CERAWeek 2015, Day 1: Thoughts from our oil editors

As we have in years gone by, we’re highlighting parts of the IHS Energy CERAWeek here on The Barrel. We have a rotating cast of editors coming this week to the Houston energy conference, from oil to natural gas to power, and each day we’ll have a post in which we share what stood out to us.

You can follow more of the coverage by following @PlattsOil, @PlattsGas and @PlattsPower and looking for the hashtag #CERAWeek, as well as by checking Platts.com for news stories. At the end of the conference, we’ll also have a Storify feature about the conference, compiling all our coverage in one location.

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Canadian oil producers need to learn lessons from Keystone XL saga: New Frontiers

Canada is pursuing projects that will have a major impact not only on national production, but on the North American oil landscape as a whole, as Ashok Dutta explains in New Frontiers, this week’s Oilgram News column.

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Quantifying the oversupply of US natural gas

This time a year ago, the United States produced about 66 Bcf/d of natural gas and the national average price of next-day delivered natural gas was $4.59/MMBtu. Today, the US is producing roughly 72 Bcf/d of natural gas and the average national price of next-day delivered gas, as of April 13, was $2.35/MMBtu. It is safe to say that we are in an environment of depressed prices and surplus supply.

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Oil and biofuels vehicles, check your mirror; the car behind you might be electric…

Time was when humanity seemed to take endless leaps forward in terms of technology. There was a sense that everyone was pushing forward at the same time and in the same direction. In today’s world, when investing in the next big tech, the great diaspora of ideas can be a challenge that divides investment funds, and has the ability to muddle that sense of direction, that notion of collective tech-progress.

Which brings us to cars. Combustion engines surely can’t go on for ever, that much is clear, but in that maelstrom of ideas, could the electric car now be attaining a critical mass? And could the two great energy and transport rivals — oil and biofuels — be developing a blind spot around their rise?

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How falling commodity prices have flattered Chinese GDP in 2015

What’s in a number? Quite a lot when it comes to Chinese GDP.

Especially when it’s 7%, which was the real growth rate of the Chinese economy in the first quarter of 2015, compared to the first quarter of last year, according to the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics, who released this much-awaited data point on April 15.

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Guest post: Out of sight, out of mind? Vermont considers its renewables

John Kingston is president of The McGraw Hill Financial Global Institute and director of global market insights. He continues to observe energy markets after his many years with Platts.

There’s another growing kerfuffle in Vermont, which we’ve written about before as it tries to balance a seemingly impossible array of choices as it moves forward with its energy future. It’s a small state, but some of the conflicts there are sure to be duplicated in other parts of the US…and the world.

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Builds to US oil stocks slow — at least for this week: EIA analysis

US commercial crude oil stocks rose 1.294 million barrels during the week ended April 10, marking the smallest build over the last 14 weeks, according to the latest data from the US Energy Information Administration.

Stocks now total 483.687 million barrels, and production and imports also fell during the week. For more information, including the refinery utilization rate, you can read the full Platts analysis here.

A shale gas wealth fund for northern England, but what about the south?

The UK’s Conservative party, running neck-to-neck in the polls with the Labour party ahead of the country’s May 7 general election, has released its 2015 manifesto. Among the commitments is a pledge to establish a shale gas wealth fund for the north of England.

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Beware the oil slick: US polyethylene prices slip and slide to unexpected levels

For two years, US polyethylene prices climbed higher and higher.

For two years, feedstock prices had little-to-no impact on domestic polyethylene contracts. Upward or downward shifts in domestic demand seemed to have little effect.

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As US-Cuba relations thaw, oil and gas hopes languish

The historic meeting Saturday between President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro during the Summit of the Americas in Panama may be a strong signal that over 50 years of trade restrictions will soon be eased, but don’t expect US oil and gas operators on or offshore the island nation anytime soon.

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