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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  27/02/20152015-02-27
Word count:  354

(Reuters) - Crude oil futures rebounded on Friday, with Brent heading for its biggest monthly gain since May 2009, as supply outages in the North Sea and renewed fears of gas supply disruption in Europe supported prices.

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A reduction in rig counts and expectations for better oil demand have helped Brent prices rise by around 15 percent so far this month from January's close of $52.99.

U.S. crude CLc1 is also on course for its first monthly rise in eight, but with a more modest gain of about 1.3 percent. Brent crude LCOc1 rose 98 cents to $61.03 a barrel by 0055 ET. U.S. crude CLc1 was also up 91 cents at $49.08.

Norwegian energy firm Statoil has shut its Statfjord C platform in the North Sea after discovering cracks in the platform's flare tower. The entire Statfjord field, which includes two other platforms, produced about 81,000 barrels of oil equivalents last year.

Elsewhere in Europe, gas supply talks between the European Union, Ukraine and Russia will be held in Brussels on Monday after President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia would halt gas supplies to Ukraine that can cause disruptions in deliveries to Europe. But analysts doubted the threat had substance.

In the United States, a reduction in rig counts coupled with a slump in upstream investments supported expectations that production could be trimmed going forward.

The active drilling rig count in North Dakota, the country's No. 2 oil producing state, dropped to 119 on Feb. 26, versus 193 last year, state data showed.

"I do think over time there will be lower oil production but that would take time. And investors are pulling that into current prices," said Tony Nunan, a risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo. Asia is not spared, as the downturn in oil prices is making it harder to attract future investments in Malaysia.

While supplies from Libya increased to 100,000 barrels a day on Thursday, up from 40,000 bpd, Spain's Repsol said the company has little hope of restarting production there in the short-term citing security problems.

Still, oversupply worries persist and could limit oil gains especially if inventories in the U.S. continue to build until tanks are full, Nunan said.

An anemic refinery throughput pushed up U.S. crude inventories by 8.4 million barrels last week, a key reason behind Thursday's hefty slide in oil prices.

(Reporting By Jane Xie; Editing by Ed Davies and Biju Dwarakanath)  
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News Releases

News Releases
Released:  27/02/20152015-02-27
Word count:  254

TRIPOLI, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Oil production from Libya's southeastern Sarir and Messla fields has risen to 100,000 barrels a day, a spokesman for the state field operator said on Thursday.

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Output from the fields feeding the Hariga port would gradually rise to 180,000 bpd, said Omran Elzawei, spokesman for operator AGOCO.

Libya has restarted both fields, shut after a pipeline blast which halted crude supplies to Hariga, the biggest onshore export port still working amid growing chaos in the OPEC member country.

On Tuesday, pumping levels reached around 40,000 barrels, an industry source said. Hariga used to export around 120,000 bpd but at least 20,000 bpd are needed to feed the Tobruk refinery.

With the closure of the Hariga port due to the pipeline blast, Libya's oil exports had fallen temporarily to less than 200,000 bpd - a fraction of the up to 1.3 million barrels exported daily by Libya prior to the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Most Libyan oilfields have stopped working due to the struggle between the recognised government in the east and a rival administration that took control of the capital Tripoli last summer.

The emergence of militants aligned with Islamic State have further complicated plans to restart oil production.

Hariga, located near the country's eastern border with Egypt, has turned into the largest exporting port after the two biggest - Es Sider and Ras Lanuf - stopped working in December due to fighting between rival factions.

But in a sign of hope, the small Zueitina port restarted a week ago. Two offshore oilfields also still export oil. The port at Brega, also in the east, is still open but only supplying the 120,000 bpd-Zawiya refinery in western Libya.

(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
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News Releases

News Releases
Released:  26/02/20152015-02-26
Word count:  369

(Reuters) - Brent crude fell toward $61 per barrel on Thursday, after a sharp rally in the previous session, as bulging U.S. crude stockpiles offset indications of a recovery in demand.

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Oil prices on both sides of the Atlantic recorded their largest percentage gains in nearly two weeks at Wednesday's settlement, boosted by improved views on global oil demand from the Saudi oil minister and better-than-expected China data.

"The previous gains reflected the fact that the market is looking forward to more production cuts coming with declines in rig counts," said Ric Spooner, chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, referring to recent data showing a slide in U.S. oil drilling amid beaten-down crude prices.

"But it is a conflict play between production and demand. Certainly, production is exceeding demand, at least in the U.S.," Spooner added.

Brent crude LCOc1 had dropped 31 cents to $61.32 a barrel by 0544 GMT (12.44 a.m. EST), after jumping more than 5 percent on Wednesday. U.S. crude CLc1 was down 42 cents at $50.57, following a more than 3 percent gain in the previous session.

Prices were hurt by data showing U.S. crude stocks rose 8.4 million barrels last week to 434.1 million barrels, a seasonal record high for the seventh straight week, as refineries trimmed output. "With the continued refinery strikes as well as a strong production from the U.S., it comes as no surprise that inventories increase," Phillip Futures analysts said in a note on Thursday. "Without U.S. crude production making adjustments, we strongly believe that prices will not recover yet."

