Saturday, October 21, 2017

BP Midstream Partners Seekup to $893 mln in IPO

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Berkut 34)

BP Midtsream Partners, a unit of British energy company BP Plc, said on Monday it expects to raise up to $893 million from its initial public offering. BP Midtsream expects to sell 42.5 million shares, excluding underwriters' option, at a suggested price range of $19 to $21 each, the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. BP Midstream Partners, a master limited partnership (MLP) formed by BP's U.S. pipeline unit, plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "BPMP".

Shell Buys Electric Vehicle Charging Firm NewMotion

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Tomasz Zajda)

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to take over NewMotion, the owner of one of Europe's largest electric vehicle charging networks, it said on Thursday. Shell has started providing charging points for electric vehicles at some of its retail stations and said the acquisition of NewMotion would help it offer a full raft of electric vehicle services. "Today's announcement is an early step towards ensuring customers can access a range of refuelling choices over the coming decades…

Innogy Becomes Sole Owner of Triton Knoll Wind Project

File Image: offshore wind operations in progress (CREDIT: CWind)

Innogy buys 50 pct stake from Statkraft; Triton Knoll will cost about 2 billion pounds. Innogy, Germany's largest energy group, became the sole owner of a 2 billion pound ($2.64 billion) British offshore wind farm project after buying out Norway's Statkraft, it said, adding the final ownership structure could still change. The purchase of a 50-percent stake in Triton Knoll for an undisclosed sum follows state-owned Statkraft's…

EPA Abandons Biofuel Program Changes

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Jason Lee)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has backed off a series of proposed changes to the nation's biofuels policy after a massive backlash from corn-state lawmakers worried the moves would undercut ethanol demand, according to a letter from the agency to lawmakers seen by Reuters. The letter could end uncertainty about the future of the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard under the administration of President Donald Trump that has roiled commodity and energy markets for months.

EPA Chief to Withdraw USA from Clean Power Plan

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The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Monday he would sign a proposed rule on Tuesday withdrawing from the Clean Power Plan, former President Barack Obama's centerpiece regulation to fight climate change. "That rule really was about picking winners and losers," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said, telling a crowd in Hazard, Kentucky, the previous administration had used regulators to tip the scales in the competition to generate electricity in the United States.

Vitol Close to Acquiring Noble's Oil Business

The world's largest oil trader Vitol Group is nearing a deal to buy Noble Group's global oil liquids business, which analysts had valued at about $1 billion, three people familiar with the matter said on Friday. One of the sources said an announcement of the deal could come as early as Monday. Shares of Noble Group were halted in the afternoon, pending the "announcement of a major transaction," the company said. Vitol and an external spokeswoman for Noble declined to comment on the Reuters story.

Italy Breaks up Libyan Fuel Smuggling Ring

Sicilian police on Wednesday sought the arrest of nine people, including a suspected mobster, for running a Libyan fuel-smuggling ring in which at least 30 million euros ($35 million) of diesel was sold in gas stations in Italy and Europe. A Libyan, nicknamed the "boss", used small boats to steal fuel from a refinery in Zawiya, a port city west of Tripoli, a statement from the finance police said. The fuel, stolen from Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC)…

Dutch Government: Close Coal-Fired Power Plants by 2030

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The incoming Dutch government plans to shut all coal-fired power plants by the year 2030, it said in its coalition pact published on Tuesday.   The five remaining plants in the country are highly controversial because they cost billions of euros to build and three have only recently been completed.   The Netherlands is lagging behind other European countries in achiving its greenhouse emission reduction goals.   Reporting by Toby Sterling

U.S. Windfarm Builder says Poland Violated Contracts

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Carolyn Franks)

U.S. company Invenergy LLC, which says it has spent more than $600 million building windfarms in Poland, said on Monday it had written Poland's president to say it was formally in dispute with the government over state companies failing to honour contracts. The company said the letter to Poland's president and prime minister would serve as formal notification of dispute under the U.S.-Poland bilateral investment treaty and the Energy Charter Treaty.

Barclays, US FERC Near Settlement of Market Manipulation Lawsuit

British bank Barclays Plc and the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) made "substantial progress" toward a settlement of FERC's proposed $435 million fine against the bank for alleged power market manipulation, according to court documents. The Barclays penalty, if there is one, could be the biggest FERC has collected since the Energy Policy Act of 2005 significantly increased the penalties the agency can impose, boosting them up to $1 million per day per violation from a prior cap of $10,000 per day.

Court Rejects PGniG's Attempt to Limit Gazprom's Use of Opal Pipeline

A German court on Friday confirmed it had rejected a request by Polish energy company PGniG and its German subsidiary for an injunction to block Russia's Gazprom from increasing its use of the Opal pipeline in eastern Germany. The case is part of a long-running dispute over the routes for transporting Russian gas to Europe. The Duesseldorf higher regional court said in a statement to Reuters that relevant applications had been rejected on Oct. 11, confirming an earlier statement from pipeline operator Opal Gastransport.

