the Asian geothermal sector with the regional sale or planned sales of its subsidiaries. For an undisclosed sum, the company said it sold off its geothermal business in Bangladesh to a Chinese consortium. The conclusion of the sale of its geothermal business unit in the Philippines is expected later this year. The U.S. company said the transaction was in line with plans to dispose of non-strategic assets. Figures from the sale in Indonesia will show up in Chevron’s first-quarter results. Chevron will be among the first supermajors to report first-quarter results later this year. Fourth-quarter results revealed the company posted its first annual loss in decades as […]

Is Australia The Next Big Thing In Shale?

25 Apr 2017   Australia

As natural gas prices have seen a bit of a correction, it’s easy to forget that natural gas is actually a pretty good play right now — at least in certain parts of the world. As the chart below shows, North American natgas prices have been uninspiring recently. With rates at the Henry Hub slipping back to near $3/mcf — trading at $3.16 as I write. (Click to enlarge) North American natural gas prices have been subdued over the past year (source: Energy Information Administration) That gives little to get excited about for traders. A far cry from the end of 2014, when a surge to over $5/mcf suddenly (and briefly) brought the natgas market back to life. But natural gas markets are very different elsewhere in the world — as news this week from Australia and Argentina shows. Unlike oil, natgas prices show big regional variations. A consequence […]

Gas Prices In North Korea Shoot Up 83% As China Mulls Oil Embargo

25 Apr 2017   North Korea

Gasoline prices in North Korea’s capital Pyongyang jumped by as much as 83 percent within three days on the back of reports that China is mulling over an oil embargo for its unruly neighbor. North Korea imports almost all the oil it uses from China, so an embargo will effectively paralyze the country, even if Pyongyang turns to Russia for alternative supplies or resorts to smuggling—neither of which would provide North Korea with adequate supplies of the fuel, one analyst from the Asia Research Center at the Yanbian University said. Beijing has in recent months taken a tougher stance against Pyongyang, regional analysts note , but not because the U.S. is pushing it to do it, rather because an increasingly belligerent North Korea is a direct and potentially serious threat to China’s own national security. The change in stance is in fact a change in priorities, according to the […]

China to boost non-fossil fuel use to 20 percent by 2030: state planner

25 Apr 2017   China

China aims for non-fossil fuels to account for about 20 percent of total energy consumption by 2030, increasing to more than half of demand by 2050, its state planner said on Tuesday, as Beijing continues its years-long shift away from coal power. In a policy document, the National Development and Reform Commission said carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will peak by 2030 and total energy demand will be capped at 6 billion tons of standard coal equivalent by 2030. (Reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

Converting Coal Would Help China’s Smog At Climate’s Expense

25 Apr 2017   China, Climate

China’s conversion of coal into natural gas could prevent tens of thousands of premature deaths each year. But there’s a catch: As the country shifts its use of vast coal reserves to send less smog-inducing chemicals into the air, the move threatens to undermine efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, researchers said Tuesday. The environmental trade-off points to the difficult choices confronting leaders of the world’s second largest economy as they struggle to balance public health and financial growth with international climate change commitments. Between 20,000 and 41,000 premature deaths annually could be prevented by converting low-quality coal in the country’s western provinces into synthetic natural gas for residential use, according to the findings of researchers from the United States and China published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If the gas were used for industrial purposes, fewer deaths would be averted […]

Russia elbows Saudi Arabia aside as China’s top crude oil supplier in March

25 Apr 2017   China, Russia

Workers look at a drilling rig at a well pad of the Rosneft-owned Prirazlomnoye oil field outside the West Siberian city of Nefteyugansk, Russia, August 4, 2016. Russia reclaimed its position as China’s biggest crude oil supplier in March, customs data showed on Tuesday, displacing Saudi Arabia after two months in second place as Moscow fights to hang on to its slice of the Chinese market. Russian shipments grew nearly 1 percent to 1.104 million barrels per day (bpd) from the same month a year earlier, as China’s private refineries maintained high processing rates and restocked inventories after receiving fresh 2017 import quotas. China’s crude imports rose to a record in March, overtaking the United States and shattering expectations. Saudi shipments were 1.072 million barrels in March, up nearly 15 percent from a year ago, the General Administration of Customs said. For the first three months, Saudi arrivals stood […]

