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Released:  22/12/20142014-12-22
Word count:  846

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 19: International oil prices continued their downward trend through November, with both Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) down by 38 percent since their peak in mid-June.

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Arab times online
Brent settled at $70.6 per barrel (bbl) while WTI dropped to $65.9/bbl by the end of November-price levels last seen four and half years ago. (Chart 1.) Kuwait Export crude, (KEC) meanwhile, fell to $67.1/bbl at the end of the month.

The dramatic drop in oil prices since June when Brent topped $115/bbl amid fears that the IS insurgency would threaten Iraq’s oil supplies has largely stemmed from a combination of weakening global demand and surging oil supply. A strengthening US dollar has also been a factor. The return of sizeable Libyan oil supplies after a year-long absence and increasing US light tight oil production has led to a glut of crude on international markets, putting pressure on prices. In recent years, rising production from non-OPEC regions has managed to compensate for supply outages in OPEC countries, for instance, but 2014 has been notable for seeing oil output increase in geopolitical hotspots, such as Iraq and Libya, in spite of prevailing instability and insecurity.

Amid falling prices, expectations were high that OPEC would cut production to prop up prices as it did in late 2008 during the financial crisis. Rather than cut output, the cartel opted to keep production constant at the 30 million barrel per day (mb/d) ceiling (even though average production in 2014 has overshot this level by close to a million barrels per day, according to official sources). Saudi Arabia and the GCC exporters were especially averse to the idea of taking on board unilateral cuts in production without similar cuts being undertaken by non-OPEC producers such as Russia, Mexico and the US; the combined output from these three countries, which is approaching 30 percent of world crude oil production, is close to OPEC’s share of global production (the US currently prohibits exports of its crude under a 1973 moratorium, however).

Moreover, the thinking goes that by allowing the market to dictate prices, OPEC could be betting on a sustained period of low prices affecting future investment in, and the profitability of, unconventional crude plays, thereby putting the brakes on the North American shale/tight oil revolution. Somewhat concurring with this view, the International Energy Agency (IEA) had earlier in the month opined that investment in US shale/tight oil could drop by 10 percent in 2015 if prices remained at the $80/bbl level.

However, the price of oil needed to significantly affect US shale investment is thought to be much lower than that. Nevertheless, futures prices were, at the end of November, ranging above spot prices and seemingly pointing to an uptick over the next few years as global macroeconomic conditions improve. ICE Brent for December 2015 and 2016 delivery stood at $75.1/bbl and $79.2/bbl, respectively. (Chart 2.)

World oil demand is set to rise by only 0.68 mb/d to an estimated 92.4 mb/d in 2014, according to the IEA. (Chart 3.) This is likely to be the slowest growth in 5 years and largely reflects relatively weak Chinese oil demand growth and declines in demand in both OECD Europe and Asia Oceania during the year. Nevertheless, the IEA is predicting an acceleration in demand growth in 2015, by 1.1 mb/d to 93.6 mb/d as the world economy improves. The International Monetary fund (IMF) expects the global economy to grow by 3.8 percent in 2015 from 3.3 percent in 2014.

A glut of crude oil on international markets has been a major factor in the steep fall in oil prices observed in recent months. Increases in OPEC production coupled with record growth in non-OPEC production have pushed global supplies to an average of 93 mb/d in 2014, an excess of almost 500,000 b/d over current levels of demand.

While non-OPEC supply growth is expected to slow in 2015, to 1.3 mb/d, from 1.8 mb/d in 2014 (see Chart 3.), the market will still likely be oversupplied in 2015 in view of OPEC’s reluctance to rein in output.

OPEC production in October was down on the previous month, by 130,000 b/d to 30.9 mb/d, according to official data and NBK estimates. The UAE, Iraq and Kuwait recorded the largest declines in output: 150,000 b/d, 140,000 b/d and 50,000 b/d, respectively, while Saudi Arabia, the OPEC member usually expected to bear the brunt of cuts, saw its output drop by just 14,000 b/d. In contrast, Libya recorded OPEC’s largest increase, of 140,000 b/d. This is the fifth consecutive month of Libyan output gains since secessionist rebels agreed to end their year-long blockade of ports and oil facilities.

Meanwhile, non-OPEC production continued to surge, increasing by 165,000 b/d in October on the back of output gains in the US and Canada as well as the UK. US crude production reached 8.9 mb/d in October, increasing by 1.2 mb/d year-on-year (y/y), according to preliminary estimates provided by the US Energy Information Agency (EIA). Total crude production is projected to increase by 10 percent in 2015 to an annual average of 9.4 mb/d (Chart 5.). If realized, this would see US production return to levels last seen in 1972.

In view of weak demand growth and burgeoning supply especially from non-OPEC sources, the ‘call on OPEC crude and stock change’ for 2015 has been lowered to 29.2 mb/d from 29.6 mb/d in 2014.
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Released:  22/12/20142014-12-22
Word count:  377

(Reuters) - Libya's internationally recognized government aims to set up a new payment system to receive oil revenues, bypassing the central bank based in Tripoli, the capital city that is no longer under its control, its top oil official said on Saturday.

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Reuters
The OPEC oil producer has had two parallel governments and parliaments since August when a group called Libya Dawn seized Tripoli, forcing the recognized administration of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni to the east.

The central bank, which books oil revenues, has sought to stay out of the conflict, but each side has appointed competing officials to run National Oil Corp (NOC), the company that sells Libyan oil.

Last month, Thinni named al-Mabrook Abu Seif as head of NOC after the rival government appointed its own oil minister to work in the company's headquarters in Tripoli.

The question of who owns Libya's oil is key for foreign buyers. For decades, they have paid for Libyan crude through a state bank linked to the central bank in Tripoli.

In an attempt to prevent oil revenues reaching the rival side, Thinni's government aims to set up a system for foreign oil buyers routed through an eastern branch of the central bank, Abu Seif said in a telephone interview. "We've discussed this with the prime minister and the president of the House of Representatives and central bank head ... (Ali Salem) Hibri," he said, referring to the man appointed by the Thinni-allied parliament after it voted to fire Sadiq al-Kabir who is still acting as governor, according to the central bank's website.

No final decision had yet been taken, Abu Seif said.

Thinni's government also plans to make changes at the top of NOC but will not set up its own, separate oil firm, he said, even though officials based in the east have difficulties maintaining contact with NOC staff in Tripoli. The central bank is currently keeping oil revenues in its coffers, with the exception of civil servants' salaries and food subsidies, in an attempt to stay out of the fray.

But a struggle for oil revenues is likely to intensify as both governments will need a new budget from 2015. Thinni has said his government was living off a bank loan.

Oil output fell by an estimated 300,000 barrels per day last week due to the closure of the biggest ports, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, after a force allied to Tripoli launched an offensive to take them. Both sides have been fighting over the area since then.

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
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Released:  22/12/20142014-12-22
Word count:  151

ABU DHABI — The United Arab Emirates oil minister urged all of the world’s producers today (Dec 21) not to raise their oil output next year, saying this would quickly stabilise prices.

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Today online
“We invite everyone to do what OPEC did and take a step to balance the market through not offering additional products in 2015, and if everyone abides by (the) OPEC decision, the market will stabilise and it will stabilise quickly,” Mr Suhail Bin Mohammed al-Mazroui said.

He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of ministers of the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) in Abu Dhabi.

OPEC’s decision late last month to leave its output ceiling unchanged, rather than cutting it, was followed by a fresh plunge of oil prices.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said last week that the continuing price slide was a “political conspiracy”; Iran needs a high oil price to ease pressure on its state finances.

But Mr Mazroui said today: “There is no conspiracy, there is no targeting of anyone. This is a market and it goes up and down.” REUTERS  
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Released:  19/12/20142014-12-19
Word count:  398

(Reuters) - Global crude oil prices slumped anew on Thursday, a day after a short-covering rally, as traders placed fresh bets the market would resume a six-month rout on worries about a supply glut.

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Reuters
Benchmark Brent and U.S. crude tumbled $2 a barrel each in late trading after initially extending Wednesday's short-covering, which lifted oil prices by more than $3.

With Brent back below the psychologically-key level of $60 a barrel and U.S. crude under $55, traders braced for more selling in a market that has lost about half its value since June.

"We're continuing to search for a bottom and might even see another significant drop before the year-end," said Gene McGillian, an analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

While the market seemed to slide on renewed worries about oversupply, traders said some of the selling could have been due to position squaring ahead of Friday's expiry of the January front-month contract CLF05 in U.S. crude.

Some cited a Bloomberg report about a Nigerian port workers union suspending a strike, although workers in that dock union were only involved in container shipping in Lagos, not oil ports.

The slump set in at midmorning and accelerated in the last 30 minutes of trade.

"Liquidity (was) at its highest at the open and close; lots of systems use (the) market on close orders to enter (and) exit," said Chandravir Ahuja at Kolmar Americas in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Brent's front-month contract LCOc1 closed down $1.91 at $59.27 a barrel, after hitting a session low at $59.17.

A broker suggested that Brent needed to rally and hold well above $61 a barrel "to have any decent strength technically." In Wednesday's short-covering rally, Brent hit $64.40 before closing at $61.18.

U.S. crude's front-month contract CLc1 settled down $2.36 at $54.11, having fallen to $54.05 earlier. It rose to $58.98 the previous day.

Oil's near 50 percent drop over the past six-months began on worries about fast-growing U.S. shale oil supplies and accelerated after OPEC's decision in November not to cut output.

Oil companies have, meanwhile, announced cuts in exploration and capital spending.

Chevron Corp (CVX.N) has put on indefinite hold a plan to drill for oil in the Beaufort Sea in Canada's Arctic while Marathon Oil (MRO.N) cut its capital expenditure for next year by about 20 percent.

Canadian oil producers also deepened cuts in 2015 spending, as Husky Energy (HSE.TO), MEG Energy (MEG.TO) and Penn West Petroleum (PWT.TO) joined those scaling back capital budgets.

(Additional reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault, Robert Gibbons and Catherine Ngai in New York and David Sheppard in London; Editing by Michael Urquhart, David Gregorio, Paul Simao and Cynthia Osterman)
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Released:  19/12/20142014-12-19
Word count:  81

Dec 18 (Reuters) - Libya's Tripoli-based state firm National Oil Corp (NOC) will remain independent, it said on Thursday, in an apparent attempt to reassure foreign oil buyers it will stay out of the country's conflict.

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Reuters
Libya has two governments vying for legitimacy which have been trying to control the vital energy sector. NOC is based in Tripoli, where the non-internationally recognised government sits.

"Regardless of the continuing challenges on various levels, NOC will remain independent," NOC said in a statement. "As the sole legal entity to represent and act on behalf of the Libyan oil and gas sector, NOC will continue the sound partnerships with international oil companies." .

(Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Pravin Char)
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Released:  19/12/20142014-12-19
Word count:  192

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's gas exports to Italy have fallen due to some production from the North African country's Mellitah plant being redirected for domestic consumption, an official from the state-run energy company NOC said on Thursday.

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Reuters
The move follows disruption caused by the shutdown of Es Sider port and nearby fields because of recent fighting in the area.

Mellitah is co-owned by Italy's Eni and Libya's state oil firm National Oil Corp (NOC). According to data from the gas grid operator Snam's web site, on Thursday 13.1 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas was imported from Libya to Gela in Sicily where the pipeline lands. That compared with 12.7 mcm delivered for Wednesday, 18 mcm delivered on Tuesday and 20.9 mcm delivered on Monday.

