G7 leaders to meet over Iran's attack on Israel

  • Spanish Market: Crude oil, Metals, Natural gas, Oil products, Petrochemicals
  • 14/04/24

Leaders of the G7 will meet today, 14 April, to co-ordinate a diplomatic response to Iran's overnight air attack on Israel, which ushered a new phase in a six-month conflict that is threatening regional escalation.

G7 presidency Italy "has organized a conference at leaders' level for the afternoon of today," Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni said on X, formerly Twitter. US President Joe Biden has pledged a co-ordinated G7 diplomatic response and condemned the Iranian assault.

Iran fired hundreds of drones and missiles against Israel on the evening of 13 April, according to the country's state-owned news agency Irna. Almost all were intercepted before they reached Israeli airspace and there were no fatalities reported by Israel. One civilian was injured and an air force base in southern Israel was lightly damaged, according to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

The Iranian attack came in response to a suspected Israeli air strike on the vicinity of Iran's embassy compound in Damascus, Syria, on 1 April. Tehran's foreign minster Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Iran considers this to be the end of its operation.

But energy markets, which have been supported in recent weeks by a geopolitical risk premium, will face a week of uncertainty about whether Israel will retaliate. The front-month June Ice Brent contract was trading at $90.45/bl before markets closed for the weekend, and hit a more-than five month high of $92.18/bl on Friday, 12 April.

Israeli officials said the attack was "a severe and dangerous escalation" from Tehran. Israel's war cabinet is meeting today to discuss a response.

"We will build a regional coalition and exact the price from Iran in the fashion and timing that is right for us," said cabinet minister Benny Gantz.

The US is urging Israel to claim victory for its defence, in an apparent effort to discourage Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government from feeling compelled to retaliate. While noting that Israel ultimately will make the decision as to how to respond, White House national security communications co-ordinator John Kirby, in a televised interview today, hailed what he called Israel's "incredible military achievement" in defending itself against the attack. Very little managed to penetrate the defensive shield, "and the damage was extraordinarily light," he said.

The US military played a role in helping to defend against the attack, bringing down "several dozens of drones and missiles," Kirby said. UK prime minister Rishi Sunak said the Royal Air Force shot down "a number of Iranian attack drones".

Israel's western allies are urging it to show restraint as they try to prevent a wider conflict in the Middle East, which could directly affect oil producers and send energy prices soaring. President Biden is especially keen to avoid such a scenario in an election year.


Related news posts

Argus illuminates the markets by putting a lens on the areas that matter most to you. The market news and commentary we publish reveals vital insights that enable you to make stronger, well-informed decisions. Explore a selection of news stories related to this one.

24/06/24

US Supreme Court to weigh Utah railroad permit

US Supreme Court to weigh Utah railroad permit

Washington, 24 June (Argus) — The US Supreme Court will consider reviving a Utah shortline project permit that federal rail regulators had approved but that an appeals court found lacked sufficient environmental review. The Surface Transportation Board (STB) approved construction of the Uinta Basin Railway in December 2021. Opponents said STB failed to meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and took STB to court. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia agreed with the opponents and overturned the STB decision in August 2023. The US Supreme Court said today it will hear the case. The proposed 88-mile railroad would originate at two locations in the Uinta Basin near South Myton Bench, Utah, and Leland Bench, Utah, and connect to western Class I railroad Union Pacific near Kyune, Utah. The project originally was expected to transport about 80,000 b/d of waxy crude as well as other cargo, but demand for waxy crude has picked up, Seven County Infrastructure Coalition executive director Keith Heaton said. The line also would provide a new transportation option for the region. Local mining and manufacturing businesses have to rely on trucks to ship out of the basin. The type of review envisioned by the appeals court would be unable to encompass the potential environmental impacts from everything that would be shipped by rail, Heaton said. The government must avoid regulatory overreach that "could put into jeopardy projects that might be necessary in helping to strengthen our nation's supply chain", National Industrial Transportation League executive director Nancy O'Liddy said. Wendy Park, a senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, called the lower court's ruling on "this destructive project" legally sound. Development of the project is on hold pending a decision in the litigation. By Abby Caplan Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Brazil's HRC prices to rise further by July


