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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EIA analysis: big build in US distillate stocks

A big jump in distillate inventories was the highlight of this week’s Energy Information Administration inventory report. You can read our analysis of the numbers here. 

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Scotland independence vote sets North Sea oil industry on edge

Scotland’s independence vote has received a last-minute jolt of energy as polls show a surge by the Nationalist camp, which has effectively countered a mostly downbeat “No” campaign and picked holes in London’s claims to be a responsible custodian of North Sea oil.

A week ahead of the September 18 referendum and with oil remaining a major issue, pro-Union politicians and the financial community in London have been alarmed by polls showing the Nationalists level-pegging, after months in which the “Better Together” camp had a comfortable lead.

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The Oil Big Five: Your comments about Mexico and Iraq

This month in The Oil Big Five, we mulled over the fact that the more things change, the more they stay the same. What hasn’t changed for us on The Barrel is we want to feature comments from our readers around the globe, including your thoughts about what’s most important to you about the oil industry. Here are some of the comments we received from our latest entry, and a huge thanks to those who commented, as well as everyone who read the post.

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