Oil Rises to Three-Week High as OPEC Members Back Cuts Extension

Crude rose to a three-week high after Algeria said an extension to OPEC’s production curbs would be backed by most participating countries.

Futures climbed 0.6 percent in New York. Algerian Energy Minister Noureddine Boutarfa said Thursday that most OPEC members support Saudi Arabia and Russia’s proposal to prolong the curbs to March next year, and that the rate of compliance should increase. Prices had fallen earlier as the market got caught up in the turmoil surrounding Donald Trump.

Source: Oil Rises to Three-Week High as OPEC Members Back Cuts Extension

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Trump aims to expand U.S. offshore drilling, despite low industry demand | Reuters

The order could lead to a reversal of bans on drilling across swathes of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico that former President Barack Obama had sought to protect from development in the wake of the huge BP (BP.L) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Source: Trump aims to expand U.S. offshore drilling, despite low industry demand | Reuters

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Trump administration grants approval for Keystone XL pipeline

The decision marks a revival for the controversial pipeline, which the Obama administration halted.

Source: Trump administration grants approval for Keystone XL pipeline

Senate votes to lift limits on hunting Alaska grizzlies and wolves on federal land

The White House calls climate change research a ‘waste.’ Actually, it’s required by law

The Arctic just set a grim new record for low levels of sea ice

For more, you can sign up for our weekly newsletter here and follow us on Twitter here.

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Oil prices steady, heading for modest weekly rise | Reuters

By Sabina Zawadzki and David Gaffen | LONDON/NEW YORK

Oil prices were largely steady on Friday, and looked set to finish the week with modest gains after losing almost 10 percent last week on concerns that an OPEC production cut was failing to reduce a global supply overhang.

Crude traded in a narrow band this week, with Brent and West Texas Intermediate bouncing in a $2.50 range as investors weighed the impact of the first oil cut from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in eight years against rising U.S. shale oil output and high inventories.

However, oil has not been able to reclaim the range that prevailed through most of 2017 before last week’s rout. Instead of rebounding to $53 a barrel, U.S. crude has remained stuck around $49. Analysts anticipate that regaining the old levels may be difficult without significant drawdown in inventories.

Source: Oil prices steady, heading for modest weekly rise | Reuters

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Natural gas plant to rise where coal once fell in Masontown – Post Gazette

Hatfield’s Ferry, a large Greene County coal plant shuttered in 2013, has drawn the attention of a New Jersey power developer that plans to build a large natural gas plant on the site. APV Renaissance Partners, a subsidiary of American Power Ventures, said it plans to submit a permit to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection within the next month for a combined-cycle power plant. David Neurohr, a spokesman for APV, would only say that it’s a “redevelopment project” whose details would be disclosed at a public information meeting on April 5, between 5 and 8 p.m., at the Carmichaels and Cumberland Township Volunteer Fire Department. However, in late January, PJM Interconnection LLC, the Valley Forge-based grid operator that manages the flow of electricity for 13 states

Source: Natural gas plant to rise where coal once fell in Masontown

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Why gas prices are about to go up | AL.com

Travelers accustomed to low prices at the pump are in for a wakeup call.

Gas prices are ticking up and are set to increase even more as warmer months approach. The change, according to analysts at price tracking site GasBuddy, are due to refinery maintenance and the switch to costlier “summer” gas.

“With refinery maintenance and turnarounds beginning across the country, we’ll likely see a draw down on winter gasoline stocks, leading the national average to rise in the week ahead,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst.

Source: Why gas prices are about to go up | AL.com

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(Bloomberg) – Natural Gas Futures

What the year ahead looks like for natural gas

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Next year, on a remote island off Australia’s western coast, the world’s most expensive liquefied natural gas export terminal will start shipping cargoes into a market that has changed vastly since 2009, when the project was approved. Chevron’s $54 billion Gorgon LNG facility, initially budgeted at $31 billion, was supposed to have begun operations in 2014. Labor disputes have delayed it, and lower LNG prices have potentially reduced its profitability.
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(market watch) – The 10 cities with the most horrific traffic

By

You’re wasting more hours of your life sitting in traffic than ever before — and that’s not going to improve anytime soon.

In 95 of the 100 largest cities in America, traffic congestion worsened from 2013 to 2014, according to a study from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, a research institute that develops solutions for transportation problems, released this month; that’s compared to worsening traffic conditions in just 61 of the 100 cities from 2012 to 2013. “The national congestion recession is over,” the study authors conclude.

Cities with the worst traffic

 

Read: Allstate’s profit missed, because a strong economy caused more car accidents

Data for the study came from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the individual states, and the study methodology is described in detail here.

This is thanks in large part to the fact that the U.S. economy has added more than 9 million jobs since the recession began, which means more people are now commuting to work. The unemployment rate was just 5.3% in July compared to 7.3% at the end of 2008.

The congestion problem isn’t going anywhere anytime soon either: A report by the U.S. Travel Association found that commuters on many cities highways will soon experience Labor Day-like gridlock — Labor Day is typically one of the busiest travel days of the year — on the average day of the week. Some already are: “Within many cities, already almost every day is like Labor Day,” says Erik Hansen, who managed the study, referencing the summer holiday that traditionally generates the nation’s worst traffic jams.

Millions of Americans waste more hours of their lives in traffic than they did three decades ago: Those traveling during peak travel hours will spend an average of 42 extra hours each year on the road (up from 18 in 1982) thanks to traffic, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute report revealed. That’s 6.9 billion hours for commuters on the whole — “more than the time it would take to drive to Pluto and back, if there was a road,” the authors note.

What’s more, in cities with more than one million people, commuters experienced an average of 63 hours of extra travel time each year. And in some cities, that’s even worse. Here are the 10 cities in which residents waste the most hours of their lives sitting in traffic:

1. Washington, D.C.

Commuters in our nation’s capital spend an average of 82 hours extra a year on the road thanks to traffic gridlock, making this the most congested city in America. This extra drive time costs the average auto commuter $1,834 per year (this number was calculated using a combination of the value of the travel delay — estimated at $17.67 per hour per person — and the average cost of gas in the state).

2. Los Angeles, Long Beach and Anaheim

The L.A. area comes in a close second when it comes to traffic congestion: Residents there spend an extra 80 hours a year in the car and $1,711 thanks to clogged roadways.

3. San Francisco and Oakland

Auto commuters in the Bay Area are wasting an extra 78 hours of their year in traffic — and that’s costing them $1,675. That may make working for some of the more high-profile tech companies (ahem, Facebook and Google) in the area even more appealing, as many provide you with swanky buses to get to and from the office.

Read: Could tech shuttles solve Bay Area’s transit problem?

4. New York and Newark

While the New York metro area ranks No. 4 in terms of the extra hours per year spent commuting (74), it ranks No. 2 in terms of what that costs residents ($1739).

5. San Jose, Calif.

Though it’s not an exceptionally large city, it has outsized traffic congestion: Commuters here waste 67 hours in traffic at a cost of $1,422 per commuter each year. It’s one of only two cities in the top 10 that has fewer than three million residents.

6. Boston

As anyone who’s sat (and sat) on I-90 or I-93 knows, it’s slow moving in Boston. Indeed, Bostonians waste 64 hours a year in traffic gridlock at a cost of $1,388.

7. Seattle

In rainy Seattle, commuters who travel during peak times are forced to spend an extra $1,491 a year (in extra gas costs and the cost of lost time) thanks to gridlock as well as 63 additional hours in the car.

8. Chicago

Residents of the Windy City spend an average of 61 extra hours in the car each year at a cost of $1,445.

9. Houston

Houston ties with Chicago in terms of the number of wasted commuter hours each year (61), though residents there spend a little more in terms of gas costs and the costs of their lost time than in Chicago ($1,490 vs. $1,445) because of it.

10. Riverside and San Bernardino

This is the fourth metro area in California to make this list, and one of only two cities with fewer than three million residents to make it (the other was San Jose). Commuters here waste 57 hours a year and spend $1,316, thanks to traffic gridlock.

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(USA TODAY) – Oil prices tumble on Iran nuclear accord – Weekly address

After 18 days of intense and often fractious negotiation, diplomats on Tuesday declared that world powers and Iran had struck a landmark deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions Time

Oil prices tumbled Tuesday after Iran and six world powers reached a nuclear accord that clears the way for Tehran to unleash its oil onto world markets at levels not seen since the West imposed sanctions.

Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, oil futures both fell about 2% as the deal was announced on Tuesday. Oil prices also fell in the prior session.

Brent crude is an international oil benchmark that reflects global prices, and any related turmoil, whereas WTI is focused on the North American market.

WTI cut some of its early losses and was trading down 1.2% at $51.58 a barrel.

Iran has the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves with about 157,530 million barrels, or 10% of the world’s proven oil stores, according to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, of which it is a member.

But Tehran’s ability to export those reserves was severely curtailed by crippling international sanctions that bludgeoned its economy and targeted its industries.

Iran’s oil exports have fallen in half since 2012 to about 1 million barrels a day. Its oil will now reach world markets at a time when crude prices have been under pressure for months due to a global supply glut.

Sara Vakhshouri, Washington-based energy analyst at SVB Energy International, said that with Iran’s sanctions lifted it would be able to boost its oil production from 2.9 million barrels a day to 4.2 million barrels a day by 2020.

Iran’s oil production is worth about $60 billion a year on the world market.

Oil prices can also be expected to drop, Vakhshouri said, because Iran has as much as 37 million barrels of crude in storage on tankers floating in the Persian Gulf.

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(Reuters) – First Iranian ship storing oil sails for Asia after nuclear deal 

By Jonathan Saul

(Reuters) – An Iranian supertanker with two million barrels of oil is heading to Asia after sitting in Iranian waters for months, the first vessel storing crude offshore to sail after a nuclear deal this week, data showed on Thursday.Iran and six major world powers reached a landmark nuclear deal on Tuesday, clearing the way for an easing of international sanctions on Tehran and higher oil exports.While oil analysts do not expect Iran to make a major return to the market until next year, it has been parking millions of barrels of oil on tankers for months.The fully laden Starla, operated by Iran’s top tanker group NITC, had been used for floating storage since Dec. 12, 2014, a tanker tracking source said.”This is the first tanker to come off floating storage,” the source said. “One of the scenarios is it could do an STS operation, although nothing is known at the moment,” the source said, referring to ship-to-ship transfers of oil between two vessels, usually at sea.Reuters Eikon data showed the vessel was sailing from the Middle East Gulf with a Singapore destination.Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said last month the country was aiming to add 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) to production within two months of Western sanctions being eased, and as much as 1 million bpd in six to seven months.The sanctions have halved Iran’s shipments to as little as 1 million bpd. Years of under investment mean Iran may struggle to get its oil industry anywhere near full potential, analysts say. It will also take time to raise output while nuclear inspectors verify Iran’s compliance with the terms of the deal, and sanctions are slowly removed.Last month, tanker tracking sources said Iran was storing as much as 40 million barrels of oil, mostly crude, on board tankers at its anchorages, which could flood the oil market.Windward, a Tel Aviv operated maritime data and analytics company, estimated this week that Iran was storing 51.4 million barrels of crude and condensate on 28 vessels at sea.Condensate is a type of very light oil and can be used as a diluent for extra heavy crude and as a feedstock for petrochemical plants and refineries. (editing by David Clarke)

Source: UPDATE 1-First Iranian ship storing oil sails for Asia after nuclear deal | Reuters

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(USA TODAY) – Oil prices tumble on Iran nuclear accord

After 18 days of intense and often fractious negotiation, diplomats on Tuesday declared that world powers and Iran had struck a landmark deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions Time

Oil prices tumbled Tuesday after Iran and six world powers reached a nuclear accord that clears the way for Tehran to unleash its oil onto world markets at levels not seen since the West imposed sanctions.

Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, oil futures both fell about 2% as the deal was announced on Tuesday. Oil prices also fell in the prior session.

Brent crude is an international oil benchmark that reflects global prices, and any related turmoil, whereas WTI is focused on the North American market.

WTI cut some of its early losses and was trading down 1.2% at $51.58 a barrel.

Iran has the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves with about 157,530 million barrels, or 10% of the world’s proven oil stores, according to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, of which it is a member.

But Tehran’s ability to export those reserves was severely curtailed by crippling international sanctions that bludgeoned its economy and targeted its industries.

Iran’s oil exports have fallen in half since 2012 to about 1 million barrels a day. Its oil will now reach world markets at a time when crude prices have been under pressure for months due to a global supply glut.

Sara Vakhshouri, Washington-based energy analyst at SVB Energy International, said that with Iran’s sanctions lifted it would be able to boost its oil production from 2.9 million barrels a day to 4.2 million barrels a day by 2020.

Iran’s oil production is worth about $60 billion a year on the world market.

Oil prices can also be expected to drop, Vakhshouri said, because Iran has as much as 37 million barrels of crude in storage on tankers floating in the Persian Gulf.

read more

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(Mercury News) – California gas prices to soar this week

California gas prices to soar this week

By Gary Richards grichards@mercurynews.com

If you’re one of those California drivers who already resents having to pay a lot more to fill your tank than most Americans, you’re going to be sputtering mad this week.Prices at the pump have already begun creeping up in recent days, and they may soar this week as much as 30 cents a gallon in the Bay Area and 50 cents in Southern California as refinery issues and a lack of imported crude oil slam the Golden State.That means the average cost of regular gas will soon exceed $4 a gallon in the Southland and get uncomfortably close to that mark in the Bay Area.GasBuddy.com analysts say the
price hikes are occurring because of “an extraordinary convergence of fuel supply problems” that have caused “severe spikes with no immediate relief in sight.” Other analysts blame California’s special blend of less-polluting gasoline, as well as problems at three refineries in the southern part of the state.The $2.76 average across the country is a whopping 83 cents less than in California. Usually the gap is in the 20-30-cent range.The U.S. Department of Energy says the world remains “massively oversupplied.” American drivers paid the lowest price for July 4 travel since 2010, saving 90 cents a gallon.California drivers have also enjoyed lower gas prices than in years past. But state supplies are now at a 12-month low, and federal energy officials say California refiners had to use 1.1 million barrels from their storage tanks. It’s so bleak that imports to the West Coast sank to zero last week after averaging more than 100,000 barrels a day over the previous four weeks.Regular gas in Los Angeles hit $3.79 on average Saturday, up 24 cents since Thursday. Oakland stood at $3.48, 9 cents more than Thursday. And San Jose’s $3.46 average was 10 cents more than 48 hours earlier. The state average of $3.59 jumped 16 cents during the two-day period.”Holy cow — I’m scratching my head,” David Hackett, president of Stillwater Associates in Irvine told Bloomberg News. “Gasoline inventories are on the low side, but we’re not at the bottom of the tank yet.”Some energy analysts are hoping that the increase may last only a week or so. But the less optimistic ones say all bets are off.Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst at Gas Buddy, took the unusual step of urging state drivers not to rush out to fill up.”Filling up unnecessarily may further strain gasoline supply and exacerbate the situation,” he warned. “We have no gasoline as of Monday heading for the California coast. It’s a dire situation.”Problems with California’s crude oil supplies began before Memorial Day when a series of refinery problems in the Midwest led to more oil being sent there than here. Without the ability to get relief from other U.S. regions because California doesn’t have major pipelines, the West Coast has been forced to wait for large vessels from around the world to arrive.The price changes at California’s pumps are getting noticed.”What’s the deal?” asked Eric Itani of San Jose, who has seen his favorite Chevron station boost prices 8 cents in recent days. ‘We’re conserving on electricity, we’re conserving on water — and now I need to conserve on my gas usage.”I am aware that gas prices are much lower compared to one and two years ago, but I am as greedy as the oil companies.”Bill Casilla forked over $3.69 a gallon at the ARCO station on International Boulevard and 98th Avenue in Oakland on Friday. That meant his pickup cost $15 more to fill up than the last time.”Too much,” the landscaper said. “I just pray it stays where it is because I spend a lot for gas.”For Bay Area residents, it could be worse.Tom Robinson, the president of the Rotten Robbie stations, said he’s having no problems getting fuel, but prices have been jumping up and the Southern California market appears to be particularly turbulent.”I think SoCal spot prices are 70 cents higher than NorCal prices,” he said. “Crazy.”Follow Gary Richards at Twitter.com/mrroadshow or Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.gas prices RISINGCity Thursday SaturdayLos Angeles $3.55* $3.79 San Diego $3.54 $3.75San Francisco $3.52 $3.58Bakersfield $3.47 $3.57Vallejo $3.41 $3.50Oakland $3.39 $3.48San Jose $3.36 $3.46Santa Cruz $3.32 $3.38California $3.43 $3.59United States $2.76 $2.76* Average price for a gallon of regular gas.

Source: California gas prices to soar this week

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