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From: sammie444/2/2012 1:29:40 PM
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Bloomberg Daily Energy Roundup......

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Bloomberg and Business Week energy news 4/2

Bloomberg:; BusinessWeek:

COMPANIES/THEMES: Petronas plans $5B Canadian acquisition, hedge funds cut bullish bets on nat gas, Total makes plans for Elgin relief wells (day 9), Brazil prosecutors again seek Chevron ban, Charlie Rose Q&A w/Dan Yergin, BusinessWeek: Save SPR for real need, Iran says sanctions won't work, Encana seeks oil partner, Enbridge/Enterprise seek market rates on Seaway, Exxon and other majors lay plans for Alaska gas/LNG, Progress nuke approval may be delayed, KKR buys in to Tx shale, plane crash near oil-rich region in Russia

Daily Energy Column:
Petronas Plans Canadian Acquisition Topping $5 Billion: Energy
By Chong Pooi Koon -- Petroliam Nasional Bhd., the Malaysian state-owned oil company, is studying a Canadian acquisition exceeding $5 billion as part of the company’s drive to supply natural gas to Asia. “This is going to be big,” Chief Executive Officer Shamsul Azhar Abbas said in a March 30 interview on the 81st floor of the company’s twin towers headquarters that dominates the Kuala Lumpur skyline. “There are quite a few candidates out there, who are willing to talk,” he said, adding a deal may be announced within three months. Petronas, as the company is known, joins Asian peers including PetroChina Co., Mitsubishi Corp. and Cnooc Ltd. In seeking production in North America, where natural gas sells for less than 15 percent of Asian benchmark prices.
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Funds Cut Bullish Gas Bets as Supply Glut Grows: Energy Markets
By Asjylyn Loder -- Hedge funds cut bullish bets on natural gas for the fourth time in five weeks as record production and surging inventories sent prices to a decade low. Money managers reduced wagers on rising prices by 17 percent in the seven days ended March 27, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Commitments of Traders report on March 30. Futures fell to $2.126 per million British thermal units that day, the lowest price since Feb. 6, 2002, and traded today at $2.138. The mildest winter since 2000 and increased output from shale formations helped send gas futures down 19 percent in March, the biggest monthly decline since August 2010.
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Total Makes ‘Firm Plans’ for Elgin Relief Wells to Stem Gas Leak
By Brian Swint and Ben Farey -- Total SA, Europe’s third-largest oil company, is making “firm plans” for two relief wells to stem a natural-gas leak at its Elgin platform in the U.K. North Sea. Total is preparing to drill two wells to intersect the original shaft and curtail the flow of fuel. The company is also assessing whether it’s safe to return workers to the platform to pump mud down the leaking well in an attempt to cut off the gas, Brian O’Neill, a spokesman, said today by telephone. Gas has been escaping from an abandoned well, about 240 kilometers (150 miles) east of Aberdeen, Scotland, since March 25. While the cause is still being investigated, Total said March 30 the fuel is probably leaking above water and the source is a rock formation above the producing reservoir of the field.
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Chevron Targeted a Second Time by Brazil Prosecutors Seeking Ban
By Rodrigo Orihuela and Adriana Brasileiro -- Brazilian prosecutors are seeking for a second time to ban Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Transocean Ltd. (RIG) from operating in the country after a 3,000-barrel oil spill. The two companies must be suspended from operating until they stop environmental damage from the November leak off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Prosecutor Gisele Porto said in a March 26 appeal filing obtained by Bloomberg News. The two companies should be fined 500 million reais ($273 million) a day if they don’t comply with the suspension, according to Porto. Chevron is facing mounting attacks from Brazilian politicians, prosecutors and regulators after the leak at its $3.6 billion Frade project in November and a second seep in March. Federal prosecutor Eduardo Santos, who’s probing the slick independently from the regulator, charged 17 executives at Chevron and Transocean with environmental crimes and called for prison sentences of as much as 31 years. Chevron took out full-page advertisements in several Brazilian newspapers March 29 to say the Frade leak hasn’t caused environmental damage. The company said the criminal charges against its executives are unfounded.
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BusinessWeek: Q&A
Charlie Rose Talks to Daniel Yergin
By Charlie Rose -- Q: Why have gas prices become such a huge political issue in America? A: There are two reasons. One, this is the one price everyone sees every day. And secondly, it’s something that, you know, people feel very directly and immediately. They feel it in their pocketbooks and feel it in their wallets. Seriously, for a lot of people, when prices go up like this, it’s a big and unexpected financial burden.
Q: And how much responsibility should President Obama bear? A: In the short term, there’s not much that any president can do about gasoline prices because they’re determined by what happens on the world oil market. And the world oil market today is pretty tight in terms of supply. Supply’s missing from a number of countries. And the oil price right now is registering this rising tension over Iran’s nuclear program, which entered a new phase a few months ago with the UN report. World oil prices are up about 20 percent since mid-December, and U.S. gas prices are up about 20 percent.

BusinessWeek: Oil
Save Strategic Oil Reserves for When They're Really Needed
By Peter Coy -- In the war of wills over Iran’s nuclear program, strategic oil reserves are a crucial weapon for the U.S. and others trying to keep Iran from developing nukes. Iran can’t win by embargoing its own oil because it needs to export more than its customers need to import. The existence of strategic oil reserves in the U.S., Europe, Japan, China, and elsewhere was a key consideration for President Obama in his March 30 decision clearing the way for sanctions on banks that aid the Iranian oil trade.
But it’s important to save strategic oil reserves for when they’re really needed. If reserves are drawn upon every time prices go up, eventually they will be gone, leaving no buffer to deal with genuine emergencies.
Trouble is, there’s increasing political pressure to tap into strategic reserves now to lower gasoline prices. On March 29, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon told French radio that prospects of an accord between the U.S. and Europe on tapping strategic reserves are “good” and consumers can “reasonably expect” a release.