Exclusive: China gathers state-led consortium for Aramco IPO – sources

20 Apr 2017   China, Saudi Arabia

China is creating a consortium, including state-owned oil giants and banks and its sovereign wealth fund, that will act as a cornerstone investor in the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, people with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters. Saudi Aramco, a key exporter to China along with Russia’s Rosneft ( ROSN.MM ), is due to list next year, with a potential $100 billion equity sale that is expected to be the world’s largest to date. The planned Chinese investment makes it more likely that the national energy giant would seek a listing in Asia, with Hong Kong currently the frontrunner among bourses in the region, the same people said. Reuters reported earlier this month that Saudi Aramco’s board would meet in Shanghai in May, its first meeting in […]

China talks clean energy with Canada

20 Apr 2017   Canada, China

Chinese officials discussed clean energy during talks with the Canadian prime minister as both economies look to diversify their energy sectors. File photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI April 19 (UPI) — Clean energy and technologies related to the fight against climate change are some of the ways to foster trade with Canada, the Chinese premier said. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke by phone late Tuesday with his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang. A readout of the meeting from the official Xinhua News Agency stated that both sides discussed bilateral opportunities in energy. The two leaders expressed willingness to expand bilateral trade and investments, the official newspaper reported. “The two countries should also strengthen cooperation on tackling climate change and cooperate in new areas such as clean energy to create new growth points in the relationship,” Li said. Many of the export metrics trended lower for Canada in 2015 and unemployment […]

After years of soaring growth, Asia’s fuel demand falters

18 Apr 2017   Asia, Prices

After years of often explosive growth, fuel consumption in Asia’s biggest economies is stuttering, undermining efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to end a global supply glut and lift prices. Gobbling up over a third of global supplies, Asia is the world’s biggest and fastest growing region for oil consumption, and its seemingly insatiable fuel thirst has long been a core support for prices. Now, some say that picture of buoyant growth in demand is crumbling. “The signs of growing demand aren’t quite what they seem. Chinese fuel growth is at a three year low, Japanese fuel demand is down,” said Matt […]

Population Threat to India’s economy

18 Apr 2017   India

As of Thursday, April 13, 2017, India’s population, based on the latest United Nations estimates, was 1,339,040,095, only some 47 million more than China’s total population on that day. The UN estimate (Worldometers) records India’s population as 17.86 per cent of the total world population as against China’s 18.47 per cent. In 2016, India’s population grew by 1.20 per cent, compared to China’s 0.54 per cent despite the latter’s lately liberalised two-child-per-family population policy. Demographers have forecast that India may overtake China’s population as early as in 2022, that is five years from now. Currently, China ranks No.1 in the list of countries (and dependencies) by population. India is No. 2. At the time of India’s Independence in 1947, the country’s population was only around 330 million. It went up to 520 million in 1968, said a report in an External Affairs Ministry publication, that year. Indira Gandhi was India’s Prime Minister, then. The population growth rate was always politically sensitive, and Mrs Gandhi avoided its official reference, until her younger son, Sanjay Gandhi, made it a part of his five-point programme during the national emergency period and started a vigorous birth-control campaign through ‘forced’ sterilisation that was said to be partly responsible for the Congress party’s crushing defeat in the post-emergency 1977 Lok Sabha election. Ever since, every government went for ‘self-control for birth control’ policy until BJP’s newly-elected Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal announced a few weeks ago a new rigorous-looking population control policy — first time by any state in this country — for Assam which has been witnessing a big population explosion due to high birth rate as well as constant illegal immigration from bordering Bangladesh.

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Chinese economy growing while oil production shrinks

18 Apr 2017   China

China reports better-than-expected economic growth, but lower domestic crude oil production. File photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI. April 17 (UPI) — While posting better-than-expected growth for the first quarter, the Chinese statistics bureau said Monday that crude oil production was down from last year. China reported crude oil production down 6.8 percent compared with the first quarter of 2016. The National Bureau of Statistics reported Monday that national output was lower because industry costs were elevated, oil imports increased and refineries curbed activity. According to the official Xinhua News Agency, China produced 350 million barrels of oil during the first quarter. The official news agency stated that “accelerating exploration to ensure domestic oil supply, speeding up construction of pipeline networks and developing clean alternatives” are among the national priorities for the Chinese energy sector. According to pricing agency S&P Global Platts, China’s oil demand is up 5.3 percent year-over-year because […]

China first-quarter GDP grows 6.9 percent year-on-year, better than expectations

18 Apr 2017   China

Workers work at a construction site in front of Shanghai’s financial district of Pudong in Shanghai, China March 27, 2017. China’s economy grew 6.9 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, slightly faster than expected, supported by a government infrastructure spending spree and a frenzied housing market that is showing signs of overheating. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected the economy to expand 6.8 percent in the first quarter, the same pace as in the fourth quarter of 2016. The first-quarter growth pace was the fastest since the third quarter of 2015. The government is aiming for growth of around 6.5 percent in 2017, slightly lower than last year’s target of 6.5-7 percent and the actual 6.7 percent, which was the weakest pace in 26 years. While China’s data has been largely upbeat so far this year, many analysts widely expect the world’s second-largest economy to lose […]

