Going for gold: London bullion market finds no clear path to increasing liquidity

The London bullion market is in a state of flux, with participants — ranging from bankers to brokers to exchanges — jostling to find out exactly what the other one wants in order for the market to evolve and fight off the increasing threat of business moving to Asia alongside mounting regulation.

The market is engaging behind closed doors to find out what it wants, but exactly what that is seems unclear to all involved.

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US continues to distance itself as the world leader of natural gas

Over the last decade, the United States has firmly established itself as the world’s largest natural gas producer. This significance of this is difficult to overstate, as less than a decade ago growing natural gas demand and declining production was putting the US on course to import significant amounts of gas from abroad.

The growth has created a buzz throughout the entire commodity industry and around the world. Folks that cover oil, ethanol, electricity, coal, natural gas liquids, petrochemicals, and grain often comment about the exceptional growth of the US natural gas industry, sharing thoughts on how big a role gas will play in the US and abroad.

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A Texas tale of two winds

It was a curious stretch of time for wind power generation in Texas.

From mid-August to mid-September, the availability of wind generation in the most heavily-stocked market did a virtual U-turn.

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On the road again: Why one of the US’ largest oil producers saw car traffic drop

What will get North Dakota drivers back on the road?

On Monday, the US Department of Transportation released its July 2015 Traffic Volume Trends, showing every state posting a year-over-year increase in vehicle miles traveled – except for one.

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US Atlantic Coast crucial stronghold for rail and crude

Pipelines are chasing crude-by-rail shipments out of most US markets, but the Bakken-to-Atlantic-Coast route has managed to keep a hold on its market share, making the spread between domestic and international crudes more important than ever to profitability on the rails.

Rail used to have a key advantage in the midstream market; namely, it was already there. When the US started producing massive quantities of crude oil from shale wells about six years ago, the volumes quickly overwhelmed the market’s ability to move it around with traditional infrastructure. Huge amounts of crude oil were piling up in the Bakken, hundreds or even thousands of miles from the major coastal refining regions, and no one had the space to move it.

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The Panama Canal is leaking!? Eh…who cares, LNG trade seems to say

During routine testing of the expanded Panama Canal, engineers recently discovered some alarmingly large leaks in the new Cocoli Locks on the Pacific side, separating the middle and lower chambers. Despite the startling volume of water that can be seen cascading through what appears to be several meters of solid concrete, news of this development seems to have remained a secret. Alternatively, perhaps it’s just that no one actually cares.

According to the Panama Canal Authority, LNG tanker traffic is expected to reach 25 million metric tons per year upon completion of the expansion project. In recent years, LNG export project developers along the US Gulf Coast have been banking on an expanded canal for sales to Asia. Indeed, according to some estimates, the transit distance from the US Gulf Coast to Japan can be reduced to around 9,215 nautical miles, compared with 14,570 nautical miles through the Suez Canal.

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Russia’s oil industry woes also from within: Petrodollars

Russia’s oil and natural gas industry is feeling the impact of low prices and financial and technological sanctions, but disagreements within the country’s own energy sector are also proving a hurdle to development, as Rosemary Griffin details in this week’s Oilgram News column, Petrodollars.

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To build, or not to build, that is the question with ethane crackers

The US is experiencing a renaissance in petrochemicals due to the abundance of ethane from shale gas. As a result, we saw many announcements of ethylene capacity expansions and ethane based projects in the US to utilize more of the shale gas based ethane. Why? Ethane based crackers sit low on the ethylene production cost curve.

So what do you do if you are a naphtha cracker high on the cost curve producing in Europe and Asia?

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Paris climate talks: What can be expected from COP21 (Part 3 of 3)

Europe, the US and China have all submitted their plans to the UN ahead of the Paris talks, detailing greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and measures to achieve them.

While the big players are getting serious on emissions reductions, there are still potential sticking points in the negotiations.

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Waiting for Good Dough: A steel tragicomedy

Hank Steel, sitting on a low mound of trade publications, is trying to take off his wing-tip shoe without untying it, panting. He gives up, exhausted, tries again.

Enter Bobby Mallaferro.

HANK: (giving up again) Nothing to sell.

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