The largest U.S. refinery strike since 1980 continued with no movement toward renewed talks to end a walkout by 6,550 union workers at 15 plants, including 12 refineries accounting for one-fifth of domestic capacity.

U.S. crude, or the West Texas Intermediate (WTI), has risen 16 percent from an almost 6-year low of $43.58 hit last month, but prices are still down more than 50 percent from highs reached in June 2014 amid oversupply woes.

WTI's discount to Brent CL-LCO1=R widened to as much $11.01 in early trade on Thursday, close to the previous session's $11.03 - the widest in nearly 13 months.

Oil prices could, however, draw support from Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi's comments that demand is growing and markets are calm. Another senior Gulf OPEC delegate said demand is expected to grow more strongly in the second half of 2015 as the global economy picks up.

(Editing by Himani Sarkar)
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  26/02/20152015-02-26
Word count:  293

BENGHAZI, Libya Feb 25 (Reuters) - Libya aims to boost production at the southeastern Sarir and Messla oilfields feeding the Hariga terminal to 180,000 barrels a day, a spokesman for the state operator said on Wednesday.

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Libya has restarted both fields, shut after a pipeline blast, which halted crude supplies to Hariga, the biggest onshore export port still working amid growing chaos in the OPEC member country. On Tuesday, pumping levels reached around 40,000 barrels, an industry source said.

"We want to increase output gradually to 180,000 barrels a day, said Omran al-Zwai, spokesman for Arabian Gulf Oil Co (AGOCO), which operates the field and Hariga port.

Hariga used to export around 120,000 bpd but at least 20,000 bpd are needed to feed the Tobruk refinery, an industry source said, adding that 180,000 bpd had been the original pumping level before the pipeline blast. With the closure of the Hariga port due to the pipeline blast, Libya's oil exports had fallen to less than 200,000 bpd - a fraction of the up to 1.3 million barrels exported daily by Libya prior to the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Most Libyan oilfields have stopped working due to the struggle between the recognized government in the east and a rival administration that took control of the capital Tripoli last summer. The emergence of militants aligned with Islamic State have further complicated plans to restart oil production.

Hariga, located near the country's eastern border with Egypt, has turned into the largest exporting port after the two biggest - Es Sider and Ras Lanuf - stopped working in December due to fighting between rival factions.

Only the small Zueitina port and two offshore oilfields still export oil. The port at Brega, also in the east, is still open but only supplying the 120,000 bpd-Zawiya refinery in western Libya.

Proceeds from the oil exports will go to the central bank, which has sought to stay out of the conflict.

(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami, Ayman al-Warfalli and Ulf Laessing; Editing by David Evans)
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  25/02/20152015-02-25
Word count:  332

Libya has resumed pumping crude from its southeastern Sarir and Messla fields to Hariga port at a rate of around 30,000 barrels a day, an industry source said on Monday, bolstering a potential recovery in exports after Zueitina port opened at the weekend.

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Higher oil exports, which had fallen to a trickle as violent conflict between two rival governments and parliaments disrupted supplies, may bring in badly needed revenues for the OPEC member as it faces a growing public finance crisis.

“So far small volumes are flowing,” said Omran Zwei, spokesman for state oil firm operator AGOCO. “The pipeline is holding.”

An industry source said volumes had reached 30,000 barrels on Monday, slightly down from 40,000 barrels hit on Sunday due to a failure of a power turbine station on Monday at the Messla field connected to the Sarir field. The turbine was being fixed, the source said.

A pipeline blast had interrupted oil flows from the Sarir field, the country’s largest, more than a week ago. Operators at Hariga were forced to rely on oil already held in storage tanks to load a tanker that docked last week.

Hariga and Zueitina are under control of troops loyal to the internationally recognized government, which is based in eastern Libya. The proceeds from the oil exports will go to the central bank, which has sought to stay out of the conflict.

Oil exports had fallen to less than 200,000 barrels a day with the closure of the eastern Hariga port due to the pipeline blast a week ago, a fraction of up to 1.3 million barrels Libya exported daily prior to the ousting of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.

Most Libyan oilfields have stopped working due to the struggle for supremacy between the government in the east and a rival administration that took control of the capital Tripoli last summer.

The first tanker in almost a year loaded crude from the eastern port of Zueitina on Sunday, an oil official said, adding there was not enough oil held in storage for a second loading. It was not immediately clear what the export volumes from Hariga would reach this week. Traders expect initial volumes to be well below capacity as the port ramps up and as supplies from Sarir fill storage tanks.
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  25/02/20152015-02-25
Word count:  561

Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said today that its Arabian Gulf Oil Co. (AGOCO) unit restarted production at the Sarir field in the east of the country. Statistics released from Libya’s National Oil Corporation last week showed production from the country is down 80% since 2011, due to disruptions in fields like the Sarir.

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Sarir field was producing 185 MBOPD, nearly two-thirds of the country’s current output, before the pipeline linking it to its export terminal, Marsa el-Hariga, was attacked last week. An NOC spokesman said Monday that “limited quantities” of Sarir crude had begun flowing to the port of Marsa el-Hariga over the weekend after repairs were made to the pipeline, reports Platts. The attack on the pipeline caused the operating pressure to drop to 130 PSI from 450 PSI, bringing onshore production to a virtual standstill. Cargos being loaded at the Zueitina port for the first time in eight months

The first tanker in almost a year loaded crude from the eastern Libyan port of Zueitina on Sunday, an oil official told Reuters. A Greek-registered tanker left for Italy later on Sunday after loading 750 MBO, the official said.

