Kremlin accuses Trump of trying to bully Europe into buying U.S. LNG

The Kremlin on Thursday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s description of Germany as a “captive” of Russia due to its energy reliance, saying his statement was part of a U.S. campaign to bully Europe into buying American energy supplies.

Trump told Germany at a NATO summit in Brussels on Wednesday that it was wrong to support an $11-billion Baltic Sea pipeline to import even more Russian gas while being slow to meet NATO targets for defense spending.

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OPEC Will Continue to Play Important Role in Oil Market to 2040

WoodMac: OPEC Will Continue to Play Important Role in Oil Market to 2040

OPEC will continue to play an important role in the oil market to 2040, according to a new report by Wood Mackenzie.

In the report, the global natural resources consultancy said it expects production growth to continue in the US Lower 48 over the medium-term, but added that once the US plateaus, total non-OPEC liquids production will “lose its growth momentum and begin to decline slowly post-2030”.

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Industry Group Reps Hope US, China Resolve Trade War

Industry Group Reps Hope US, China Resolve Trade War

In the latest chapter of the trade dispute between the U.S. and Chinese governments, the Trump administration has ordered the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to initiate the rollout of a new, larger set of tariffs on Chinese imports, USTR stated Tuesday.

“On Friday, in response to unfair Chinese practices, the United States began imposing tariffs of 25 percent on approximately $34 billion worth of Chinese imports,” USTR Robert Lighthizer said in a July 10 press release. “These tariffs will eventually cover up to $50 billion in Chinese imports as legal processes conclude. The products targeted by the tariffs are those that benefit from China’s industrial policy and forced technology transfer practices.”

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German Business Group Enraged by Trump Attacks on Nord Stream Pipeline

German companies active in eastern European business on Thursday dismissed U.S. President Donald Trump’s criticism of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline plan, a day after he called Berlin “a captive to Russia.”

The U.S. State Department overnight repeated a warning to Western firms involved in the deal for the pipeline from Russia under the Baltic Sea, saying the project could divide Europe and they were at risk of sanctions.

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Oil Prices Set To Rise This Year, Then Fall Back

The US continues to boom at record levels. Venezuela is in production freefall. And other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have agreed to gently open the spigot on spare capacity starting this month.

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U.S. urges U.N. to halt all oil transfers to North Korea

The United States said Thursday that North Korea has already exceeded the annual cap allowed for oil imports, and asked the United Nations to order an immediate halt to all transfers of oil to the country.

The request underscores the U.S. determination to keep squeezing North Korea through existing economic sanctions to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons that threaten the United States. Although tensions have eased up since President Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore last month, talks on denuclearization have hit a rocky spot since then.

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Freight volume is the highest in over a decade: Cass Shipment Index

 Source: Cass Shipment Index (CFIS.USA) on SONAR  

 

2018 is shaping up to be the highest freight volume market in over a decade according to the Cass Freight Index (CFIS.USA) on SONAR. The index is currently showing 1.31, up from 1.17 a year ago. The 12% increase is a reflection of strong volumes in the industry and the pricing strength is not a reflection of a declining number of trucks.

This is a great sign for carriers moving into the second half of 2018, as conditions should remain tight as the economy continues the momentum going into the third and fourth quarters.

The Cass Freight Index for Shipments is an index representing the volume of shipments in a given month from the entire Cass client base. This is indexed against a January 1990 base point of 1.00. Larger values indicate more shipments are occurring, while smaller values mean fewer are moving.

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TGP Could More Than Double Mexico Natural Gas Exports with FERC OK

Nashville, Tennessee Cityscape

Federal regulators on Thursday gave the green light to Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. LLC (TGP) to substantially increase its natural gas export capacity from Texas to Mexico.

In one of two orders amending TGP’s presidential permit, FERC approved an increase in export capacity allowing the company to boost capacity of its cross-border pipeline by up to 468 MMcf/d from 185 MMcf/d. The 24-inch diameter pipeline extends from an existing system in Hidalgo County, TX, to the international boundary near Reynosa, MX, where it connects with facilities owned by Mexico’s state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos, aka Pemex.

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Heartland raises its driver pay

heartland.jpg

Trucking companies don’t always announce changes in their pay practices. But it has become more frequent as employers do anything and everything to recruit drivers during the current squeeze that nobody thinks is going away anytime soon.

Heartland Express on Friday announced its own increase in pay. It goes into effect on Saturday, July 7. Scrolling through the news section of the Heartland Express website reveals no similar announcement; this looks like the first time it has publicized a pay hike. Heartland’s Twitter feed also has a post about the pay increase, the first time the company has said anything on Twitter since mid-May.

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Mexico’s New President To ‘Respect’ Oil And Gas Reforms, Maintain Energy Alliance With U.S.

First off, congrats to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) for easily winning the Mexican presidential election on July 1. He will serve one six-year term. Also, a quick shout-out here to the U.S. Energy Information Administration for its publicly available graphics.

No, despite some previous nationalistic talk, President-elect AMLO will not bring regression to Mexico’s critical 2013 Energy Reforms that are required to evolve the country’s oil, natural gas, and electricity sectors. In particular, the U.S.-Mexican oil and natural gas alliance will hold tough.

Besides the physical connections (e.g., pipelines and transmission lines), the partnership is built on three market pillars: Mexican crude oil to the U.S., U.S. gasoline to Mexico, and U.S. natural gas to Mexico. This strong trade is bolstered by an equally strong NAFTA, which AMLO has promised to “respect.” The reforms are now written into the Mexican Constitution. The contracts already signed with state-owned Pemex (oil and gas) and CFE (gas and power) are going to be almost impossible to erase. Although he could slow new offerings, AMLO knows that Mexico’s newly opened energy sector for outside private investment has been a clear success, with over $200 billion in new investments.

As the basis of deregulation, Mexico’s oil production peaked in 2004 at 3.5 million b/d, steadily declining to 2.1 million b/d last year. This has cut crude exports to the U.S.: Mexico supplied just 8% of U.S. crude imports in 2017, compared to 16% in 2004. It’s unlikely that Mexico will ever retain its previous position, but as the country seeks to tap into its own massive shale reserves, production should regain a steady upward trend within five years. The U.S. refining system along the Gulf stands to gain because its built to process heavier crudes like those from Mexico.

Focused offshore, oil and gas block auctions have been a success under deregulation, with “new production coming online in 90 awarded blocks among 68 operators.” And there will be even more interest as oil prices rise and/if AMLO can reign in the drug violence and corruption that often makes companies hesitant to operate in the country. For all interested parties, “Mexico’s Emerging Oil Opportunities Are Great,” with Energy Minister Joaquin Coldwell reporting that $640 billion in investment is needed to expand crude production 50% back to over 3 million b/d. Simply put, major U.S. investments and shale/deepwater expertise is the only way that Mexico’s fading oil industry could enjoy an about-face.

 

(Photo by Carlos Tischler/Getty Images):  MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – JULY 03: President Elect of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, speaks during a press conference after a private meeting with Outgoing President of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto as part of the government transition at Palacio Nacional on July 03, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico.

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