Potential strike threatens Vancouver port again

  • : Biomass, Crude oil, Fertilizers, Metals
  • 24/05/13

A labour dispute at the Canadian port of Vancouver could result in another work stoppage, less than a year after a strike disrupted the flow of more than C$10bn ($7.3bn) worth of goods and commodities ranging from canola and potash to coking coal.

Negotiations between the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Ship and Dock Foremen Local 514 union have stalled as the two sides try to renew an agreement that expired on 1 April 2023.

A 21-day "cooling-off period" concluded on 10 May, giving the union the right to strike and the employers association the right to lock out the workers. A vote and 72-hour notice would first need to occur before either action is taken.

The BCMEA filed a formal complaint to the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) the same day, which had to step in last year in another dispute.

The BCMEA locked horns with ILWU Canada over a separate collective agreement in 2023 leading to a 13-day strike by the union in July. This disrupted the movement of C$10.7bn of goods in and out of Canada, according to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

Vancouver's port is the country's largest — about the same size as the next five combined — and describes itself as able to handle the most diversified range of cargo in North America. There are 29 terminals belonging to the Port of Vancouver.

Terminals that service container ships endured the most significant congestion during last year's strike. Loadings for potash, sulphur, lumber, wood pellets and pulp, steel-making coal, canola, copper concentrates, zinc and lead concentrate, diesel and renewable diesel liquids and some agri-foods were also disrupted.

The Trans Mountain-operated Westridge Marine Terminal responsible for crude oil exports on Canada's west coast was unaffected.

A deal was eventually reached on 4 August.

The strike spurred on proposed amendments to legislation in Canada that would limitthe effect of job action on essential services. A bill introduced in Canada's Parliament in November would update the Canada Labour Code and CIRB Regulations accordingly. The bill has been progressing through the House of Commons, now having completed the second of three readings.


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24/06/14

Inpex invests in Australian solar, battery project

Inpex invests in Australian solar, battery project

Tokyo, 14 June (Argus) — Japanese upstream firm Inpex has decided to invest in a hybrid solar and battery project in the Australian state of New South Wales, aiming to boost its renewable energy business abroad. Inpex reached a final investment decision on the Quorn Park Hybrid project in Australia, a joint venture project with Italian utility Enel's wholly-owned Australian renewable energy firm Enel Green Power Australia (EGPA), the Japanese firm announced on 14 June. The project consists of solar farm construction and power generation with a photovoltaic and battery system. Batteries are usually a necessary back-up power source to stabilise power grids that utilise renewable energy. The project aims to produce around 210GWh/yr from solar power with around 40MWh/yr from battery storage, according to EGPA, with an operational capacity of around 98MW for solar and 20MW for battery. The firms plan to start construction during the second half of 2024, before it starts commercial operations during the first half of 2026, according to an Inpex representative that spoke to Argus . The Japanese firm did not disclose the investment amount but the investment value for construction of the project is estimated at "over $190mn", according to EGPA's website. Inpex bought a 50pc stake in EGPA in July 2023, with an aim of expanding its renewable generation portfolio. The firm regards Australia as a "core area" for boosting its renewable energy business, according to Inpex. By Yusuke Maekawa Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