The port is the smallest of four eastern terminals in Libya, but any revenue brought in from oil exports is badly needed. As much as 90% to 95% of the country’s revenue comes directly from oil. Libya’s production has fallen to just 330 MBOPD in January; about 80% less than the 1,600 MBOPD it was producing in 2011.

With production resuming at Sarir and exports starting up again at Zueitina, Libya is moving towards reaching the higher outputs seen before civil unrest erupted inside the country. However, traders are still wary of existing conflict in the war-torn country. “It’s hard for me to say conclusively what will happen in Libya in the future,” a trader told Platts on Monday. “It changes by the minute.”

Important disclosures: The information provided herein is believed to be reliable; however, EnerCom, Inc. makes no representation or warranty as to its completeness or accuracy. EnerCom’s conclusions are based upon information gathered from sources deemed to be reliable. This note is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or financial instrument of any company mentioned in this note. This note was prepared for general circulation and does not provide investment recommendations specific to individual investors. All readers of the note must make their own investment decisions based upon their specific investment objectives and financial situation utilizing their own financial advisors as they deem necessary. Investors should consider a company’s entire financial and operational structure in making any investment decisions. Past performance of any company discussed in this note should not be taken as an indication or guarantee of future results. EnerCom is a multi-disciplined management consulting services firm that regularly intends to seek business, or currently may be undertaking business, with companies covered on Oil & Gas 360®, and thereby seeks to receive compensation from these companies for its services. In addition, EnerCom, or its principals or employees, may have an economic interest in any of these companies. As a result, readers of EnerCom’s Oil & Gas 360® should be aware that the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this note. The company or companies covered in this note did not review the note prior to publication. EnerCom, or its principals or employees, may have an economic interest in any of the companies covered in this report or on Oil & Gas 360®. As a result, readers of EnerCom’s reports or Oil & Gas 360® should be aware that the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report.  
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News Releases

News Releases
Released:  24/02/20152015-02-24
Word count:  382

(Reuters) - Crude oil futures fell more than 2 percent on Monday as investors worried about oversupply and a strong dollar, but heating oil futures jumped 5 percent due to operational problems at major U.S. refineries.

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Crude was down for almost the whole trading session, rising briefly after the Financial Times quoted Nigerian Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke as saying the country might call for an OPEC extraordinary meeting in the next six weeks or so if prices fell further.

The market has slid since Friday's data showing a slowdown in the weekly decline in the number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States. The data raised worries that U.S. crude inventories, already at record highs, could swell further. The largest U.S. refinery strike in 35 years has also been a negative for crude prices.

Heating oil futures HOc1 rallied for a second straight day, reaching above $2.24 a gallon, the highest in nearly three months, as some of the biggest U.S. East Coast refineries struggled to restore operations after severe cold weather triggered outages. Sub-zero temperatures were expected to sweep through the region late on Monday, raising concerns about adequate heating supplies.

"It's a worry of high supplies with crude and tight supplies with heating oil," said Gene McGillian, senior analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

Benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 settled down $1.32 at $58.90 a barrel

Brent briefly rose, hitting a session high of $60.67, after the comments by the Nigerian minister, Alison-Madueke, who is also OPEC's president. Analysts said the gambit will likely fail without Saudi Arabia's support.

U.S. crude futures CLc1, also known as West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, settled down $1.36, or 2.7 percent, at $49.45 a barrel.

While high supply was pressuring crude prices, the market also was seeing quick "buying on dips," evidence that bulls were in more control than a few months ago, traders said. After losses of between 9 and 18 percent each month from October to December, Brent consolidated in January and is up about 11 percent month-to-date.

"There is the notion that a bottom has been set at $55 for Brent and $45 for WTI, and there are enough buyers out there each time the market tests those levels," said John Kilduff, partner at New York energy hedge fund Again Capital. (This version of the story corrects settlement price of U.S. crude futures to $49.45 in the ninth graph)

(Additional reporting by Himanshu Ojha in London and Henning Gloystein in Singapore; Editing by William Hardy, Greg Mahlich, Chizu Nomiyama, David Gregorio and Paul Simao)  
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  24/02/20152015-02-24
Word count:  59

U.S. crude futures dropped on Monday as key producer Libya resumed oil exports from the eastern port of Zueitina after an almost year-long halt, adding to a global glut that has weighed on prices since June.

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U.S. crude for April delivery was down 52 cents at $50.29 a barrel by 2338 GMT. The March contract, which expired on Friday, fell nearly 5 percent last week.

U.S. crude has lost more than 50 percent since June when it traded near $108, pressured by excess supply. U.S. crude oil inventories hit a fresh record high in the week to Feb. 13.
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  24/02/20152015-02-24
Word count:  889

(Bloomberg) -- Crude fell, extending last week’s decline on speculation excess global supply will accumulate after U.S. drillers idled fewer oil rigs and Libya restarted a pipeline.