Fighting between rival factions in Libya has often disrupted oil and gas exports in the three years since the civil war toppled Muammar Gaddafi. Two competing governments now operate in the North African state.

Clashes near the Es Sider oil port, the country's largest, closed the terminal, and shut down operations of the al-Waha Oil Company working the port, officials said on Sunday.

Air strikes on Saturday by forces loyal to Libya's recognised government hit targets near Es Sider, aiming to stop an advance by troops of the rival administration that has taken control of Tripoli and is now seeking to take oil facilities in the country's east.  
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Released:  19/12/20142014-12-19
Word count:  73

Aerovista, the Dubai based aircraft charter and leasing specialist, has placed two aircraft in Libya.

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Incentive travel
The first of which is a B737-300 which is on an ACMI project with Air Libya and operating scheduled flights within the region.

Aerovista has also placed a B737-500 in Tobruk as part of a joint venture with Air Libya. The B737-500 is available for charters; its new airport base coupled with its rugged and reliable performance makes the B737-500 an ideal choice for charter flights within the region.
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Released:  18/12/20142014-12-18
Word count:  451

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — U.S. crude-oil futures bounced back Wednesday, rebounding from a five-year low after data showed crude inventories declined, although less than forecast.

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Market watch
Crude futures for delivery in January CLF5, -0.21% settled higher by 54 cents, or 1%, at $56.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil had traded as low as $54.21 in earlier action Wednesday, its lowest level since May 2009, then jumped by as much as 5% to nearly $59 before giving back most of that gain.

Oil rebounded after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a smaller-than-expected decline in U.S. crude supplies in the week ended Dec. 12. The data stoked buying interest after the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday showed a rise in crude inventories, Robert Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho Securities, told MarketWatch.

Meanwhile, February Brent crude LCOG5, -0.02% on London’s ICE Futures exchange rose $1.17, or 1.9%, to $61.18 a barrel after it also plumbed a five-year low in earlier action.

Crude inventories declined by 800,000 barrels in the week ended Dec. 12, the EIA said Wednesday. Analysts polled by Platts had expected a decline of 2.5 million barrels.

Strategists said sellers appeared exhausted after a sharp plunge in crude accelerated this week.

Darin Newsom, a commodities analyst with Telvent, said he hadn’t seen news headlines or a significant change in fundamentals to explain the sudden jump in oil prices. That has led him to believe it was likely due to a flood of new buy orders once both benchmarks tested lows earlier in the week.

“It’s what I call a vacuum market,” where sell orders were few because of the recent low prices and the buy orders, some of them likely automated, are capable of pushing prices up rapidly. “We ran out of selling … computers were triggered, prices shot up.”

Both benchmarks have declined 50% from a June peak as supply has outweighed tepid demand growth.

Yawger said the small decline in EIA crude inventories and a rise in stocks held at Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for Nymex futures, were among factors that raise questions about the durability of the rebound.

In electronic trading late Wednesday, the U.S. oil benchmark stayed moderately higher — up 0.3% at last check — in the wake of what some analysts described as a more-dovish-than-anticipated Federal Reserve statement. Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen also sounded “fairly dovish” in a post-statement press conference, MarketWatch reported on its live blog for the event.

The decline in oil prices is a net positive for the U.S. economy, Yellen said. Movements in oil prices tend to have temporary effects on the inflation outlook, the Fed chief added.

Elsewhere in energy trading, gasoline for January delivery RBF5, +0.05% rose by 3 cents to settle at $1.57 a gallon on the Nymex. January heating oil HOF5, -0.24% gained 5 cents to end at $2.01 a gallon on the Nymex.

Eric Yep and Victor Reklaitis contributed to this article.
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Released:  18/12/20142014-12-18
Word count:  1042

Crude oil slid to a five-year low as a selloff in the commodity gathered pace after the United Arab Emirates said OPEC won’t rein in production. U.S. stocks fell, while European equities sank to erase gains in 2014.

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Bloomberg
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed down 0.6 percent at 1,989.63 by 4 p.m. in New York, falling for the fifth time in six days. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 2.2 percent to the lowest level since Oct. 20, leaving the gauge 1.5 percent down this year. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index dropped to a 10-month low. The ruble weakened through 60 per dollar for the first time, while Turkey’s lira fell to a record versus the dollar. U.S. crude sank 3.3 percent and precious metals slid.

As the rout in benchmark oil prices accelerated, energy producers sent a gauge of global stocks down 1.2 percent, extending last week’s declines. The slump in crude is pushing Russia, the world’s largest energy exporter, close to recession. The S&P 500 touched below its 100-day average before trimming losses as an index of commodities fell to the lowest level since 2009. The Federal Reserve meets this week to review monetary policy and the timeline for interest-rate increases.

“People are going to come into these markets looking at the same things they did last week, oil and secondary interest rates,” Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab Corp., said by phone from Austin, Texas. “To me, the oil selloff is a bit overdone and people’s reactions are a bit negative to it. We need to see stability in oil that lasts a couple of days. If we get that, people will stop being concerned.”

Crude Selloff

The S&P 500 sank 3.5 percent last week to a six-week low, and traded today near its average price for the past 50 days. The gauge slid below 2,000 points for the first time since October. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, also known as the VIX (VIX), declined 3.1 percent after jumping 78 percent last week, its biggest advance in more than four years.

West Texas Intermediate crude fell for a fourth straight trading day, slipping to $55.91 a barrel in New York, the lowest settlement price since May 2009. WTI is down 44 percent this year. Brent crude for January settlement lost 1.3 percent to $61.06 a barrel in London, erasing earlier gains that were fueled by reports fighting had shut down two ports in Libya.

UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will refrain from cutting crude output even if prices slide to $40 a barrel. The group, which last month refused to reduce production in the face of the oil-market slump, has pumped more than its 30 million barrel-a-day target for the last six months.

