Expert: Crude oil prices may hit $85 a barrel this summer

CNBC reports that energy analyst Dan Yergin is saying crude oil prices may continue to rally past three-and-a-half year highs and could hit $85 a barrel as soon as July 2018. The news network notes that oil prices have been steadily rising since 2017, and crude futures “rose faster than expected recently as geopolitical tensions rattle the market.” Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, recently rose toward $80 a barrel after hitting its highest level since November 2014. For more, read the full story.

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ExxonMobil, Saudi company want to build ethane ‘cracker’ plant

The Houston Business Journal reports that ExxonMobil Chemical Co. and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. have formed a joint venture for their Gulf Coast Growth Ventures project that will include a 1.8 million-tonne ethane “cracker” plant in Portland, Texas. The newspaper says the move is a key milestone because it allows the companies to continue advancing the $10 billion project. The plant is expected to be operational around 2021 or 2022. For more, read the full story.

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Oil prices hit highest mark since 2014 after Trump’s decision on Iran

Crude oil prices hit 3-1/2-year highs on May 9th, a day after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of an international nuclear agreement with Iran, according to Reuters. The news service says West Texas Intermediate crude futures hit their highest level since November 2014 at $71.14 per barrel, while Brent crude futures jumped nearly 3% to $77.21. Reuters says President Trump’s move sparked fears of increased tension in the Middle East and uncertainty over global oil supplies. For more, read the full story.

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Thrasher: Steel tariffs should not hurt China Energy investments in West Virginia

West Virginia Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher said President Donald Trump’s proposed 25% tariff on steel imports should not derail China Energy Investment Corp.’s plan to build $83.7 billion worth of ethane “crackers,” power plants and related natural gas infrastructure in the state, according to the Wheeling Intelligencer/News-Register. “We don’t think those tariffs are going to impact the situation,” Thrasher said during a West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association conference in Wheeling. “We feel like it’s a fundamentally, really good, win-win situation for both China Energy and our country.” For more, read the full story.

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China shale gas output to nearly double over three years

Reuters reports that the Wood Mackenzie consulting firm is projecting China’s shale gas production will likely reach 17 billion cubic meters in 2020, nearly double the 2017 level, as energy companies “make big progress with drilling technology and cost cutting” in China. Wood Mackenzie says nearly 700 new wells will go online between 2018 and 2020 at three key projects in the southwest part of the country at a total cost of $5.5 billion. For more, read the full story.


Tanker carries first LNG cargo from Cove Point to Japan

Dominion Energy’s Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Maryland has shipped its first cargo of the fuel to Japan, reports LNG World News. Citing a post from the Twitter account of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, the news site says the LNG tanker Sakura departed from Dominion’s new Cove Point export terminal on April 22, 2018. For more, read the full story.

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West Virginia official hopeful that China Energy project is near

West Virginia Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher said he is hopeful the first project associated with China Energy Investment Corp.’s development deal with the state will be announced soon, reports WV Public Broadcasting. Speaking at the recent Marcellus and Manufacturing Development Conference in Morgantown, Thrasher said interest is running high on possible shale gas-related projects, with Chinese delegations ranging in size from nine to 29 people having visited the state 15 times. The nearly $84 billion agreement between West Virginia and China’s largest energy company was announced in November 2017, but few details have emerged since then. For more, read the full story.

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U.S. oil and natural gas could become targets in trade war with China

China’s tariffs in one corner of the energy market signal that U.S. oil and natural gas fields may become a target if a trade war escalates between the two countries, according to Bloomberg. The news service says petrochemicals and liquefied propane were among 106 U.S. products recently targeted for higher tariffs by the Chinese government, “indicating that the world’s biggest oil buyer is willing to use energy as a weapon to retaliate against planned American duties on its high-tech goods.” Bloomberg notes China is the biggest regional buyer of American oil and liquefied natural gas. For more, read the full story.

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Persian Gulf country reports major oil and gas discovery

Bahrain, the smallest energy producer in the Persian Gulf, has reported it has discovered its biggest oil and natural gas field since it started producing crude oil in 1932, according to Bloomberg. The news service says the shale oil and natural gas found in a deposit off the island state’s west coast “is understood to dwarf Bahrain’s current reserves.” For more, read the full story.


Statoil changes name to Equinor as part of strategy shift

Statoil ASA, Norway’s biggest petroleum company, will change its name to Equinor as it seeks to broaden its energy reach beyond oil and natural gas production, Bloomberg reports. The company, which has operations in Ohio’s Utica shale play, says the new name reflects the starting point for equality and equilibrium, and “nor” to signal its Norwegian origin. Bloomberg says the change comes as Statoil pursues a strategy that sets principles for the development of an energy portfolio that calls for 15% to 20% of its investments to be in “new energy solutions” by 2030. For more, read the full story.

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