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Guaido team favoring COP in Citgo fight: Update

  • : Crude oil, Oil products
  • 20/06/19

Adds COP statement, other details throughout.

Another senior Venezuelan opposition figure has resigned following the government's leak of a strategy to favor ConocoPhillips in an escalating battle for Venezuelan state-owned PdV's US refining unit Citgo.

Jose Ignacio Hernandez, who held the title of special attorney general in opposition leader Juan Guaido's US-backed exiled administration, announced his resignation late yesterday shortly after President Nicolas Maduro's US-sanctioned administration leaked audio of Hernandez discussing the strategy in a meeting with the opposition-controlled National Assembly's energy commission.

The opposition attorney general's office confirmed the veracity of the audio in which Hernandez describes an "understanding" with ConocoPhillips. The US independent producer would "pause" a stalled case against PdV in Portugal to focus on an ongoing case in a Delaware court, which has already ruled that Citgo shares can be sold to satisfy a debt to former Canadian mining company Crystallex, now owned by New York hedge fund Tenor Capital Management.

ConocoPhillips, which is the second creditor in line behind Crystallex in the Delaware case, will seek equal rights to Citgo shares once an embargo order is issued, according to Hernandez's account to the commission.

He said lawyers were still discussing the details of the understanding with ConocoPhillips.

"Conoco's objective is to obtain this embargo measure in order to get rights equal to that of Crystallex," says Hernandez, a former academic who led Guaido's legal team from the US since his 2019 appointment.

In the audio, which was posted on social media by Venezuela's executive vice president Delcy Rodriguez, Hernandez warns that Citgo is close to falling into creditors' hands, contradicting the Guaido team's public assertions that the asset is protected.

"I am surprised at how long these walls of defense that I built have lasted. Sooner or later…and no one knows the walls of the legal defense better than me, these walls are weak and fractured and they will collapse," Hernandez warns, adding that with a possible change of government in the US on top of political changes in Venezuela "we could be in a worse situation even than we were in January 2019" when Guaido declared his interim presidency.

Crystallex and ConocoPhillips are among a myriad of companies, governments and bondholders that are owed at least $150bn by PdV and the Venezuelan state. PdV 2020 bondholders in particular have a pledge of 50.1pc of Citgo shares. The rest is pledged to Russia's Rosneft for oil-backed loans to PdV.

In the audio, Hernandez also discusses his "personal" effort to win recognition for the Guaido administration through the president of the World Bank — former US Treasury official David Malpass — and its International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (Icsid), which issued arbitration awards for numerous companies, including ConocoPhillips, whose Venezuelan assets were expropriated under Venezuela's late president Hugo Chavez.

Legacy claims

"On behalf of the company's shareholders, we remain committed to pursuing all available legal avenues to obtain a full and fair recovery of the award. Any allegations to the contrary are wrong and baseless," ConocoPhillips said in a statement late today.

ConocoPhillips' claims stem from the 2007 takeover of its stakes in two Venezuelan projects that were designed to upgrade Orinoco extra-heavy crude into lighter synthetic grades for export. The 120,000 b/d PetroZuata project, now known as Petro San Felix and wholly owned by PdV, has been mothballed for years. The 190,000 b/d Ameriven project became PetroPiar, which is controlled by PdV with a minority stake owned by Chevron. PetroPiar is among the few PdV ventures that continues to operate, but at a diminished level. Chevron remains in Venezuela under a US sanctions waiver that expires in December.

Hernandez, a protege of Venezuela's former planning minister and Harvard professor Ricardo Hausmann, says he had already resigned before the audio leaked. Hausmann previously served as Guaido's head of debt restructuring and IDB governor, and remains a key informal adviser to the opposition.

Yesterday Hernandez released a resignation letter dated 28 May to Guaido in which he urges "deep institutional reforms in the State's legal defense". In an earlier twist, Hernandez provided court testimony on behalf of Crystallex before he was appointed the opposition's top lawyer last year.

Last month, two directors of an "ad hoc" PdV board of exiles resigned and they have not yet been replaced. Guaido's envoy to Chile Guarequena Gutierrez recently departed as well.

Inside Venezuela, Maduro is tightening his grip on power ahead of National Assembly elections that would remove the constitutional basis of Guaido's claim to an interim presidency. His supreme court appointed an electoral board and is seeking to replace the leadership of opposition parties.