UK political parties repeat existing stances on energy


24/06/13
24/06/13

UK political parties repeat existing stances on energy

London, 13 June (Argus) — The two main UK political parties have set out their plans, including on energy and climate change, with just three weeks until the general election. Energy security and the cost to consumers is a recurring theme for both, but the manifestos present some marked differences in approach to the energy transition. Both the incumbent Conservative and opposition Labour parties doubled down on existing positions in their respective manifestos. The Conservative party said that it remains committed to the UK's 2050 net zero emissions target, but promises a "pragmatic and proportionate" route. The party's manifesto guarantees "no new green levies or charges while accelerating the rollout of renewables". The UK's net zero goal is legally-binding, and was passed with significant cross-party support under a Conservative government in 2019. The Conservatives have been in power since 2010, and fielded five prime ministers in that time. Recent polling data show a substantial lead for Labour, which performed well at local elections in May. Labour placed strong focus on the opportunity the transition offers, saying that it would place the UK at the "forefront of climate action by creating the green jobs of the future at home and driving forward the energy transition on the global stage". The party has committed to zero-carbon power by 2030, although it would "maintain a strategic reserve of gas power stations to guarantee security of supply", it said. The Conservative manifesto reiterates the party's plans to build new gas-fired power plants. The party had previously committed to a decarbonised power grid by 2035, in line with a G7 pledge, although that is not mentioned in its manifesto. The two main parties clearly diverge on their approaches to North Sea oil and gas production. The Conservatives aim to keep the windfall tax — which effectively results in a 75pc rate — on oil and gas producers in place "until 2028-29, unless prices fall back to normal sooner". Labour confirmed plans to lift the rate to 78pc and run the tax until the end of the next parliament, which is likely to be mid-2029. Labour is also clear that it "will not revoke existing licences" in the North Sea, but it will not issue any new licences — for oil, gas or coal. The Conservatives restated the party's aim to legislate for annual North Sea licensing rounds . Both parties back nuclear energy, including small modular reactors — though those are unlikely to be operational until after 2030. And both pledge to cut planning bureaucracy and tackle grid connections. Labour's plans to "double onshore wind, triple solar power, and quadruple offshore wind by 2030" would result in installed capacity of 31GW, 48GW and 59GW, respectively, from a baseline of end-2023. The Conservatives' target to triple offshore wind by the end of the next parliament would put installed capacity at 44GW in 2029 — below the 50GW target for 2030 set in 2022 — while it said it supports solar and onshore wind in some circumstances. Finance in focus Both parties are keen to pull in private-sector investment, while Labour took up an original Conservative pledge to "make the UK the green finance capital of the world". And both pledge to address the cost of energy for consumers — Labour through local power generation projects and home insulation upgrades, and the Conservatives by ruling out any further "green levies". The latter plans to reverse London's expansion of the ultra-low emissions zone — originally planned by Conservative then-mayor and later prime minister Boris Johnson. Labour said that it would restore a phase-out date of 2030 for new internal combustion engine cars — which prime minister Rishi Sunak in September pushed back to 2035 . On an international level, both parties mention climate leadership at summits such as UN Cops. The Conservatives pledged to "ring-fence" the UK's climate finance commitments, while Labour committed to restore development spending to 0.7pc of gross national income "as soon as fiscal circumstances allow". By Georgia Gratton Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Opec reopens rift with IEA on peak demand


24/06/13
24/06/13

Opec reopens rift with IEA on peak demand

London, 13 June (Argus) — Opec today reopened a rift with the IEA about the future need for oil, calling the Paris-based agency's forecast for peak demand this decade a "continuation of [its] anti-oil narrative." Opec secretary-general Haitham Al Ghais said the IEA's projection , made earlier this week, is a "dangerous narrative" that "will only lead to energy volatility on a potentially unprecedented scale." He made his case in a commentary for consultancy Energy Aspects that Opec made publicly available. This is not the first time the two organisations have clashed over the future trajectory for oil demand growth. When IEA executive director Fatih Birol first floated the idea of a peak demand this decade in 2023, Al Ghais said this was "extremely risky and impractical". Birol and the IEA have been keen to stress that there will be no sharp demand fall beyond its predicted peak year of 2029, and have repeatedly said there will be a gradual decline perhaps over as long as 20 years. Al Ghais said Opec does not see peak oil demand by the end of the decade — he said in January that the scenario "is not showing up in any reliable and robust short- and medium-term forecasts" — and took issue with the IEA's forecasts for demand growth to 2030. The watchdog projects a sharp drop off in growth in 2026 to almost nothing in 2029 and a small contraction in 2030. Al Ghais called this unrealistic. The two bodies' demand estimates have been moving further apart in recent months, with Opec's forecast for growth this year now 1.3mn b/d more than that of the IEA. Birol this week acknowledged this is a "big gap", but was diplomatic when pressed for reasons. "We respect all institutions' forecasts," he said. "We will see at the end of the year what the numbers will be." Criticism of the IEA from the upstream industry has magnified since 2021, when the agency said that 2050 climate goals exclude the need for any new oil and gas fields. Saudi oil minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman described this as "la la land" analysis. This year the IEA has come under fire from Republicans in the US Congress who have said the agency is veering into climate advocacy. US industry body API chief executive Mike Sommers said earlier this year the IEA "has become, unfortunately, so politicized that it's just not a reliable source of data any more." By Ben Winkley Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Japan’s scrap export tender slips in June


24/06/13
24/06/13

Japan’s scrap export tender slips in June

Singapore, 13 June (Argus) — The monthly export tender of Japanese scrap dealer co-operative Kanto Tetsugen for June settled lower compared with May but remained above recent market levels, providing support to the export market and prices. The June tender concluded at an average of ¥51,364/t ($327.20/t) fas for 25,000t of H2 scrap, a fall of ¥1,226/t from May. This brought the fob price to an equivalent of ¥52,364/t or $333.60/t. The first 10,000t settled at ¥51,510/t with the second 15,000t at ¥51,267/t. The two shipments are expected to head for Vietnam and Bangladesh. Several market participants expect the export market to be supported, despite the tender result concluding lower against May, as it was above recently traded levels. The export market has faced significant downwards pressure over the past month, with the H2 fob price falling by ¥2,400/t because of sluggish demand and low price expectations from Taiwanese and Vietnamese buyers. The Argus H2 fob Japan assessment was ¥50,200/t on 12 June, while the May monthly average was ¥51,381/t fob Japan. The latest tender price aligns with the domestic price in the Kanto region, which may become the new target price for exporters. The H2 collection price at Tokyo Steel's Utsunomiya plant was ¥51,500/t delivered to the steel mill. Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

US Fed signals one rate cut this year


24/06/12
24/06/12

US Fed signals one rate cut this year

Houston, 12 June (Argus) — The US Federal Reserve kept its target interest rate unchanged at a 23-year high today while officials signaled they expect to make only one quarter-point rate cut later this year. The Fed board and policymakers, in their latest economic projections, expect the target rate range will end 2024 near a midpoint of 5.1pc, compared with the 4.6pc midpoint projected in March. That implies one quarter-point cut, down from three possible cuts penciled-in previously. "We do not expect it will be appropriate to reduce the target range for the federal funds rate until we have gained greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably" towards the Fed goal of 2pc, Fed chairman Jerome Powell said after the meeting. "As the economy evolves, appropriate assessments of the policy path will adjust in order to best promote our maximum employment and price stability goals." The Fed's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) held the federal funds target rate unchanged at 5.25-5.5pc. It was the sixth consecutive meeting in which the Fed held rates steady following 11 increases from March 2022 through July last year in the most aggressive hiking campaign in four decades. The decision to keep rates steady was widely expected. CME's FedWatch tool, which tracks fed funds futures trading, had assigned a 99pc probability to the Fed holding rates steady today. The FedWatch tool had earlier signaled two rate cuts later this year, but following a better-than-expected inflation report this morning, FedWatch is now indicating three possible rate cuts, beginning in September. The Fed's economic projections see core Personal Consumption Expenditures inflation, the Fed's favorite measure of inflation, ending 2024 at a median forecast of 2.8pc from a prior forecast for 2.6pc. Policymakers see inflation falling to a median 2.3pc next year. The outlook for the unemployment rate for the end of 2024 remained unchanged at 4pc. Policymakers expect gross domestic product (GDP) growth to end the year at 2.1pc, unchanged from prior projections. The latest policy meeting comes as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) eased to an annual 3.3pc in May , down from 3.4pc in April, the Labor Department reported earlier today. Inflation had ticked up to 3.5pc in March from 3.1pc in January, prompting the Fed to turn more cautious about beginning its rate cuts. US job growth has surprised to the upside and continues to top pre-Covid levels. GDP growth slowed to a 1.3pc annual rate in the first quarter, from 3.4pc in the fourth quarter of 2023. 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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