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Bloomberg
West Texas Intermediate oil dropped 2.7 percent after falling 4.6 percent last week. The number of oil rigs in the U.S. fell by 37 to 1,019 last week, data from Baker Hughes Inc. showed Friday. It was the smallest cut in seven weeks. Prices pared losses after Nigeria’s oil minister was reported by the Financial Times to have said that OPEC members have discussed holding an emergency meeting.

Rising supply is contributing to a global surplus that drove crude down by almost half in 2014. OPEC has signaled that it’s prepared to let prices fall to a level that would force surging U.S. output to slow. American crude inventories and production expanded to the highest level in more than three decades, government data showed last week. “The market is getting hammered again,” John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy, said by phone. “We’re going to continue to see substantial supply builds. The price is about to come under additional downward pressure because of supply and demand.”

Market Movement

WTI for April delivery decreased $1.36 to $49.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the lowest settlement since Feb. 11. The March contract expired on Friday after falling 82 cents to $50.34. The volume of all futures traded was 46 percent above the 100-day average at 3:07 p.m.

Brent for April settlement fell $1.32, or 2.2 percent, to end the session at $58.90 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was up 15 percent from the 100-day average The European benchmark crude closed at a $9.45 premium to WTI.

Nigerian Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke said OPEC members have discussed calling an emergency meeting if crude continues to fall, according to an interview in the Financial Times.

“The Nigeria headline would explain the rebound,” Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts, said by phone. “I think reaction will be limited. We need to hear from a Gulf country before this is taken seriously, not Nigeria, Venezuela or Libya.”

Libyan Fields

Oil fields in eastern Libya resumed pumping to the port of Hariga after a pipeline was repaired, according to state-run National Oil Corp. The link running from the Mesla and Sarir fields to the port reopened Sunday, Mohamed Elharari, a National Oil spokesman, said by phone from Tripoli. Libya, reduced to OPEC’s smallest producer by turmoil, pumped 300,000 barrels a day in January, according to Bloomberg data.

“There is still an imbalance between supply and demand,” Jean Medecin, a London-based member of the investment committee at Carmignac Gestion SA, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “On The Move” with Jonathan Ferro. “Probably in less than six months global storage capacity will be filled.”

U.S. crude supplies rose to 425.6 million in the week ended Feb. 13, the most in records compiled since 1982 by the Energy Information Administration. Stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery point for WTI traded in New York, climbed to 46.3 million, the highest since July 2013.

Refinery Activity

Refineries operated at 88.7 percent of their capacity in the seven days ended Feb. 13, down 1.3 percentage point from the prior week, EIA data shows. U.S. plants typically schedule work for late winter and early spring, when they move from maximizing distillate output to producing gasoline.

“We’re coming to a point before long where it will be hard to find a place to store some of this oil,” Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA Inc. in New York, said by phone. “We’re going into refinery maintenance season and there’s the strike.”

The U.S. United Steelworkers union plans to restart talks this week to resolve the nation’s largest oil workers’ strike since 1980, according to two people familiar with the talks. The union, representing workers at more than 200 refineries, fuel terminals, pipelines and chemical plants across the country, has rejected seven contract offers from Royal Dutch Shell Plc, which is bargaining on behalf of the refiners.

Spreading Strike

The strike, which started Feb. 1 at nine sites from California to Texas, has expanded to 12 refineries and 3 other facilities. A deal would end a strike at plants that account for almost 20 percent of the country’s refining capacity. “The strike has the potential to further reduce crude demand,” Kilduff said. “This will help further build supply.”

Diesel jumped to the highest level in almost three months on speculation that refinery upsets will interrupt shipments as demand climbs because of cold weather in the northeastern U.S.

March ultra low sulfur diesel rose 10.61 cents, or 5 percent, to close at $2.2179, the highest settlement since Nov. 28. March closed 32.56 cents above the April contract, the biggest gap for the two nearby contracts in at least 29 years. “There’s a squeeze taking place,” Yawger said, “There’s a super spike in the spread between the two front months.” Gasoline futures for March delivery rose 0.55 cent, or 0.3 percent, to settle at $1.6462 a gallon.

Regular gasoline at U.S. pumps is rising after slipping to the lowest level since April 2009 last month. The average retail price advanced 0.8 cent to $2.302 a gallon Sunday, according to AAA, the nation’s biggest motoring group.

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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News Releases

News Releases
Released:  23/02/20152015-02-23
Word count:  69

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - The first tanker in almost a year has loaded crude from the eastern Libyan port of Zueitina on Sunday, an oil official said.

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The 103 oilfield and Harouge Oil Co feeding into the port have resumed work, the official said, asking not to be named. A Greek-registered tanker will leave for Italy later on Sunday after loading 750,000 barrels of oil.

The port reopened in April last year after a former rebel group wanting autonomy for eastern Libya lifted its blockade, but since then strikes and technical delays had prevented the resumption of exports.  
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  23/02/20152015-02-23
Word count:  461

(Reuters) - Libya has resumed oil exports from the eastern port of Zueitina after an almost year-long suspension and is also testing a pipeline to restart exports from Hariga port, officials said on Sunday.