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24/07/19

Weather sparks uncertainty for Vietnam’s bitumen demand

Weather sparks uncertainty for Vietnam’s bitumen demand

Mumbai, 19 July (Argus) — Expectations of Vietnam's bitumen consumption in July-August are mixed, given an easing in the monsoon season in some regions but an upcoming typhoon season in other parts. The mixed expectations will likely keep importers uncertain about future seaborne purchases. Consumption in Vietnam has been lower than normal in the last quarter because of unfavourable weather, political uncertainties, a lack of new paving projects and delays in disbursement of project funds, according to market participants. The lower consumption kept inventories higher and weighed on demand for spot seaborne volumes, with many importers only focused on taking delivery of their term contract shipments. Some importers in Vietnam are cautious and did not report consumption rising noticeably as weather in the key consuming south and central regions continues to be wet and not suitable for road paving, while the country is also set to experience typhoons next month. Consumption will stay low until September because the typhoon season starts next month, and the first region to get hit is the north before moving towards the south, a key importer told Argus . It is raining in the south and central regions, according to the importer. "The north is alright now but there is no good pick up [in consumption]," the importer said, adding that imported cargo inventories in the region are still notably higher. This is in contrast to expectations from other Vietnamese importers and some Asian traders, which said that consumption and demand for seaborne bitumen are expected to be higher in July and August as compared to previous months this year, given favourable weather in north Vietnam and more enquiries for Singapore cargoes, to restock in August. Consumption in the south and central regions are stable-to-weak, but overall demand in July and August are set to pick up as some new road projects are in the pipeline, a market participant said. Inventories are falling in some parts of the region and there is a need to replenish stocks now, while the domestic selling price is also expected to increase, participants said. "Demand in Haiphong and north Vietnam is good, and we are able to sell more than last month," another importer told Argus . "If the weather continues to be good, then demand will improve further in the coming weeks and that can increase import appetite." Vietnam is a net importer and typically secures most of its seaborne volumes from Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, and China. Vietnam imported 1.04mn t of bitumen in 2023, up by 20pc from 866,000t imported in 2022, according to GTT data. Singapore cargoes accounted for about 32pc of Vietnam's total imports last year, while Thailand, Taiwan, and China together accounted for about 35pc of the total imports, the data showed. This compared to a 33pc and 40pc share, respectively, in 2022. Middle East penetration Some importers are worried that domestic prices are unlikely to rise in the near term, because of increased availability of relatively cheaper Middle East-origin cargoes in the region. They noted that this would cut domestic appetite for Asian cargoes and would in turn weigh on imports. Vietnam imported about 252,000t of bitumen from the Middle East in 2023, accounting for about 24pc of the total imports, show GTT data. This compared to 135,000t imported in 2022, which accounted for about 16pc of the total imports. Imports from the Middle East totalled 156,000t over January-May, nearly tripling from 55,000t imported during the same period last year. The region's imports from Singapore during the five-month period this year totalled 135,000t, down from 150,000t a year earlier. Imports from the Middle East increased as the inter-regional price arbitrage with Singapore was wide open. The Argus assessed ABX 1 fob Singapore prices averaged $421.50/t for the week of 12 July, while fob Iran bulk prices averaged $294.50/t for that week. Vietnam importers noted that Middle East-origin bulk cargoes were priced at low-$400s/t on a cfr basis, which was still lower than prevailing fob Singapore levels during the period. By Sathya Narayanan Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Australian Enterprise gas drives Beach’s Apr-Jun output