24/06/24
24/06/24

Brazil's HRC prices to rise further by July

Sao Paulo, 24 June (Argus) — Brazilian prices for hot-rolled coil (HRC) are expected to increase further in July — following increases in June — as domestic producers are betting on higher domestic demand along with lower offers for the type of steel. Brazilian HRC prices are at around $790/t fob, market sources told Argus , with some producers offering about $800/t. That compares with around $730/t last month, sources said. This upward swing is being heavily driven by new tariffs on imported steel , a measure taken by the government aiming to protect domestic producers against unfair competition with cheaper imports, chiefly from China. Brazil imported a little under 430,000 metric tonnes (t) of HRC in 2023 — over three times the 133,000t from 2022 — 62pc of which originated in China, according to customs data compiled by Global Trade Tracker. Brazil is on track to import over 480,000t in 2024 based on the latest import statistics through May. Some producers have told clients that prices would rise by July. Brazilian steelmaker Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN) warned that HRC prices would rise by 7.5pc, while Gerdau would increase it by 8pc, sources familiar with the matter told Argus . CSN and Gerdau declined to comment. Domestic producers are also prioritizing slab production over HRC as export demand for the semi-finished grade has heated up, sources said. Brazil exported 445,800t of slab, a 10.4pc increase from April, according to customs data. Still, some other sources were skeptical that the market would accept such a rise, saying that key consumers are supplied with enough steel for the coming months, leading them to reject increases more broadly. By Carolina Pulice Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Industria mexicana se enfrenta a un peso más débil


24/06/24
24/06/24

Industria mexicana se enfrenta a un peso más débil

Mexico City, 24 June (Argus) — La depreciación del peso mexicano después de las elecciones ha afectado al comercio e inversión en energía, con un dólar estadounidense más caro elevando el precio de las importaciones de combustible y gas natural. El peso perdió aproximadamente 11pc de su valor frente al dólar estadounidense a medida que los mercados reaccionaron a la abrumadora victoria electoral del partido en el poder Morena en las elecciones del 2 de junio. El tipo de cambio saltó de Ps16.65/$1 solo una semana antes de la votación a un pico de Ps18.99/$1 en los días siguientes. Desde entonces, la tasa se ha estabilizado en Ps18.30-Ps18.50/$1 en los últimos días. "El nuevo umbral para el tipo de cambio probablemente será de Ps18 por dólar", afirmó Gabriela Soni, directora de inversiones de UBS Asesores México. Añadió que, aunque el movimiento ha sido abrupto, "creemos que está justificado dada la aprobación esperada de las reformas constitucionales que tienen el potencial de erosionar el sistema de división de poderes y afectar a las decisiones de inversión en el país." Soni se refirió a la consolidación histórica del poder político asegurado por Morena y los partidos aliados en las elecciones que les entregó no solo la presidencia, como se esperaba, sino el control de 27 de las 32 gubernaturas estatales, y solo a unos pocos escaños en el senado de obtener mayorías calificadas en ambas cámaras del congreso. Con los resultados, el camino está muy claro para que el presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador apruebe las controvertidas reformas judiciales durante su último mes en el poder en septiembre. Esto podría significar la eliminación de las reformas energéticas promercado aprobadas en 2014, la disolución de los reguladores del sector energético de México y el endurecimiento de la visión estatista de López Obrador de un sector energético dominado por la empresa estatal de petróleo y gas Pemex y la empresa de electricidad CFE. El tipo de cambio podría bajar aún más en los próximos meses si la economía se mantiene estable, dijo Pedro López, director adjunto de análisis económico de Banco BASE, un banco especializado mexicano que apoya a las empresas internacionales con operaciones en el país. Dicho esto, el tipo de cambio frente al dólar estadounidense "continuará estando sometido a presiones más elevadas estos meses hasta las elecciones presidenciales de EE. UU. en noviembre", dijo López. López dijo que el mercado debería tener una imagen más clara de México para finales de año, después de las elecciones estadounidenses y con mayor claridad después de la próxima sesión legislativa mexicana. Añadió que las presiones inflacionistas derivadas del aumento del tipo de cambio probablemente llevarían al banco central a mantener la tasa de interés de referencia en 11pc, manteniendo tasas de interés altas en México. Estas, a su vez, atraen a los inversionistas globales de nuevo al peso bajo la dinámica actual de tasas, suponiendo que no haya perturbaciones adicionales. Balance de energía Dado que México es un importador neto de energía desde 2015, "una depreciación del peso mexicano tiende a empeorar el balance del petróleo", afirmó Soni. "Sin embargo, México es un exportador neto en sectores no energéticos, especialmente en la fabricación, y la balanza comercial se beneficiaría en estos sectores." Y aunque el tipo de cambio puede ayudar a México a ganar más dinero por las exportaciones de petróleo, "tenemos que recordar que son cada vez menos", dijo Víctor Herrera, jefe de estudios económicos del Instituto Mexicano de Ejecutivos Financieros (IMEF). Pemex está redirigiendo el petróleo hacia sus refinerías, bajo el mandato del presidente para aumentar la producción nacional de combustible. Como resultado, las exportaciones de petróleo crudo mexicano cayeron 31pc año con año en abril a 618,000 b/d. A pesar de los esfuerzos, los productos refinados importados de EE. UU. siguen representando aproximadamente 72pc de su consumo nacional de gasolina, diésel, gas natural y turbosina, según los datos de la secretaria de energía. Se necesitará tiempo para saber qué beneficios, si los hubiera, aportan las ventas de petroleo de Pemex al extranjero, que se traducen en pesos adicionales, afirmó Herrera. Mientras tanto, añadió: "pagaremos dólares más caros para importar gasolina." Por James Young Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Trinidad considers offers for shut oil refinery