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Reuters
The resumption will bring in badly needed revenues for the oil producer struggling with a public finance crisis due to a violent conflict between two governments and parliaments allied to armed factions.

Zueitina is under the control of troops loyal to the internationally recognized Libyan government. The proceeds from the oil exports will go to the central bank which has sought to stay out of the conflict.

Oil exports have fallen to less than 200,000 barrels a day with the closure of the eastern Hariga port due to a pipeline blast a week ago, a fraction of the up to 1.3 million barrels it exported daily prior to the ousting of leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Most Libyan oilfields have stopped working due to the violent power struggle.

The first tanker in almost a year loaded crude from the eastern Libyan port of Zueitina on Sunday, an oil official said, asking not to be named.

The oilfield named 103 and Harouge Oil Co feeding into the port have resumed work. A Greek-registered tanker will leave for Italy later on Sunday after loading 750,000 barrels of oil, the official said.

The port, the smallest of four eastern terminals, reopened in April last year after a former rebel group wanting autonomy for eastern Libya lifted its blockade, but since then strikes and technical delays had prevented the resumption of exports.

Further in the east, engineers at the Sarir field, the country's biggest, started testing the pipeline to the Hariga oilfield damaged by a blast a week ago.

"We have started a test pumping to assess the maintenance. Most likely the final result of the test will be clearer tomorrow," said Omran Al-Zwie, spokesman for the port and oil field operator Arabian Gulf Oil Co (AGOCO). An industry source said the pumping rate was 40,000 barrels on Sunday but there was no official confirmation. Hariga used to export from the Sariri and nearby Messla fields 120,000 bpd.

But another oil official said it would take up to 10 days to resume exports from Hariga to allow finishing of the pipeline repair. Officials often given contradictory accounts in Libya.

There have been some exports from Hariga since the blast closed the pipeline using oil in storage at the port but the oil official said the 500,000 barrels remaining there would be used for domestic refinery use.

Hariga is also home to a 20,000 bpd refinery. A second refinery in Zawiya west of Tripoli, which has a capacity of 120,000 bpd, is mainly fed from Brega port.

The worsening security situation, including the rise of a group linked to Islamic State militants that beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians, has prompted international energy firms to withdraw staff from the country.

(Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli, Ahmed Elumami and Ulf Laessing; writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Jason Neely and Stephen Powell)  
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  20/02/20152015-02-20
Word count:  309

(Reuters) - Oil markets edged up on Friday to halt a two-day drop, helped by expectations that data later in the day would show a continuing decline in the U.S. oil rig count, a clear sign of the pressure the tumble in crude has put on oil producers.

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A weekly survey by Baker Hughes last week showed the U.S. oil rig count fell to its lowest since August 2011, though government data indicated U.S. oil output has hit 9.2 million barrels a day, the most since 1973. The results of the latest rig count are due around 1800 GMT.

"I assume we're going to continue to see another big fall and that's going to provide support for the market," said Tony Nunan, a risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo.

"The expected fall in the second half is being built into current prices."

London Brent crude for April delivery was trading 49 cents higher at $60.70 a barrel by 0408 GMT after settling down 32 cents on Thursday.

The contract is headed for its first weekly decline in four weeks, of around 1.5 percent. It declined 3.7 percent in the past two sessions after government data showed that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories rose 7.7 million barrels last week, more than double the consensus expectations.

Oil has rallied over the past month, with Brent gaining about 34 percent from a mid-January low as traders covered short positions following a 60 percent crash since June.

"Everybody understands that current prices of $60 for Brent are the bottom-end of sustainability," Nunan said. "But $50 for WTI is probably too low for long-term sustainability and therefore you're going to see drops in drilling and drops in capital spending for the upstream."

U.S. crude for March delivery, which expires later in the day, was up 50 cents at $51.66. Trading was quiet in Asian hours as markets in China, Singapore and several other countries were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

The market got support earlier in the week on renewed geopolitical concerns after Islamic State laid claim to a North African outpost in Libya, threatening to use it to attack Europe.

(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Alan Raybould and Joseph Radford)  
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News Releases

News Releases
Released:  20/02/20152015-02-20
Word count:  266

Libyan Wings, the new Tripoli-based airline, has signed an agreement with Lufthansa Technik (LHT), the leading provider for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of airplanes, components and engines, for the provision of engineering and planning services.

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Under the terms of the agreement, LHT will provide Aircraft Engineering Services including preparation of a comprehensive maintenance programme, compliance assessment for airworthiness directives and Service Bulletins to ensure Libyan Wings complies with all mandatory inspections/checks as advised by the manufacturer and/or the regulatory authorities.

The privately-funded airline, which currently has its two aircraft stationed in Luqa International Airport Malta, will function as a full-service carrier, offering both business and economy class seating.

“This arrangement with Lufthansa Technik is another demonstration of Libyan Wings’ commitment to ensure the most reliable and safe operation of its aircraft in order to provide regional connectivity to strategic destinations in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region,” said Mike McTighe, Libyan Wings, Chief Operations Officer. “It will also enable us to expand into Europe, as well as other markets such as the Arabian Gulf, when additional aircraft are inducted into the fleet.”

