China hails new deepwater natural gas find, done all on its own

China National Offshore Oil Corp. has plenty to get excited about these days. After years of touting the unexplored and hidden depths of the South China Sea, the company has finally scored a coup with its first independent deepwater discovery.

The company earlier this week announced the success of the Lingshui 17-2-1 wildcat well, hailing it as a major breakthrough in exploration efforts.

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EIA analysis: US crude oil stocks increase

The US West Coast was the main driver of the crude oil stock increase this week, partly due to a decrease in refinery runs, which fell 82,000 barrels per day to 2.37 million b/d.

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Bank commodity trading and the US Fed: An unfolding relationship

Last week something serendipitous happened. I went to what was ostensibly a briefing and news broke out.

The news was that the big French bank BNP Paribas, after some high-level recruitment from a decamping JP Morgan Chase, intends to try and rebuild North American physical electricity trading to go along with its existing natural gas trading operations done primarily through its offices in New York.

BNP’s decision bucks the trend set by a number of other big banks—most notably JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and Barclays Plc– who have pulled out of several areas of physical energy commodity trading due to a combination of changing market conditions and flagging revenues, but perhaps most importantly, due to mounting regulations.

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Utica shale’s big natural gas flows, and Edvard Munch

Did you ever feel like that kid in the poster for the classic movie “Home Alone” who is clutching his face with both hands, mouth agape in shock at having to foil two nitwit burglars?

I did when I saw the initial natural gas production rates that have come out of some recent Utica Shale wells.  Although it wasn’t out of shock but sheer awe at the volumes being yielded by wells the Northeast US natural gas-prone play.

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Petrodollars: What do Russian oil companies do in the wake of sanctions?

Sanctions against Russia are moving closer to the country’s big oil companies. In this week’s Oilgram News column Petrodollars, Rosemary Griffin looks at the choices that companies such as Rosneft face.

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Fracking dollars help save a sports icon in fracking-free New York

Another chapter in the never-ending love/hate relationship between New York and fracking. The former has banned the latter, as we’re sure you know.

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Indian steel needs support, not tariffs, to fulfill output aspirations

India’s steel sector has been generally positive about new Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first 100 days in office, which he marked on September 3. Formerly the Chief Minister of Gujarat state for more than a dozen years, Modi presided over strong economic growth in that region, an achievement Indians are hoping to see extended across the entire country.

India has been crunching the gears economically for several years while its big rival China, unencumbered by the democratic process, has motored ahead. Steel projects have foundered due to difficulties in gaining land access–most notably Korean giant Posco’s planned 6 million mt/year capacity works in the south of India–while decrepit infrastructure makes transporting raw materials inside the country expensive and challenging.

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The possible implications of Russian sanctions on Europe’s polyethylene market

(Hetain Mistry is a member of Platts Petrochemical Analysis team. You can see more of their work by going here.)

In recent months Russia has come under global political pressure due to its current geopolitical conflict with the Ukraine. The Platts Petrochemical Analytics team is looking at whether these pressures, in terms of credit and liquidity for project development, will filter down to the development of planned petrochemical projects.

Platts Petrochemical Analytics lists 25 polyethylene projects forecast to come online in Europe over our outlook period, with capacity on those projects totaling around 7.5 million mt.  The majority of these projects will come onstream in Russia, but there are other projects planned for Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, the Czech Republic and potentially Uzbekistan. Out of the 7.5 million mt of additional tonnage expected to come onstream in Eastern Europe, Russian projects will account for 77% of the additional capacity.

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Who CARES about UK steel rebar? Quite a few, actually

UK reinforcing bar is not the world’s most relevant steel market. Perhaps because it’s circa 800,000 mt/year, which is peanuts compared with China’s rebar output in excess of 200 million mt/year. Fair to say, the UK is not a price setter for rebar.

But there’s been an interesting story rumbling on for about a year now over whether imported Chinese material complied with UK certification for the construction industry standards (CARES).

Despite its seemingly trivial nature in relation to the global steel market, those who rely on the UK for their daily bread have gotten quite worked up about the matter.

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More bearish oil market signals from IEA as demand growth forecasts slashed

The closely watched monthly oil market report from the International Energy Agency confirmed a continued trend of oil demand growth slowdown on Thursday, adding a renewed bearish sentiment to already low oil prices.

There was nothing in the report to suggest prices could rebound from their current 16-month lows. The IEA described the recent slowdown in world oil demand growth as “nothing short of remarkable.”

And it is China — considered the key barometer for world oil demand growth — that the IEA said was one of the main causes of its most recent revisions.

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