24/06/24
24/06/24

Trinidad considers offers for shut oil refinery

Kingston, 24 June (Argus) — Trinidad and Tobago is again seeking an operator for the mothballed state-owned 165,000 b/d Guaracara refinery, and will decide by the end of August on several offers for the facility, prime minister Keith Rowley said on Sunday. The government has received eight expressions of interest from domestic and foreign companies to purchase or lease the refinery at Pointe-a-Pierre on the southwest coast that was closed six years ago, government officials told Argus . Rowley did not name the potential operators. But Indian steel producer Jindal Steel and Power "is interested in the potential of the refinery," Rowley's office said last week after he met in Port of Spain with the company's chairman Naveen Jindal. Trinidad shut the refinery in 2018 after a steady decline in crude production forced increases in imported feedstock, sending up refining costs that the government said were "unsustainable." A new owner would likely face similar challenges in obtaining feedstock as the country's crude production has moved from 144,400 b/d in 2005 to average 49,880 b/d in January-March of this year. A restart of the refinery "will be feasible only if there are arrangements for access to competitively priced imported crude that will allow profitable operating margins," a government official told Argus today. The government is making "very good progress" in efforts to offload the refinery, energy minister Stuart Young said on 21 June. But the company that would take over the plant "would have to be able to address several issues including asset management and the financial capability to operate the refinery," Young said. The government has failed since 2018 to reach an agreement with domestic and foreign interests for reopening the refinery. It renewed efforts to offload the facility following the late 2020 collapse of a sale agreement with area labour union-owned company PET that made a $700mn offer, outbidding US private equity firm Beowulf Energy and German refiner and trader Klesch. The government and California-based electrical contractor Quanten failed to reach an agreement in December 2022 for the takeover of the refinery. Growing oil producer Guyana rejected a proposal from Trinidad in February that it should supply crude to allow the Guaracara plant to be reopened. By Canute James Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Q&A: New DLE method seeks to access US lithium reserves


