US steel welcomes the dawn of a new era of protection

Gay marriage: Legal.

Obamacare: Affirmed.

Trade Promotion Authority: Granted.

With the Confederate flag coming down or off the shelves in many locales as well, last week was watershed week in US history.

To American steelmakers, these historic developments may pale in light of the industry’s own achievement: a legislative change that encourages it to file more unfair trade cases.

Read the rest of this entry »

Viewing global LNG from the House at Pooh Corner, where Eeyore lives

Ross McCracken, managing editor of Energy Economist, shares what the world of LNG would look like to an unabashed pessimist . . . or maybe just to someone who eyes the massive production boom on the horizon with some concern.

Read the rest of this entry »

PDVSA’s operational decline mirrors decline in employee benefits

The decline in employee benefits at Venezuela’s state owned PDVSA is the latest sign of the crisis being experienced by the country’s oil sector, which is under pressure from the drop in oil prices, declining output, industrial accidents, as well as by hyper- inflation suffered by the country.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bragging rights: So who is the world’s top oil producer?

Earlier this month, BP’s latest Statistical Review unintentionally reopened a debate into whether the US has regained the crown as the world’s top oil producer after decades of being out-gunned by Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Ostensibly a straight-forward measure of which country tops the leaderboard on oil output, BP’s widely-read yardstick has the US eclipsing both Saudi Arabia and Russia for the first time last year since 1975. Fueled by booming shale oil, BP said, US oil output hit 11.64 million b/d last year, a narrow but decisive margin over Saudi Arabia’s 11.51 million b/d.

The devil is in the detail, however, and BP’s numbers raise the long-standing and slippery issue of what actually counts as oil.

Read the rest of this entry »

Quantifying crude in Russia proves complicated: At the Wellhead

In this week’s Oilgram News column, At the Wellhead, Nadia Rodova digs beyond the scant information about Russian oil production and gives more clues about the true state of the industry there.

Read the rest of this entry »

Gimme some sugar: Looking for some sweet news for one of agriculture’s cornerstones

There’s a war being waged that you can’t fail to have noticed. The focus is an allegedly addictive white powder that has been with us for centuries, but is attracting ever greater ire from politicians, governments and health campaigners. For some producers active in the industry, many of them based in exotic locations like South and Central America, they are unaccustomed to such attacks, and are struggling to counter the bad press and occasionally hysterical calls to stamp out their industry. And it’s all coming at a time when business just isn’t as profitable as it used to be — and there’s precious little sympathy on show.

Read the rest of this entry »

Despite expectations, could the US put more crude into reserves?

The ongoing US oil boom has compelled some lawmakers and analysts to question the need to keep so much crude stockpiled and sparked speculation that a government sale of tens of millions of barrels could be imminent. But could new rationale for how much crude the US keeps in its Strategic Petroleum Reserve actually increase the amount of crude in the US stockpile?

Read the rest of this entry »

The evolution of a petroleum geologist after the Scopes Monkey Trial

If it hadn’t been for a famous trial 90 years ago next month, John Scopes might never have embarked on a 35-year career as a petroleum geologist.

But whatever Scopes’ track record was at finding oil and gas, history has kept mum — because his stamp on the world came not from hydrocarbons but as the defendant at the center of what became known as the “Scopes Monkey Trial” in Dayton, Tennessee that began July 10, 1925, and pitted the Bible against the theory of evolution and highlighted the science-versus-religion debate which flourishes to this day.

Read the rest of this entry »

US power landscape prepares for markets, demand to heat up with summer

Summer for the power markets typically means volatility as demand shoots up with hot weather and prices bounce around as generators and traders try to provide the energy where it is needed.

Before each summer, grid operators across the United States gear up for the season by letting the stakeholders know how they are preparing in their summer outlooks. The outlooks share what the grid operators are expecting for peak loads and how much generation capacity will be available to meet the demand. For the power markets, preparing for the season means getting a handle on these outlooks and where prices are ahead of summer.

Read the rest of this entry »

US corn belt senators accuse government of setting biofuels mandate too low: Regulation and Environment

The US Renewable Fuel Standard’s inevitable day in court got a preview airing the week ending June 19th, as Corn Belt senators — echoing complaints from their biofuel industry constituents — accused the Obama administration of illegally setting the 2014, 2015 and 2016 volumes below statutory levels.

Read the rest of this entry »