Archive for the ‘oil’ Category

The political calculations of ethanol in Iowa and in Washington

Conventional political wisdom has held that given Iowa’s importance in US presidential contests as host of the first-in-the-nation nominating caucuses, the Renewable Fuel Standard is pretty much unassailable.

The federal biofuels mandate enjoys immense bipartisan support in the state, where corn is king.

Candidates hoping to curry favor with state voters would need to wholeheartedly endorse the RFS or at least pay lip service to the law while campaigning there. Iowa, after all, leads the nation in biofuels production, with 41 ethanol plants in the state, along with 18 biodiesel facilities.

But, if RFS opponents are to be believed, the political landscape could be changing.

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Did the US Commerce condensate export rulings mean nothing?

Two US Commerce Department rulings giving a pair of Eagle Ford players legal backing to export processed condensate have been viewed as a dramatic loosening of America’s 40-year ban on crude exports, or at least a sign that long-awaited export policy changes were near.

But what if these private letter rulings really only impact the companies that received them and nothing more?

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Kurdistan Regional Government pushes independence; what’s the oil angle?

Survivors for centuries in one of the Middle East’s roughest neighborhoods, Iraq’s Kurds have learned to keep their options open. However, any lingering doubt that they might be aiming for independence sooner rather than later vanished this month with the sudden appearance of a Kurdish “national anthem” on the Kurdistan Regional Government website.

“Ey Reqib”, or “Hey, Enemy”, was written in 1938 by Yunis Reuf, a Kurdish poet and anti-Ottoman political activist also known as Dildar, who was born 20 years earlier in the town of Koi Sanjaq in what is now the Erbil governorate of Iraqi Kurdistan. Before dying at age 31 of heart problems, Dildar saw his poem adopted as the national anthem of the Kurdistan republic in Mahabad (currently part of Iran), which was founded in 1946 and lasted for only a year.

Now the KRG has proclaimed it the official anthem of South Kurdistan, an alternative name for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. It’s a name that tips its hat to the long-held Kurdish ambition of establishing a Greater Kurdistan state encompassing parts of Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran.

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EIA analysis: US refineries crank up their runs, crude oil stocks fall

The US refinery operating rate rose more than 2 percentage points last week, which for a one-week period is a significant jump. You can read about what that meant for inventories by reading our weekly analysis here.

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The end is nigh for high sulfur European gasoil, despite pockets of demand

It has not been a great year for high sulfur gasoil consumption in Europe, by any stretch of the imagination.

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New Frontiers: Looking at the oil prospects in the Delaware Basin

In another look at a highly prospective formation in the US, Starr Spencer reviews the outlook for the Delaware formation, part of the Permian basin, in this week’s Oilgram News column, New Frontiers.

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US jet fuel demand hits blockbuster status

The US summer movie season has yet to see a true blockbuster, unless you count “Transformers.” But new data shows the summer jet fuel demand season has finally reached blockbuster status.

US jet fuel demand for the week ended July 4 spiked 8% to 1.799 million barrels a day for its highest level since November 2007, while stocks plummeted 4% to 35.6 million barrels for the lowest mark since May 2004, according to data released July 9 from the Energy Information Administration.

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IEA paints a steady picture for 2015 oil markets

The International Energy Agency on Friday gave its first taste of how oil markets might look in 2015, and on first reading it looks as though they should be pretty well supplied throughout the course of the year.

The agency’s confidence that non-OPEC supply can meet almost all of the projected growth in demand next year means that OPEC itself won’t need to produce, on average, any more than its current 30 million b/d ceiling. Read the rest of this entry »

On US oil exports, offshore safety, crude-by-rail, how long will the government delay?

It has become a routine in Washington to explain the government’s inability to react to changes in the marketplace by blaming the swift pace of technological change. The latest such admission came last week when Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker spoke about US crude exports.

“Technology is advancing faster than existing regulations,” Pritzker said during an appearance at the Aspen Ideas Festival. She said there was a “serious conversation” going on within the administration on crude export policy. “The question is what [are] the right exports and what is the right amount of exports.”

Similar admissions have come from other officials on the topic of transporting crude by rail and ensuring the safety of offshore drilling. In all three cases, industry has wisely not waited for Washington to act. Innovation marches on and companies put huge amounts of capital at risk to advance new ways to produce and move energy resources.

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EIA analysis: US crude stocks fall on higher refinery run rates

US crude oil stocks fell 2.4 million barrels the week ended July 4 on an uptick in refinery run rates, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Total US refinery throughput rose above the five-year average, which added to refinery utilization rates. Read the Platts analysis  from Alison Ciaccio here.