Energy Stocks

Oil and gas companies in Europe’s Stoxx 600 gauge fell 3.1 percent, leaving them 32 percent below a high reached in June. Energy stocks in the S&P 500 slid as much as 1 percent before closing down 0.7 percent at the lowest level since Dec. 31, 2012. “Oil can stabilize,” Dan Veru, chief investment officer at Fort Lee, New Jersey-based Palisade Capital Management, said by phone. The firm oversees $5 billion in assets. “It’s not so much that it’s low, but the velocity of the change has been so rapid that it just scares the pants off of people.”

Among other U.S. stocks moving today, PetSmart Inc. rose 4.3 percent after a group led by BC Partners Ltd. agreed to buy it for $8.3 billion.

Yields on 10-year Treasuries rose for the first time in six days, adding three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 2.12 percent after closing last week at their lowest level since June 2013.

Fed Meeting

Fed officials will consider at their meeting whether to retain a pledge to keep rates low for a “considerable time” after they ended their stimulatory bond-buying program in October. Fed Chair Janet Yellen and her fellow policy makers will gather in Washington from tomorrow for their final two-day convention of the year.

“The Fed takes precedent,” said Michael Franzese, senior vice president of fixed-income trading at ED&F Man Capital Markets in New York. The central bank may “leave considerable time in there and tell you that it could be removed in the next couple of meetings, and that they will begin the process of raising rates in May or June.”

Treasuries returned 6.5 percent through Dec. 12, compared with the 9.7 percent gain produced by German securities, according to Bloomberg World Bond Indexes. Italian bonds earned 14 percent and Spanish debt gained 15 percent.

Spanish securities rallied today, pushing 10-year yields down nine basis points to 1.79 percent.

Yen Gains

The yen climbed against all 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg as investors sought haven investments amid crude’s tumble. The euro weakened 0.2 percent to $1.2436 and declined 1 percent to 146.46 yen.

MSCI’s developing-nations gauge dropped 1.7 percent for a seventh day of declines to the lowest level since Feb. 5. Thailand’s benchmark stock index slid as much as 9.2 percent, the most in six years on a closing basis, before closing down 2.4 percent. The ruble tumbled 10 percent to 64.24 a dollar, taking its slump over the past six days to about 21 percent. The country’s Micex Index (INDEXCF) fell 2.4 percent. The Bank of Russia is holding an auction of local currency to ease the cash squeeze there.

Indonesia’s rupiah tumbled 1.9 percent to 12,698 per dollar, the biggest drop since Aug. 1 to the weakest level on a closing basis since August 1998. The currency is suffering amid speculation local companies are buying dollars before the end of the year and as foreign funds pull money out of the Southeast Asian country.

Precious Metals

Equities in Turkey retreated 0.5 percent and the lira retreated as police detained the editor-in-chief of the country’s best-selling daily and the head of a television station. The nation’s jobless late rose to 10.5 percent in September from 10.1 percent the previous month, data showed today.

Gold futures fell 2 percent on the Comex in New York to $1,197.90 an ounce after touching a one-week low. Silver futures sank 2.9 percent to $16.563 per ounce in a third day of declines. Corn futures for March delivery rose 0.5 percent to $4.095 a bushel after reaching $4.12, the highest level in five months amid growing demand for ethanol.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jeremy Herron in New York at jherron8@bloomberg.net; Callie Bost in New York at cbost2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeff Sutherland at jsutherlan13@bloomberg.net; Emma O’Brien at eobrien6@bloomberg.net Jeremy Herron, Emma O’Brien
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Released:  18/12/20142014-12-18
Word count:  51

The Central Bank of Libya (CBL), the World Bank (WB), and the French Banking Training Institute have recently held a meeting in Tunisia, with the attendance of the French Ambassador to Libya Antoine Sivan.

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Mubasher
The tripartite meeting focused on the cooperation between the CBL and the WB in fields of training, qualification, and technology, since the CBL is one of the main members of the World Bank, reported Libya TV Website.

Meanwhile, a plan was set to outline the WB’s role in such fields.
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News Releases Oil & Gas News
Released:  17/12/20142014-12-17
Word count:  73

The state of emergency was declared in Libya’s ports of Ras Lanuf and Sidra, according to a statement recently issued by The National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Libya.

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Mubasher
The statement noted that such status quo is due to the armed clashes happening nearby the two ports.

Moreover, the NOC has taken several steps to preserve wells, pumps, pipes, and equipment.

Meanwhile, the NOC has created a ‘crisis team’, which will set a work plan and manage the crisis to develop the NOC’s ability to achieve secure results to resume the ports operations, under the supervision of production and maintenance administrations.
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Released:  17/12/20142014-12-17
Word count:  962

Crude oil dropped to the lowest level in more than five years after the United Arab Emirates said OPEC won’t rein in production in response to the slump.

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Bloomberg
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will refrain from curbing output even if prices fall as low as $40 a barrel, U.A.E. Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said. Prices have slipped about 20 percent since OPEC decided against cutting production to tackle the glut at a Nov. 27 meeting. The group has pumped more than its output target of 30 million barrels a day for the last six months.

Futures are poised to fall below half where they were six months ago, according to a Bloomberg survey today. Oil slid into a bear market this year amid the highest U.S. production in three decades and slowing growth in global consumption.

“The elements that brought us down this far haven’t changed,” John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy, said by phone. “The move lower should extend downward. The bottom of this move isn’t in sight yet.”

West Texas Intermediate for January delivery declined $1.90, or 3.3 percent, to $55.91 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It’s the lowest settlement since May 2009. Total volume was 46 percent above the 100-day average at 2:51 p.m. WTI has dropped 43 percent this year.

Brent Futures

Brent for January settlement slipped 79 cents, or 1.3 percent, to end the session at $61.06 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was the lowest close since July 2009. The grade has fallen 45 percent in 2014. Volume was 4 percent above the 100-day average. The North Sea oil closed at a $5.15 a barrel premium to WTI, the most in six weeks.

