Andrew Carnegie still looms over the steel business

The initiation of the “Carnegie Way transformation journey” by US Steel last year must have given its employees pause. Andrew Carnegie was a notorious cost-cutter who valued efficiency above all else.

But the huge American steelmaker recently opened another avenue of the Carnegie Way, a corporate realignment featuring “customer-centric” strategies.

This might seem like a given, but in the steel industry a variety of factors can strain relations with customers, so sometimes it’s not easy.

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Keystone XL was theater, but it was good theater

This week’s Keystone XL drama in the US Senate was flush with the political party infighting, partisan sniping and naked political theater that critics of Washington, DC tend to hate most.

It also included the political party infighting, partisan sniping and naked political theater that Beltway media and cable news junkies tend to love most.

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EIA analysis: Counter-cyclical build in US crude oil inventories

A small expected build in crude oil stocks in the US last week actually turned out to be a fairly large build, given normal trends at this time of the year. You can read Platts’ analysis of the Energy Information Administration figures here.

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A strong frac sand market faces lower oil and natural gas prices

Not every price in the energy complex is dropping.

According to an index created by Cowen & Co., the producer price index for frac sand rose 1% in October, following a 1% gain in September. At the end of October, it was at its highest level since the end of 2012.

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At the Wellhead: A drop in the price of oil is not all good news for China

Conventional wisdom is that China, with its growing import dependence, would be nothing but “thumbs up” for the recent decline in oil prices. But as Song Yen Ling notes in this week’s Oilgram News column, At the Wellhead, conventional wisdom might not have the whole story.

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IEA predicts ‘new chapter’ for oil markets, sees price declines into 2015 as likely

The 30% fall in oil prices since mid-June continues to dominate the oil market headlines, and anyone hoping for a swift recovery in prices could well be disappointed — especially if the most recent forecasts from the International Energy Agency are anything to go by.

The west’s energy watchdog said on Friday that global oil prices could continue to fall into 2015 despite the expectation that some unconventional oil production could become uneconomic at prices under $80/b.

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The great LNG indexation debate rumbles on

Almost three years since the first contracts based on Cheniere Energy’s tolling model were signed, the great LNG indexation debate continues to rage. Only this year, the focus has shifted to how competitive those US volumes will be in the wake of falling crude prices; a complete about-turn from the last few years.

With crude oil prices touching four-year lows of around $80/b, it’s not hard to imagine a world where US exports under Cheniere’s tolling model could become uneconomic, especially if US gas prices start to rise as many analysts forecast.

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EIA analysis: Crude stocks fell as seasonal refining pattern emerges

The US Energy Information Administration’s petroleum data was delayed this week due to the US Veterans Day holiday earlier in the week. Commercial crude oil stocks fell 1.7 million barrels to 378.5 million barrels during the reporting week that ended Friday, and it was the second reporting week in a row in which crude runs increased, following a seasonal pattern.

Read more about the numbers and their significance in the Platts analysis from Geoffrey Craig, which can be found here.

Who is scalping a ticket to the US gasoline trade? It’s all legal, and for some it’s all good

The old saying goes that if you like my offer that is too good to be true, I’ve got a piece of the Brooklyn Bridge I can sell you, too.

Hey, at least that offer is for something you can touch.

A recently established trade in the US gasoline markets has market players spending thousands on something they cannot smell, taste, put their hands on or really even see.

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OPEC cuts its oil output, and then Libya cuts it more

Platts completed its monthly survey of OPEC output in the last day or so, and then Libya decided to make all numbers from just a few days ago seem out-of-date.

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