Behind China’s Pickup in Growth: the Strong Hand of the State

18 Apr 2017   China

China on Monday posted its strongest quarterly growth in a year and a half, underlining how the fate of the world’s second-largest economy has tilted further into government hands. The reported growth pace of 6.9% in the first quarter was the result of better-than-expected investment, industrial production and building starts for March—all evidence that last year’s easy-money policies and infrastructure spending have…

China data: March crude throughput rises 6% on year to 11.23 mil b/d

18 Apr 2017   China

China’s crude refinery throughput in March rose 5.9% year on year to 47.5 million mt, or an average of 11.23 million b/d, preliminary data released Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics showed. This was the highest year-on-year growth in refinery runs since September 2015. The last highest year-on-year growth in refinery runs was 6.5% in August 2015. On a daily basis, however, the refinery throughput was slightly down from the average of 11.28 million b/d over January-February. The average for the first two months of the year was combined as NBS does not provide separate data for January and February. The drop in refinery runs was somehow in line with the trend showed by a survey done by S&P Global Platts in March — some of the largest state-owned refiners in China saw average utilization rate move down to 79% of nameplate capacity, compared with 85% in February […]

China’s robust commodity imports as good as it gets, for now: Russell

18 Apr 2017   China

It’s probably best to look at China’s extremely strong commodity imports in March as a history lesson, rather than a pointer to future trends. Record high imports of crude oil, the second-most for iron ore and a 34 percent surge in the first quarter for coal from the same period in 2016 all speak of robust demand in the world’s importer of commodities. However, the chances are that this is as good as it gets, at least for a while. This isn’t to suggest that commodity imports are due for a sharp pullback in coming months, rather the likelihood is that they will moderate back toward more sustainable growth rates. Crude oil imports surged 22.6 percent from February to 38.95 million tonnes, equivalent to about 9.17 million barrels per day (bpd). This was […]

China March steel output climbs to highest on record

17 Apr 2017   China

China’s steel output rose 1.8 percent in March to a monthly record of 72 million tonnes, stoking worries of a glut that continues to grow even as Beijing tries to rein in excess capacity in the bloated sector and demand remains flat. March’s monthly total easily beat the previous record of 70.65 million tons hit in March 2016, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday. In the first quarter, production totaled 201.1 million tons, up 4.6 percent from the same period a year earlier, the data also showed. The growing production as Chinese mills bid to profit from prices that soared in 2016 and into this year are undermining the government’s years-long push to cut capacity to make the steel industry more efficient and […]

Chinese economy grows 6.9% in first quarter

17 Apr 2017   China

China’s economy has started 2017 with its strongest quarterly performance in 18 months, on the back of a surge in industrial activity, property investment and credit growth. The country’s gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 6.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, slightly higher than analysts’ consensus expectations. Growth was strongest towards the end of the three-month period, suggesting that momentum was building into the second quarter of 2017. The strength of China’s industrial sector was augmented by growth in Chinese credit — including shadow lending outside the formal banking sector — and a bullish turn in commodities that began last year. The seeming stability of China’s official growth figures can mask big swings in the world’s largest economy. Real GDP growth for the first three months of 2017 was the strongest since the third quarter of 2015, while nominal growth was the highest since March 2012. This quarter’s positive figures come in a year of expected consolidation of power by President Xi Jinping, whose second term as head of the ruling Communist party will begin later this year following the country’s 19th national congress.

China data: March raw coal output posts first rise since Feb 2015

17 Apr 2017   China

China’s raw coal production in March increased 1.9% year on year to 300 million mt, the first rise since February 2015, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday. First-quarter raw coal production dropped 0.3% year on year to 810 million mt. Production growth in 25 provinces, such as Inner Mongolia, Guizhou, Yunnan, Shanxi and Ningxia, was more than 5% year on year while 20 provinces posted falls in production, especially Jiangxi, Hubei and Chonqin, with output falling more than 30% year on year. The NBS said production at small- to medium-sized miners in Jiangxi, Hubei and Chonqin was hit by the central government’s move to eliminate certain capacities. Chinese power generation in March increased 7.2% on the year to 516.89 TWh. Total Q1 generation was up 6.7% on year at 1,458.72 TWh. Thermal power generation in March rose 7.7% year on year, while Q1 thermal power generation was up […]