The European benchmark will slide to as low as $50 a barrel in 2015, according to the median in a Bloomberg survey today of 17 analysts, down from the $115.71 a barrel high for the year on June 19. The grade has already collapsed 47 percent since then and needs to fall further before producers clear the current glut, said five out of six respondents who gave a reason.

OPEC will stand by its decision not to cut output, the U.A.E.’s Al-Mazrouei told Bloomberg yesterday at a conference in Dubai. The group will wait at least three months before considering an emergency meeting to discuss output again, he said.

‘Stabilize Itself’

“We are not going to change our minds because the prices went to $60 or to $40,” Mazrouei said. “The market will stabilize itself.”

OPEC pumped 30.05 million barrels a day in November, according to data from analysts and media organizations compiled by the group in a report Dec. 10. That’s 1.73 million barrels a day more crude than the world needs from the exporters in the first quarter, according to its own estimates. “We have a global supply glut and economic conditions in Europe and China continue to worsen so prices will remain under pressure,” Gene McGillian, a senior analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut, said by phone. “I don’t know where the bottom will be.”

The group decided last month to keep output unchanged to protect OPEC’s market share, even if it has a negative effect on crude prices, the official Kuwait News Agency reported yesterday, citing Oil Minister Ali al-Omair.

Epic Battle

“We’ve got an epic battle of the wills,” Stephen Schork, president of Schork Group Inc., a consulting group in Villanova, Pennsylvania, said by phone. “The Saudis, Kuwaitis and the rest of that bloc are showing no sign of backing down.”

An increase of about 6 million barrels a day in non-OPEC supply, from countries including the U.S. and Russia, together with speculation in oil markets, triggered the recent drop in prices, OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla El-Badri said yesterday at the Dubai conference.

“It’s not logical nor fair to ask OPEC to reduce their production and not ask the other producers to stop their expected growth in supply,” Mazrouei said today on Twitter.

Shale Boom

The U.S. pumped 9.12 million barrels a day in the period week Dec. 5, the most in weekly Energy Information Administration started in 1983. The gain came as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing unlocked supplies from shale formations including the Eagle Ford in Texas and the Bakken in North Dakota.

“It appears at least that OPEC is willing to let things sink until the other side bails,” Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts, said by phone.

Futures gained earlier today on signs that Libyan and Nigerian output will decline.

Libya declared force majeure, which excuses a supplier from meeting its delivery commitments because of events beyond its control, at the ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, NOC said in a statement on its website Dec. 13. Output will be halted at some oil fields because of armed clashes nearby, it said. Nigerian oil workers’ unions Pengassan and Nupeng, who are demanding changes to the country’s oil industry, instructed members to stop all work at facilities including oil platforms and export terminals.

Libya and Nigeria together produced 2.76 million barrels a day of crude oil last month, according to Bloomberg estimates. The African countries were among eight OPEC members who supported an output cut on Nov. 27, according to five people briefed on the meeting.

Fuel Prices

Gasoline futures slipped 2.09 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $1.5764 a gallon on the Nymex, the lowest close since May 2009. Diesel dropped 1.43 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $2.0017, the lowest settlement since August 2010.

Regular gasoline at the pump declined 1.4 cents to $2.545 a gallon yesterday, the least expensive since October 2009, according to Heathrow, Florida-based AAA, the nation’s biggest motoring group.

“It’s the same old, same old,” Schork said. “There’s no reason to buy the stuff right now.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Shenk in New York at mshenk1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Marino at dmarino4@bloomberg.net Stephen Cunningham, Richard Stubbe  
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Released:  16/12/20142014-12-16
Word count:  85

Tunisia allocates TND 500 million, of tariffs, to textile every year, World Bank Senior Economist Gael Raballand said at a workshop recently held in Tunis, reported African Manager.

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Mubasher
Raballand noted that the value of border trade between Tunisia and both Libya and Algeria has exceeded TND 1.8 billion per year, or 5% of Tunisia’s total official imports In addition, he said that Tunisia’s tax losses are amounted to nearly TND 1.2 billion, as a result of smuggling, according to the Tunisian New Agency (TAP).

He added that the importance of such phenomenon applied on both sides by subsidies on products, in addition to the near absence of the tax burden on consumption in Libya.
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Released:  16/12/20142014-12-16
Word count:  1042

Crude oil slid to a five-year low as a selloff in the commodity gathered pace after the United Arab Emirates said OPEC won’t rein in production. U.S. stocks fell, while European equities sank to erase gains in 2014.

Play
Bloomberg
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed down 0.6 percent at 1,989.63 by 4 p.m. in New York, falling for the fifth time in six days. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 2.2 percent to the lowest level since Oct. 20, leaving the gauge 1.5 percent down this year. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index dropped to a 10-month low. The ruble weakened through 60 per dollar for the first time, while Turkey’s lira fell to a record versus the dollar. U.S. crude sank 3.3 percent and precious metals slid.

As the rout in benchmark oil prices accelerated, energy producers sent a gauge of global stocks down 1.2 percent, extending last week’s declines. The slump in crude is pushing Russia, the world’s largest energy exporter, close to recession. The S&P 500 touched below its 100-day average before trimming losses as an index of commodities fell to the lowest level since 2009. The Federal Reserve meets this week to review monetary policy and the timeline for interest-rate increases.

“People are going to come into these markets looking at the same things they did last week, oil and secondary interest rates,” Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab Corp., said by phone from Austin, Texas. “To me, the oil selloff is a bit overdone and people’s reactions are a bit negative to it. We need to see stability in oil that lasts a couple of days. If we get that, people will stop being concerned.”

Crude Selloff

The S&P 500 sank 3.5 percent last week to a six-week low, and traded today near its average price for the past 50 days. The gauge slid below 2,000 points for the first time since October. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, also known as the VIX (VIX), declined 3.1 percent after jumping 78 percent last week, its biggest advance in more than four years.