24/07/19
24/07/19

Australian Enterprise gas drives Beach’s Apr-Jun output

Sydney, 19 July (Argus) — Australian independent Beach Energy produced more gas and liquids during April-June than the previous quarter but ended its 2023-24 fiscal year to 30 June with output down against a year earlier. April-June sales gas production of 20.2PJ (539mn m³) was 10pc higher than the previous quarter's 18.3PJ and up on April-June 2023's 19.6PJ as it commissioned its Enterprise field in Victoria state's Otway basin. Beach's total 2023-24 production of 18.5mn bl of oil equivalent (boe) was 5pc down on the 19.5mn boe achieved in 2022-23, with natural field decline and rainfall resulting in Beach's oil output falling by 11pc from the previous quarter to 7,400 b/d from 8,300 b/d in January-March. The firm shipped a second 79,000t Waitsia cargo from the Woodside-operated 16.9mn t/yr North West Shelf LNG terminal during the quarter, consisting of Xyris gas plant production and third-party surplus gas sourced through swaps. It expects to achieve the first gas at its delayed 250 TJ/d (6.7mn m³/d) Waitsia gas plant in Western Australia's onshore Perth basin in early 2025 ahead of a 3-4 month ramp-up period. The firm has released a wider than usual production guidance for 2024-25 of 17.5mn-21.5mn boe, to account for uncertainty on the timing of Waitsia commissioning and output growth. Beach identified A$135mn ($90.5mn) in field operating cost savings and sustaining capital expenditure reductions as part of its strategic review findings released on 18 June. Beach confirmed it expects to recognise an A$365mn-400mn pre-tax impairment charge in its full-year results following reassessment of its Bass basin assets in Australia and Taranaki basin project in New Zealand. It is targeting new gas supplies of 150 TJ/d over the coming 12-18 months from the Enterprise, Thylacine West and Waitsia fields. By Tom Major Beach Energy results (mn boe) Apr-Jun '24 Jan-Mar '24 Apr-Jun '23 2022-23 2023-24 Production 4.8 4.5 5.0 19.5 18.2 Sales 5.4 4.8 5.7 20.7 21.3 Sales revenue (A$) 433 392 450 1,617 1,766 Realised gas price (A$/GJ) 10.30 9.70 9.50 8.80 9.50 Source: Beach Energy Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Brazil's flood-hit airport to resume flights in Oct


24/07/18
24/07/18

Brazil's flood-hit airport to resume flights in Oct

Sao Paulo, 18 July (Argus) — The Salgado Filho international airport in Porto Alegre, in flood-hit Rio Grande do Sul state, will begin receiving some flights in October, Brazil's port and airport ministry said. The airport, which is managed by Germany's Fraport, will initially receive roughly 50 flights/d, with the goal of resuming full capacity by year-end. Prior to the floods, the airport had forecast that it would have 5,404 domestic and international flights (180 flights/d) and transport over 608,000 passengers in April. But it was forced to shut in late April after the record floods that hit the state. The economy of Rio Grande do Sul state contracted by 9pc in May from the previous month, according to preliminary estimates by Brazil's central bank. The floods have left at least 182 dead and nearly 600,000 people displaced, according to the state's civil defense. Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

'Urgent action' needed for UK to hit net zero goals


24/07/18
24/07/18

'Urgent action' needed for UK to hit net zero goals

London, 18 July (Argus) — The UK increased the rate at which it reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions last year, but "urgent action" is needed for the country to meet its targets in 2030 and beyond, independent advisory body Climate Change Committee (CCC) said in its progress report published today. The report assesses the UK's progress towards its net zero goals against policy set out by the previous Conservative government. The new Labour government, which has been in power since 5 July, has already set the scene for a stronger decarbonisation agenda , but it "will have to act fast to hit the country's commitments", the report says. The committee tracked progress on 28 key indicators. Of the 22 that have a benchmark or target, only five are assessed as being "on track". The UK's GHG emissions last year stood at 393mn t/CO2 equivalent (CO2e), down on the year by 5.4pc, or 22mn t/CO2e, provisional data show. This estimate excludes contributions from international aviation and shipping, as these are not included in the UK's 2030 target of a 68pc cut in GHG emissions from a 1990 baseline. And last year's reduced emissions resulted primarily from a drop in gas demand, the CCC says. Combined gas demand in 2023 averaged 156mn m³/d, down from nearly 175mn m³/d a year earlier. While progress has been made, the previous administration "signalled a slowing of pace and reversed or delayed key policies", the report says. The reduction in emissions last year is "roughly in line with the annual pace of change needed" to reach the 2030 target, but the average annual rate over the previous seven years is "insufficient", the committee says. In its first days in office, the new government placed a strong emphasis on decarbonising electricity, but this is "not enough on its own", CCC acting chief executive James Richardson said. The average annual rate of GHG reduction outside the electricity supply sector over the previous seven years was 6.3mn t/CO2e, but this will need to more than double until 2030 if the UK is to meet its targets, the CCC says. In order to reach targets, "annual offshore wind installations must increase by at least three times, onshore wind installations will need to double and solar installations must increase by five times" by 2030. By comparison, oil and gas use should be "rapidly" reduced and the expansion of the production of fossil fuels should be limited, according to the report. The CCC also recommended that about 10pc of UK homes will need to be heated by a heat pump by 2030, in comparison with about 1pc today. The committee criticised the exemption of 20pc of properties from the 2035 phase-out gas boiler plan, saying it is "unclear" how the exemption would reduce costs as fewer consumers would have to pay to maintain the distribution grid. Gas-fired power generation in recent months has dropped on the back of high wind output and brisk power imports. Power-sector gas burn was 25mn m³/d in March-June, roughly half of the three-year average for the period. But if UK power demand increases with electrification, gas-fired power generation could maintain its role in the country's power mix, particularly if it is combined with carbon capture, use and storage technology, for which fast development and scale-up will need to happen this decade, the CCC says. "Biases" towards the use of natural gas or hydrogen must be removed where electrification is the most economical decarbonisation solution in an industry sector. Power prices need to be reduced "to a level that incentivises industrial electrification". Oil, gas industry to meet climate goals The UK's oil and gas sector "is on track to meet its own climate goals and is not slowing down", offshore industries association OEUK said today in reaction to the CCC's report. The UK needs a plan for reducing oil and gas demand and cutting its reliance on imports, according to OEUK chief executive David Whitehouse. "We should be prioritising our homegrown energy production," he said. The sector reduced its emissions by 24pc in 2022 from 2018, meaning it met its target to reduce emissions by 10pc by 2025 early. The industry halved its flaring and venting and cut methane emissions by 45pc in 2022 compared with 2018, Whitehouse said. OEUK plans to reduce emissions by a quarter by 2027 and by half by 2030 against 2018 levels. And it aims to achieve net zero by 2050. By Georgia Gratton and Jana Cervinkova Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Australia’s Santos delays FID on Dorado oil field


