BEIJING (Reuters) — China’s imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) hit a monthly record of 5.03 million tonnes in December, customs data showed, as purchases spiked to cover a surge in demand under Beijing’s push to replace coal with gas for households and factories.
Source: China’s drive to replace coal with gas pushes LNG imports to record high – The Japan News
Mexico is trying to lure as much oil investment as possible before the president who overhauled the country’s energy industry leaves.
By the end of the summer, the country that until recently had a state monopoly on crude will have offered more than 100 permits to oil majors like Exxon Mobil Corp.
in three auctions this year. The last bidding round, announced on Wednesday, will cover an area bigger than Delaware.
The pace of sales is unprecedented as the country prepares to say goodbye to the presidency of Enrique Pena Nieto, who oversaw a complete makeover of the country’s energy laws to lure foreign investment into everything from oil fields to pipelines to refineries.
An election in July could alter the course of the enormous transformation as Mexicans choose who will succeed Pena Nieto in December, with a candidate that has pledged to review the energy reforms leading the polls.
For now, oil giants including Exxon, BP Plc and Chevron Corp. are set to invest tens of billions of dollars in the country after winning exploration and production licenses in previous auctions. And they are lining up
to bid for more.
“The rounds transcend the electoral cycles,” Energy Minister Pedro Joaquin Coldwell said today at the presentation of the onshore auction plans in Mexico City. The oil auctions “exclusively comply with the energy policy that Mexico demands and will continue to demand in the future.”
Source: Mexico Holds Oil Bids Like There’s No Tomorrow Before Election – Bloomberg
OPEC and its allies agree they need to prolong their output-cut deal as bloated inventories won’t shrink to normal levels by March, but they’ve yet to reach a consensus on how long to extend the pact, according to ministers from three of the top producers.Global stockpiles are declining and demand is increasing, but there’s still a significant inventory overhang in the market, Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, said at the Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable in Bangkok on Thursday. Issam Almarzooq, his Kuwaiti counterpart, said producers are discussing and finalizing a decision on the extension of output curbs by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and partners such as Russia.
Source: Top OPEC Ministers Back Longer Cuts But Duration Undecided – Bloomberg
Seadrill Ltd. (NYSE: SDRL) and 85 affiliated debtors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Houston Sept. 12 as part of a restructuring plan.The company’s voluntary petition lists total assets of nearly $21.67 million and total debt of $11.6 million, as of Dec. 31. Seadrill plans to restructure about $10 billion in debt, according to the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.
Source: Seadrill files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Houston to restructure about $10B in debt – Houston Business Journal
The post-Harvey buzz over fuels is making U.S. crude look like the poor stepchild of hedge funds.Since the storm battered the heart of America’s refining industry last month, bets on rising gasoline and diesel prices have surged for three straight weeks to the most bullish in years. But when it comes to West Texas Intermediate crude, skepticism is prevailing.It all boils down to where the supply glut is. While U.S. fuel stockpiles have plummeted — with a record draw from gasoline storage tanks — oil inventories rose as crude-processing plants in Texas struggled to get back on their feet. That’s prevented WTI from closing above $50 a barrel even though last week was the best for the U.S. benchmark since July.“The numbers are an assertion that they view the fundamentals for those markets as the strongest in years,” Tim Evans, a Citigroup Global Markets analyst in New York, said of the enthusiasm over fuels. “And that may be appropriate, given all that’s happened with the hurricane.”
Source: Hedge Funds Bet on Fuels Over Crude as Storm Trade Persists – Bloomberg
Bakken crude and other light, sweet crude oils are in demand in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a North Dakota official said Friday.After the hurricane, analysts are seeing a $4 to $5 premium for each barrel of Bakken crude over West Texas Intermediate oil at Clearbrook, Minn., said Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.“The refiners are finding value in running these light, sweet crude barrels,” Kringstad said. “They’re easier to process and they have a higher yield of the products that have been in demand since the storm, gasolines and diesel fuels.”Kringstad said he’ll continue to monitor whether the price shifts will affect the state’s oil transportation trends. The price for a barrel of WTI was $49.90 on Friday afternoon, according to Bloomberg.North Dakota oil production increased 1.4 percent in July to an average of nearly 1.05 million barrels per day, the Department of Mineral Resources said Friday.Natural gas production increased 1.35 percent to an average of nearly 1.88 billion cubic feet per day, according to the preliminary figures.“Not huge jumps, but very positive,” said Director Lynn Helms.Seventy-six percent of oil was transported by pipeline in July and 10 percent transported by rail, Kringstad said. Oil production and transportation figures are released two months later.With more barrels being transported by pipeline with the addition of the Dakota Access Pipeline, Kringstad estimates about 100,000 barrels to 130,000 barrels a day leave the state by rail. That’s equivalent to a little more than one train a day on average, Kringstad said.
Source: Bakken oil in demand after Hurricane Harvey | North Dakota News | bismarcktribune.com
A Koch Industries subsidiary said it’s opened a new fuel export route from Corpus Christi to Mexico without involving Mexico’s national oil company.
Koch Supply & Trading, which is part of the Koch brothers private business empire, calls it the first waterborne delivery of motor vehicle fuel into Mexico by private parties since the Mexican petroleum industry was nationalized nearly 80 years ago.
The route goes from Koch’s Flint Hills Resources refining system in Corpus Christi through the Port of Veracruz to a newly revamped terminal owned and operated by Dutch-based Royal Vopak, which obtained the first regulatory approval for an independent party to store and handle petroleum liquids in Mexico.
The first cargo was for ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.
Koch said it can deliver to Mexico much earlier through the Vopak deal than by going through the extended process of permitting and building its own terminal.
A surge in production in the Permian Basin of west Texas—-already the nation’s highest producing oilfield — is extracting more crude oil than refiners in Texas can handle. But now, producers in the Permian have new outlets for that oil with economic implications hundreds of miles away from the flatlands of west Texas.Based on crude oil export projections, port officials say they expect to add 5000 direct and indirect jobs in 2017. “This is not a bubble, this is real growth,” said vessel traffic controller Mike Stineman, as he scanned real time navigation charts indicating vessel traffic at the port. Radio chatter between vessels, the Coast Guard and the Vessel Control Center provided a non-stop soundtrack of the the pulse of the port.A longtime ban on U.S. crude exports was lifted last year. And today, the port of Corpus Christi is positioning itself to become America’s main energy export hub. Stineman said it is simplistic to say the lifting of the ban, ushered in as the Obama administration ended, is solely responsible for increased shipping activity at the the port. Increased demand in Mexico for US energy is also in play. Corpus Christi is an established refining center, and the largest natural gas liquefaction plant in the U.S. is slated to be built here. However, Stineman said the lifting of the ban is stimulating significant activity at the port.
Source: Oil Exports Bring Boom Times To Texas Port | Inside Energy
An abundance of petroleum in the U.S. has prompted many companies in Houston’s petrochemical sector to work on projects expanding capacity, something that — in the case of Exxon Mobil Corp.’s (NYSE: XOM) petrochemical arm — will bring about 45,000 new jobs to the Gulf Coast in the next several years.But at about the same time, the existing workforce has been aging, and there aren’t as many young skilled laborers entering the industry to take their place. So in 2013, the Irving, Texas-based company funded the Community College Petrochemical Initiative, which granted scholarships to Houston-area community colleges in order to draw new talent to the industry.
Source: Exxon Mobil chemical exec: ‘We’re hiring at record levels today’ on Gulf Coast – Houston Business Journal