China Ready To Cut Oil Supplies To North Korea

14 Apr 2017   China, North Korea

Beijing’s patience with North Korea is wearing thin as Pyongyang continues to conduct nuclear missile tests. According to a state Chinese media outlet, Huanqui, China is considering a suspension of its crude oil exports to its neighbor should North Korea conduct a sixth nuclear test. North Korea depends on China for 90 percent of its crude oil supply, and stopping these will wreak havoc on the dictatorship, which China has been trying to avoid, since a regime collapse is likely to result in a massive influx of refugees. It has also opposed President Trump’s urging to penalize North Korea for the nuclear tests so far, but now it seems the mood is changing – having another nuclear neighbor is hardly China’s idea of a stable regional environment. Asia’s biggest economy also has other ways to make Kim Jong Un give up nuclear tests, such as stopping or reducing the […]

For North Korea, Cutting Off Oil Supplies Would Be Devastating

14 Apr 2017   North Korea

Isolated North Korea doesn’t consume much oil, but curbing or cutting off its supplies in retaliation for further nuclear or long-range missile tests would be painful and potentially destabilising to the regime of Kim Jong Un. U.S. officials have told Reuters that an oil embargo is among tougher sanctions Washington could pursue to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs Separately, the Global Times, an influential Chinese tabloid whose stance does not necessarily reflect official policy, said in an editorial on Wednesday that “Chinese society” would approve of “severe restrictive measures that have never been seen before, such as restricting oil imports to the North,” if Pyongyang engages in further provocative activity. China, which supplies […]

China’s Electric Vehicle Market Is Unbeatable

14 Apr 2017   China, Electric Cars

Ford Motor Co. just announced an ambitious electrification strategy for China. The global Mondeo sedan will see the Mondeo Energy plug-in hybrid launched there early next year, followed by an all-electric small SUV a few years later that will go about 280 miles on one charge. The Detroit automaker sees 70 percent of all Ford nameplates coming with an electrified option to China by 2025; that will include all of its products manufactured jointly through Ford’s state-mandated joint venture partner, Changan Ford JV. Ford will be adding manufacturing facilities to meet the targets. Ford is taking a more tepid approach to the U.S. market with a small number of electric models for sale. Ford CEO Mark Fields has also asked President Donald Trump to take a more conservative approach to federal fuel economy and emissions guidelines than enacted by the Obama administration shortly before leaving office. Tesla reported making […]

After years of soaring growth, Asia’s fuel demand falters

13 Apr 2017   Asia

After years of often explosive growth, fuel consumption in Asia’s biggest economies is stuttering, undermining efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to end a global supply glut and lift prices. Gobbling up over a third of global supplies, Asia is the world’s biggest and fastest growing region for oil consumption, and its seemingly insatiable fuel thirst has long been a core support for prices. Now, some say that picture of buoyant growth in demand is crumbling. “The signs of growing demand aren’t quite what they seem. Chinese fuel growth is at a three year low, Japanese fuel demand is down,” said Matt Stanley, […]

China Takes Crude Crown as Output Lags Behind Rising Demand

13 Apr 2017   China
China Takes Crude Crown as Output Lags Behind Rising Demand

China’s record oil imports in March helped it top the U.S. as the world’s biggest buyer during the first quarter as stockpiling and aggressive buying by refiners coincided with slumping domestic production. on barrels a day, up 11 percent from February, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data Thursday from the General Administration of Customs. Shipments during the first quarter rose 15 percent to almost 105 million tons, or about 8.5 million barrels a day. The U.S. imported almost 8.15 million during the first three months, Bloomberg calculations using weekly data show.

While the jump in March was seen as temporary, growing use of transportation fuels, new refineries and an expansion of emergency reserves have put China on a steady rise toward challenging the U.S. as the world’s biggest importer. Buying last month was likely boosted by stockpiling and purchases from the country’s independent oil refiners, which raised their processing of imported crude to a record last month, according to analysts from ICIS China, Citigroup Inc. and Energy Aspects Ltd.  “We could see a sharp drop in April following this surge,” Li Li, a research director with ICIS China, said by phone.

March shipments will result in a “fairly high” stockpile buildup and likely flowed into tanks leased for the country’s strategic petroleum reserves as the start of the newest government-owned storage is delayed, Citigroup analysts including Tracy Liao said in a note Thursday.  “Teapot buying was strong in March, although the strength does surprise us,” said Virendra Chauhan, an analyst at London-based Energy Aspects, using the industry term for independent refiners. “We don’t think 9 million barrels a day is a level that is likely to be maintained and helps explains why buying has eased up and regional markets have softened.”