West Texas Intermediate crude fell for a fourth straight trading day, slipping to $55.91 a barrel in New York, the lowest settlement price since May 2009. WTI is down 44 percent this year. Brent crude for January settlement lost 1.3 percent to $61.06 a barrel in London, erasing earlier gains that were fueled by reports fighting had shut down two ports in Libya.

UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will refrain from cutting crude output even if prices slide to $40 a barrel. The group, which last month refused to reduce production in the face of the oil-market slump, has pumped more than its 30 million barrel-a-day target for the last six months.

Energy Stocks

Oil and gas companies in Europe’s Stoxx 600 gauge fell 3.1 percent, leaving them 32 percent below a high reached in June. Energy stocks in the S&P 500 slid as much as 1 percent before closing down 0.7 percent at the lowest level since Dec. 31, 2012.

“Oil can stabilize,” Dan Veru, chief investment officer at Fort Lee, New Jersey-based Palisade Capital Management, said by phone. The firm oversees $5 billion in assets. “It’s not so much that it’s low, but the velocity of the change has been so rapid that it just scares the pants off of people.”

Among other U.S. stocks moving today, PetSmart Inc. rose 4.3 percent after a group led by BC Partners Ltd. agreed to buy it for $8.3 billion. Yields on 10-year Treasuries rose for the first time in six days, adding three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 2.12 percent after closing last week at their lowest level since June 2013.

Fed Meeting

Fed officials will consider at their meeting whether to retain a pledge to keep rates low for a “considerable time” after they ended their stimulatory bond-buying program in October. Fed Chair Janet Yellen and her fellow policy makers will gather in Washington from tomorrow for their final two-day convention of the year.

“The Fed takes precedent,” said Michael Franzese, senior vice president of fixed-income trading at ED&F Man Capital Markets in New York. The central bank may “leave considerable time in there and tell you that it could be removed in the next couple of meetings, and that they will begin the process of raising rates in May or June.”

Treasuries returned 6.5 percent through Dec. 12, compared with the 9.7 percent gain produced by German securities, according to Bloomberg World Bond Indexes. Italian bonds earned 14 percent and Spanish debt gained 15 percent.

Spanish securities rallied today, pushing 10-year yields down nine basis points to 1.79 percent.

Yen Gains

The yen climbed against all 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg as investors sought haven investments amid crude’s tumble. The euro weakened 0.2 percent to $1.2436 and declined 1 percent to 146.46 yen.

MSCI’s developing-nations gauge dropped 1.7 percent for a seventh day of declines to the lowest level since Feb. 5. Thailand’s benchmark stock index slid as much as 9.2 percent, the most in six years on a closing basis, before closing down 2.4 percent.

The ruble tumbled 10 percent to 64.24 a dollar, taking its slump over the past six days to about 21 percent. The country’s Micex Index (INDEXCF) fell 2.4 percent. The Bank of Russia is holding an auction of local currency to ease the cash squeeze there.

Indonesia’s rupiah tumbled 1.9 percent to 12,698 per dollar, the biggest drop since Aug. 1 to the weakest level on a closing basis since August 1998. The currency is suffering amid speculation local companies are buying dollars before the end of the year and as foreign funds pull money out of the Southeast Asian country.

Precious Metals

Equities in Turkey retreated 0.5 percent and the lira retreated as police detained the editor-in-chief of the country’s best-selling daily and the head of a television station. The nation’s jobless late rose to 10.5 percent in September from 10.1 percent the previous month, data showed today. Gold futures fell 2 percent on the Comex in New York to $1,197.90 an ounce after touching a one-week low. Silver futures sank 2.9 percent to $16.563 per ounce in a third day of declines. Corn futures for March delivery rose 0.5 percent to $4.095 a bushel after reaching $4.12, the highest level in five months amid growing demand for ethanol.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jeremy Herron in New York at jherron8@bloomberg.net; Callie Bost in New York at cbost2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeff Sutherland at jsutherlan13@bloomberg.net; Emma O’Brien at eobrien6@bloomberg.net Jeremy Herron, Emma O’Brien  
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News Releases

News Releases
Released:  16/12/20142014-12-16
Word count:  258

Tripoli, Libya (PANA) – The second edition of the international fair for Dates and related industries opened on Saturday in Tripoli, the Libya capital.

Play
Pana press
Initiated by the Libyan centre of export promotions, under the supervision of the ministry of Economy, the economic and cultural event is being held with several companies specializing in the export of dates, packaging companies and firms, several associate companies, as well as traditional craft industries, and a certain number of NGOs in the zone of Oasis, and palm peasants in Libya participating.

The exhibition aims to encourage and support local industries. It also aims to promote them in finding a source of alternative revenues to oil by making the product more competitive and meeting the international quality norms for the export of the product.

The different stands of the show exhibit more than 300 varieties of Libyan dates, particularly those produced in the different Libyan cities and oasis known for their varieties such as Degula, Saidi, Hamraia, Al-khadhrayah, Oum Al-Saman, Garfaya and Al-Taboni.

Date production is a world agricultural industry producing about 5.4 million metric tonnes (Mt) of fruit. The date fruit, which is produced largely in the hot arid regions of South West Asia and North Africa, is marketed all over the world as a high-value confectionery and fruit crop and remains an extremely important subsistence crop in most of the desert regions.

The world production of dates has increased from about 1.8 million tonnes in 1961 to 2.8 million in 1985 and 5.4 million in 2001. The increase of 2.6 million tonnes since 1985 represents an annual expansion of about 5 percent.

The major date producers in the world are situated in the Middle East and North Africa. -0- PANA BY/BEH/MSA/VAO 13Dec2014
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Released:  15/12/20142014-12-15
Word count:  945

Any hope that global demand would provide a floor for oil’s freefall was dashed as the leading energy forecaster cut its outlook for the fourth time in five months and crude extended its tumble.