Aker BP Wins Approval for Gas Lift at Tambar

Norway's oil and gas watchdog has approved Aker BP's plans to modify facilities at the Tambar oilfield to support North Sea oil production it said on Thursday. The approved modification includes installation of a gas lift module to inject natural gas into wells to help to produce oil from the reservoir. "The gas lift is being installed because the reservoir pressure at Tambar is no longer sufficient to ensure satisfactory production," Norway's Petroleum safety authority said in a statement.

Petrobras to Evaluate Court Edict on Total Deal

State-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA on Wednesday said it has not been formally informed about a court decision to block part of its $2.2 billion deal with Total SA. A federal judge in the Northeast state of Sergipe blocked the sale to the French oil major of stakes Petrobras has in two sub-salt oil blocks. Petrobras said in a securities filing it will evaluate the judge's decision when it is officially notified and will take action to defend its interests and those of its shareholders.

Aker BP's 2017 Guidance Unchanged Even as Q3 Production Slips

Norwegian independent oil company Aker BP maintained its 2017 full-year output guidance of 135,000-140,000 barrels of oil equivalents per day (boepd) after reporting lower third-quarter volumes on Wednesday, a spokesman said. "There is no change for the full-year guidance... Lower third-quarter production was primarily due to maintenance," the spokesman said. Aker BP reported earlier on Wednesday third-quarter output at 131,900 boepd, down from 142,700 boepd in the second quarter.

Universal Energy Faces Millions in Claims

Universal Energy entered voluntary liquidation on Oct 3, tightening credit in Singapore's bunker fuel market. Shipping fuel suppliers are filing millions of dollars in claims over unpaid marine fuel bills against now defunct Singapore-based peer Universal Energy, formerly one of the city state's largest bunker suppliers but which has now entered liquidation. Universal Energy, ranked as Singapore's third-largest bunker fuel supplier by volume in 2016…

Philadelphia-Area Refiners Push Biofuels Program Reform

File Image: A midwest Ethanol Plant / CREDIT AdobeStock / (c) Jason Lee)

Oil refinery workers, executives and local politicians gathered near Philadelphia on Monday to urge the White House revamp the nation's renewable fuels program, arguing the future of their plants are at stake. The U.S. renewable fuel program requires higher levels of ethanol and other biofuels to be blended into the nation's fuel pool, a requirement pitting the oil industry against the powerful farm lobby. President Donald Trump has promised corn growers he would protect the program…

Iraq in 'Final Stages' of Southern Oilfields Talks

Iraq's talks with U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil to develop a multi-billion-dollar project to boost output from several southern oilfields are nearing completion, its oil minister Jabar al-Luaibi said on Monday. "Talks are in advanced final stages with Exxon to develop and finance the important south project," Luaibi told reporters after a meeting an Exxon delegation in Baghdad. The enhanced recovery project targets the Luhais, Nassiriya, Tuba, Nahr Bin Umar and Artawi oilfields.

Total, Eni, Statoil Seek to Shed Teesside Terminal Stakes

Total, Eni and Statoil are seeking buyers for their stake in the Teesside oil terminal in northern England, which receives crude from the Norwegian Ekofisk fields, part of the global Brent benchmark, banking sources said. The sale is run jointly by investment bank Rothschild and may fetch as much as $400 million, according to the sources. Total holds a 32.9 percent stake in the terminal, Statoil a 27.3 percent stake and Eni a 10.3 percent stake.

Borr Drilling in USD 1.3bln Sembcorp Deal

Photo: Sembcorp Marine Ltd

Singapore-based Sembcorp Marine said its wholly-owned subsidiary PPL Shipyard (PPLS) has agreed to sell nine Pacific Class 400 jackup drilling rigs to Borr Drilling and its subsidiaries for a total of US$1.3 billion. It will also be entitled to a market-based fee, based on an uplift in value of the rigs sold. Under the terms of the Agreements, which is subject to conditions precedent being met by both parties, Borr Drilling will take delivery of the nine jackup rigs progressively over a 14-month period…

Ensco Completes Acquisition of Atwood Oceanics

Photo: Ensco

Ensco plc announced today that Ensco shareholders voted to approve the allotment and issuance of Ensco Class A ordinary shares to shareholders of Atwood Oceanics in connection with the all-stock acquisition of Atwood at the Company’s general meeting of shareholders on 5 October 2017. The final results of the general meeting of shareholders held today indicate that 65% of the shares cast at the meeting voted in favor of this proposal.

Ecuador to Offer Oil Block Terms in January

Ecuador will offer oil exploration and production blocks in January under new contract terms that it expects will attract more interest and allow the OPEC-member country to compete with its neighbors for foreign investment, the oil minister said. The new terms will allow producers to be paid in oil and enable them to export or sell the barrels to local refineries, said Carlos Perez at a conference at Rice University in Houston on Friday.

EPA May Not Replace Obama-era Climate Regs After Repeal

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not decided whether it will replace the Clean Power Plan - the centerpiece Obama-era climate change regulation - after it moves to repeal it, according to a draft of the proposal seen by Reuters on Friday. In the 43-page document, the EPA said the rule, introduced by former President Barack Obama in 2015 to curtail greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, was illegal. It aimed to cut emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Glencore to buy Chevron South Africa stake, Chevron Botswana

Miner and commodities trader Glencore said it had agreed to buy a 75 percent stake in Chevron's South Africa unit and all of Chevron Botswana for $973 million. The assets include Chevron's interests in its manufacturing, retail and industrial supply business in South Africa and Botswana, Glencore said in a statement. "Glencore believes that the assets provide an attractive downstream opportunity for its oil business," it said.