China Opens Delayed Myanmar Oil Pipeline to Get Mideast Crude Faster

12 Apr 2017   China, Myanmar

Pipeline operations start as crude unloaded at Made Island Tanker United Dynamic arrived from Turkey on April 9: data A crude pipeline to southwestern China through its neighbor Myanmar began operations after years of delays, allowing the world’s second-biggest oil user to receive supplies faster from the Middle East and Africa. A Suezmax-sized tanker, which can hold 140,000 metric tons (about 1 million barrels) of crude, began offloading oil for the pipeline on Monday at Myanmar’s Made Island, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency. Operations on the line, which was completed in 2014 and originally scheduled to start the same year, are beginning after the government of Myanmar agreed to lower transit fees, Wang Dongjin, president of PetroChina Co., said last month. The link, which allows China to import crude from the Middle East and Africa without having to ship through the Straits of Malacca and into the […]

Toshiba Warns It May Be Unable to Stay in Business

12 Apr 2017   Japan, Nuclear

Toshiba Corp. on Tuesday expressed doubt for the first time that it can survive in light of huge losses at its U.S. nuclear subsidiary, which filed for bankruptcy last month. The company issued the warning alongside its latest earnings report, which came two months late and without the approval of its auditor. Toshiba, which traces…

This Government Is Drilling A NatGas Project Unlike We’ve Ever Seen

12 Apr 2017   Japan

Quick update to my recent story on Libya’s largest oil field shutting down — with reports yesterday suggesting that the Sharara field has once again gone offline following possible rebel activity along connecting pipelines. That’s a critical development for global crude markets. And upcoming events in another part of the world may be equally important for the natural gas space. Commercial testing of a completely new natgas source, in the key market of Japan. The target here is methane hydrates — massive accumulations of natural gas that occur around the world on the seafloor. Which the Japanese government has been investigating for nearly 15 years as a potential new source of energy supply. Up until now, production of natgas from methane hydrate has been completely theoretical. But it’s about to get real — with Japanese officials saying that a drill ship is poised to begin commercial testing of a […]

Toshiba Can’t Shake Its Westinghouse Woes

12 Apr 2017   Japan

In a widely-expected move, Toshiba’s troubled nuclear construction business Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the end of last month. Now the company is up for sale, after it cost Toshiba some $6.3 billion in asset write-downs, triggering a net overall loss estimated at $9.1 billion for 2016. The Japanese conglomerate is undoubtedly eager to curb these losses, but it is facing a serious problem: there is not an abundance of bidders. What some energy industry observes have called a nuclear renaissance for the U.S. has failed to materialize in full. The reasons for this are numerous and diverse, ranging from a slowdown in power demand instead of an expected increase, to cheap natural gas, rendering nuclear’s competitiveness virtually non-existent. Westinghouse is actually a great case in point: its troubles may not have started with the setbacks in ran into with its two new projects in the […]

India Oil Demand Shrinks 3rd Month Amid Demonetization Drag

11 Apr 2017   India

Diesel use rises 0.3 percent, gasoline demand up 2.9 percent Consumption in January-March about 3% lower from year earlier India’s oil consumption fell for a third straight month, with the use of bitumen and naphtha declining and diesel demand growth flat, amid the continuing effects of demonetization. Total fuel consumption fell 0.7 percent to 17.36 million tons in March, according to the Oil Ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell. That puts consumption during January-March about 3 percent lower than the same period last year as the economy slows under the impact of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision in November to remove high-denomination currency notes from circulation. “I think the resilience of demand in the face of an incredibly high 2016 base is impressive, especially given the turbulence caused by demonetization,” Virendra Chauhan, an oil analyst at Energy Aspects, said. “Gasoline, diesel and LPG, the key drivers of Indian oil […]

China’s 2017 thermal imports to surge by 30 million mt over 2016: Noble

11 Apr 2017   China

China’s thermal total coal import in 2017 is expected to surge by about 30 million mt over that in 2016, on the back increasing power generation, according to Noble Group. “The fundamentals in the coal market changed last year,” Rodrigo Echeverri, head of Noble Group’s energy coal analysis, said at the Coaltrans Conference in Shanghai on Monday. He said that there has been a demand shock in the thermal coal market without a supply response, which has helped support the prices. China’s thermal coal import during the first quarter of 2017 was about 12 million mt more than Q1 2016’s imports, Echeverri said. He pointed out that China’s thermal power generation in Q1 2017 increased 7% over Q1 2016’s, while output of coal increased by only about 4%. “Import of coal is very important for power producers and cement manufacturers in South China and they don’t have a ceiling […]

