Brent crude settled down 9 cents to $79.19 per barrel on Thursday after reaching a session high of $80.50 per barrel, the highest level since Nov. 24, 2014. West Texas Intermediate crude closed at $71.49 per barrel after trading as high as $72.30 during the session.
Pipeline companies Williams Cos., Cheniere Energy and Enbridge on Thursday unveiled plans to buy out their subsidiaries organized as master limited partnerships in the wake of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruling that eliminated some tax benefits for MLPs. "Under the newly changed FERC tax policy, holding certain interstate pipelines in MLP structures is highly unfavorable to unitholders and is no longer advantageous," said Enbridge, which will pay $8.85 billion to purchase its independent units, including Spectra Energy Partners and Enbridge Energy Partners.
The inability of US Gulf Coast ports to handle very large crude carriers threatens to limit US crude export potential since using smaller ships is less time- and cost-effective and therefore would require a wider price differential between US crude and international oil prices to make it economical. The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port is currently the only facility that can directly load VLCCs, while most Gulf Coast ports can only accommodate vessels with capacities of up to 500,000 barrels.
Increased investment in pipeline projects can enhance energy security and ensure customer access to affordable, reliable energy, write American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard and Laborers' International Union of North America General President Terry O'Sullivan. Additionally, a recent ICF study estimates private sector investment in energy infrastructure could reach $1.34 trillion by 2035, with associated employment seen averaging more than 1 million jobs each year.
Logistics company Jupiter MLP has received regulatory permission to expand a crude export dock at the Port of Brownsville in Texas to be able to handle Suezmax-size vessels. The company also plans to build an offshore facility that would accommodate and load very large crude carriers, but the projects are not expected to be completed earlier than 2020.
Scientists are using data gathered by interferometric synthetic aperture radar from a satellite to learn more details about deformation in northwestern Tibet. The technology, which helps researchers isolate tectonic movement, shows local strain and weaknesses in the lithosphere are causing the region to shift east.
The erupting Kilauea volcano in Hawaii had an explosion Thursday, sending up an ash cloud about 9 kilometers high. Geologists said more pressure-relieving explosions are possible, and officials advised Big Island residents to take shelter and protect themselves from toxic ash.
The UK is trying to improve the application process for the shale industry's hydraulic fracturing operations. The government says it will speed up shale planning decisions, consider whether some natural gas exploration wells can be drilled without a planning application and start a fund to help local officials review applications.
An onshore SDX Energy well in Egypt is flowing natural gas at a rate of 1.1 million cubic meters per day, the company said today. The UK-based operator said it drilled the well in the South Disouq license area 2,929 meters deep and hit 30 meters of net conventional gas pay in the Abu Madi horizon.
Companies drilled 130 exploration wells in Australia last year, the most since 2014, said Matthew Quinn, senior customer solutions adviser for IHS Markit. Despite the increase in drilling, the area covered by exploration and production licenses shrank and the number of discovered barrels of oil equivalent dropped to 22 million.
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