Reliance, Carrizo Oil Exit PA Shale Asset

Indian oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd signed a deal to exit a U.S. shale asset, a move that marks the end of its seven years of investment which slumped into losses due to the global oil price downturn. Houston-based Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc, the operator of the Marcellus shale in north-eastern and central Pennsylvania, also exited its investment, Reliance said in a statement on Friday. BKV Chelsea LLC…

Shell, Varo End Germany Refinery Sale Negotiations

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Sharrif Che'Lah)

Royal Dutch Shell and Varo Energy have ended talks on Varo's potential acquisition of Shell's 37.5 percent stake in the 220,000 barrels per day PCK refinery in Schwedt, Germany, Varo said. The two companies announced last December that they had entered advanced talks on the stake sale, but the negotiations have been "discontinued", a spokeswoman for Varo told Reuters. The spokeswoman would not provide details about why the talks had ended.

Senators Object to EPA's Planned Biofuel Changes

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A group of 38 U.S. senators asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday to abandon plans to lower biofuels requirements for oil refiners in 2018, according to a letter made public by the office of Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. The senators, including Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, said in the letter that the EPA should restructure its proposal for the 2018 version of a rule that each year forces producers of oil-based fuels to include renewable fuels like ethanol in their products.

Nigerian Lawmakers Probe Corruption Allegations

Nigerian lawmakers have set up a committee to investigate allegations of corruption at the state oil company contained in a letter from the minister of state for petroleum. In the letter from Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu to President Muhammadu Buhari, dated Aug. 30 and confirmed by the oil ministry, the minister said the conduct of the head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) lacked transparency. He said recent appointments by NNPC's group managing director (GMD)…

Saudi Aramco IPO on Track for 2018

A plan to list Saudi Aramco in 2018 is on track, senior Saudi officials said in Moscow on Thursday, as Saudi Arabia gears up to sign a string of investment agreements with Russia. The plan to float around 5 percent of Aramco in an initial public offering (IPO) is a centrepiece of Vision 2030, a wide-ranging reform plan to diversify the Saudi economy beyond oil which is being championed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

EPA Mulls Changes to Biofuels Policy

File Image: a midwest ethanol plant. CREDIT: AdobeStock) / (c) Jason Lee:

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a change to U.S. biofuels policy that would allow exports of ethanol to count toward the country's annual biofuels volumes mandates, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday. The proposal would represent a significant shift from the original mandate of the 2005 renewable fuel program, designed to increase the amount ethanol and biodiesel in the country's fuel pool while boosting the U.S. agricultural sector. The move would benefit U.S.

Philippines, China to Explore for Oil & Gas Near Disputed Waters

The Philippines said on Thursday it was pursuing a long-delayed oil and gas exploration project with Chinese state-owned entity CNOOC Ltd and a Canada-listed company in an area near disputed waters in the South China Sea. Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the Philippine government was also looking for a "win-win solution" with other South China Sea claimants, including China, to pave the way for oil and gas exploration within contested waters.

Maersk Oil CEO to Step Down after Total Takeover

Gretchen Watkins (Photo: Maersk Oil)

The chief executive of Maersk Oil, Gretchen Watkins, will leave the company when Total's acquisition of the company has been completed, Maersk said Wednesday. Watkins joined Maersk Oil as Chief Operating Officer in January 2014 and took the role of CEO in October last year. Prior to joining Maersk Oil, she had worked at Marathon Oil and BP. Total agreed last month to buy the oil and gas business of A.P. Moller-Maersk for $7.45 billion, strengthening the French major's operations in the North Sea.

Petrobras Oil Auction Strategy Drawn Up

Petróelo Brasileiro SA has drawn up a strategy to participate in Brazil's three upcoming oil auctions this year, as a declining debt burden has increased the state-controlled oil producer's firepower, Chief Executive Officer Pedro Parente said on Wednesday.   Reporting by Pedro Fonseca and Rodrigo Viga Gaier 

Chevron to Invest $4 billion to boost Permian Output

Chevron plans to boost its Permian output to over 400,000 bpd; expects that to happen over next few years. Oil major Chevron Corp will next year invest around $4 billion to ramp up its crude production in the Permian Basin area of the United States, a company executive said on Monday. Ryan Krogmeier, Chevron's vice president of crude supply and trading, told the S&P Global Platts APPEC conference in Singapore that the company would increase its output from the Permian Basin…

Total CEO: No Hurry to Shed Oil Sands Assets

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Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne said on Monday that the company was not in a hurry to "diversify" (sell) high break-even assets such as oil sands. Pouyanne told analysts during a call that the company would wait until oil prices rise before selling the assets. "We will see what we will do with this project in the coming years but... my priority is value over volumes and oil sands are among the high breakeven projects in the portfolio," Pouyanne said.

