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Shrinking supply of Venezuelan oil to the US

Marianna Parraga, El Universal
Sagging supply of byproducts has been the main reason for the decline of oil shipments to the United States. Still, Venezuela continues being among the top five in the ranking of major oil suppliers

Venezuela provided the United States with an average of 1.31 million bpd of crude oil and byproducts in June, a drop of 202,000 bpd, or 13.2 percent, compared with May, reported the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical arm of the US Department of Energy.

The results in June drove the 2007 cumulative average to 1.35 million bpd, that is, 129,000 bpd, or 8.9 percent lower than 1.48 million bpd supplied to the United States within the same term in 2006.

In this way, Venezuela went back to the fourth position in the ranking of major oil suppliers to the United States, following Canada, Saudi Arabia and Mexico. Each of these countries exported to the United States over 1.5 million bpd of crude oil and byproducts last June.

Venezuela was followed by Nigeria, Algeria, Iraq, Angola, the United Kingdom, Russia, Kuwait, Virgin Islands, Norway, Libya and Ecuador.

The drop recorded in the Venezuelan exports of hydrocarbons to the United States was due mainly to a 23.6-percent decline in byproducts, from 288,000 bpd in May to 220,000 bpd in June.

The fall is consistent with the downward trend so far this year. As a matter of fact, the mismatch between the average shipment from January to June 2007 and the same period in 2006 stands now at 76,000 bpd, or 23.3 percent.
(22 August 2007)

A Pipe Dream for Chavez?

Peter Wilson, Business Week
Venezuela’s multibillion-dollar natural gas pipeline project is on hold-the news affects Chavez’s power, his neighbors, and Petróleos de Venezuela

President Hugo Chavez loves using Venezuela’s vast oil and natural gas reserves to enhance his power and prestige in Latin America, while thumbing his nose at the U.S. But his hopes for playing an even greater role have suffered an embarrassing setback as potential partners back away from his most ambitious project to date: a planned $20 billion natural gas pipeline that would have spanned the continent, bringing Venezuelan gas to Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. The apparent decision by Venezuela’s neighbors to freeze or even nix the project may lead to further delays in Venezuela’s plans for developing its natural gas reserves.

Many analysts have considered the complex pipeline project, which Chavez proposed nearly two years ago, to be a long shot at best. The 8,000 km-long system, which was scheduled to begin operating in about a decade, would run from Venezuela’s Caribbean coast through Brazil’s Amazon rainforest before heading south to Argentina, Uruguay, and Bolivia. Rather than sending more lucrative liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the U.S., Venezuela planned to ship about 150 million cubic meters a day when the pipeline opened.
(21 August 2007)
Favorable article about Chavez: Hugo Chavez and the Bank of the South (Mud City Press).

Research boom in Arctic village as oil reserves draw big powers

David Adam, Guardian
Countries battle for control of ocean tracts thought to be replete with fossil fuels

Lying barely 650 miles from the North Pole and shrouded in freezing darkness for several months of the year, the Norwegian islands of Svalbard make an unlikely property hotspot. Yet at Ny-Alesund, a tiny former coal-mining settlement on the west side, an international boom is under way.

The Chinese have moved in, bringing with them two marble lions that stand guard outside their Arctic Yellow River research station, and so too have Japan and South Korea. Scientists from India’s first expedition to the Arctic are poised to join them. In June, a visiting delegation from Washington talked of beefing up US interests at Ny-Alesund, while the Russians are in negotiations.

Should, as some on Svalbard expect, the two former cold war superpowers move in, they will join established bases run by Norway, Holland, France, Germany and Britain.

On the surface, the multinational invasion of Ny-Alesund – little more than a bumpy airstrip and a scattering of colourful wooden buildings – is in the name of science. Experts who visit Svalbard are in an ideal position to study the atmosphere, glaciers and the region’s unique wildlife.

…But for the growing international community turning the islands into a base, there is another agenda: the region’s oil and gas reserves.

“An awful lot of the reason that countries are here is flag waving,” says Nick Cox, an Arctic and Antarctic veteran who runs the British station at Ny-Alesund for the government-funded Natural Environment Research Council. “The Arctic has become very important politically and that will only increase the pressure for countries to be represented.”

The Chinese lions face east, but the real story is to the north. This month the Russians fired the latest shots in a long-running battle for control over huge tracts of the Arctic Ocean surrounding the North Pole below which oil and gas is believed to lie. Canada and Denmark are preparing similar claims, which rely on showing that a chain of underwater mountains that runs across the region are connected to their respective continental shelves.

Norway is convinced the sea around Svalbard also harbours reserves of oil and gas. And as the frozen cover of ice that once protected the ocean from drill ships retreats further north – this year looks set for a record low – nations are jostling for position to exploit them. Several oil companies already sponsor research in the region.
(22 August 2007)

BP-Led Pipeline In Turkey A Possible Target -Rebel Commander

Benoit Faucon, Dow Jones via Zawya
A rebel Kurdish commander says that the BPBPLoading… PLC (BPBPLoading…)-led Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, responsible for shipping upward of 700,000 barrels daily to customers in the West, may become a fresh economic target if Turkish attacks continue against his armed group, a threat underscored by an independent assessment commissioned by the oil major.

“Persistent operations by the Turkish military against our guerrilla forces and continuation of oppressive policies against our people will put the security of the BTC and similar economic investments at risk,” Bahoz Erdal, a commander of the People’s Defense Force, said in a recent telephone interview with Dow Jones Newswires.
(16 August 2007)

Hurricane Dean will paralyze oil extraction in Mexico

Xinhuanet (China View)
PEMEX’s director Jesus Reyes, officials and guild leaders expressed their concern over the security of the oil installations and the safety of workers of the offshore platforms in the region.

Hurricane Dean hit the states of Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana Roo while it goes northward towards southern United States.

In Quebec, Canada Mexican President Felipe Calderon said the hurricane caused PEMEX serious economic losses. Calderon is attending the Mexico-U.S.-Canada summit in Quebec.

PEMEX’s oil losses due to the paralysis are estimated at 160 million dollars daily and 190 million dollars for natural gas. The Sonda de Campeche contributes 83 percent of the national oil extraction.

PEMEX stated it will be difficult to comply with its international commitments in the forthcoming days, in other words, its crude oil exports to the United States.
(22 August 2007)
Contributor Jeffrey J. Brown writes:
With the [Strategic Petroleum Reserve], we can easily handle a disruption of Mexican exports. However, what is interesting is that we may have to dip into the SPR.

It once again shows that emergency reserves have emerged as the new “swing producer,” because there is no excess crude oil productive capacity worldwide.

Somalia Reopen to Oil Majors

Staff, Iran Daily
Big oil groups that declared force majeure and quit Somalia 16 years ago will be given the chance to resume their activities under the anarchic country’s proposed hydrocarbon law.

According to a parliamentary bill, companies that held concessions before December 30 1990, would be given the right to return to those areas under new production-sharing agreements. The new production deals will set out different financial terms, exploration periods and obligations as well as new block sizes, said.

“A prior grant in the form of a concession entitling the prior contractor to conduct exclusive petroleum operations shall be convertible into a production-sharing agreement,” the draft law says.

Several western oil majors–Royal Dutch Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, ENI–held Somalian exploration concessions in the 1980s before leaving in 1991 when warlords toppled Dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and the country descended into lawlessness. ..
(19 Aug 2007)