Play
Bloomberg
Oil dropped 3.6 percent in New York after the International Energy Agency forecast weaker consumption next year and said supply from countries outside of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will rise faster than previously estimated.

This year’s 41 percent drop in crude has hurt the economies of oil-producing countries from Russia to Nigeria, reducing fuel demand. Brent crude is too low for 10 of OPEC’s 12 members to balance their budgets, yet not low enough to force producers to scale back output. The U.S. is producing the most oil in three decades and OPEC members have pumped more than the group’s target level for each of the past six months.

“These low prices aren’t spurring an uptick in demand,” John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy, said by phone. “Economies aren’t as energy intensive as they once were so the relationship isn’t that strong anymore.”

Oil extended losses to a five-year low today. West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery dropped to $57.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest close since May 2009. Brent for January settlement slid 2.9 percent to $61.85 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, the least since July 2009.

Global Demand

World oil consumption will expand by 230,000 barrels a day less than estimated in November, the Paris-based adviser to 29 nations said in a report today. Most of the reduction in next year’s outlook is attributable to Russia, where sanctions are hobbling growth, it said.

We are looking at a supply surplus going into next year,” Tim Evans, an energy analyst at Citi Futures Perspective in New York, said by phone. “The IEA had an interesting point. The demand revisions are mainly due to the impact of lower prices on Russia and other producers.”

Global demand will increase by 900,000 barrels a day to average 93.3 million barrels a day, according to the report. The IEA curbed estimates for Russian oil demand in 2015 by 195,000 barrels a day to 3.4 million.

“We expect to see the effects of lower prices feeding through in the second half of next year,” Miswin Mahesh, an analyst at Barclays Plc, said by phone from London.

Non-OPEC Supply

The IEA boosted projections for supplies outside OPEC in 2015 by 200,000 barrels a day, forecasting daily output will expand by 1.3 million barrels after climbing by a record 1.9 million this year. U.S. production will “continue to grow apace in 2015,” expanding by 685,000 barrels a day, the agency said.

“There are oil projects in the pipeline that won’t be cancelled,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. “This will keep downward pressure on oil. The producers are going to do most of the work to rebalance the market.”

The agency cut estimates for the amount of crude needed next year from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries by 300,000 barrels a day. The group will need to pump an average of 28.9 million barrels a day in 2015, about 1.4 million less than its 12 members produced last month and below the 30-million target agreed on Nov. 27.

OPEC output declined by 315,000 barrels a day last month because of disruptions in Libya, where production fell by 180,000 barrels a day to 690,000 a day following an attack at El Sharara, the country’s biggest oil field.

Saudi Output

Production in Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer, fell by 70,000 barrels to 9.61 million barrels because of the closing of the Khafji oilfield that the kingdom shares with Kuwait, the IEA said.

China may have added to strategic crude stockpiles last month, after pausing the activity in October, the IEA said. There are 83 supertankers bound for Chinese ports, according to shipping signals from IHS Maritime, compiled by Bloomberg at about 8:30 a.m. today in London. The ships would transport 166 million barrels, assuming standard cargoes, the most in data starting in October 2011.

Global oil inventories may rise by 297 million barrels in the first half of next year, it said. That could lift stockpiles to 2.87 billion barrels in OECD countries, straining some nations’ ability to store, it said. ‘Very Adversely’

“Some of the places where demand had been growing particularly fast in recent years had been producer countries because record-high prices were a huge stimulus,” Antoine Halff, head of the IEA’s oil industry and markets division, said by phone from Paris. “Now those countries are affected very adversely.”

Russia’s currency is on course for its worst year since the nation’s 1998 default, amid a battering from falling oil prices and sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine. The nation’s government said for the first time last week that the economy will probably contract 0.8 percent in 2015, the worst performance since it shrank 7.8 percent in 2009.

Even in nations whose economies are growing faster, a switch to more efficient vehicles is slowing demand. On average, automobiles sold in the U.S. during August could travel 25.8 miles on a gallon of fuel, up 28 percent since 2007, according to the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute.

“OPEC is paying the price for four years of $100 oil in two ways,” Kilduff said. “It spurred the shale boom here and led to tremendous efficiencies that have curbed demand.”

For Related News and Information: Ruble Slide to Record on Oil Rout Spurs Russia Intervention Bets Oil Tumbles Below $60 as Saudis Question Need to Cut Output OPEC Sees Weakest Demand for Its Crude in 12 Years in 2015

To contact the reporters on this story: Grant Smith in London at gsmith52@bloomberg.net; Mark Shenk in New York at mshenk1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Marino at dmarino4@bloomberg.net; Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net Richard Stubbe, Stephen Cunningham  
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News Releases

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Oil production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) totaled 30.01 million barrels per day (b/d) in November, down 290,000 b/d from October, and down for a second consecutive month as Libyan production went into reverse after several months of steady gains, according to the latest Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials and analysts.

Play
Platts
The November level compared to October output of 30.3 million barrels per day and is within a few hundred thousand barrels of the 30-million-b/d ceiling that OPEC, at its recent end-November meeting, decided to maintain despite multiple projections that such production could create a significant supply overhang in the market. Libyan production had climbed to an average 860,000 b/d in October, almost double the July level. But a new security-related shut-in at the Sharara field in early November resulted in a month-on-month drop of 210,000 b/d.

"This is the great irony of the OPEC decision to leave its production ceiling unchanged," said John Kingston, Platts global director of news. "The status of Libya remains uncertain, with enormous swings of output that are measured in the hundreds of thousands of barrels per day. So an OPEC decision to stand pat could actually play out with unintended cuts - or production increases - from a still unstable Libyan situation."

Other smaller decreases totaling 170,000 b/d came from Algeria, Angola, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. These were partly offset by 90,000 b/d in increased output from Ecuador, Iraq and Nigeria.

Output from OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia, which the survey estimated at 9.6 million b/d in November, has fallen by some 300,000 b/d since July as direct use of crude in power generation has fallen back from the summer peak.

Despite a heavily bearish outlook for the call on OPEC crude in the first half of next year and a drop of nearly $40 per barrel (/b) in oil prices since mid-June, Saudi Arabia drove the group's November 27 decision not to cut production but to maintain the ceiling that has been in place since the beginning of 2012. Several member countries, led by Venezuela, had wanted a collective cut.

Despite oil minister Ali Naimi's insistence that Riyadh has not embarked on a price war, analysts believe that Saudi Arabia is determined to defend its market share against rising non-OPEC supply, in particular from the United States whose production is set to surpass 9 million b/d in December. Shale oil development, accelerated by $100/b-plus prices, has pushed U.S. production up from an average 5 million b/d in 2008 to an expected average of 8.57 million b/d this year. In 2015, total U.S. production is expected to average 9.42 million b/d.

On Monday, North Sea benchmark Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Brent, which traded at $115/b in mid-June, fell below $66/b to new five-year lows. For output numbers by country, click here. You may be prompted for a cost-free, one-time-only log-in registration. For the latest OPEC news features, visit this OPEC Features link and for an OPEC guide, access this link: http://www.platts.com/news-feature/2014/oil/opec-guide/index

# # #

About Platts: Founded in 1909, Platts is a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals, metals and agriculture information and a premier source of benchmark prices for the physical and futures markets. Platts' news, pricing, analytics, commentary and conferences help customers make better-informed trading and business decisions and help the markets operate with greater transparency and efficiency. Customers in more than 150 countries benefit from Platts' coverage of the biofuels, carbon emissions, coal, electricity, oil, natural gas, metals, nuclear power, petrochemical, shipping and sugar markets. A division of McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE: MHFI), Platts is based in London with more than 1000 employees in more than 15 offices worldwide. Additional information is available at http://www.platts.com.

About McGraw Hill Financial: McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE: MHFI) is a leading financial intelligence company providing the global capital and commodity markets with independent benchmarks, credit ratings, portfolio and enterprise risk solutions, and analytics. The Company's iconic brands include: Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, CRISIL and J.D. Power. The Company has approximately 17,000 employees in 30 countries. Additional information is available at www.mhfi.com.  
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News Releases Oil & Gas News
Released:  12/12/20142014-12-12
Word count:  379

(Reuters) - Oil prices stabilized near five-year lows on Thursday as robust U.S. consumer spending data boosted investor optimism about the world's largest economy, while traders warned that a bottom for crude remained elusive after a six-month selloff.

Play
Reuters
Benchmark Brent oil remained below $65 a barrel while U.S. crude traded not far from the $60 support level in choppy trade.

U.S. consumer spending advanced at a brisk clip in November, Commerce Department data showed, as lower gasoline prices gave the holiday shopping season a boost.

Norway's rate cut and speculation of more European stimulus helped steady the crude market after Wednesday's 5 percent price drop, as did talk that some oil drillers were moving to cut exploration and production.

"For the moment at least, we're focused on the positives of this oil drop rather than the negatives like deflation and freeze on investments in energy spending," said Phil Flynn, analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago.

"That said, we're not getting much of a bounce, considering how hard it has been sold off."

Brent's front-month contract was up 20 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $64.44 a barrel by 12:33 p.m. EST (1733 GMT). Earlier, it fell as low as $63.70.

Front-month U.S. crude futures were down 12 cents at $60.82, after coming within less than 10 cents of breaking below $60 support.

Brent and U.S. crude are down nearly 50 percent from June highs, when Brent was above $115 and U.S. crude above $107 a barrel.

On Wednesday, prices collapsed after U.S. crude inventories rose unexpectedly and OPEC's most influential voice, Saudi Arabia's oil minister, again shrugged off the idea of cutting output.

Some traders said prices could churn as market players speculate about possible OPEC output cuts if Algeria and Venezuela convince the group to hold an emergency meeting early next year. Some doubt the Saudis would agree to cut output even then.

"There's nothing the rest of OPEC or the world could do to pressure the Saudis," said Tariq Zahir, managing member at Tyche Capital Advisors in New York.

While low prices will discourage exploration and drilling in some places, he said, other producers who could still profit at lower prices may ramp up output to boost revenues through higher volume.

"If prices were to hit the low fifties, (some) non-OPEC members are likely to raise production, because the only way they can get more revenue is to sell more oil at such prices."

(Additional reporting by Alex Lawler in London and Adam Rose in Beijing; Editing by Michael Urquhart and David Gregorio)
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News Releases

News Releases Oil & Gas News
Released:  12/12/20142014-12-12
Word count:  87

Global demand for oil produced by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will reach its 12-year low in 2015, OPEC said on Wednesday.

Play
Mubasher
According to its monthly report, OPEC expected that demand for oil will decline to 28.92 million barrels per day in 2015; 280 thousand barrels less than its previous forecasts. It indicated that this is the lowest decline in 12 years.

In this regard, Abhishek Dechianda, oil markets analyst, said lower oil prices will cause a problem for OPEC members. He added that it would not be surprising that those countries invite for an urgent meeting in early 2015.

The Brent prices fell below $66 on Wednesday, near its lowest level in five years.
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News Releases
Released:  12/12/20142014-12-12
Word count:  72

Work has begun on the building that will house the new Egyptian consulate in Tobruk, with plans to have it ready for business within the next 45 days.

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Libya herald
The Tobruk Municipal Council has agreed to rent a building to the Egyptians and has issued a tender for repairs and furniture.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry agreed to open a consulate in Tobruk nearly two years ago. However, it only sent personnel to the town to begin preparations in September 2014, after the House of Representatives began to meet there. The consulate will issue visas for travellers and serve Egyptian citizens in Libya.
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