French Unions Block Fuel Depots

Roadblock outside Total's La Mede refinery as labour reform set to enter law in coming days. French trade unionists blocked access on Monday to several fuel depots in protest against an overhaul of employment laws, seeking to test the government's will to reform the economy. In southern France, protesters' unions set up a road-block in front of Total's La Mede refinery, while in western France fuel depots were blocked near Bordeaux and the coastal city of La Rochelle.

SolarCity to Pay $29.5 Mln to Resolve US Gov't Allegations

SolarCity will pay $29.5 million to settle a long-running investigation into allegations it violated federal law by submitting inflated claims to the government through a popular stimulus program set up during the Obama administration, the U.S. Justice Department said Friday. The department said there was no determination of liability as part of the settlement with SolarCity, now owned by Tesla Inc , and that the company would also drop related litigation against the government.

Phillips 66 Partners to buy Phillips 66 Assets

Phillips 66 Partners LP said on Friday it would buy assets from refiner Phillips 66 in a deal valued at $2.4 billion, including debt.   Phillips 66 Partners said it would buy a 25 percent interest in each Dakota Access and Energy Transfer Crude Oil pipelines and a 100 percent interest in Merey Sweeny LP fuel-grade coke processing unit.   Reporting by John Benny 

San Francisco, Oakland Sue Oil Firms Alleging Climate Change Costs

California cities, San Francisco and Oakland, said they filed separate lawsuits against five oil companies on Wednesday seeking billions of dollars to protect against rising sea levels they blamed on climate change. The lawsuits, filed in state courts in San Francisco and Alameda Counties, alleged Chevron, ConocoPhillips , Exxon Mobil, BP, and Royal Dutch Shell , created a public nuisance and asked for funds to finance infrastructure to deal with rising sea levels. The cases are People of the State of California V.

Lebanon Passes Oil Tax Law

Lebanon made progress in its efforts to develop a hydrocarbons industry on Tuesday when lawmakers passed a petroleum tax law, as companies prepare to bid on a first round of offshore exploration licences next month. Earlier this month, Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil extended by four weeks the deadline for companies to submit bids for exploration and production. Bidding will be held for offshore blocks 1, 4, 8, 9 and 10. The government has pre-qualified more than 50 companies to bid for the licences.

ETP: U.S. Approves Drilling Along Rover Gas Pipeline

File Image: A typical gas pipeline header (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Hanmaomin)

Oil and gas pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners LP said on Tuesday it received approval from U.S. energy regulators to resume drilling along its $4.2 billion Rover pipeline project. The Rover project from Pennsylvania to Ontario is the biggest gas pipeline under construction in the United States. ETP said operations on nine locations for horizontal directional drilling approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) are expected to begin within the week.

Total Ups Renewables Stake With Two Deals

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Total buying 23.5 pct stake in EREN RE. Oil major Total has stepped up its expansion into renewables with investments in solar and wind energy producer EREN RE and energy efficiency firm GreenFlex. Bruised by pressure on oil prices over the last two years, Europe's biggest oil companies have been intensifying their push into renewable energy to seek new sources of future revenue. Total said it was buying a 23 percent stake in renewables company EREN RE for 237.5 million euros ($285 million)…

Palmali Lodges $2 Bln Claim Against Lukoil's Litasco

Turkey-based Palmali, one of the biggest shippers in the Caspian region, said on Monday it had lodged a claim worth almost $2 billion against Litasco, the trading arm of Russian oil producer Lukoil, with the English High Court. "The claim concerns an alleged failure by Litasco S.A. to provide contractual quantities of cargo under long term contract between the companies," Palmali said in a statement sent to Reuters.   Reporting by Nailia Bagirova; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin

U.S. Interior Chief Seeks Changes at U.S. Monuments

The head of the U.S. Department of the Interior urged President Donald Trump to lift restrictions on activities such as logging and mining in or to shrink the footprints of 10 national monuments, according to the Washington Post. The Post, citing a copy of the recommendations, said late on Sunday that U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had recommended reducing boundaries for Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, Nevada’s Gold Butte and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou.

Russia Signs Out-of-court Settlement with Exxon on Sakhalin-1

Russia and U.S. oil major Exxonmobil have signed an out-of-court settlement agreement regarding a legal dispute over the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project, Russia's finance ministry said in a statement on Thursday. "The sides have reached a mutually beneficial compromise," the ministry said, adding that the agreement was signed on Sept. 12. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sept. 7 that the dispute had been resolved.     Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; Writing by Polina Devitt

Premier Oil Seeks North Sea Gas Field Buyer

File Image: a typical offshore North Sea installation (Credit: Craig International)

Premier selling 23.5 stake in Babbage gas field; CEO says bidding process yet to be launched. Premier Oil is seeking to sell half of its stake in the Babbage gas field in the North Sea, according to a document seen by Reuters, as it tries to pay down a heavy debt pile it accrued during the oil market downturn. The London-listed oil and gas producer completed a financial restructuring earlier this year and is counting…

Saudi Aramco: IPO on Track

Saudi Aramco's planned initial public offering remains on track, the company said on Thursday, after Bloomberg reported that the oil company is preparing contingency plans for a possible delay by a few months into 2019. Saudi authorities are aiming to list up to 5 percent of the world's largest oil producer on both the Saudi stock exchange in Riyadh, the Tadawul, and one or more international markets in an IPO that could raise $100 billion.

Shell to Shed Iraqi Oil Assets

Royal Dutch Shell is set to end a century of oil production in Iraq by withdrawing from two of the Arab state's flagship fields to focus on more profitable gas development. Shell's retreat highlights the challenges foreign operators face with low-margin oil contracts in Iraq, an OPEC member that sits on some of the world's biggest oil reserves and wants to boost production after years of conflict hindered development.

North Atlantic Drilling: No Recovery for Current Shareholders

Bangladesh, Qatar to Ink 15-year LNG Import Deal

File Image: A typical LNG Carrier at Sea (CREDIT: QGTC)

Bangladesh to take 1.8 mln T a year first 5 years, along with more spot cargoes. Bangladesh will sign a 15-year deal with Qatar's RasGas Co to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) starting in 2018 as the South Asian country turns to the supercooled fuel to fill a domestic supply gap for power generation, two officials told Reuters. The deal will be signed on Sept. 25 in Qatar, said Mohammad Quamruzzaman, managing director of the Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Co, a unit of state-owned oil firm Petrobangla.

Dover Mulls Upstream Energy Unit Sale

U.S. industrial conglomerate Dover Corp said on Monday it was exploring strategic alternatives, including a sale, for its upstream energy unit.   The company said the options also include a tax-free spinoff of the unit.   The upstream energy unit is part of Dover's overall energy business, which provides lift equipment services and diamond cutters used in oil and gas exploration and production.   Reporting by Ahmed Farhatha 

OW Bunkers Investors in Legal Action Against IPO Banks

A group of 24 Danish institutional investors in OW Bunker has decided to issue a writ against Carnegie and Morgan Stanley, accusing them of misleading investors ahead of the 2014 listing of the now bankrupt marine fuel oil supplier. The investors, which include two of the largest pension funds in Denmark, ATP and PFA, claim they have suffered a loss of 767 million crowns ($123 million) following investment in OW Bunker shares "on the basis of a prospectus which was insufficient in material aspects".

EU Lawmakers to Guard Carbon Market from Hard Brexit

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European lawmakers will vote this week on a plan to protect the carbon market against a collapse of Brexit talks, which they fear would crash the price of tradeable emissions permits. The bill was prompted by mounting concern that Britain could fail to reach at least a transitional trade deal with the European Union before its scheduled departure from the bloc less than two years from now. Britain is the second-largest…

BP in South American Venture with Bridas

British oil major BP has agreed to merge its interests in South American oil company Pan American Energy (PAE) with refiner and fuel retailer Axion Energy in a new joint venture with Axion's owner and PAE partner Bridas Corporation. BP and Bridas, an Argentine energy company 50 percent-owned by China's CNOOC, will hold equal stakes in the newly merged Pan American Energy Group (PAEG) after a cash-free deal that is expected to close early next year, the companies said.

CEFC Buys Rosneft Stake as Glencore, Qatar Pull Back

Chinese conglomerate CEFC will buy a 14.16 percent stake in Russian oil producer Rosneft from a consortium of Glencore and the Qatar Investment Authority in a move that further strengthens the energy partnership between Moscow and Beijing. CEFC China Energy has grown in recent years from a niche oil trader into a sprawling energy conglomerate and the transaction will allow China, the world's second largest energy consumer, to boost cooperation with the world's top oil producer.

Statoil: Rosneft Oilfield Deal Complies with Sanctions

Norway's Statoil said on Thursday its cooperation with Russia's Rosneft in developing the onshore North Komsomolskoye oilfield was compliant with European Union and U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. Statoil confirmed plans to take a 33 percent stake in the northwest Siberian field under an agreement signed with Rosneft in 2013, a year before sanctions on cooperation in oil production were imposed.

Total Expects Approvals for Offshore Greece Exploration

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Total expects approval from the Greek parliament by the end of the year to explore for oil off the western coast of Greece, the French company's chief executive told a Greek newspaper. Greece and a consortium made up of Total, Italy's Edison and Hellenic Petroleum have signed a lease agreement to search for oil and gas in the Ionian Sea. "We expect ratification of the agreement by Greece's parliament by the end of the year to start work," Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne told Ta New newspaper.

French Oil Workers to Strike on Sept. 12

Oil sector workers of France's CGT trade union will join a 24-hour nationwide strike on September 12 to protest against the French government's planned labour reform, two CGT union leaders said on Thursday. Oil sector workers will join the protest and block all inbound and outbound deliveries of petroleum products to refineries and depots, one union official said. Depending on the participation of other sectors, the strike could become indefinite, another official said.

France to End Oil & Gas Production by 2040

France plans to pass legislation by the end of 2017 to phase out all oil and gas exploration and production on its mainland and overseas territories by 2040, becoming the first country to do so, according to a draft bill presented on Wednesday. President Emmanuel Macron wants to make France carbon neutral by 2050 and plans to curb green house gas emissions by leaving fossil fuels, blamed for contributing to global warming, in the ground.

U.S., European Energy Sector Hacked

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Advanced hackers have targeted United States and European energy companies in a cyber espionage campaign that has in some cases successfully broken into the core systems that control the companies' operations, according to researchers at the security firm Symantec. Malicious email campaigns have been used to gain entry into organizations in the United States, Turkey and Switzerland, and likely other countries well, Symantec said in a report published on Wednesday.

Guangzhou Halts Foreign Coal Imports

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Lidian Neeleman)

Port handles 60 mln tonnes/year of foreign and domestic seaborne coal. Guangzhou port, the largest coal transport hub in southern China, has halted foreign coal imports, according to traders who use the port and said they had been informed of the shutdown by customs authorities and senior company officials. Traders said the move caught merchants using Guangzhou by surprise and interpreted it as a sign of Beijing stepping up its campaign to cut pollution caused by the burning of coal.

Venezuela Arrests Top Oil Exec, 8 Other PDVSA Employees

Venezuela has arrested the state oil company's boss for the western region and eight other executives at PDVSA, according to an internal company memo and a half-dozen sources in the OPEC member's oil industry. It was not immediately clear why Gustavo Malave and the other employees were apprehended, though a series of corruption probes are under way at PDVSA and have entangled other employees. The sources said Malave was arrested on Monday in Zulia state…

Russian Court Told That Oil Boss Gave Minister $2 Mln in a Bag

A Russian court was told on Tuesday that a close ally of President Vladimir Putin personally handed the country's then economy minister $2 million in cash inside a lockable brown bag as part of an elaborate bribery sting. Former Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev is on trial on charges of extorting the $2 million bribe from Igor Sechin, the head of state-owned oil company Rosneft, in exchange for Ulyukayev approving a business deal.

NAFTA Talks Continue with Energy in Spotlight

Trade negotiators from Canada, the United States and Mexico have made headway on issues including energy, small businesses and telecommunications in talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the head of a top business lobby said on Monday. "I think we've made a lot of progress," said Juan Pablo Castañon, head of the Consejo Coordinador Empresarial (CCE), which represented Mexico's private sector during the trade talks.

Cenovus Energy to Shed Pelican Lake Assets

Canada's Cenovus Energy Inc said on Tuesday it would sell its Pelican Lake heavy oil operations in Alberta for C$975 million ($786.92 million) and the oil company is also considering sale of other assets to reduce debt. Cenovus said the proceeds from the sale would be used to fund the acquisition of ConocoPhillips' assets, which it purchased for $13.3 billion in March. Reuters reported in August that Canadian Natural…

Brazil's 20% Ethanol Import Tax Rule Takes Effect

New rules governing Brazil's ethanol imports, which slap a 20 percent penalty for volumes above a tax-free import quota, took effect on Friday, authorities said. Brazil's foreign trade chamber Camex said in an official written resolution that the rules will be valid for two years. It is the first time that Brazil has taxed ethanol imports, with the government reversing its position of avoiding taxes on the biofuel's trade, following complaints from local producers about rising imports.

US Seeks Faster Approval of Small-scale Natural Gas Export

© Oleksandr Prykhodko / Adobe Stock

The United States is proposing to speed up approval of small-scale exports of natural gas, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), the U.S. Department of Energy said in a statement released on Friday. The department said the proposed rule would "expedite the review and approval of applications to export small amounts of natural gas in the emerging small-scale LNG export market," which it said includes the Caribbean, Central America and South America.

Dow, DuPont Complete Planned Merger

Dow Chemical Co and DuPont said on Friday the companies had successfully completed their planned $130 billion merger to form DowDuPont. Shares of DuPont and Dow stopped trading at the close of Aug. 31 and will now trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "DWDP". Dow and DuPont announced the merger in December 2015. "The true value of this merger lies in the intended creation of three industry powerhouses that will define their markets…

Harvey Hurts Crude Rebalancing, Also Creates 'Opportunity'

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Crude oil's flirtation with backwardation has been hit by the market dislocations caused by Hurricane Harvey, the massive storm that is disrupting the U.S. crude oil import, export and refining hubs along the Gulf of Mexico coast. Two weeks ago the Brent crude futures curve was backwardated, with the front-month contract commanding a premium over the following four months. But by the close on Wednesday, the global benchmark oil was once again mainly in contango…

Big Monthly Loss for WTI Looms in Harvey's Wake

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U.S. gasoline at two-year high above $2 a gallon, as almost a quarter of U.S. U.S. crude oil prices are on track to post the steepest monthly losses in more than a year on Thursday as concerns spread over falling demand in the world's top oil-consuming country after storm Harvey knocked out almost a quarter of its refineries. But prices rallied in the oil products markets, with U.S. gasoline futures hitting a two-year high above $2 a gallon…

OW Bunker Investors to Sue IPO banks

Institutional investors to sue Morgan Stanley, Carnegie. A group of institutional investors in OW Bunker said they plan to sue Morgan Stanley and Carnegie for about $80 million, accusing the two investment banks of misleading them ahead of the 2014 listing of the now bankrupt marine fuel oil supplier. Denmark's OW Bunker was valued at $1 billion when it floated in March 2014, but the company filed for bankruptcy in November that year after suffering hedging losses of almost $300 million…

Lukoil Mulls Sale of Litasco Trader, CEO Confirms

Vagit Alekperov, the Chief Executive Officer of Russia's No.2 oil producer Lukoil , confirmed on Wednesday that the company was considering the sale of Swiss unit Litasco. He also told reporters the board of Lukoil would take a decision on the Litasco sale in November. Earlier on Wednesday, industry sources told Reuters that Lukoil was considering selling Litasco because new U.S. sanctions on Russia would make it harder for the Geneva-based energy trader to raise new funds.

