An inroad for US crude export supporters on national security — maybe

The national security argument for lifting the US’ long-standing restrictions on oil exports appears to be making some headway.

Senator Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who in June had signed a letter to President Barack Obama saying unfettered US oil exports would harm American consumers, last week said he would support the “strategic export of American oil to allied countries struggling with supply because Iranian oil remains off the market.”

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The order is rapidly fadin’ and China’s steel industry faces new pressures

China’s all too apparent slowdown is all the rage. The Shanghai Composite lost more than a fifth of its value over the five days to Wednesday August 26, with record one-day plummets witnessed Monday and Tuesday.

China’s steel industry, which in recent years seemed to become untouchable as it shipped product the world over, is now gaining more attention from importing countries and soon could also feel the crunch of recent market changes.

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A tip for Trump — tax Mexico for its gasoline and diesel imports from US

Disclaimer: This post in no way, shape or form is an endorsement for or against Donald Trump or any other presidential candidate, for that matter. Nor is it an endorsement of this made-up “wall tax.”

By now, you know the spiel. The Republican front-runner for US president, businessman Donald Trump, insists he is going to have a wall built on the US-Mexico border and he is going to make Mexico pay for it. But how? Here’s an idea for Mr. Trump – one of the first places to look is refined products.

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Surge in China’s refined nickel imports continues in July

Last month we noted that China’s refined nickel imports increased a staggering 250% in June to 38,545 mt from 11,014 mt in June 2014, and stated that China may well continue to increase refined nickel imports over the rest of 2015. This trend was confirmed in July, with China customs data showing the country imported 46,362 mt of refined nickel in July, up 20% on month and up 162% on year from 17,666 mt in July 2014.

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Oil pipeline threats add to pressure on Azerbaijan

Oil-rich Azerbaijan is being rattled by disruption and attacks on pipelines, highlighting its tough geopolitical position and adding to worries about falling oil prices.

Having been courted by previous US governments, international interest in Azerbaijan and fellow Caspian producer Kazakhstan has waned in recent years, not least because of the increase in US shale oil production. Azerbaijan’s oil production is, in any case, thought to have peaked.

But with 848,000 b/d of output last year, Azeri production still matters.

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Watching the dominoes fall for US steel

The domino theory in global politics — pertaining to the spread of communism, kids — is a thing of the past, but it is getting new life in the global steel arena — not the communism part, the domino part.

The most recent example in steel is a “double domino.”

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US crude-by-barge industry faces rough waters in oil markets: Petrodollars

While pipelines and rail are often the transportation modes that spring to mind for moving oil in the US, there’s also a market for inland barges. In this week’s Oilgram News column, Petrodollars, Joshua Mann assesses how the market to move oil has shifted under pressure from crude prices.

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Q2 oil results show strength of US ‘super-shale’ for the price of a slice

If the round of second-quarter upstream conference calls showed anything, it was that operators have been humdingers in recent months: incredibly competitive, ruggedly hard-working and totally determined to match their operating costs to slipping oil prices, with a bit left over for profit.

And they have succeeded beyond their most extravagant forecasts. The cost of producing the once-perceived “high-priced” unconventional oil patch has now fallen, in some cases, to per-barrel breakeven prices pretty much on par with an extra-large delivered pizza with all the works, including tip.

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US natural gas production holding steady despite low prices

Why and how is North American natural gas production not plummeting in this low price environment? I and other folks at Platts and Bentek Energy spend a considerable amount of time trying to find a half-decent answer to this question.

Commodities are well known to go through cycles with booms and busts. As commodities go through these sequences, media outlets clamor and fret about how low or high prices could go.

As many commodities are down at the moment, it is sometimes difficult to explain that one is down more than others and why it stands out from the pack.

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Oil is everywhere: naphtha in the Bible, and alkylate on Amazon

It might be the most interesting thing I’ve learned in 2.5 years of covering energy. Oh, sure, there’s plenty of drama every time the nation’s largest economy, California, goes into theatrics over gasoline supply. It’s still a marvel how a pipeline can keep gasoline and diesel separate with nothing more than a little tweak in pressure. And it seems like every time someone sneezes too loud, the price of gasoline in Chicago goes up by 5 cents.

Then someone dropped “mouse milk” on me.

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