24/07/18
24/07/18

Australia’s Santos delays FID on Dorado oil field

Sydney, 18 July (Argus) — Australian independent Santos will now target a 2025 final investment decision (FID) on its 80pc-owned Dorado oil project in Western Australia (WA), after deferring it in 2022 and last year indicating a 2024 decision. Dorado's 10pc stakeholder Australian independent Carnarvon Energy said the joint venture (JV) will evaluate a lower capital expenditure (capex) option by reducing capacity below the previously guided 75,000-100,000 b/d and phasing development wells, targeting front-end engineering and design re-entry later in 2024 "once the JV secures the best option vessel or hull". Carnarvon said overall capex prior to the first oil from the offshore field will now be below its previous guidance of $2bn. Dorado JV's other shareholder is Taiwan's state-owned CPC with 10pc. Santos reported higher April-June oil and gas output than the previous quarter on 18 July, with production from the 7.8mn t/yr Gladstone LNG (GLNG) in Queensland state up on a year earlier. It produced 22.2mn bl of oil equivalent (boe), up by 2pc from 21.8mn boe during January-March because of the return of WA's Devil Creek gas plant following a maintenance shutdown, as well as higher liquids production following cyclone-related disconnections during January-March. But output was 3pc below the year-earlier figure of 22.8mn boe. GLNG is on track to swap 18PJ (480mn m³) of gas into the domestic market over April-September 2024, Santos said, with the project maintaining its guidance of around 6mn t of LNG shipped for the year to 31 December. Production at the 6.9mn t/yr ExxonMobil-operated PNG LNG in Papua New Guinea (PNG) was down on January-March with natural decline at the Hides field, partially offset by high compression reliability from the Santos-operated Gobe and Kutubu fields. Finalisation of drilling and completion of operations activities at PNG LNG's Angore C1 and C2 wells has been achieved with both wells perforated for production. Angore project teams are now starting tie-in execution with production of 350mn ft³/d (10mn m³/d) expected during October-December. The $4.6bn Barossa backfill project in the Timor Sea is 77pc complete, Santos said, with pipeline testing completed in June and on track for its first gas in July-September 2025 within its cost guidance. Santos' 1.7mn t/yr Moomba carbon capture and storage project in South Australia is mechanically complete and on track to raise injection of Cooper basin gas plant carbon dioxide during July-December. Santos maintained its 2024 production guidance of 84mn-90mn boe and will release its half-year results on 21 August. By Tom Major Santos results Apr-Jun '24 Jan-Mar '24 Apr-Jun '23 y-o-y % ± q-o-q % ± Volumes ('000 t) GLNG (100pc) 1,338 1,649 1,263 6 -19 Darwin LNG (100pc) 0 0 134 100 0 PNG LNG (100pc) 2,001 2,009 2,065 -3 0 Santos' equity share of LNG sales 1,264 1,352 1,333 -5 -7 Financial LNG sales revenue ($mn) 762 901 838 -9 -15 Total sales revenue ($mn) 1,313 1,398 1,336 -2 -6 LNG average realised price ($/mn Btu) 11 13 12 -4 -10 Oil price ($/bl) 89 89 83 7 0 Source: Santos Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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