The two aircraft, which are just seven years old, have been maintained to date by Lufthansa Technik Philippines while the contract also extends to Lufthansa Technik Malta, who will maintain the aircraft in flight ready condition while they are in Malta, ahead of final clearances to start operations out of Mitiga International Airport.

Badiali also revealed that the cabin interior had also undergone a total reconfiguration and refurbishment to Libyan Wings own specification of 12 business class seats and 108 economy seats. “Every one of these is in leather, while the overall cabin effect is bright, modern with all finishes of the highest quality,” he adds.

The airline is expected to announce its official launch date soon.  
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  19/02/20152015-02-19
Word count:  338

(Reuters) - Oil prices tumbled on Thursday as U.S. inventories were expected to hit record highs, while a possible rise in Saudi output could stoke oversupply built up in the past few months.

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Reuters
U.S. crude for March delivery dropped over 3 percent to a session low of $50.64 a barrel, down almost $2 from Wednesday's settlement, after data showed a surprisingly sharp build in U.S. crude inventories. The contract was trading down around $1.50 at $50.64 by 0308 GMT (10.08 a.m. EST).

International Brent crude futures for April fell back below $60 a barrel, trading at $59.54 a barrel, down 99 cents from its last settlement.

"Crude oil prices declined on concerns that the recent rally is overdone amid a continuing supply glut. The price rise of 34 percent since mid-Jan has largely been fueled by cuts to capital spending and falling U.S. rig counts, which have yet to result in a fall in near-term production," ANZ bank said on Thursday.

U.S. crude stocks rose by 14.3 million barrels last week, data by industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed after Wednesday's settlement, compared with analyst expectations of an increase of 3.2 million barrels. [API/S] If the build is confirmed by U.S. Energy Information Administration data due at 1600 GMT, it will be the largest weekly growth since EIA data became available in 1982.

Oversupply could still worsen before a more balanced market is established, as the U.S. rig cut will only translate into actual lower American output later this year.

Meanwhile, production from the world's biggest exporter - Saudi Arabia - may be increasing further.

"In discussions with Saudi customers and after reviewing recent U.S. refiner earnings calls, it is becoming clear that production from Saudi Arabia is rising," PIRA Energy said in a note.

"Saudi production had been averaging around 9.7 million barrels per day since last June but ... demand has pushed output to just under, if not above, 10 (million)," it added.

On the demand side, crude imports by Japan fell 7.2 percent last month from a year earlier while its exports jumped, lifting Asia's No.2 2 economy out of recession.

Trading was quiet in Asian hours as markets in China, Singapore and some other nations are closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.

(Editing by Joseph Radford)
Comments:

Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  18/02/20152015-02-18
Word count:  197

(Reuters) - Oil prices dipped on Wednesday after gaining more than a percent in the previous session, but trading was thin as several Asian countries started the Lunar New Year holidays which last for the rest of the week.

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Reuters
Analysts said that the drop was a reaction to soaring prices over the past two weeks, which many say was overblown.

Benchmark Brent crude futures were down 29 cents at $62.24 a barrel by 0520 GMT (12.20 a.m. EST), while U.S. WTI crude was at $53.24 a barrel, also down 29 cents.

ANZ bank said on Wednesday that U.S. crude inventories were at a 417.9 million barrels and that it expected "inventories to increase further in the near term as U.S. refinery outages weaken US crude demand."

U.S. crude prices are now $9 a barrel cheaper than internationally traded Brent futures, their biggest discount since August last year.

The higher Brent price is largely a result of instability in the Middle East, analysts said.

"Geopolitical developments are heating up in the MENA (Middle East, North Africa) region again," JBC Energy said.

"In Libya, the sabotage of a key pipeline linking the Sarir field with the eastern port of Marsa al-Hariga resulted in the shut-in of Sarir, which had been producing around 185,000 b/d, leaving the country's output at below 150,000," it added.

Traders said Iraq was also having trouble keeping up its production rate.

(Editing by Himani Sarkar and Richard Pullin)  
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News Releases

News Releases
Released:  17/02/20152015-02-17
Word count:  110

In commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the outbreak of the 17 February 2011 Revolution, the Central Bank of Libya announced yesterday that it is releasing today two new coins of the LD 0.05 and 0.10 denomination.

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Libya herald
The LD 0.05 coin has the CBL in Arabic and its denomination embossed on one face, whilst on the reverse it has the CBL in English, a traditional Libyan water well, sixteen stars on the edge and a crescent and a seventeenth star as a security marking.

The LD 0.10 coin has its denomination and the CBL in Arabic on one side and a depictions of grain stores and sixteen stars on the edge and a crescent and a seventeenth star as a security marking.

The new coins will go into circulation from 17 February and will be legal tender side by side with the old existing coins in circulation, the CBL informed.
Comments:

Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  17/02/20152015-02-17
Word count:  764

(Bloomberg) -- Oil traded at an almost two-month high in London amid speculation that a slowdown in U.S. drilling may curb production.

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Bloomberg
Brent crude futures were little changed in London, paring an earlier increase of as much as 1.7 percent. U.S. drillers cut the number of rigs in service by 84 to 1,056, the lowest since August 2011, data from Baker Hughes Inc. show. Still, the decline isn’t steep enough to sufficiently curb production and address the current excess, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Libya’s National Oil Corp. said it would stop pumping crude at all its fields if attacks continue.