24/06/24
24/06/24

Q&A: New DLE method seeks to access US lithium reserves

London, 24 June (Argus) — Direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology has been around for a few years now, but several methods exist and are mine-specific. US-based Iliad technologies is attempting to find a universal method by which to extract lithium and export this technology to an increasingly diversified global lithium market. Argus spoke with Iliad chief executive Samuel Moore. Edited highlights follow: How does Iliad's DLE technology work? It is born out of Energy Source Minerals, which is a company that is developing a project in California on the Salton Sea. The genius of Iliad was really the need for technology that worked at high temperatures and could deal with the fluids coming up from the Salton Sea, and we decided there was not really anything on the market that was right for our project. It is based on absorption desorption, which is one of the longer-standing methods of DLE that I know of. It has been used for 30-plus years and in Argentina. What happens is that the lithium-bearing brine enters the system. The kinetics of the brine push the lithium into an absorbent material that is designed to capture the lithium and ignore everything else. It is almost the reverse of a filter. Everything else washes through the system and is injected back into the ground. Then we wash the lithium out of that absorbent material using just water. So we do not use any reagents, we do not use any acid, and we do not use any other harmful materials. It is a very clean system. We run a continuous process and smaller columns with a very clever valve that basically pumps the fluid through 30 different columns of absorbent. We work the absorbent continuously to take a stream of lithium chloride out of the back end. It means we use a lot less absorbent and a lot less water. Does Iliad technology work in different forms of brine, different from the geothermal brines in the Salton Sea? One of the myths of DLE is that you need a different solution for different clients. We do not think this is true. We have tested on more than 30 different lines. We have tested geothermal obviously, but we have tested salars [large brine fields] and in Smackover [lithium mining area in the US]. We have tested waters that come up with oil and gas. In different countries, we have a lot of data now and Iliad works universally with all of them. I don't think it is true to say that each different project requires a different technology. Our flavour of absorption desorption is very effective. We have tested brines with lithium of as low as 40 parts per million (ppm) and as high as up into the thousands. It works at both of these readings and at everything in between. We are really confident and comfortable that there are technologies out there that have universal application, and we are going to be one of those. Who could make use of this technology, and in what areas of the lithium sector? Our modern take on DLE unlocks resources that couldn't really be developed before. The traditional way to develop brine field lithium was with evaporation ponds in South America, but you get very large losses. You only get 40-50pc recovery when you do that, it takes a long time and the product quality is not there. So DLE allows a step change in performance than what is currently in the the industry and targets resources that are not really able to be targeted today. If you come back to the US, say the Smackover formation, you may get to process 204ppm of lithium. South America has 600ppm-plus of lithium, so DLE gets you lower. Then you get into the conversation around the geopolitics. Do I want to establish a lithium supply chain in the US, Europe and Canada — places that traditionally have not had one? I think DLE is going to be key to unlocking the domestic supply chain that the US government has clearly signalled is very important to it. We raised independent capital from Livent, now Arcadium Lithium. It was our cornerstone investor throughout that process. So it has taken a shareholding early, which is really interesting because it is the one industry participant that has done DLE for 30 years in Argentina already. How do lithium producers use DLE to reduce their impact on the environment? This will be the cleanest lithium you can produce — no question. Take our first project, for example. We are attached to the side of a geothermal power station. We capture the brine, so it comes to us hot. We capture the lithium using our method. Once the lithium has been removed, it goes back down the hole, in the same way that it does today. We use steam from the power station, and we use heat from the brine to do a lot of the processing. We use water to capture the lithium out of the absorbent material. We have no reagents and no harsh chemicals. [It is a] very low energy requirement. Compare this to hard rock mining, where you have a very large carbon footprint, a massive land footprint and then a huge amount of chemical use and the processing of that ore. You do not have evaporation ponds — once again, these leave a very large land footprint and incur very large water losses because you are evaporating the brine to the atmosphere to capture the salts left behind. So I mean, DLE — particularly really efficient DLE, like Iliad absorption desorption — will be the cleanest lithium you can get. By Thomas Kavanagh Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Business intelligence reports

Get concise, trustworthy and unbiased analysis of the latest trends and developments in oil and energy markets. These reports are specially created for decision makers who don’t have time to track markets day-by-day, minute-by-minute.

Learn more