UK election rattles oil industry

The UK general election is compounding nervousness in an industry already worried about its future, as tight opinion polls suggest there will be no clear winner, opening up space for insurgent parties.

The May 7 election retains some familiar features, including business backing for the Conservative Party. BP CEO Bob Dudley and his counterpart at independent Tullow Oil, Aidan Heavey, were among UK business chiefs who signed a letter last month saying the outgoing Conservative-led coalition had been “good for business” and that changing course would send a “negative message” about the UK.

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US steel mills hurt in Q1, but wait continues for trade case filings

You might say the first quarter results of America’s sheet steel producers hurt, but did not Hurt So Good, to quote a John Cougar Mellencamp song.

The mills reported either losses or reduced earnings, but the situation apparently was not dire enough that they could file unfair trade cases against a surge in imports. That would have been the good part of the Q1 hurt the mills suffered.

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OTC 2015, Day 2: Can investing in new tech buoy oil and gas companies?

The downturn in oil prices has led to a lot of chatter about how best to spend money in the oil and gas world, and M&A activity is frequently cited as a prudent use of funds.

Another use, which came up repeatedly at the 2015 Offshore Technology Conference, is investing in technology, and specifically technology that can be transferred between industries and among companies.

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How the LME’s warehouse reforms have played a key role in the fall of global aluminum premiums

This dramatic fall in global aluminum premia has taken the majority of market participants by surprise. However, there seems to be reluctance among market participants to identify recent London Metal Exchange warehouse reforms as having had much to do with the drop in regional premia.

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More of Brazil’s sugar scooped up for ethanol, but sweet spot elusive

When you’re sitting on a shed load of sugarcane, it’s nice to know you have options. For Brazil, as the powerhouse of global sugar production, that choice falls into two broad areas — make sugar, or make ethanol.

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OTC 2015, Day 1: Elected officials ask oil and gas to keep improving communication

Every hero needs a sidekick, every dog needs its day, and every oil and gas conference has to talk about bettering communication with the public, it seems.

The 2015 Offshore Technology Conference in Houston this week is no exception. Today is the first day of the conference, which regularly brings in about 90,000 attendees (or more) to hear from industry execs and elected officials and to learn about the companies, organizations and countries represented in booths and demonstrations.

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Alaska’s Arctic oil resources require tech investment now: Regulation & Environment

The technology underlying the US shale revolution was largely developed and funded by government laboratories working in conjunction with the private sector. Could the same formula be the key to unlocking the oil and gas riches offshore Alaska?

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To buy or not to buy: M&A in the E&P sector — Energy Economist

In this month’s highlight of material from Platts Energy Economist, managing editor Ross McCracken delves into the best places to sink capital in a time of low oil prices and whether recent investments have truly trickled through the industry yet.

It is not hard to find proponents of the view that the current clampdown on capital expenditure by oil and gas companies will cause a shortage of oil in the future. Weak investment now causes low production in years to come. At the same time, low prices prompt greater demand. As soon as these two processes become entrenched, oil traders will look ahead to the impending shortage and prices will rise. Boom time returns.

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US Quadrennial Energy Report shows the will – but not the way – to modernizing the SPR

Ever since US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz acknowledged at a Platts forum in December 2013 that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve merited a “re-look” at how it is structured, given the boom in US production and the resulting declines in imports and changes in crude flows, US officials have said they were studying the issue and would soon make recommendations on what to do about the 1970s era storage facilities.

So, last week’s much anticipated release of the Department of Energy’s Quadrennial Energy Review must have been a disappointment, then, for people who closely follow the SPR, as the report, which included a whole chapter devoted to the reserve, merely recommended … additional study.

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The alphabet soup of oil patch recovery

The oil industry has always had buzz words and unique verbal shorthand. Remember the “Year of the MLP” (2007) and “Drill, Baby, Drill” (2008)?

During the last down cycle in 2008-2009, oil executives debated whether the recovery – when it came – would be “V”-shaped or “U”-shaped. That is, a relatively rapid bottoming of oil prices in the former instance, followed by a fairly quick rebound – or, alternatively, a steep falloff of oil prices, a plateau as the market got its bearings and settled out, and then a fairly rapid climb back up the price ladder.

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