The U.S. is pumping oil at the fastest pace in three decades as a combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing unlocks supplies from shale formations including the Permian and Eagle Ford in Texas and the Bakken in North Dakota.

“The reduction in drilling rigs was relatively strong,” Olivier Jakob, managing director at Petromatrix GmbH, said by e-mail from Zug, Switzerland. “We know that the drop in production is going to come later this year.”

Brent for April settlement rose as much as $1.05 to $62.57 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, the highest since Dec. 22, and traded for $61.44 as of 12:53 p.m. New York time. It climbed 6.4 percent last week. The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of as much as $8.50 to WTI for the same month, the widest since August.

Bullish Bets

West Texas Intermediate for March delivery rose as much as 91 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $53.69 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract increased $1.57 to $52.78 on Feb. 13. Floor trading on Monday will be suspended for a public holiday and transactions will be booked Tuesday for settlement purposes. The volume of all futures traded was 51 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day. A fire at a pipeline carrying crude to Libya’s eastern port of Hariga has been extinguished and National Oil plans to reopen it in a week, according to Mohamed Elharari, a spokesman for the state oil company in Tripoli. Production has been cut by 180,000 barrels a day after the bombing of a pipeline that carries crude to Hariga, he said earlier.

Libya Targets

Egypt bombed Islamic State targets in Libya to avenge the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians there, and called on other nations to strike at the militants operating in its oil-rich western neighbor.

The aerial attacks marked Egypt’s first open military action in Libya, where a security collapse and a power struggle between Islamists and the elected government have driven the nation to the brink of chaos.

Libya’s daily output, which averaged 1.6 million barrels before the 2011 rebellion that ended Muammar Qaddafi’s 42-year rule, was estimated at 300,000 barrels in January, a Bloomberg survey of oil companies, producers and analysts showed. Hedge funds and other money managers’ net wagers on rising Brent prices rose 13 percent to 158,974 contracts in the week ended Feb. 10, the highest since the early days of last year’s oil slump on July 8, according to ICE data. The change was driven by a reduction in bearish positions, rather than fresh bullish bets, signaling traders remain cautious that the price recovery will endure, according to Saxo Bank A/S.

Speculators reduced bullish WTI bets by 2 percent to 203,696 contracts in a fourth weekly cut, missing the market rebound, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.

Drillers in the U.S., the world’s largest oil consumer, have idled 519 rigs in the past 10 weeks, a 33 percent reduction, according to Baker Hughes, a Houston-based oil-field services company.

Rig Count

“The rig count decline is still not sufficient, in our view, to achieve the slowdown in U.S. production growth required to balance the oil market,” Damien Courvalin, a New York-based analyst at Goldman Sachs, said in a report. “Oil prices need to remain lower in the coming quarters.”

The nation pumped 9.23 million barrels a day through Feb. 6, the fastest pace in weekly Energy Information Administration records dating back to January 1983.

Brent gained about 36 percent since Jan. 13 when it fell to $45.19 a barrel. Oil prices will continue to recover in the second half of this year and the global crude surplus is less than the 1.8 million barrels a day the country previously estimated, according to Kuwait Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair.

“We were expecting oil prices to recover in the second half, but they recovered faster than what we expected,” Al-Omair said at an industry conference in Kuwait City. “I expect oil prices to keep improving.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Grant Smith in London at gsmith52@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net Rachel Graham, James Herron  
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News Releases

News Releases
Released:  16/02/20152015-02-16
Word count:  742

The ongoing crisis in Libya has crippled the country and its media sector - information has become a rare commodity. DW Akademie is developing a Cloud News Agency as part of the EU project "Stability through Structure".

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DW
Imagine this: journalists produce solid, accurate news reports around the clock; correspondents report from locations throughout the country; and domestic and international media as well as other correspondents and cloud subscribers can access this new source of information. The news sector has stabilized and reports out of Libya can now be trusted.

A farfetched scenario in this country riven by conflict? Not necessarily, especially now that the Cloud News Agency (CNA) is set to be launched online this summer, one of the components of the long-term EU project "Stability through Structure." DW Akademie has been playing a leading role in developing the CNA since December 2013.

The idea was born out of necessity. Projects already running in Libya had to be put on hold in July 2014 after violence escalated between rival militia groups. Political solutions are still nowhere in sight and fighting continues.

"Government authority is basically nonexistent and the national news agencies and institutions we were working with have since collapsed. People simply can't access information," says Martin Hilbert, DW Akademie country manager for Libya. But that's where a virtual news agency comes in. "The goal is to acquire and distribute news independently," says Hilbert.

DW Akademie's role in the "Stability through Structure" project is to help with the technical aspects as well as offer editorial support and training modules. Participating journalists are to be trained as cross-media correspondents able to upload their reports to CNA. The project includes multi-stage educational programs and a comprehensive mentoring concept.

Developing an independent agency The CNA project is coming together. Since November 2014 sixty Libyan journalists have been trained in Istanbul or Tunis as correspondents, receiving basic and advanced instruction in various journalistic areas including conflict-sensitive reporting. Other workshops, including security training, are also planned. By April this year some 100 media workers will have been coached, some of them also as mentors. A roadmap has been created for the establishment of an editorial team. Chief editors will be responsible for checking the facts and sources of incoming material.

"Stability through Structure" is based on an initiative by the EU delegation in Libya. At the end of January this year, EU Ambassador Nataliya Apostolova spoke in Tunis to participating journalists about the importance of independent news. "Independent and reliable news sources and open and responsible public debates are essential to a society in transition," she said. All the more so, she continued, "in these highly polarized times."

Germany's ambassador in Tripoli, Christian Much, also sees independent news and the CNA as a constructive strategy toward solving the current crisis. He said it reflected the project's goals of creating stability by improving the quality of information available to people.

Ambassador and journalists in discussion At the Tunis dialogue, diplomatic representatives and participants discussed the current situation for journalists in Libya. "Journalists are expected to be partisan and take a clear position in the conflict," said one of the journalists taking part. "That makes us part of the conflict and that's dangerous because we become targets for those who don't like what we're writing or thought we were firmly on their side." He said participants were now learning "that journalists need to distinguish between fact and opinion and remain neutral."

The trainees come from all regions in Libya and from all ethnic minorities.

"Stability through Structure" is the most comprehensive project that DW Akademie has so far conducted in the field of EU-funded media development. The 30-month project is to run until mid-2016 and is divided into four components; three are to be conducted by DW Akademie and the fourth by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR). New media associations and committees will also receive project support as well as journalism workshops and consultation services for media managers.

Under the auspices of "Media Governance," DW Akademie is advising government agencies and the government itself on modern media regulations and legislation. This includes supporting new media associations and boards. Another focus is the development of a public broadcasting system.

A third component looks at strengthening independent and professional journalism in the region. Trainings are to fit the needs of staff at individual radio and TV stations. Accompanying surveys on media consumption are to be developed together with universities in Bengasi and Tripoli and conducted in various parts of the country. The final component involves a planned Content Development Fund that supports media workers and institutions, and that will subsidize independent reporting. This component is being developed by IWPR.  
Comments:

Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  13/02/20152015-02-13
Word count:  279

(Reuters) - Benchmark Brent crude held above $59 in Asia on Friday, up more than 3 percent this week as news of deeper industry spending cuts and a sinking U.S. dollar revived buying.

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Reuters
Brent crude for April delivery was trading up 48 cents at $59.76 by 0428 GMT.

March Brent futures, which expired overnight, rose more than 4 percent to $57.05 on Thursday, following a 3-percent loss in the previous day's session.

U.S. crude futures were up 55 cents at $51.76, following similar swings earlier in the week.

"Brent April 15 seem to be trending very near to the resistance of $60.40 suggesting that it would more likely trend downwards as prices consolidate after yesterday's rise," Daniel Ang of Phillip Futures in Singapore wrote in a note.

Wang Tao, a market analyst at Reuters, said Brent would test resistance at $63.40.

Preliminary quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) figures for Germany and the Eurozone are due on Friday, and could support prices if up slightly.

Amid this week's ups and downs, oil volatility reached its highest level since the financial crisis, jolting traders who had been adjusting to a period of predictable declines following a near 60-percent crude crash between June and January.

The discount for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) versus Brent crude also expanded to around $7.17 a barrel intraday, the widest in five months, as U.S. oil tanks swelled.

French energy major Total on Thursday became the latest to announce investment and job cuts following a near-halving of oil prices since June.

Meanwhile, the chief executive of Shell warned that supply might not be able to keep up with growing demand as companies slash budgets.

Elsewhere, Apache Corp, a top U.S. shale oil producer, said it would slash capital expenditures and its rig count in 2015 as the collapse of crude oil prices prompts it to slow drilling, keeping output growth mostly flat.

(Editing by Joseph Radford and Richard Pullin)  
Comments:

News Releases

News Releases Oil & Gas News
Released:  13/02/20152015-02-13
Word count:  231

(Reuters) - An oil tanker has docked at Libya's port of Hariga for the first time since security guards ended a strike this week and a storm passed, a port official said on Thursday.

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Reuters
Authorities managed earlier this week to persuade security guards to end a strike over delayed salary payments, keeping Libya's only functional onshore oil export port open. A storm then further delayed the terminal's reopening.

Greek-registered Minerva Zoe, which had been waiting to dock for a week, would start loading 725,000 barrels of oil soon, the official said, asking not to be identified. The tanker was bound for Italy.

Another tanker importing 25,000 tonnes to Libya had also arrived, he said. Apart from being the last operating onshore export port, Hariga located in the eastern city of Tobruk has also become the main eastern port to import fuel. Benghazi's commercial port has been closed for months due to fighting between pro-government forces and Islamist groups.

Hariga tends to export around 120,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Only Brega port is still open but it is used to supply the 120,000 bpd Zawiya refinery with crude. All other ports and most oilfields have shut down due to fighting nearby or pipeline blockages by rival factions.

Libya is in the middle of a power struggle between two competing governments and parliaments. The internationally- recognized government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni fled to the east when a faction called Libya Dawn seized Tripoli in August, reinstating the old parliament and setting up a rival administration.

(Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli, Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)  
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