Are oil market uncertainties, falling prices taking the sparkle out of London IP Week?

You know that London IP Week is underway when hundreds of attendees gather at the May Fair Hotel to attend the Platts London Oil Forum, which was Monday. Attendance was so high that the 500-plus participants filled three large conference rooms, linked by live video feed and connected by iPads, which got them sharing their views during a series of crucial updates and panel discussions.

Speculation about the price of a barrel of oil has made its way from the business sections to the front page, and as we fast approach $30/b, the hot topic for presenters and participants at LOF 2016 was: How low can it go?

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US scrap industry returns to an event where many were queasy last year

An annual scrap industry event in St. Louis every February has grown in mass and scale over the past decades. Once a regional chapter dinner, it is now a full-scale party that attracts scrap dealers and mill buyers from across the country.

ISRI’s Mid-American Consumers Night banquet on Tuesday evening is the main event, but meetings begin as early as breakfast on Monday. Industry friends begin gathering in the Union Station Hotel lobby well before the start of the banquet, and this year’s event brings back memories of last year, when scrap suppliers were reeling from a February price crash that finalized just days earlier.

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Will the US’ ‘M’ gasoline be dead like the mummy? Some say yes

Me: “Let’s talk about prices at the pup.”

My many critics: “Don’t you really mean prices at the ‘pump,’ doofus?”

No, in this case I really do mean prices at the pup. Why? No “M.”

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Ask Hunker Harry: Good weather news is bad news for US steel

Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog who predicts the longevity of the US winter each year, did  not see his shadow last week, indicating an early spring. This is only the 18th time in 130 years that the groundhog failed to see his shadow. An emcee at the Groundhog Day event in the chilly northwestern Pennsylvania town told those gathered it was OK to remove their coats.

What may be great news for wide swaths of America is likely bad news for the price of ferrous scrap.

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Sanctions failed to take a bite out of Russia’s oil patch: Fuel for Thought

International sanctions against Russia introduced in 2014 turned out not to be the bogeyman they first seemed to be, and could in fact have played a key role in helping the Russian oil sector to not only handle the sharp price drop over the last year and a half, but make the industry more efficient in the long run.

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Dirt devil: Airlines filter through info on latest fuel quality issue

At the Platts Middle Distillates Conference in Antwerp, Belgium, in late January, those attending spoke a diesel-focused language, this being Europe where people mostly drive diesel cars even after the VW scandal.

So I had to filter out a lot of information to get any dirt on jet fuel — also a middle distillate. And what did they talk about for jet fuel? Not prices or inventories. But filters. And dirt.

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Chinese New Year sees no-monkeying-around stance on steel overcapacity

As China takes off for the new Year of the Monkey, the mood for many in its steel industry will decidedly be sombre, judging from the recent slew of warnings several steelmakers have issued, predicting massive losses for 2015.

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Go for launch: The space race for mining metals from asteroids gains more focus

The Luxembourg Government announced a series of measures on Feb. 3 that will boost asteroid mining and the visionary use of space resources, according to a statement from the country’s Ministry of the Economy.

It’s the stuff of George Lucas, Jules Verne and James Cameron.

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The world is flat … at least for global ethylene producers while oil prices are low

On Jan. 20, WTI and Dated Brent closed at $26.54/b and 25.96/b, respectively, the lowest we have seen oil prices since 2003. Since then we have seen prices rise and hover around the $30/b level.

Unlike ethane, naphtha is highly correlated with the price of oil. Therefore, fluctuations in global oil prices will have a major impact on steam crackers, more so in Europe and Asia where most producers utilize naphtha as a feedstock for producing ethylene.

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Pemex reform efforts in Mexico hobbled by oil downturn: Fuel for Thought

Falling crude oil production, falling refined product output and falling income have led many to believe that the sky is falling on Mexico’s state-owned oil company Pemex.

The perilous situation for Mexico’s energy industry — and Pemex is Mexico’s energy industry — has not been lost on officials who are trying to reform the company and, by extension, the nation’s energy landscape.

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