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Rhine water levels set to rise later this week, easing logistics

Water levels on the Rhine are likely to rise to above one meter in some places later this week, temporarily easing navigation and enabling oil product importers in Germany and Switzerland to restock, traders said Wednesday. Rhine levels have been low since July, hampering the normal circulation of barges laden with oil products on the river and forcing operators to load less volume than usual by as much as several thousand mt. "We’re expecting big improvements on the Rhine. There’s a lot of rainfall expected this week and over the weekend," one trader said. "We should see Rhine levels back up to around one meter in some parts, which means you can start loading around 1,200 mt on a barge again." Water levels at Kaub — a key transit hub along the middle Rhine — will reach one meter by 7:00 local time on Saturday, up from just 57 […]

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Record-low water levels on Rhine River are disrupting fuel shipments

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Thomson Reuters Low water levels on the Rhine River have resulted in transportation disruptions for shipments of petroleum products by barge, which in turn have resulted in record supply disruptions in markets upriver, such as Switzerland and southern Germany, and high stock levels downriver, in the Netherlands and northwestern Germany. The Rhine River, which runs northwest from the Swiss Alps through Switzerland, Germany, France, and the Netherlands, where it flows into the North Sea, is a major petroleum product transportation corridor. The navigable portions of the river connect the major refinery and petroleum trading centers of Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Antwerp in Belgium, collectively known as the ARA, to inland markets. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration Tanker barges carry petroleum products from the ARA upriver to inland bulk distribution terminals that provide petroleum products to nearby areas. Water levels […]

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Germany: Russia a key energy partner

German company BASF says Russia will retain a strong role in the European energy market. File Photo by UPI/Shutterstock/Kodda ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Oct. 13 (UPI) — Russia will remain a key oil and natural gas supplier through its strong connections to the European market, the chairman of Germany’s BASF said. "Our cooperation makes outstanding contribution towards securing energy supplies to Europe," BASF Chairman Kurt Bock said in a statement. BASF subsidiary Wintershall is a partner to Russian energy company Gazprom in the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline running through the Baltic Sea to the German coast and sending Russian natural gas into the European market. Gazprom in early September signed a shareholder agreement on the development of the second phase of the twin Nord Stream pipeline system in the Baltic Sea with German energy companies BASF and E.ON, French company ENGIE, Austria’s OMV and Royal Dutch Shell. Under the […]

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German industrial output posts steepest drop in a year

German industrial output fell in August at its fastest pace in a year, data from the Economy Ministry showed on Wednesday, suggesting Europe’s largest economy may have lost momentum in the third quarter. Factories produced 1.2 percent fewer goods than in the previous month, the ministry said, blaming some of the weakness on the large number of summer holiday days in the month. It was the strongest fall since August 2014 and missed the Reuters consensus forecast for a rise of 0.2 percent. The output drop followed a sharp decline in August industrial orders data on Tuesday. On a positive note, the July figure was revised up to a 1.2 percent increase from a previously reported rise of 0.7 percent. "German industry is still struggling to gain momentum. Yesterday’s drop in new orders already signaled a note of caution," said ING economist Carsten Brzeski. "Today’s weak industrial production data […]

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Volkswagen Scandal Could Drive Crude Demand, Says EIA Chief

LONDON–The recent scandal involving Volkswagen VLKAY 4.56 % ’s diesel engine testing could increase crude oil demand due to higher gasoline consumption, according to Adam Sieminski, administrator for the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Mr. Sieminski reasoned that if more light automobiles switched from diesel, crude demand would grow due to more oil being needed to process gasoline. Gasoline demand is rising especially in U.S. and emerging markets where consumption is growing due to continued low oil prices. EIA data suggests that gasoline consumption in the U.S. increased by 3% during the first half of 2015, compared with the corresponding period of 2014. Gasoline is expected to grow by 210,000 barrels a day in 2015, a rise of 2.3%. Gasoline consumption rose by 80,000 b/d in 2014. China is driving growth from the emerging markets, with consumption hitting 2.7 million b/d in August, a year-on-year rise of 17%. “When oil […]

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Volkswagen Scandal Highlights European Stalling on New Emissions Tests

Photo A Volkswagen factory building in Wolfsburg, Germany. The company installed software in 11 million diesel vehicles to provide false information about emissions. Credit Michael Sohn/Associated Press BRUSSELS — European legislators got a jolt this month in their long-running effort to update auto-emissions standards when a German member of the European Parliament suddenly proposed exempting a whole class of vehicles. “This was a huge loophole, and everyone was asking: Where does this idea come from?” recalled Bas Eickhout, a member of the Dutch Green party who sits on the committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. It did not take long to discover the origin of the contentious proposal: Volkswagen Group. What had seemed a proposal by a legislator was in reality the work of the German carmaker. This was just one particularly brazen example of how European automobile manufacturers have for years sought to thwart or […]

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Volkswagen CEO Promises Action on Emissions Scandal in Letter

He has promised investors and customers a thorough investigation into the emissions cheating scandal that has rocked Europe’s biggest car maker. And in a letter to employees, which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Müller closed ranks with labor representatives, vowing to ensure that such misconduct “never happens again.” “We will be relentless in getting to the bottom of this—fast, open and as decisively as possible,” Mr. Müller and Bernd Osterloh, head of VW’s powerful works council, said in the letter, which is to be sent to employees on Monday. The letter echoes comments Mr. Müller made during his first public appearance after being named CEO of the group on Friday. By sending it together with Mr. Osterloh, the new VW chief is demonstrating his willingness to work closely with labor, a key reason why he was chosen for the job. On Friday, Mr. Müller acknowledged the […]

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