Regulation and Environment: Japan’s oil refinining business adjusts to new rules

Japanese government regulation of Japan’s oil refining industry is detailed and proscriptive. Takeo Kumagai, in this week’s Oilgram News column Regulation & Environment, reviews the most recent round of new rules and how it will affect the business.

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The Oil Big Five: Your comments about oil reserves and opportunities for producers

November is thankfully on its last legs days, and we’re already exhausted. We knew the month would bring lots of big news topics (such as this one, which reminded me of this, because I’d love to see a rock opera about oil), as we discussed in our original Oil Big Five listing for the month. Then there were other items that didn’t make the list that also drew a lot of attention, from us and from others.

To feature reader comments today, we want to draw attention to the comments on our post about comments, which is very meta. We enjoy hearing from you, as these posts are intended to start conversations and discussions (even arguments!), and we think your comments are one of the highlights of this series.

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Australian junior chases Rocky Mountain oil and natural gas high

A small Australian upstream company, with the appropriate name of American Patriot Oil and Gas, is hoping to achieve what several of its peers have been unable to do: turn a little into a lot in the US market.

American Patriot’s business model is simple, yet crucially different from that pursued by some other small Australian companies that have burned through their own capital trying to make a go of it in US conventional and unconventional oil and gas, according to the company’s CEO Alexis Clark. Read the rest of this entry »

Andrew Carnegie still looms over the steel business

The initiation of the “Carnegie Way transformation journey” by US Steel last year must have given its employees pause. Andrew Carnegie was a notorious cost-cutter who valued efficiency above all else.

But the huge American steelmaker recently opened another avenue of the Carnegie Way, a corporate realignment featuring “customer-centric” strategies.

This might seem like a given, but in the steel industry a variety of factors can strain relations with customers, so sometimes it’s not easy.

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Keystone XL was theater, but it was good theater

This week’s Keystone XL drama in the US Senate was flush with the political party infighting, partisan sniping and naked political theater that critics of Washington, DC tend to hate most.

It also included the political party infighting, partisan sniping and naked political theater that Beltway media and cable news junkies tend to love most.

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EIA analysis: Counter-cyclical build in US crude oil inventories

A small expected build in crude oil stocks in the US last week actually turned out to be a fairly large build, given normal trends at this time of the year. You can read Platts’ analysis of the Energy Information Administration figures here.

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A strong frac sand market faces lower oil and natural gas prices

Not every price in the energy complex is dropping.

According to an index created by Cowen & Co., the producer price index for frac sand rose 1% in October, following a 1% gain in September. At the end of October, it was at its highest level since the end of 2012.

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At the Wellhead: A drop in the price of oil is not all good news for China

Conventional wisdom is that China, with its growing import dependence, would be nothing but “thumbs up” for the recent decline in oil prices. But as Song Yen Ling notes in this week’s Oilgram News column, At the Wellhead, conventional wisdom might not have the whole story.

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IEA predicts ‘new chapter’ for oil markets, sees price declines into 2015 as likely

The 30% fall in oil prices since mid-June continues to dominate the oil market headlines, and anyone hoping for a swift recovery in prices could well be disappointed — especially if the most recent forecasts from the International Energy Agency are anything to go by.

The west’s energy watchdog said on Friday that global oil prices could continue to fall into 2015 despite the expectation that some unconventional oil production could become uneconomic at prices under $80/b.

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The great LNG indexation debate rumbles on

Almost three years since the first contracts based on Cheniere Energy’s tolling model were signed, the great LNG indexation debate continues to rage. Only this year, the focus has shifted to how competitive those US volumes will be in the wake of falling crude prices; a complete about-turn from the last few years.

With crude oil prices touching four-year lows of around $80/b, it’s not hard to imagine a world where US exports under Cheniere’s tolling model could become uneconomic, especially if US gas prices start to rise as many analysts forecast.

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