Daily Archives: May 13, 2010

Carola Hoyos

A rig drilling for gas in Venezuela sank in the early hours of today. All 95 people on board were saved and there is no risk to the environment, according to Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela’s energy minister.

The Aban Pearl semi submersible rig was working in the Caribbean Sea close to the islands of Trinidad and Tobago and had been visited by Mr Ramirez and Mr Chavez in the past, according to Reuters. It was being operated by Pdvsa, the country’s national oil company, without the help of international partners.

Other than the stark difference to the current disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, this story’s most notable facet may well be the form in which the news was delivered.

Mr Chavez delivered the news: “Con pesar les informo q se hundió la plataforma gasifera Aban Pearl hace pocos momentos. La buena noticia es q los 95 trabajadores a salvo….” by Twitter.

That translates to: “With regret I inform you that the Aban Pearl gas rig has sunk a few moments ago. The good news is that the 95 workers were saved.”

Sheila McNulty

US natural gas producers have been keeping their fingers crossed that the next energy bill out of Congress would include major incentives for the fuel. They were unhappy with the Waxman-Markey proposal for barely mentioning natural gas and have been in Washington ever since trying to get lawmakers to recognise the benefits of natural gas.

The American Petroleum Institute says it is still considering its view on Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman’s draft bill. Refiners are unhappy, while the electric power industry has been broadly very supportive. But the natural gas industry already feels the plan is a disappointment.

Kate Mackenzie

More and more reports are coming in about delays to oil drilling projects as a result of the Deepwater Horizon accident and continuing oil leak. There is a temporary moratorium on new drilling permits, and a suspension of hearings on Virginia’s offshore development.

Some very high-profile projects could be among those affected, including BP’s own, newfound, ultra-deepwater discovery.

Kate Mackenzie

- Whistleblower claims widespread BOP test cheating

- Clean-up strategy veers into uncharted science

- “You’re trading one species for another” with dispersants

- The ‘oil spill battleship’ that never was

- Crystals, the GoM blowout, and the new ‘top hat’

- Electric cars in Europe

- Reducing carbon, the old-fashioned way

- About that climate funding

- Rig survivors felt coerced to sign waivers

Kate Mackenzie

Is the current decline in crude oil prices simply due to short-term risk aversion and WTI storage issues; or is it a return to fundamentals?

There’s no doubt that the relationship between crude futures and equities has been strong in recent years, with commodities now seen as another asset class by many investors.

But bulls believe the fundamentals — rising demand from emerging markets and constrained supply — will keep prices buoyant.

Kate Mackenzie

As the fundamentals debate returns to oil prices against the fall in WTI in particular, focus is naturally on inventories growth. Stephen Schork writes that the ratio of US oil inventories to sales can actually be a potent indicator for equities.

Cue chart:

Stephen Schork - oil inventories/sales ratio vs S&P500

Kate Mackenzie

- Panel reveals litany of failures on oil spill – FT

- Failed pressure test, hydraulic leak preceded rig blast – Houston Chronicle

- BP releases oil spill video after pressure from White House, media – ABC News

- Top hats may be operational by Friday – Rigzone

- Climate bill faces tough ride in Senate - FT

- Russia to build Turkey’s nuclear plant - FT

- IEA warns against US spill overreaction - FT

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