Iran Won’t Back Down to U.S as Sanctions Tighten, Salehi Says
By Ladane Nasseri -- Iran will not surrender to international pressure as tightening sanctions restrict the country’s trade in the run-up to the next round of nuclear talks, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said. “The West thinks that Iran, like many other countries, will surrender under pressure from the U.S. but this belief is wrong,” Salehi said in an interview with the official Islamic Republic News Agency published today. “Sanctions create minor problems for us but we will continue on our path.”
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Encana Seeks Partner to Drill North American Oil, Liquids Fields
By Jim Polson -- Encana Corp., Canada’s biggest natural-gas producer, is seeking partners to help fund drilling on 1.58 million acres of oil and gas-liquids fields in the U.S. and Canada. Encana is offering minority stakes to help accelerate development of 1.2 million net acres in the U.S. and 375,000 acres in Canada, the Calgary-based company said today in a statement. Encana would continue to operate the assets and it’s too soon to speculate on the size or value of any deals, Chief Executive Officer Randy Eresman said in the statement.
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Enterprise Seeks Pricing Muscle for Seaway Oil Pipeline Reversal
By Mike Lee -- Enterprise Products Partners LP is asking federal regulators for the freedom to set rates on its Seaway pipeline to take advantage of soaring demand to ship oil from new North American fields to Gulf Coast markets. Enterprise has asked the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to grant a flexible rate known as a market-based tariff for the pipeline. It would be a first for a crude oil line and allow Enterprise to set and change rates without FERC’s approval. Seaway, co-owned by Enterprise and Enbridge Inc., connects the storage hub at Cushing, Oklahoma, with Gulf Coast refineries. Demand for the line, which is scheduled to be reversed so it runs southward, has been so robust the companies said March 27 they’ll more than double the line’s capacity to 850,000 barrels a day. The pipeline, when finished, will rival TransCanada Corp.’s planned Keystone XL line in transporting crude from Canada’s oil sands and the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and Montana.
Web: (subscription required)
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Exxon Retains Disputed Alaska Leases With Condensate, LNG Accord
By Joe Carroll, Bradley Olson and Karen Gullo -- Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips and BP Plc agreed to pump light crude oil from a dormant Alaskan field and offer natural gas to Asian utilities in exchange for the right to retain leases the state sought to reclaim. Under terms of a settlement announced yesterday, Exxon and its partners in the Point Thomson field pledged to ship 10,000 barrels of condensate daily through the TransAlaska Pipeline System beginning in 2016. The companies also promised to seek overseas buyers for gas from the field that currently is too remote from North American markets to be sold. The deal resolved a six-year-old legal dispute that saw successive Alaska governors attempt to kick Exxon and its partners off the leases for failing to produce any of the field’s 8 trillion cubic feet of gas and 200 million barrels of condensate. Asian gas demand is growing at such a clip that Alaskan supplies will have no trouble finding buyers, even as rival gas producers such as Australia increase output, Governor Sean Parnell said.
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Progress Energy Reactor Review May Be Delayed, NRC Chief Says
By Brian Wingfield and Julie Johnsson -- Progress Energy Inc., which is proposing to build nuclear reactors in Florida, may face greater scrutiny and delays than other utilities, due to Japan’s nuclear disaster last year, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko said. While the NRC has approved plans by Scana Corp. and Southern Co. to build reactors, its review of Progress’s bid to construct identical units may be slowed by an agency analysis of U.S. plant safety after meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant.
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KKR, Premier Agree to Buy Shale Properties From WPX Energy
By Anne-Sylvaine Chassany -- KKR & Co., which teamed up two years ago with Premier Natural Resources LLC to buy oil and gas assets in North America, agreed to acquire properties in the Barnett shale and Arkoma basin from WPX Energy Inc. for $306 million. KKR Natural Resources, the firm’s joint venture with Premier, will buy 27,000 net acres in north central Texas and eastern Oklahoma and 66,000 net acres in the Arkoma basin from Tulsa, Oklahoma-based WPX, the New York-based private equity firm said in an e-mailed statement today. “We see attractive opportunities to invest behind the development of domestic energy resources and remain excited about the opportunity to grow our natural resources platform,” Jonathan Smidt, Head of KKR Natural Resources, said.

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Russian Aircraft Crash in Oil-Rich Region Kills at Least 31 (2)
By Ilya Khrennikov and Henry Meyer -- A turboprop plane crashed in Russia’s oil-rich Tyumen region early today, killing at least 31 of the 43 passengers and crew on board. The plane, which had just taken off from Tyumen en route to Surgut, crashed while trying to make an emergency landing three kilometers (1.9 miles) from the airport, UTair airline said on its website, without elaborating on the cause of the accident. More than 200 emergency workers arrived at the scene, the country’s Emergency Ministry said on its website. President Dmitry Medvedev, who has pushed to modernize the economy and called for purchases of foreign aircraft to guarantee safety of air travel, delayed his meeting with leaders of opposition groups until tomorrow after the crash. Russia had the world’s worst safety record for air travel last year, ahead of the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to data compiled by researcher Ascend Worldwide Ltd.
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