The Oil Giant Hidden in the World’s Biggest Mining Outfit

11 Apr 2017   Australia, Shale Oil

Mining group runs global oil business from Texas to Australia Oil and gas account for about 20% of BHP’s underlying profits The usual suspects have planted their flags along the dusty byways of the Permian Basin, declaring where they’ve staked claims. There are names like Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Pioneer Natural Resources Co. And, on signs fronting a barbed-wire fence, BHP Billiton Ltd. For the world’s largest mining company, the heart of the U.S. shale boom in West Texas might seem to be strange territory, a very long way from the iron-ore deposits of Australia or the copper mines of Chile’s Atacama desert. But BHP actually has been in the oil business for years, with operations stretching from Texas to the North Sea. Its U.S. assets alone are so valuable that activist investor Paul Singer urged the company to spin them off — a suggestion BHP […]

New Zealand defends energy sector in wake of Shell exit

8 Apr 2017   New Zealand

Shell’s planned exit from a natural gas field in New Zealand doesn’t indicate negativity in the country’s natural reserves, a national petroleum manager said. Royal Dutch Shell announced Thursday it was transferring its assets in the Kapuni gas field to Todd Energy, its joint venture partner. The Dutch supermajor said the sale would “simplify” its operational structure in preparation for more potential changes to its remaining assets in the region. National Petroleum Manager Josh Adams told UPI the transaction still needs to move through the regulatory process, though Shell signaled its divestment plans several months ago. “Acquisitions, divestments and company entries and exits are part of the exploration and development lifecycle,” he said. […]

Ford to Make Electric Cars in China Amid Green Drive

8 Apr 2017   China

Ford Motor Co. said Thursday that it would start building electric cars in China to tap into a state-sponsored boom in green-energy vehicles. In doing so, the Detroit-based company signaled that it had swallowed industry concerns about bringing proprietary electric-car technology to China, despite misgivings among foreign auto makers about intellectual-property protection in the world’s largest auto market. “It’s…

Rising Waters Threaten China’s Rising Cities

7 Apr 2017   China

The rains brought torrents, pouring into basements and malls, the water swiftly rising a foot and a half. The city of Dongguan, a manufacturing center here in the world’s most dynamic industrial region, was hit especially hard by the downpour in May 2014. More than 100 factories and shops were inundated. Water climbed knee-high in 20 minutes, wiping out inventory for dozens of businesses. Next door in Guangzhou, an ancient, mammoth port city of 13 million, helicopters and a fleet of 80 boats had to be sent to rescue trapped residents. Tens of thousands lost their homes, and 53 square miles of nearby farmland were ruined. The cost of repairs topped $100 million. Chen Rongbo, who lived in the city, saw the flood coming. He tried to scramble to safety on the second floor of his house, carrying his 6-year-old granddaughter. He slipped. The flood swept […]

Shell Sells Its Stake in New Zealand Gas Field

6 Apr 2017   New Zealand

Royal Dutch Shell RDS.B -0.48% PLC has taken a step toward an exit from its New Zealand assets with a deal to sell its 50% stake in a natural-gas field to its local venture partner, Todd Energy.  The agreement will also see Shell take full control of a joint-venture company that operates two further gas ventures in New Zealand, simplifying Shell’s operating structure as it looks to offload the assets. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.  The sale of its stake in the Kapuni field in New Zealand’s Taranaki region to Todd Energy follows a review of operations in the country that Shell announced in December 2015 as part of efforts to refocus its natural-gas and deep-water oil businesses following a slump in oil prices.

New Zealand floods force evacuations after Tropical Storm Debbie

6 Apr 2017   New Zealand

Two rivers burst their banks as the tail end of ex-Cyclone Debbie saw water levels surge Media captionTwo rivers burst their banks as the tail end of ex-Cyclone Debbie saw water levels surge Police are searching for one man believed missing in floodwaters near the swollen Waikato river. The military have been involved in evacuating people Residents have been warned not to return to their homes until the waters have subsided A month’s worth of rain fell in less than a day, on some areas of the North Island Rainfall has eased across most of New Zealand’s North Island. But former Cyclone Debbie is still having an impact in Australia, where severe flooding hit the town of Rockhampton, .

