Privatization of key UK jet fuel pipeline could bring cash to expand capacity

It’s not every day an asset of strategic importance to the UK’s oil infrastructure is put on the market. Even less frequently will that asset come with a portfolio of clients including the UK Ministry of Defence, the US Air Force, oil majors and one of the largest international trading houses.

The sale of the Government Pipeline and Storage System, which supplies London’s Heathrow airport with aviation fuel, offers one such opportunity.

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Regional price spreads: predicting the future of LNG

On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami devastated a large portion of Japan’s eastern coastline killing nearly 16,000 people and causing infrastructure damage estimated at more than $225 billion. The consequent nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Power Plant ultimately resulted in the closure of all of Japan’s nearly 50 nuclear reactors.

In a move to compensate for lost electric generation capacity, Japanese imports of LNG jumped nearly 23% to 86.7 million mt during the 2012-2013 fiscal year, up from imports that totaled 70.6 million mt during the fiscal year just prior to the disaster.

The precipitous jump in demand for LNG from post-Fukushima Japan changed the global gas market irrevocably. Since March 2011, spot Asian gas prices have averaged roughly $15.65/MMBtu compared to prices that trended around $7.00/MMBtu during the two-year period from 2009-2011.

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At the Wellhead: Colombia takes a sobering look at its oil industry

The looming changes in Mexico’s oil patch have the potential to negatively impact what has been a Latin American success story: Colombia. In this week’s Oilgram News column At the Wellhead, Chris Kraul looks at the issue with an experienced Colombia oil hand.

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Miners become leaner and meaner to thrive in lower price environment

BHP Billiton CEO Andrew Mackenzie is a multilingual, soft-spoken Scot who had a brilliant academic career before moving into industry. Rio Tinto’s urbane CEO Sam Walsh is a patron of the arts in Western Australia and is well-known for collecting antique jugs.

Neither men are what you might describe as “bruisers.” Yet both have rolled up their sleeves since taking charge a year or so ago, flexing their managerial muscles with the aim of turning their mining companies into much leaner and meaner organizations.

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Home (and oil) on the range

A few miles east of Texas State Highway 19, a conspicuous circle of valves, gauges and metal tanks sits in the middle of lush, green farm land. This property, owned by one family for almost two centuries, has become one of the latest stakes claimed by an industry that has already found great success with similar sites across Texas.

Behind the wheel of a bright red truck, on the way to town to see her grandchildren, Susan, the landowner, smiles and shakes her head.

“They say we live on an oil field,” she says. “I say we live on a ranch.”

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EIA analysis: Gulf Coast refineries are cranking it out

US Gulf Coast refineries operated at a record rate last week, according to the Energy Information Administration. You can see our analysis of the latest numbers here.

You know what blows up besides oil? Just about everything

Since I’m based in California and work the last US shift of the day with the Platts Central Editing Desk, it falls to me to watch for possible news items as the sun rolls out of the American sky and into Asia.

So nearly every evening, unless I’m so flat out with other work that I can’t, I troll Google to see if something wild has happened in the commodities world that I ought to cover for us.

This has me regularly searching for words such as “spill” and “explosion” and “fire.”

(And yes, I am absolutely expecting Homeland Security to come to my place any day now. It will be interesting to see how my company’s bean counters respond when they see the bail bond charge on my expense bill.)

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Petrodollars: China builds up its oil tanker fleet

Everyone talks about Chinese demand for oil. But the Chinese are also increasing their demand for the ships that move that oil around. James Bourne looks at the trend in this week’s Oilgram News column, Petrodollars.

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Goodbye to all that: oil, empire and August 1914

The onset of the First World War underlined the seismic change that was engulfing every aspect of life in the early part of the 20th century. As Europe’s great powers tumbled over the precipice into a catastrophic four years of carnage, few could envision the role that powered transportation would play in the conflict, or the toll that mechanized, industrialized warfare would extract from its youth.

In a war that left such an indelible mark on society, oil would for the first time play a significant role. To that end, the First World War is a significant landmark in the formation of corporations that came to dominate the 20th century. The age of the majors had dawned.

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The “sharing” economy and its impact on raw materials

What would happen if the American consumer, the most voracious buyer the world has ever seen, becomes more efficient at purchasing?

That is the question that could shape our future economics as the sharing of goods and services continues to proliferate with the aid of smart phones and social media.

Will ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft put taxis out of business? Will Airbnb, which connects vacationers to people with rooms — or castles — to rent, put hotels out of business?

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