No fewer than 60 oil service companies in Venezuela – including Williams, Wood Group and Boots & Coots – were in for a nasty shock when President Hugo Chavez began to expropriate their equipment and installations on Lake Maracaibo, the nation’s oil heartland, last Friday. Venezuela’s socialist leader indicated that takeovers will continue this week in the east of the country. Although larger companies like Schlumberger and Halliburton have so far not been affected, with the government leaving rigs alone, they are keeping their heads down.
What kind of signals will all this send to the 19 oil companies – both oil majors and foreign state corporations – currently preparing bids for what is touted as the biggest oil auction on earth? Read more
There were plenty of reports over the weekend about a glorious new agreement signed in Prague that will advance the Nabucco pipeline project – an ambitious €9bn plan to diversity Europe’s gas supplies, and reduce dependence on Russia in particular. Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek described it as “a new silk road” as a deal was signed by leaders from Europe, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia.
But just hang on a minute. Where are the other gas suppliers? Read more
Good news travels fast. Shares in DNO, the Norwegian oil company, whose greatest claim to fame is that it produced Iraq’s first new oil since the end of the US invasion, rose as much as 29 per cent today. The company has been given the go-ahead to use the main Turkey-Iraq pipeline instead of exporting its oil via truck.
As long as all goes to plan, DNO will be able to send the oil via the pipeline from June 1. Addax, the Swiss company, sits in a similar boat. The volumes involved add up to less than 100,000 barrels a day: a lot for the two small companies, but for Iraq – given its huge 2m + production and huge potential – it’s not enormous. Read more
The USO ETF’s command of the WTI crude market has taken a breathtaking drop in the last few months. Having held close to 100,000 WTI contracts at the end of February (amounting to nearly 20 per cent of the WTI market) it has now halved to some 50,000 contracts.
So where did all that money go? Read more
Evidence of “green shoots” emerging from leading indicators in developed economies has helped to lift prices. Traders have also pointed to rising hedging activity by consumers and a pick up in speculative interest as further signs that market activity is strengthening.
ICE June Brent fell $1.37 to $56.77 a barrel while Nymex June West Texas Intermediate lost $1.35 to $57.28 a barrel after reaching a fresh 2009 high on Friday at $58.75. Read more
Spain’s biggest energy company, Repsol, has published details of a big gas find in Brazil’s deepwater offshore Santos Basin.
Repsol last week announced profits down 57.4 per cent for the first quarter of 2009, compared to a year earlier. Its production also fell 5 per cent, substantially worse than some of its supermajor rivals – BP’s for example rose 2 per cent. Total, however, also reported a 4.3 per cent fall in production last week. Read more
A long-delayed UK government announcement on smart meters has finally been delivered – albeit with some detail yet to be filled in.
But will they actually lead to reductions in energy use?
The short answer is yes, but not in the way that you’d think. Read more
- China’s crude oil imports near record high in April
Evidence oil demand in China is picking up (Reuters)
- EDF to sell British Energy stake to Centrica
UK gas group to pay less than expected £2.25bn (FT) Read more