China Just Became The No.1 Buyer Of U.S. Crude

6 Apr 2017   China

While OPEC is implementing production cuts, U.S. crude oil exports are steadily growing and winning customers even in China. In February, China was the biggest buyer of U.S. light crude oil, overtaking Canada as the top destination of U.S. crude exports. According to data by the U.S. Census Bureau crunched by Bloomberg, U.S. crude sales in China jumped almost fourfold in February compared to January, to 8.08 million barrels, versus the 6.84 million barrels of oil that Canada imported from the U.S., which was a 20-percent monthly drop. U.S. crude oil exports reached a record high of 31.2 million barrels in February, the data showed. U.S. crude oil exports to China started surging in November last year, according to data by the EIA available through January this year. In January, China bought 2.003 million barrels of U.S. crude. By comparison, U.S. oil exports to Canada stood at 8.538 million […]

China’s oil demand resilient in early 2017 as industrial sector shines

6 Apr 2017   China

China’s apparent oil demand rose 5.3% year on year in the first two months of 2017 to 11.65 million b/d on the back of robust economic growth, holiday transportation demand and efforts to build stocks ahead of the refinery maintenance season that started in March. Oil products across the barrel witnessed year-on-year demand growth over January-February, with LPG witnessing strongest growth of 24.8%, while gasoil demand rose 0.4%, rebounding from year-on-year declines since December 2015. China’s industrial production grew 6.3% on year over January-February, beating expectations of 6.2% and accelerating from 6% in December. Fixed asset investment grew 8.9% in the two-month period, accelerating from 8.1% in December, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. These factors helped to lift gasoil consumption in the transportation and construction sectors. The week-long Chinese New Year holidays also pushed up demand for transportation fuels gasoline and jet fuel. A significant […]

China Surpasses Canada as Top Buyer of U.S. Crude

5 Apr 2017   China

China became the biggest buyer of U.S. crude oil in February, surpassing Canada, at a time when OPEC is cutting back output. China imported 8.08 million barrels of U.S. light crude, nearly quadrupling its January purchases, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau Tuesday. That helped boost U.S. exports to a record 31.2 million barrels during the month. Canada, the U.S.’s largest trade partner, imported 6.84 million, down 20 percent from a month earlier. The surge in U.S. shipments to Asia, a market long dominated by Saudi Arabia and other Middle East producers, comes as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries trims output in an effort to end a glut that battered the economies of global energy exporters. Saudi Arabia reduced its pricing for some of its April crude sales to Asia as supplies from the U.S. became more competitive. “The U.S. is a larger exporter of […]

Beijing issues air pollution orange alert

4 Apr 2017   China, Climate

Beijing upgraded its alert for air pollution to orange Monday afternoon, the second highest warning. The smog, affecting Beijing and adjacent Tianjin and Hebei, is forecast to last until Friday. Beijing had issued the yellow alert early Monday morning, but the density of hazardous fine particle matter PM2.5 continued to grow. “The wind is not strong enough and the air quality is likely to get worse,” said the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau. The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center forecasts that PM2.5 readings will be between 200 and 220 micrograms per cubic meter Tuesday. Under the orange alert, outdoor paint and construction is suspended; trucks carrying garbage, sand and soil are taken off roads; and outdoor activities in kindergartens, middle schools and primary schools are stopped. Beijing has a four-tier color alert system for pollution, with red being the highest, followed by orange, yellow […]

China steps up pollution check as smog blankets areas near Beijing

3 Apr 2017   China

China’s environmental inspectors intensified pollution checks around Beijing as a new round of smog hit the region. The new round of air pollution will continue in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region between April 3 and 7, with the cities of Tianjin, Tangshan, Langfang, Puyang and Anyang issuing orange alerts, the second highest in the country’s four-tier warning system. To ensure policies on fighting air pollution, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on its website that seven teams have been sent to Beijing, Tianjin as well as the cities of Shijiazhuang, Tangshan, Baoding, Xingtai and Anyang in neighboring Hebei and Henan provinces. Inspectors found several companies in Tianjin and Baoding had failed to meet requirements for cutting pollutants, while some vehicles in Beijing failing to meet emission requirements. The ministry urged local authorities to address the problem. China has been under growing pressure to address air pollution […]

China wades into oil basins off the West African coast

1 Apr 2017   China, Senegal

Prospects for expanding the footprint in emerging oil basins off the Senegalese and Gambian coasts has increased through a Chinese partnership, FAR Ltd. said. FAR Ltd., an Australian company with a heavy focus on oil basins off the coast of Africa, said it entered into a partnership with the British subsidiary of China National Offshore Oil Corp. that defines areas of mutual interest off the coast of Gambia and Senegal. The deal gives both companies the ability to partner up on evaluating, bidding, negotiating and managing any joint ventures or buy-in opportunities for oil and gas in the broader Mauritania-Senegal-Guinea-Bissau deepwater basin. FAR Managing Director Cath Norman said in a statement that her company has […]

