Zooming out from current US steel woes shows a long slide

US buyers and sellers of steel have lots of time on their hands to study their predicament as the market remains in the doldrums, but gaining perspective could produce even more malaise.

Read the rest of this entry »

Canada’s petchem sector looks for expansions on back of domestic feedstock

Prior to the drop in oil prices during the second half of 2014, the shale revolution was putting the US in a position to become less dependent on foreign oil, fueling job creation in the oil and gas industry, and creating a manufacturing renaissance. Many countries attempted to replicate the same success that the US experienced in shale. However, the US and Canada are the only major producers of commercially viable natural gas from shale formations in the world.

While large-scale commercial production of shale gas has not yet been realized in Canada, at least to the degree that the US has attained, many petrochemical companies are exploring the opportunities from the new supply of natural gas liquids derived from shale gas developments in Canada.

Read the rest of this entry »

How diesel became the new environmental “evil” in Europe

As news of the Volkswagen scandal broke in the US, it was only a matter of time before the storm hit Europe’s shores. The news was just one more log on the blaze of bad publicity the diesel industry has received in recent times. Moreover, in cultural terms, nitrogen oxide emissions seem to have overtaken carbon dioxide as the more “evil” of the two pollutants.

Read the rest of this entry »

Long debate over diesel comes to a head after emissions scandal: Petrodollars

In this week’s Oilgram News column, Petrodollars, Robert Perkins looks at what the future of diesel for automobiles in Europe and beyond could be in the wake of a scandal that caused many to question whether gasoline has an opening to grab more fuel market share.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »