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Oil Rises on Iran Worries

Filed under: — 8:00 pm

Crude-oil futures rose more than $1 a barrel Tuesday amid persistent concerns over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Oil prices have risen in recent weeks on anxiety that Iran, the No. 2 producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, could cut supplies because of international pressure to modify its nuclear program.

Other factors pushing up oil prices are unrest in Nigeria, violence in Iraq and rising resource nationalism in South America. Some 500,000 barrels per day of Nigerian production, most of it operated by Royal Dutch Shell PLC, remain off-line because of violence there, and more than 300,000 barrels per day remain shut down in the Gulf of Mexico since Hurricane Katrina battered offshore platforms in August.

Saudi Arabia’s oil minister suggested relief - though still far off - was nonetheless in sight, saying prices will stabilize by 2010.

Unfortunately that doesn’t help consumers now. But at least they will only pay out the nose for four more years.

Source: Forbes


Occidental to Acquire Vintage Petroleum

Filed under: — 2:28 am

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said it agreed to acquire Vintage Petroleum Inc. for about $3.5 billion. The WSJ makes a good point: it seems acquisitions are the only way to get anywhere lately. The acquisition will help Occidental’s operations in California, Latin America (Argentina and Bolivia) and the Middle East (Yemen).

In comparison, Vintage did nearly $800 million last year whereas Occidental brought in upwards of $11 billion. In addition to oil and gas production, Occidental owns specialty product subsidiary Occidental Chemical (OxyChem) and an energy trading and marketing operation, Occidental Energy Marketing.

Sources: WSJ, Hoovers,


Gas Prices Jump

Filed under: — 11:03 am

While some places have reached beyond the $3 mark (I thought we wouldn’t see this until the winter) I just watched my local pump go from 2.61 to 2.75 overnight. Honestly, that hurts…

…some experts speculate $4 is on the way. I’ll be using the bus long before that ever happens…


Freakonomics Author Talks Oil

Filed under: — 4:55 pm

I thought I was subscribed to the Freakonomics Blog (great book) but apparently was not. Thanks to Fred for the link pointing to Levitt’s discussion on oil.

CNPC to buy PetroKazakhstan

Filed under: — 3:02 pm

China is spending a ridiculous amount on foreign acquisitions this year. Thats why this should come as no surprise:

State-owned Chinese oil company CNPC has agreed to buy PetroKazakhstan Inc. for $4.18 billion in China’s largest foreign takeover, beating rival bidders including top Indian oil firm ONGC … The deal, if it goes through, would be China’s first successful takeover of a foreign listed energy firm and highlights Beijing’s scramble to secure supply security for the world’s second-largest oil consuming nation and the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

We all know China needs the oil (is this why pump prices jumped 20-cents in four days over here?). Having lost Unocal this should be one of probably many energy acquisitions that they’ll pursue.

Retuers has more.


Oil A Bubble?

Filed under: — 9:50 pm

The Big Picture’s Barry Ritholtz has a great post (as always) on oil. I’ve seen estimates of $3 before the end of the year. With high winter expectations, issues in the east (not new), hurricanes in the gulf (new), I certainly believe it. In the last 3 days I’ve seen gas rise over $.10. But, in essence, its not really that bad… sure feels bad though.

PS: Be sure to check out his comments section… always quality discussion.


Cnooc May Give Up on Unocal

Filed under: — 11:55 am

NY Times- The board of Chinese oil company Cnooc is planning to decide early this week whether to raise its bid for Unocal or abandon its takeover effort, executives close to the company tell the New York Times. Several members of Cnooc’s board and management have expressed doubts in recent days about the wisdom of continuing to pursue the bid in the face of mounting opposition in Washington…

At this point it seems more likely that Cnooc will abandon the deal leaving shareholders to approve Chevron’s bid (although it’s nominally less).

Update: Cnooc did give up on Unocal. Read: Yahoo, WSJ.


Group of Eight (G8) Summit Gathering

Filed under: — 9:39 am

AP - World leaders scaled back goals for relieving African poverty and combatting global warming under U.S. opposition to British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s ambitious objectives.

Blair is in charge this year and is looking primarily at aid for Africa. He’d like the nations to double their support by 2010 and increase foreign aid to 0.7-percent of each nation’s income by 2015. Bush is in favor of doubling the aid to $8.6 billion in Africa (which activists suggest is about $6 billion too little) but is opposed to the 0.7-percent aid. He doesn’t want to give money to “countries that are corrupt”. This is all in addition to the plan that would eliminate the debt of 18 countries ($40 billion).

Also on the agenda is global warming negotiations. Bush is ready to push the alternative-fuel approach.


Oil Above $55 A Barrel

Filed under: — 10:58 am

Retuers: Oil prices sat tight above $55 a barrel on Tuesday on concerns over the world’s ability to make enough diesel and heating oil ahead of the winter and as OPEC appeared powerless to turn back the rally.

Interestingly enough this announcement comes before the summer season is even over. The world’s supply is already being stretched that thin.

…and since you guys (and gals) are faithful readers, you’re the first to know. Now quick, go fill up your gas tanks and thank me later.


Consumer confidence increased in December

Filed under: — 3:25 pm

From the Wall Street Journal:

U.S. consumer confidence jumped sharply in December, after four months of decline, amid an improvement in consumers’ assessment of the labor market, a private research group reported today.

Economists were expected a more “modest” increase, but December ended up haveing the highest confidence level since July. Simply, this can be attributed to recent economic expansion and and job growth. Why is this such a good thing: consumer spending makes up nearly two-thirds of all economic activity in the United States.


Gas prices still falling

Filed under: — 7:36 pm

A recent report from Reuters shows gas falling for the eighth week in a row. Regular unleaded gasoline is now averaging $1.791 across the nation. Even though prices dropped about two and a half cents this week, prices are still thirty-one cents higher than this time last year.

With these dropping prices, an ironic article from FastCompany was just published, entitled Green Power:

Thanks to soaring fuel prices, lots of creative energy is being applied to alternative energy. The time may finally have come for these three champions of on-the-verge technologies.

In the long run, FastCompany is correct, there’s only one direction for fuel prices to go. The article basically analyzes alternatives such as the wind, sun, and hydrogen power. In yet another related article, Slashdot noted the newest speed record for a hybrid car to be 130.974 mph.

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