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Ecuador buries oil pipelines in volcano path

  • Market: Crude oil, Oil products
  • 16/10/15

Ecuador's state-owned PetroEcuador is burying several sections of the 360,000 b/d Sote crude pipeline and the 12,300 b/d Quito-Ambato-Riobamba refined products pipeline to protect them from a potential eruption of the Cotopaxi volcano.

Small explosions and a steady stream of ash plumes began in August at the snow-capped 5,897m (19,347ft) volcano, located 50km (31mi) south of Quito.

An eruption threatens to trigger massive floodwaters and mudslides that could reach the coastal region in a worst-case scenario.

PetroEcuador has so far buried 8km of the 503km Sote, which transports mainly 28°API Oriente crude from Ecuador's oil district in the Amazon to the Pacific port of Balao in Esmeraldas province.

The goal is to bury a 17km section near the San Pedro river in Cotopaxi's immediate path, a PetroEcuador official told Argus.

PetroEcuador already buried 17km of the 6'' Quito-Ambato-Riobamba products pipeline and is opening two paths under the Cutuchi river to protect the infrastructure from floodwaters. The line transports gasoline and premium diesel from the El Beaterio products terminal in Quito to the highland cities of Ambato and Riobamba.

PetroEcuador is also monitoring the 305km 9,500 b/d Shushufindi-Quito pipeline that transports low octane gasoline and LPG from the 20,000 b/d Shushufindi (Amazonas) refinery to El Beaterio.

On 14 August, President Rafael Correa declared a 60-day state of emergency, paving the way for the mobilization of security forces and release of extraordinary government funds.

The melting Cotopaxi snow could overflow rivers, including Cutuchi, San Pedro, Pastaza and Guayllabamba, where the new 60MW Manduriacu hydroelectric plant is located.

Ecuador's deputy electricity minister Medardo Cadena has ruled out a potential risk of destruction of the Manduriacu and the 156MW Agoyan hydroelectric complex that take waters from the Pastaza river.

In 1877 when the last massive eruption of the Cotopaxi took place, mudflows traveled some 225km from Ecuador's highlands to coastal provinces. The debris flowed through several secondary rivers to reach the Guayllabamba basin, according to historical records.

Ecuador's state-owned utility Celec is taking measures to protect power transmission infrastructure that could be damaged by ash plumes, and the Mulalo substation, considered vulnerable to mudflows.

Celec says it has deployed equipment to remove ash from the 138kV Mulalo-Vicentina transmission line and has installed two mobile substations in the event of potential shortfalls and damages at Mulalo.



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12/07/24

India to offer 25 oil, gas blocks in 10th round: Update

India to offer 25 oil, gas blocks in 10th round: Update

Mumbai, 12 July (Argus) — India will offer a total of 25 oil and gas blocks in the tenth bidding round in August or September, according to a senior Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) official. The offer will cover 13 sedimentary basins, including six onland blocks with an estimated area of 16,871km², six shallow water blocks covering 41,391km², one deepwater block of 9,991km², and 12 ultra deepwater blocks of 12,3733km², the DGH official said. India offered 136,596.45 km² in 28 upstream oil and gas blocks in the ninth bidding round under the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy's (HELP) Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP). The deadline for this round has been extended thrice , with the latest one to 31 August as the government wanted to provide much more granular data about the blocks to help upstream companies make a decision, DGH director-general Pallavi Jain Govil told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference. India also extended the deadline for bids for a special upstream bidding round to 16 August from 15 July earlier. It had invited bids for two discovered small oil and gas fields located in the Mumbai offshore region and one coal-bed methane (CBM) gas field in West Bengal. The conclusion of the ninth round will have a key role to play in the launch of the tenth round as foreign participants have raised key issues with the oil ministry, including ones related to indemnity and compensation, a government official said. These issues have been holding back foreign firms from investing in India. With bigger blocks on offer, there are expectations that it will elicit interest from foreign participants as the government tries to resolve issues raised by these companies. The move by the government to provide more data to bidders by placing it in the National Data Repository is expected to reverse the tepid response in previous drilling rounds. It is not yet known if this round will elicit interest from foreign participants, as has mostly been the case in previous auctions. India's upstream licensing has largely been dominated by domestic participants. Indian state-controlled refiner ONGC in January bagged seven of the 10 areas in exploration blocks offered under India's eighth open acreage licensing policy drilling round. A private-sector consortium of Reliance Industries (RIL) and BP, state-controlled Oil India and private-sector Sun Petrochemicals received one block each. India's hydrocarbon exploration has been lacking because of slow policy implementation, despite its huge demand for oil and gas. The DGH is working to minimise the approval time to increase domestic production and decrease import dependency on oil and gas. Lackluster discoveries, shrinking exploration capital and a complicated tax regime have also limited foreign interest. The DGH has also started an efficiency department recently to focus on enhanced oil recovery techniques with the use of carbon capture, use and storage technology, Pallavi Jain said during a panel discussion. By Rituparna Ghosh Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Biden brushes aside calls to end candidacy