Flooding Knocks Out U.S. Refineries

Harvey brings heavy rainfall, flooding to U.S. Gulf coast. Heavy rains from tropical storm Harvey caused large-scale U.S. refinery outages, pushing up gasoline prices, while crude prices rose in early Asian trade on Tuesday on the back of supply disruptions in Colombia and Libya. Refinery shutdowns from the storm helped push U.S. gasoline prices to 2015 highs of $1.7799 per gallon on Monday, although they receded slightly to $1.7325 per gallon by 0103 GMT on Tuesday. U.S.

Egypt Inks Oil & Gas Exploration Deals

Egyptian Oil Minister Tarek El Molla has signed three oil and gas exploration deals for 16 new fields in the Western Desert worth at least $81.4 million in total with Royal Dutch Shell and the U.S.-based Apex International Energy. The Petroleum Ministry said in a statement that the first deal would see Shell invest $35.5 million, and the other two would see Apex, which is operating in Egypt for the first time, invest a combined $45.9 million on two projects.

China to Penalize Refineries for Crude Reselling, Unauthorized Expansion

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Chinese refineries newly allowed to import crude oil will be penalized for reselling crude oil or expanding capacities without approvals, according to a policy document issued by the National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC) on Monday. Qualifications will be stripped and trade permits revoked for the refineries that recently were allowed to use or import crude oil if they are caught in these violations, the NDRC said in a 38-page document that also covers exploration and storage.

Trump Prohibits Dealings in New Venezuelan Government, PDVSA Debt

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order prohibiting dealings in certain Venezuelan public sector debt on to pressure the government of President Nicolas Maduro to halt its "tyranny," the White House the White house said on Friday. The order prohibits dealings in new debt and equity issued by the Venezuelan government and by its state oil company, PDVSA. But the White House said the order allows Treasury to provide licenses for other commercial and humanitarian transaction…

Seadrill to launch Chapter 11 Restructuring by Sept 12

Offshore drilling contractor Seadrill plans to launch a long-awaited Chapter 11 debt restructuring by Sept. 12, and aims to raise $1 billion in new capital, it said on Thursday. Once the biggest offshore rig firm by market value and the crown jewel of Norwegian billionaire John Fredriksen's business empire, Seadrill shares have plunged 99 percent from a 2013 peak as energy firms have slashed spending to cope with lower prices.

Revolution or Evolution? Iraq Mulls Oil Trading Changes

There is little doubt that Iraq's mooted shift to using Dubai crude futures from long-standing price assessor Platts will shake up the trading of Middle East oil, but is it a once-off shock or the first of the dominoes to fall. Iraq's state oil marketer SOMO has asked its customers for feedback on a planned move to use Oman futures traded on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) instead of the average of Platts' Oman-Dubai quotes in pricing its main Basra grade.

Sistema to Pay Rosneft $2.3 Bln in Damages

A Russian court ruled on Wednesday that conglomerate Sistema should pay more than 136 billion roubles ($2.3 billion) to oil major Rosneft in a dispute over oil producer Bashneft. Sistema controlled Bashneft until 2014 when the government seized its stake, saying Bashneft's privatisation had been illegal. Rosneft bought a controlling stake in Bashneft from the government in 2016 and in May filed the lawsuit seeking compensation from Sistema, saying assets were removed from Bashneft.

Wind Turbine Tie-Ups Under Pressure

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Siemens Gamesa, Nordex underperform following tie-ups; more deals expected with Nordex, Senvion seen as takeover candidates. A sell-off in shares of recently merged wind turbine makers highlights the growing speed at which competition in the sector is heating up, raising expectations for more deals in the quest for scale. In the latest sign of the squeeze, Siemens Gamesa last week said it would cut 600 staff, less than a month after it revealed third-quarter operating profit had dwindled by a fifth…

Argentine Biodiesel Industry: U.S. Duties Will Halt Exports

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Argentine biodiesel exports will be priced out of the U.S. market, its leading industry body said, after Washington decided on Tuesday to impose steep duties on imports that it said were unfairly subsidized. The countervailing duties on soy-based Argentina biodiesel could be as much as 64.17 percent, according to a statement from the U.S. Commerce Department. Duties of up to 68.28 percent will be imposed on palm oil biodiesel imports from Indonesia.