Glencore Sells Oil Storage Assets to China’s HNA Group

1 Apr 2017   China

Glencore PLC, one of the world’s biggest oil traders, has agreed to sell a majority stake in its petroleum products storage and logistics business for $775 million in cash to Chinese conglomerate HNA Group. The move comes as China’s demand for oil storage ramps up amid rising consumption by its expanding urban population. China is the world’s second largest oil consumer, behind the U.S. HNA Group will purchase a 51% stake in…

China steps up Americas oil imports, Unipec backs ‘new frontier’

31 Mar 2017   China

China’s largest crude oil buyer Sinopec aims to ship more cargoes from Brazil, the United States and Canada, to help ensure stable crude supplies as the Middle East boost refining capacity and Africa suffers disruptions. Shipments from the Americas hit an all-time high in March, boosting the region’s share of the Chinese market by 1.1 percentage points in the first quarter to close to 14 percent, data from Thomson Reuters Oil Research & Forecasts showed. “We’re facing a big challenge on the supply side,” said Chen Bo, president at Unipec, which purchases crude for Asia’s largest refiner Sinopec ( 0386.HK )( 600028.SS ). Asia needed to step up crude imports from the “new frontier”, the greater U.S. Gulf Coast […]

China’s coal-fired generation strong despite renewables push: Citi

31 Mar 2017   China

China’s coal-fired power generation as a percentage of the total energy mix is on the rise for the second year, despite the push towards renewable capacity additions in the country, Citi analysts said Friday. The share of thermal power in the generation mix declined to 73% in 2015 from 83% in 2011. Thermal has since grown to 74% of the mix in 2016 and to 78% in January-February this year, the analysts said. “Hydropower generation was down 5% year on year in January-February 2017 and that contributed to thermal power growing faster than overall power demand,” they said. A 5% growth in China’s coal-fired power generation would mean an additional consumption of about 65 million mt of coal, with the size of the entire seaborne market at about 850 million mt, the analysts said. China’s January-February total coal imports have surged 48.5% year on year to 42.61 million mt, […]

China’s manufacturing activity expands in March

31 Mar 2017   China

Photo taken on Feb. 24, 2017 shows workers carrying a monocrystalline silicon stick at a factory in Ningjin County, north China’s Hebei Province. China’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in at 51.6 percent in February, 0.3 percentage points higher than that recorded in January, according to data released on March 1 by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). (Xinhua/Mu Yu) BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhua) — China’s manufacturing sector in March stayed above the boom or bust mark for the eighth month in a row, fresh evidence of a stabilizing economy, said the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The country’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in at 51.8 in March, higher than 51.6 recorded in February, according to NBS data released Friday. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 reflects contraction. This also marked the second consecutive month that the expansion rate of the […]

For Commodity Prices, China’s Output Is Becoming a Growing Factor

30 Mar 2017   China

Chinese demand has long been the driving force in many global commodity markets. Now, expectations of falling production of goods from aluminum to coal are moving prices and getting more attention from investors. For example, last year, the world’s No. 2 economy upended the global coal market by restricting the working days of the country’s producers to 276 from 330. The decision triggered a 25% jump in Chinese imports and a surge in…

China likely to keep oil product exports steady to lower in H1 2017: sources

30 Mar 2017   China

China is highly likely to restrict oil product exports in the first half of 2017 to flat or below H1 2016 levels amid growing focus on pollution control, curbing excess capacity and international trade flows, sources with knowledge of the matter said this week. The total export quota for the second quarter was likely to be calculated based on the actual outflow in H1 2016 minus the quota allocated in Q1 2017, a Beijing-based senior product trader with a state-owned oil giant said. China exported 16.817 million mt of oil products in H1 2016 and awarded 12.4 million mt of quotas in Q1 2017, implying that the Q2 2017 oil product export quotas will be somewhere between 4 million mt to 5 million mt, according to calculations by sources. This is only one third the volumes allocated in Q2 2016, which was at 14.59 million mt, and is a […]

Chevron makes LNG headway

30 Mar 2017   Australia, LNG

The third production facility at the Gorgon liquefied natural gas facility off the Australian coast is now in service, the regional subsidiary of Chevron said. “This is a key milestone for the Gorgon joint venture participants, our workforce, customers, government and all those associated with the project over its lifetime should be extremely proud,” Nigel Hearne, Chevron’s regional managing director, said in a statement . “We are committed to being a safe and reliable supplier and look forward to supplying cleaner-burning natural gas for decades to come.” Bringing the third production facility, or train, online means Chevron’s flagship LNG project in Australia is in full service. The first shipments of LNG left Gorgon in March 2016. The project will eventually produce 15.6 million tons of LNG […]