Regulation & Environment: Tax changes facing Russia’s oil sector

Russia’s refineries are facing a change in domestic taxation that is expected to have a significant impact. Platts’ Moscow bureau chief Nadia Rodova looks at the shifts in this week’s Oilgram News column, Regulation & Environment.

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Infographic: Steel raw materials in numbers

Platts steel team tasked our design and production department to take a wealth of steel raw materials data and transform those freshly mined (sic) numbers into something visually engaging. In this post we present you with the very interesting results.

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India’s gas pricing dilemma: A ‘Modi’cum of liberalization?

The new Narendra Modi government in New Delhi prolonged the suspense this week over what tack it will take on the controversial domestic gas pricing issue.

It had been expected to signal which way it is inclined ahead of a September 30 deadline to announce its final decision on gas prices.

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Energy Economist: The Russia-Ukraine standoff looks to the energy needs of winter

In this month’s excerpt from Energy Economist, Ross McCracken looks at the winter energy implications of the Ukraine-Russia divide.

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Has the UK natural gas market’s year-long downtrend gone into reverse?

The UK gas market has been on a downtrend throughout the year after a mild winter left storage facilities entering summer already at high levels. Qatar has also kept up a steady flow of LNG cargoes throughout the year, sending daily gas prices down from the mid 60s pence/therm in January to the lowest point of the year at 34.60 p/th on July 11.

But the market now seems to have turned 180 degrees, with a sharp jump in prices since mid-August. With higher winter demands on the way, July’s lows may not be seen again this year.

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The steel sheet market undercuts suggestions of overall weakness

There were two interesting news items in the American steel world this week: year-to-date US imports are up 37% from last year while domestic mill capability utilization recently topped 80%, after being in the 70-79% range most of the last few years, climbing from sub-50% levels seen in 2009.

Neither of these items is particularly surprising, as they are the culminations of year-long trends, but they fly in the face of suggestions that American steel consumption has been lackluster this year.

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The north of Australia is getting some oil and gas exploration attention

Australia’s ongoing offshore exploration success — Santos last week announced another gas discovery in the prolific Browse basin — has seen the vast country’s largely-untapped onshore resources overlooked by many.

Some of the country’s unconventional resources — notably Queensland’s coal seam gas fields in the east of the country — have been known about and developed for years, while others such as the Cooper Basin, in east-central Australia, have attracted significant investor attention of late, notably from US major Chevron.

But delegates at the 20th South East Asia Australia Offshore & Onshore Conference last week, held in the booming northern port city of Darwin, heard about less well known, but equally promising, onshore basins such as South Bonaparte, MacArthur and Carolina.

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EIA weekly oil analysis: a drop in crude inventories

You can see our analysis of this week’s Energy Information Administration oil report at this link. 

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Chinese oil demand drops in July from a year earlier

The global world oil market certainly isn’t getting any bullish boost from China. The Platts analysis for July showed the country’s apparent demand down from the corresponding month a year earlier. You can see our analysis here.

Privatization of key UK jet fuel pipeline could bring cash to expand capacity

It’s not every day an asset of strategic importance to the UK’s oil infrastructure is put on the market.

Even less frequently will that asset come with a portfolio of clients including the UK Ministry of Defence, the US Air Force, oil majors and one of the largest international trading houses.

The sale of the Government Pipeline and Storage System, which supplies London’s Heathrow airport with aviation fuel, offers one such opportunity. Read the rest of this entry »