12/07/24
News
12/07/24

Biden brushes aside calls to end candidacy

Washington, 12 July (Argus) — President Joe Biden said on Thursday he will not end his re-election bid despite calls from Democratic lawmakers and donors who have raised doubts about his ability to defeat former president and Republican nominee Donald Trump. "I believe I'm the best qualified to govern, and I think I'm the best qualified to win," Biden told reporters following the conclusion of a three-day NATO summit in Washington. "I beat [Trump] once, and I will beat him again." Biden's televised debate with Trump last month led some Democratic lawmakers to urge him to end his campaign, and even senior Democrats like former House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) suggested that Biden should decide soon whether to remain in the race. Biden in his debate, which he called a "stupid mistake," often appeared feeble and confused and struggled to clearly articulate his policy positions. But Biden appeared stronger and more coherent in his solo press conference on Thursday — the first since November — in part because he talked about his international initiatives, which he considers among his strongest policy strengths. Biden cited NATO's security support for Ukraine and his administration's efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza among his accomplishments. During the NATO summit this week fellow leaders "made it a point in their statements to thank the US and to thank me personally for all that NATO has achieved," Biden said, as a counterpoint to Trump's frequent criticism of the military alliance. Biden acknowledged that his age and medical conditions have led him to curtail his work schedule, with no engagements after 8pm, even though several late evening events were on his agenda during the NATO summit. He appeared to blame his staff for putting too many events on his schedule. Biden earlier attributed his poor performance during the debate to two transatlantic trips in June, to attend the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landing in France and to participate in the G7 summit in Italy. Even with a clearly stronger performance today — Biden took multiple questions during an hour-long press conference that ended at 8:30pm ET — his tendency to misspeak will continue to fuel his critics. At a NATO event earlier today, Biden mistakenly introduced Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy as Russian president Vladimir Putin, while NATO leaders watched uncomfortably. "I am better [than Putin]," Zelenskiy jokingly retorted, while Biden said he thought too much about how to "beat Putin." And Biden referred to vice president Kamala Harris as "vice president Trump" during the press conference. Harris is qualified to serve as president but "I am the most qualified person to run," Biden repeatedly said. "I am the qualified person to do the job to make sure that Ukraine will not fall, that Ukraine succeeds, that the European alliance stays strong." Biden said he would only drop out of the race if his staff told him polls "showed there's no way you can win." At the summit, NATO members decided to establish an organization formally tasked with coordinating military assistance and training for Ukraine's armed forces, rather than have the US alone lead the effort. Referencing Trump's criticism of NATO and frequent adoration of Putin, Biden said that the election "is much more than the political question — it's a national security issue." Biden referred to several unnamed NATO leaders who told him: "You've got to win. You can't let this guy come forward. It'd be a disaster." The NATO summit declaration also accused China of covertly assisting the Russian war effort by providing key components for weapons. The US previously threatened to impose sanctions against Chinese companies allegedly helping the Russian defense industry. "I'm not prepared to talk about the details of [potential new sanctions] in public," Biden said. "I think you'll see that some of our European friends are going to be curtailing their involvement" in China. Biden said he would not sit down to negotiate with Putin over Ukraine "unless Putin's ready to change his behavior." Hungary's prime minister Victor Orban met with Zelenskiy, Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping earlier this month to discuss a possible Ukraine peace deal, and he plans to meet with Trump on Friday. The Biden administration has dismissed Orban's mediation as unhelpful. By Haik Gugarats Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Sonatrach restarts Skikda bitumen plant after 4-yr halt