Former CEO of Brazil's Petrobras Charged with Corruption

Brazilian prosecutors on Tuesday charged the former chief executive officer of state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro with corruption, alleging he used his position to take bribes from construction firm Odebrecht. Aldemir Bendine served as CEO of Petrobras, as the company is known, between 2015 and 2016, and was brought in to clean up the firm after its central role in Brazil's massive political graft scandal.

BHP Profit Surges, but Looks to Exit U.S. Shale

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Underlying net profit jumps to $6.7 bln from $1.2 bln. BHP Billiton, the world's largest miner, reported a surge in underlying full-year profits on Tuesday and said it would exit its underperforming U.S. shale oil and gas business, pleasing disgruntled shareholders who had called for a sale. The Anglo-Australian mining giant, which is under pressure from U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management to rethink its investment in oil and boost shareholder returns, was buoyed by a recovery in industrial commodities markets.

Norway's Labour Calls for Debate on Oil Tax Regime

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Norway should review its generous tax regime on oil drilling because of climate change, the opposition Labour party said on Monday, three weeks before a parliamentary election which opinion polls suggest it is on course to win. Labour's Marianne Marthinsen, a member of parliament's Finance Committee, told daily Aftenposten that Western Europe's top oil producer should look at changing rules that allow oil firms to reclaim costs of "failed exploration campaigns".

Brazil Court Freezes Petrobras's TermoBahia Sale

A Brazilian federal court on Monday temporarily halted the sale by Petroleo Brasileiro SA of its 50 percent stake in thermal power station operator TermoBahia to Total Brasil E & P, part of France's Total, following a lawsuit, according to a document seen by Reuters.   The sale was part of a $2.2 billion deal signed in December which included the sale of stakes in oilfields by Petrobras to the French firm. (Reporting by José Roberto Gomes)

Sempra Energy to buy Oncor for $9.45 bln

Sempra Energy said it will buy Oncor for $9.45 billion in cash after Energy Future Holdings Corp, which indirectly owns Oncor, abandoned a deal to sell the power transmission company to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. San Diego-based Sempra expects to own about 60 percent of a reorganized Energy Future after the transaction that is valued at $18.8 billion, including Dallas-based Oncor's debt, it said late on Sunday.

Total: Maersk Deal to Boost Earnings

French oil major Total said on Monday that its acquisition of Maersk Oil for $7.45 billion would boost its earnings and cash flow, and bolster its dividend prospects. "This transaction is immediately accretive to both cash flow and earnings per share and delivers further growth over coming years," said Total chief executive Patrick Pouyanne in a statement. "It is in line with our announced strategy to take advantage of…

Rosneft, Trafigura Purchase Essar Oil Refinery

Rosneft to double Vadinar refinery capacity; may supply Venezuelan oil to Vadinar refinery. Russian oil major Rosneft, oil trader Trafigura and Russian fund UCP closed their $12.9 billion purchase of Indian refiner Essar Oil on Monday, giving the companies a foothold in a country that is among the world's fastest growing oil users. The purchase is the biggest foreign acquisition ever in India and Russia's largest outbound deal. It helps Russia deepen economic ties with India that stretch back to the Soviet era.

U.S. Biofuels Mandates Under High Stakes Scrutiny

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U.S. biofuels regulations, which mandate mixing corn-based ethanol into gasoline, have lately drawn together a diverse cast of political opponents. They include an upstart gas station owners' trade group, a former Obama administration environmental adviser and billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, who owns a refiner and served as U.S. President Donald Trump's special advisor on business regulation - until he resigned Friday amid allegations of a conflict of interest.

PDVSA Defends Relationship With Russia

Venezuela's alliance with Russia is "perfect," the president of state oil company PDVSA said on Friday, blasting what he said was a U.S.-led attempt to sully the growing ties between the two nations. Reuters last week published a Special Report revealing that Venezuela's unraveling socialist government is increasingly turning to Russia for the cash and credit it needs to survive and offering prized state-owned oil assets in return, sources familiar with the negotiations told Reuters.

Mexico Raises Pemex Deductions to Continue Oil Output

Mexico's finance ministry on Friday said state oil company Pemex will be allowed to deduct more costs for developing some projects so the firm can maintain production, which has been steadily declining since 2004. The cost recovery adjustments will allow Petroleos Mexicanos, as Pemex is formally known, to continue producing some 150,000 barrels per day of oil and 500 billion BTUs of natural gas per day from so-called…

Petrobras, Brazil Dispute Transfer of Rights Worth $30 bln

Brazil's government and state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro are locked in a dispute over the value of offshore oil blocks involving an estimated $30 billion, newspaper Valor Econômico reported on Friday. The dispute, which has previously been reported, centers on a 2010 contract in which Petrobras paid the government for the transfer of exploratory rights over some oil areas off the coast. Oil prices were much higher at the time the original contract was signed, at around $90 per barrel.

Siemens Gamesa to Cut 600 Jobs in Denmark

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Wind power group Siemens Gamesa said on Friday it plans to cut 600 staff at a wind blade factory near Aalborg in northern Denmark. The move comes in order for Siemens Gamesa to "remain competitive" amid increasing demands from customers to produce locally and bring down costs, company spokesman Jan Kristensen said. Siemens Gamesa has 2,100 employees at the factory.   Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen