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Azilat Petroleum buys two blocks offshore Brazil

Bermuda-based Azilat Petroleum announced on Monday it had bought two oil exploration blocks from Brazilian oil firm OGX Petroleo e Gas.

The blocks – both offshore Brazil – are officially called CE-M-603 and POT-M-475 and are located respectively in the Ceara Basin and the Potiguar Basin. Both are operated by ExxonMobil.

Azilat – an oil and gas exploration company with a special focus on South America – did not reveal the price it paid but it did acquire the whole share of OGX, which means it has a 50% holding in CE-M-603 and 65% in POT-M-475.

The deal still needs the stamp of approval from Brazil’s oil industry regulator ANP.

OGX is a Brazilian publicly listed oil and gas company belonging to the EBX Group. Prior to undergoing bankruptcy proceedings in 2013 it was Brazil’s second biggest oil company behind Petrobras.


Oasis Petroleum Dakota

Oasis Petroleum works to plug out-of-control North Dakota well

WILLISTON, N.D. – Oasis Petroleum Inc resumed efforts on Tuesday to plug an out-of-control North Dakota well that has leaked oil, saltwater and natural gas since a blowout last weekend, hoping to have it plugged by this afternoon, a spokesman said.

More than 67,000 gallons of oil have leaked from the well so far. Law enforcement and federal regulators have closed several roads around the site due to concerns about the effects of leaking gas.

Pumps again began injecting mud and clay into the well, located near a tributary of the Missouri River, at about 8 a.m. local time (1300 GMT). Crews had halted operations overnight out of safety concerns.

The well is located about 15 miles south of White Earth, in Mountrail County, one of the more prolific oil-producing regions in North Dakota.

The Houston-based company was first notified that the well had blown out late on Saturday night when a driver passing by the site heard a loud noise and called the company’s public emergency response phone line.

Shares of Oasis were up 3.6 percent on Tuesday after earlier rising more than 6 percent in line with the broader markets and a jump in crude oil prices.


Saudi Exchange Reserve

OPEC’s Fight Club

Groucho Marx didn’t want to belong to any club that would accept him as a member. Do OPEC countries ever feel the same?

The cartel meets on Wednesday for a special session, mostly so Venezuela can present its plan to establish and enforce a price band for oil of $70 to $100 a barrel. Venezuela is a founding member of OPEC, so certain courtesies must be extended for appearances’ sake. Yet one member in particular, which holds a certain level of influence, would be mad to actually embrace the plan.

Venezuela is a mess, “the weakest link in the oil supply chain” as energy economist Phil Verleger puts it. Foreign exchange reserves just hit a 12-year low of $15.3 billion, and the country has $4.5 billion of debt payments this month and next. Food shortages, looting and blackouts are stoking misery and tension ahead of December elections. Venezuela needs the extra cash flow higher oil prices would bring, and it needs it now.

Unless Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s de facto leader, is in a pitying mood, it won’t do anything to help. Yes, it has been burning through its own foreign exchange reserves. But as the chart below shows, it still has a lot of them. There’s some bad blood between Riyadh and Caracas anyway. Venezuela’s attempt to maximize its own production and take market share in the mid-1990s was one of the major causes of the 1998 price crash. It ultimately took concerted action on the part of OPEC and other producers outside the group to curb supply to support prices.



Bye-Bye, Big Oil: Obama Administration Scraps Arctic Drilling Plans

The Obama administration announced late Friday that it was pulling the plug on new lease sales for drilling in the Arctic’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, in a move environmentalists are hailing as a decided step to keep unburnable oil “in the ground.”

Citing “current market conditions” and “low industry interest,” as well as Shell’s recent decision to scrap its Arctic drilling plans, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell declared that two offshore lease sales scheduled for 2016 and 2017 would be cancelled.

However, campaigners said the move was likely the result of the fierce opposition campaign as well as the growing awareness that if the White House has any intention of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions the country must cease new oil exploration and, instead, invest in more renewable energy alternatives.

“Scientists have long been clear that fully 100% of Arctic oil is unburnable, if we’re serious about averting the worst impacts of climate change. That’s why the climate movement stepped up, and forced even the most irresponsible company on Earth to admit that it wouldn’t make sense to drill in the Arctic,” said executive director May Boeve. “Now, the Obama administration is heeding the call as well—and slowly shifting action to match its rhetoric on climate change.”

Boeve said that the Keystone XL pipeline company, Transcanada, as well as the rest of Big Oil should “take this as a very bad sign for their future.”

The Interior Department also noted that the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) also denied requests from Shell and Statoil for extensions on their drilling leases, meaning the current lease for drilling in the Beaufort Sea will expire in 2017 and 2020 for the Chukchi Sea.

Miyoko Sakashita with the Center for Biological Diversity hailed the move as a “huge win for Arctic wildlife and our climate.”

“Americans have spoken time and again about the perils of Arctic drilling,” Sakashita said. “It’s gratifying to see these leases finally cancelled and now it’s time to declare the Arctic off-limits to drilling forever.”

Echoing the sentiments of other groups, that want to see the administration follow through with strong decisions against the Keystone XL pipeline and fossil fuel leasing on public lands, Sakashita added: “It can’t stop here though: It’s time to take the next step and pledge to keep this oil in the ground and transition quickly to energy sources that are safer, smarter and better for all of us.”

This story was originally published on Common Dreams.

– Source

Opec US Oil

After Year of Pain, OPEC Close to Halting U.S. Oil in Its Tracks

The nation’s production is almost back down to the level pumped in November, when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries switched its strategy to focus on battering competitors and reclaiming market share. As the U.S. wilts, demand for OPEC’s crude will grow in 2015, ending two years of retreat, the International Energy Agency estimates.

While cratering prices and historic cutbacks in drilling have taken their toll on the U.S., OPEC members have also paid a heavy price. A year of plunging government revenues, growing budget deficits and slumping currencies has left several members grappling with severe economic problems. The fact that the U.S. oil boom kept going for about six months after the group’s November decision also means OPEC has so far succeeded only in bringing the market back to where it started.

“It’s taken a hell of a long time and it will continue to take a long time — U.S. oil production has been more resilient than people thought,” said Mike Wittner, head of oil markets research at Societe Generale SA in London. “The bottom line is the re-balancing has begun.”

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Zangeneh Iran Oil Opec

Tehran Urges OPEC to Reduce Crude Output to Boost Prices

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh says OPEC cartel members should cut crude output so prices can bounce back to $70-$80 per barrel. Iran intends to dramatically boost output in the coming months.

“No one is happy” with current oil prices at the current levels, Zanganeh told reporters in Tehran, Bloomberg reports.

“OPEC should decide to manage the market by reducing the level of production,” he said adding that the cartel is unlikely to cut output at its next meeting in December.

According to Roknoddin Javadi, managing director of state-run National Iranian Oil, the country can boost oil exports by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) within a week after the sanctions are removed, and reach a level of 4.7 million bpd by 2021. In September, Iran produced 2.9 million bpd, according to OPEC.

Meanwhile, the cartel continues to exceed its own quota of 30 million bpd for the 16th consecutive month trying to protect its share in the world oil market. And OPEC’s most dominant member, Saudi Arabia, has been cutting prices to secure new markets.

According to OPEC’s October report, oil production within the organization increased by 0.11 million bpd to 31.57 million bpd in September.

OPEC will meet on December 4 in Vienna to announce its output strategy. Brent crude, a global benchmark, has slumped 42 percent over the last year trading below $50 per barrel on Monday.

In July, Iran and the six international mediators (the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China) signed a deal on settling the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program. Sanctions against Tehran are yet to be lifted, as the International Atomic Energy Agency has to confirm that Iran has met its obligations. Tehran says it’s cooperating with the nuclear watchdog.


Opec Shale Oil

Kemp: OPEC Has Stalled The Shale Revolution

LONDON, Oct 20 (Reuters) – The resilience of U.S. shale producers has surpassed all expectations as they have wrung extra efficiencies out of their operations and pulled rigs back to the most prolific sections of existing plays.

The shale sector’s ability to cut costs and sustain their output in the face of plunging prices has been extraordinary and testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and technical skill of the independent producers.

Shale producers are justifiably proud of their ability to survive the perfect storm that has hit their industry since the middle of 2014.

But it should not disguise the fact that the collapse in oil prices has paused the shale revolution, with the sector’s focus shifting from growth to survival.

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