11/07/24
News
11/07/24

Sonatrach restarts Skikda bitumen plant after 4-yr halt

London, 11 July (Argus) — Algeria's state-owned oil firm Sonatrach has resumed production at its Skikda bitumen plant after shutting it back in 2020 when it ran short of supplies of heavy refinery residue feedstock. The company received a 10,000t cargo of atmospheric straight-run residue from a Mediterranean refiner in recent weeks, enabling bitumen production at Skikda to restart. Sonatrach plans to produce up to 100,000 t/yr of bitumen at Skikda, matching current output at its bitumen unit in Arzew. This will help meet domestic demand in Algeria, which is largely dependent on imports. Demand was an estimated 600,000-700,000t last year. Demand has risen in recent months ahead of Algeria's presidential elections, which were brought forward earlier this year by three months to 7 September. Local suppliers expect bitumen consumption in the country to peak in July and August this year at 80,000-90,000 t/month, driven by a concerted push by the government for contractors to complete road and highway projects before the elections. Sonatrach imported its large-scale bitumen cargo volumes into a string of terminals that it runs along the Algerian coast in annual tenders up until 2021 when Spain's Cepsa was awarded the volumes. But bitumen and other trade between Algeria and Spain was suspended the following year after Madrid publicly recognised Morocco's autonomy plan for Western Sahara. Sonatrach has since mainly relied on flows from its 198,000 b/d Augusta refinery in Sicily. Algeria has also imported cargoes from other places in the Mediterranean including Greece. By Keyvan Hedvat Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Port Houston fully reopens, others to follow


11/07/24
News
11/07/24

Port Houston fully reopens, others to follow

New York, 11 July (Argus) — Port Houston fully reopened today in the wake of Hurricane Beryl after the US Army Corps of Engineers and US Coast Guard gave the all-clear, with other Texas ports soon to follow, according to the Greater Houston Port Bureau. "As of this morning, we are lifting all restrictions for the Houston ship channel — no more draft restrictions," port bureau president Captain Eric Carrero said. Draft restrictions remain in place at 35ft for the port of Galveston, at 30ft for Texas City, and at 36ft for Freeport, according to Carrero. Freeport is also restricted to daylight operating hours. "We are reviewing the surveys for Texas City, Galveston, and Freeport and we are hoping to lift those restrictions as well," Carrero said. The return of Port Houston to full capacity three days after Hurricane Beryl made landfall on 8 July will likely assuage concerns that damage to Texas ports would cut the supply of refined product shipments from the region at a time when refineries along the US Gulf coast hit 97pc utilization in the week ended 5 July, the highest rate since June 2023, according to US Energy Information Administration data. Any vessel glut that had built up outside of Port Houston is likely to clear quickly now that full operating conditions have been restored, according to vessel piloting services in the region. The port of Freeport was the closest of the Houston-area ports to Hurricane Beryl's landfall, which could explain additional caution given to the port in maintaining its daylight hours, given the larger potential for the storm to have blown obstructions into the port's waters. The reopening of Port Houston will likely help to shift additional Army Corps and Coast Guard personnel to the other Texas ports to help complete the necessary surveys and ensure that critical aids to navigation are where they should be before giving the all-clear. By Ross Griffith Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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US June inflation slows to 1-year low of 3pc


11/07/24
News
11/07/24

US June inflation slows to 1-year low of 3pc

Houston, 11 July (Argus) — US inflation slowed in June to the lowest in a year while core inflation hit a more than three-year low, signs of easing price pressures that may prompt Federal Reserve policymakers to begin cutting borrowing costs in the fall. The consumer price index (CPI) slowed to an annual 3pc in June, lower than economists' estimates for a 3.1pc reading, from 3.3pc in May and 3.4pc in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. So-called core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose by 3.3pc in June, the lowest since April 2021, and slowing from 3.4pc in May. The energy index rose by an annual 1pc in June, down from 3.7pc in May, while the gasoline index contracted by 2.5pc in June compared with a 2.2pc gain in May. Energy services rose by an annual 4.3pc, slowing from 4.7pc the prior month. After the report, the CME's FedWatch tool signaled an 81pc probability that the Fed will cut its target rate by a quarter point in September from near 70pc odds Wednesday. Probabilities of three quarter point cuts by December rose to 38pc today from 26pc the prior day. Food costs rose by 2.2pc in June from 2.1pc the prior month. Shelter rose by 5.2pc from 5.4pc the prior month. Transportation services rose by 9.4pc in June following a 10.5pc gain the prior month. Airline fares fell by 5.1pc in June after a 5.9pc decline. Headline inflation had risen from 3.1pc in January to as high as 3.5pc in March as economic data, especially job gains, had come in stronger than expected. That had prompted the Federal Reserve to delay widely expected rate cuts as it said it needed "greater confidence" that inflation was on a "sustained" path towards its 2pc target. The Fed hiked its target rate to a 23-year high of 5.25-5.5pc in July 2023 and has kept it there since to rein in inflation that hit a high of 9.1pc in June 2022. The Fed, in its latest policy meeting last month, penciled in one likely quarter point cut this year, down from three penciled in last March. CPI contracted by a seasonally adjusted 0.1pc in June from the prior month, after a flat reading in May, a 0.3pc monthly gain in April and 0.4pc gains in February and Marhc. Core CPI was up by 0.1pc for the month after a monthly gain of 0.2pc in May. By Bob Willis Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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