Archive for the ‘FUELS OILS’ Category

50 years of Liquid Natural Gas [infographic]

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

liquid natural gas storage tanks image

As we hit the milestone of 50 years since the first LNG export, Wood Mackenzie examine the current state, and future of the LNG industry.

This future looks particularly bright for the Australian market, with the country this year celebrating its 20th anniversay of LNG exporting, and set to become the 2nd largest LNG export in the world, only behind the US, eventually leaping into position as the world’s number one exporter by 2017.

liquid natural gas over 50 yrs infographic image


Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, December 11th, 2012


On Friday Ottawa green-lighted the takeover of Nexen, an Alberta petroleum producer, by China’s CNOOC for $15.1 billion, making it China’s largest ever overseas acquisition.
Emu Oil - Denis Baker Emus - Life just got better!

The Harper government has also given the thumbs up to the Progress Energy Resources deal, which would see Malaysian national energy company Petronas buy the company for $6 billion.

During the announcement, Harper said there will be limits to the government’s willingness to let future deals proceed when the transactions are conducted by foreign state-owned entities and will only proceed in “exceptional circumstances”.

The BC government lauded the deal.

Resources minister Rich Coleman said the deal is a “real sea change for British Columbia” and will allow an LNG plant to proceed at Prince Rupert, according to a report by the Canadian Press. The opposition NDP said they are also happy to see an LNG plant proceed at Prince Rupert, but would’ve liked more work on greenhouse gas implications.

The federal NDP called the deal irresponsible. Resource critic Peter Julian, in an interview with CBC’s The House, said the public should be more widely consulted and the government should more clearly define the net benefit of the deal.

Andrew Coyne writing for the Ottawa Citizen, is happy about the deal but says there is no clarity about overseas investment.

Save Fuel ! Save Money ! With the Original Vortec Cyclone

So: the right decision this time, but the promise of endless wrong decisions in future. By accepting CNOOC’s bid for Nexen (and, at the same time, Petronas’s smaller bid for Progress Energy), while all but slamming the door to other foreign state-owned firms with acquisitive ambitions in this country, the prime minister has probably struck the right balance, politically. He has done so, however, at the cost of total incoherence in policy terms.

Certainly he has done nothing to clarify Canada’s famously murky approach to foreign takeovers. Indeed, he has taken a policy that was already restrictive by international standards, and tightened it further. Where before our foreign investment rules were merely opaque, they are now both complex and opaque.

Jim Stanford, economist with the Canadian Auto Workers union, says Canada doesn’t need the money.

The only thing these foreign investors bring to the table is money – and we’ve got plenty of that. Our real national capacity to produce isn’t enhanced by these transactions, and may actually be undermined (given the risks posed by foreign control over a strategic, non-renewable resource).

In short, there’s no real economic sense in which Canada truly needs foreign capital (whether physical, human or financial) to develop our own natural resources. We’re quite capable of doing it ourselves, thank you – and we’d be much better off if we did it that way.

Weirdly, Andrew Nikiforuk at The Tyee says the whole oil thing is coming to an end anyway, and Harper decided to lock in a price for an over-valued asset:

Economic desperation, for one, also explains why the prime minister has seemingly abandoned his own conscience on China. Several years ago Harper criticized China’s human rights record and its totalitarianism. He even refused to attend the Beijing Olympics.

But with bitumen’s fortunes falling faster than the NHL’s prospects, Harper now proposes to sell the whole Canadian bitumen farm to Chinese state-owned corporations. Why? Well, they have enough almighty yuan to keep the overheated engine going.

Harper’s singular desperation has thoroughly infected every government department. The country’s new foreign policy document, drafted by Foreign Affairs Department, a new branch plant for Big Oil, not only calls for more trade with China (which consumes half the world’s coal and one-fifth of its oil), but the abandonment of ethics at home or abroad in the name of the almighty dollar.
Emu Oil - Denis Baker Emus - Life just got better!

On the other end of the spectrum, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives thought the sale was a grand idea.

MacLean’s has a nice chart to remind us that most of Nexen’s assets are overseas.

Picture of North Sea oil rig by Tuftronic10000

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Monday, February 20th, 2012

Iran struggles to find new oil customers

ByJavier Blas in Vancouver and Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran

An Iranian technician works at the Balal offshore oil platform in the Gulf waters.

Iran is struggling to find a buyer for nearly a quarter of its annual oil exports as looming western sanctions targeting the country’s nuclear programme start to bite the world’s third-biggest crude exporter.

Tehran is trying to sell an extra 500,000 barrels a day of oil, or nearly 23 per cent of what it exported last year, to Chinese and Indian refiners, according to two industry executives familiar with the talks.\

“Iran is facing severe problems finding a new buyer,” one of the executives said, explaining that Tehran was not offering discounts for the oil, which is for delivery from the start of April.

If it cannot find customers by mid-March for the oil, which is equal to the amount European refiners bought last year, Iran would be forced to put unsold barrels into floating storage in supertankers, or reduce output. Either measure could push oil prices higher.

Brent crude hit an eight-month high of $120.70 a barrel on Friday, amid worries about Iranian supplies and production disruptions in South Sudan and Yemen. On Monday it rose again, to $121.01 a barrel.

The European Union approved a ban on oil imports from Iran last month but delayed full implementation until July 1 so that Greece, Spain and Italy had enough time to find alternative supplies.

In what appeared to be an effort to pre-empt the embargo, Tehran announced at the weekend it was cutting crude sales to French and British companies.

Alireza Nikzad, a spokesman for Iran’s oil ministry, announced on Sunday that Tehran had replaced the companies from the two countries with “new customers”. He gave no further details.

Both France and Britain have already all but stopped buying Iranian crude, suggesting the move may turn out to be largely symbolic.

Even so, this is the first real action by Tehran after weeks of threats and could still have a psychological impact that may push up oil prices as the market worries that Iran could halt exports to other nations.

The Iran crisis is set to dominate International Petroleum Week, the annual gathering of the oil industry that starts on Monday in London.

The International Energy Agency, the western countries’ oil watchdog, said earlier this month that European refiners “have already curtailed imports of Iranian crude”, and added that some Asian buyers would follow. China, the single-largest buyer of Iranian crude with imports of about 550,000 b/d last year, is now buying half that volume, according to the IEA.

European oil companies including Total of France, Royal Dutch Shell, Repsol YPF of Spain and Eni of Italy have either stopped buying Iranian oil or have halted spot purchases, industry executives said.

Iranian lawmakers have called for an immediate halt in the country’s exports of oil to all EU states to hurt the region’s economy and demonstrate the country’s determination to go ahead with its nuclear ambitions.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Oil demand has not been this low  since


By Guy Chazan in London

Oil demand is falling for the first time since the 2008-09 global financial crisis as a result of a mild winter, high crude prices and the European economic crisis, according to fresh estimates from the International Energy Agency.

The industrialised nations’ watchdog said oil demand dropped by 300,000 barrels a day in the final quarter of 2011. Such a fall is rare: over the last decade, oil demand has posted drops only in the financial crisis of mid-2008 to mid-2009.

The IEA revised down its outlook for growth in 2012 to 1.1m b/d from 1.3m b/d amid signs of weakness in the world economy.

It also warned of the geopolitical risk posed to oil markets by rising tensions with Iran.

Global oil demand in 2011 was 89.5m b/d, the IEA said.

David Fyfe, head of the IEA’s oil industry and markets division, said the year-on-year fall in demand was largely due to the exceptionally cold winter of 2010-11 compared to this winter’s milder temperatures. But it was still surprising.

“Even in the 2008-9 crisis we only had a couple of quarters of absolute contraction, so it is quite rare,” he said. “We’re flagging that there are clearly downside risks to the global economy and to oil demand.”

The IEA’s latest monthly oil market report comes against the backdrop of a looming showdown between Iran and the west over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Oil prices jumped $4-$5 a barrel at the new year as the European Union prepared to impose a ban on Iranian oil imports and Tehran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial conduit for oil exports from the Gulf.

The agency characterised the oil market as finely balanced between fears of supply disruptions due to the coming Iranian embargo and concerns about an economic slowdown that will weaken demand for oil.

The price of crude has been relatively stable since last spring within a range of $100 to $120 a barrel. But the IEA said the stability was “more apparent than real.”

It said markets were caught between a “rock” – the growing likelihood of a sharp economic slowdown, or even outright recession, in 2012 – and a “hard place” – possible geopolitical turmoil triggered by the west’s face-off with Iran.

“That is scarcely a source of comfort,” the report said.

Oil markets in Europe and Asia, hit badly last year by the loss of Libyan supply, worry that sanctions against Iran will seriously affect the availability of crude.

The leaders of Japan, China and South Korea have been seeking assurances from Middle Eastern producers like Saudi Arabia that they can make up any shortfall.

Europe, which imports about 600,000 b/d of Iranian crude, is also on the hunt for replacement supplies.

These concerns come at a time of tightness in physical oil markets.

Last year, non-Opec supply grew by only 50,000 barrels a day, the third lowest performance in the last decade – largely due to a series of unscheduled disruptions in places like the North Sea, Canada and China. That was compounded by the unrest in Libya, which knocked out its exports.

While members of the Opec cartel, especially Saudi Arabia, increased production to compensate, and the IEA released emergency stocks, this was not enough to make up for the Libyan shortfall.

The IEA said crude stock levels in industrialised countries remain below the five-year average for a fifth consecutive month.

European refiners faced a “difficult task” in finding substitutes for Iranian supply, and some market dislocation was inevitable, the agency warned.

But the gradual phase-in of any EU import ban and the “considerable latitude in implementation” built into the US sanctions “will serve to minimise unwanted market disruptions,” it added.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Friday, January 13th, 2012

North Australia to have a liquiefied natural gas plant built by Japan

Japan’s largest energy explorer has today committed to build the $34 billion Ichthys liquefied natural gas project in Australia, which would become one of the world’s biggest LNG facilities with an estimated 40-year life of processing gas from WA’s Browse Basin.

Inpex chair Naoki Kuroda announced the much anticipated final investment decision in Darwin, the site elected to build the project’s onshore gas processing facility after early plans to build the hub north of Broome.

The investment would be the single-largest in Australia from the Asian nation and create an initial 3000 jobs in Darwin with 1000 more off the WA coast. Once the project is fully operational it would shrink to 700 permanent staff.

The project would provide long term stable supply of energy to Japan after the Dai-Ichi nuclear station in Fukushima was crippled from an earthquake and tsunami in March.

Ichthys is among $200 billion worth of LNG developments planned, or under construction, in Australia as the country moves toward the top spot in the global rankings of LNG suppliers.

Australia, with projects led by Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, Woodside, will “rival” Qatar as the world’s biggest exporter by 2016, Energy Minister Martin Ferguson has said.

“Ichthys will contribute significantly to the growth of the Australian economy while strengthening friendly ties between Japan and Australia,” Mr Kurodo said.

He said construction on the project was expected to begin at the Blaydin Point site in Darwin within the next month.

Mr Karudo said tenders for the project would have to demonstrate how they would maximise use of Australian products and services to be successful.

Sourced & published by Henry  Sapiecha


Sunday, May 1st, 2011


OLI GIExxon earned nearly $US11 billion ($A10.15 billion) in the first quarter, a performance likely to land it in the centre of the national debate over high gasoline prices.

The world’s largest publicly traded company on Thursday reported net income of $US10.65 billion ($A9.83 billion), or $US2.14 per share, in the first three months of the year. That compares with $US6.3 billion ($A5.81 billion), or $US1.33 per share a year ago. Revenue increased 26 per cent to $US114 billion ($A105.2 billion).

The results surpassed Wall Street estimates of $US2.04 per share on sales of $US112.6 billion ($A103.91 billion), according to FactSet.

The quarter was Exxon’s best since it earned a record $US14.83 billion ($A13.69 billion) in 2008’s third quarter. It comes at a time when some drivers are paying $US4 or more for gas and President Obama is threatening the oil industry’s multibillion-dollar tax subsidies.

Earnings grew across the company’s business segments. Income from its exploration and production business gained 49 per cent to $US8.7 billion ($A8.03 billion) while the company’s downstream business, which includes refineries, posted a huge 30-fold jump to more than $US1.1 billion ($A1.02 billion).

Anticipating a strong reaction to the results from drivers and politicians, Exxon said on a company blog on Wednesday that it has little control over the price of oil, which has risen to near $US113 per barrel. The company also noted that less than 3 cents of every dollar it earns comes from the sale of gasoline and diesel fuel.

That may not appease many motorists, however. The national average for a gallon of gas is $US3.89, about $US1.02 more than a year ago. It’s above $US4 in 8 states and the District of Columbia. And on Thursday, the Commerce Department said economic growth slowed sharply in the first quarter, partly because of high gas prices.

On the blog, Ken Cohen, Exxon’s vice president of public and government affairs, said the company was anticipating “the inevitable headlines and sound bites about high gasoline prices and what to do about them” after the earnings were reported.

Exxon’s huge profit followed similar results by other oil companies.

Europe’s largest oil company, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, reported $US8.78 billion ($A8.1 billion) in first-quarter profits, up 60 per cent from a year ago. BP PLC’s quarterly earnings rose 16 per cent to $US7.2 billion ($A6.64 billion). ConocoPhillips said net income grew 43 per cent to $US3 billion ($A2.77 billion) and Occidental Petroleum Corp said earnings climbed 46 per cent to $US1.55 billion ($A1.43 billion).

Exxon Mobil Corp increased earnings even though it produced less oil and natural gas liquids. Benchmark crude prices rose 20 per cent from a year ago.

The company has increasingly focused on producing natural gas. Exxon expects natural gas to displace coal as the second most important fuel source within the next decade, and last year it acquired XTO Energy to become the largest US natural gas producer.

Natural gas production increased 24 per cent in the quarter for Exxon, but prices declined as other companies followed Exxon’s lead and rushed to develop underground shale gas deposits in North America. Natural gas prices fell nearly 16 per cent from a year ago.

AP   Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, April 28th, 2011


Fryer grease rustling rises

due to oil price hikes

By David Hendee

OMAHA, Neb | Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:16am EDT

(Reuters) – Rises in fuel prices have led to an increase in the number of used fryer grease rustlers roaming restaurant alleys in the United States.

Grease thefts have spiked whenever fuel prices climbed during the last four years and this spring is no different, according to Tom Cook, president of the National Renderers Association.

“It’s on the rise and it’s because of higher oil prices,” Cook told Reuters in a telephone interview. “I have one member who told me it’s costing his business $1 million a year.”

Recyclers typically contract with restaurants to pick up the waste product. The grease is cleaned and sold for use as biofuel, livestock feed and other products.

An Omaha recycler has filed theft reports with police in Omaha and Lincoln in Nebraska, and Sioux City, Iowa. Thieves recently stole about 4,200 pounds (1,909 kgs) of used grease from six Lincoln fast-food restaurants.

Processed fryer oil is not trash. It is called yellow grease and is traded. Its value is driven by higher prices of gas and ethanol.

Recyclers and collectors pay restaurants about 18 cents a pound for grease. After further processing, it can be sold for 42 to 45 cents a pound, said Cook, who is based in Alexandria, Virginia.

Yellow grease was trading for less than 8 cents a pound in 2000.
The Fruit Salad Company

Cook said he plans to conduct an industrywide survey to determine the extent of the losses. Many restaurant owners don’t realize what they are losing and local law enforcement agencies have other crime-fighting priorities, he said.

One way to curb demand for stolen grease is to alert potential buyers, especially in the feed industry, to only buy from known sources to ensure the product they receive is free of impurities and moisture, Cook said.

“The price (of yellow grease) is real good right now,” he said, “and those who steal it are really getting a good deal because they’re not paying for it.”

(Editing by Jerry Norton)

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha