The great Ukrainian agricultural sell-off

As detailed previously, Ukrainian agribusiness has been one of the few success stories during the course of the country’s recent woes. And it’s a good thing that it is, as it is hard to understate the importance of agribusiness to Ukraine. A third of all exports from Ukraine last year were agricultural. Some 16.3% of total GDP comes from the sector. One in five employed adults work in a role connected to agriculture.

Read the rest of this entry »

North Dakota regulators scramble to keep Bakken production steady

In July, North Dakota produced just over 1.2 million b/d of crude oil, down just over 9,400 b/d from the previous month and down nearly 26,000 b/d from the all-time high of about 1.23 million b/d the state set in December 2014.

The decline in Bakken production is hardly surprising considering the dramatic cuts producers have made in response to the sustained drop in oil prices, nor is it a particularly severe drop.

But state regulators are scrambling for options to sustain North Dakota production above that 1.2 million b/d level and prevent supply from falling along with the state’s rig count. The state is expected to unveil production figures for August this week.

Read the rest of this entry »

Politics, geology and money collide for Russia’s Arctic bids: At the Wellhead

In this week’s Oilgram News column, At the Wellhead, Nastassia Astrasheuskaya looks at Russia’s moves to lay claim to oil resources in the Arctic.

Read the rest of this entry »

Search for solutions to modernize gold trading gets kicked into high gear

The London bullion market could be moving closer to finding a solution to what it needs — in order to increase transparency and liquidity in the face of tighter regulation — with both the London Bullion Market Association and World Gold Council throwing their hats in the ring in order to seek out the best solution for the wider market.

The market has been rife with chatter lately regarding what solution is needed, although little agreement has been made. However, one thing is apparent: central clearing is a logical step forward.

Read the rest of this entry »

Analysts, aluminum buyers mull impact of Chinese petcoke crackdown

China’s amended Air Pollution and Control Law includes a restriction on the import, sale or use of higher-sulfur petroleum coke, which is likely to tighten supply of anode-grade petcoke for the aluminum industry, according to analysts.

Petroleum coke is a byproduct of oil refining, and about 80% of global production is considered fuel-grade, used for generating electricity and in the cement industry. The remaining 20% is calcined, or further refined, and serves as a key ingredient in other manufacturing ─ in particular, aluminum production. Calcined pet coke (CPC) is used to make the anodes that provide the carbon for the electrolytic chemical reaction during aluminum smelting.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dry spell for DDGS as China stops buying

While some may associate the summer with dry spells, for the US dried distillers grains (DDGS) market, the dry spell has come in the fall.

Numerous sources have said that China, the world’s No. 1 importer of DDGS, has stopped purchasing the ethanol byproduct in recent months after buying heavily earlier in the year. That assertion is backed up by data from the US Department of Agriculture. According the USDA, DDGS exports peaked in May at $252.016 million, fell off slightly in July, then cratered in August.

Read the rest of this entry »

Zooming out from current US steel woes shows a long slide

US buyers and sellers of steel have lots of time on their hands to study their predicament as the market remains in the doldrums, but gaining perspective could produce even more malaise.

Read the rest of this entry »

Canada’s petchem sector looks for expansions on back of domestic feedstock

Prior to the drop in oil prices during the second half of 2014, the shale revolution was putting the US in a position to become less dependent on foreign oil, fueling job creation in the oil and gas industry, and creating a manufacturing renaissance. Many countries attempted to replicate the same success that the US experienced in shale. However, the US and Canada are the only major producers of commercially viable natural gas from shale formations in the world.

While large-scale commercial production of shale gas has not yet been realized in Canada, at least to the degree that the US has attained, many petrochemical companies are exploring the opportunities from the new supply of natural gas liquids derived from shale gas developments in Canada.

Read the rest of this entry »

How diesel became the new environmental “evil” in Europe

As news of the Volkswagen scandal broke in the US, it was only a matter of time before the storm hit Europe’s shores. The news was just one more log on the blaze of bad publicity the diesel industry has received in recent times. Moreover, in cultural terms, nitrogen oxide emissions seem to have overtaken carbon dioxide as the more “evil” of the two pollutants.

Read the rest of this entry »

Long debate over diesel comes to a head after emissions scandal: Petrodollars

In this week’s Oilgram News column, Petrodollars, Robert Perkins looks at what the future of diesel for automobiles in Europe and beyond could be in the wake of a scandal that caused many to question whether gasoline has an opening to grab more fuel market share.

Read the rest of this entry »