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Peak oil notes - Dec 26

Oil prices rose slightly during the two days of trading we have had so far this week. The deteriorating situation in South Sudan has pressured London crude while New York reacted to some better economic news in the US. New York gasoline futures which have climbed by some 20 cents a gallon in the last week on increasing demand contributed to crude’s rise. The EIA reported that demand for US gasoline is now at the highest in five years. Some of this demand is coming from improved economic conditions and the rest from higher exports.
 
On Monday spot natural gas prices climbed to as much as $13 per million BTUs on forecasts of bitter cold in New England. Futures, however, fell by a few cents per millionTuesday on revised information that the cold snap enveloping much of the US may not be as severe as previously forecast. Natural gas futures topped $4.50 on Monday after a rise of over $1 per million since early November.
 
The UN voted to send another 5,500 troops to South Sudan this week which will bring the total number of peacekeepers in the country to nearly 14,000. As increasing numbers of civilians are being killed in the tribal conflict there are fears that a full-scale civil war is near which would likely terminate oil production for a while.
 
In Iraq, Sunni insurgents marked Christmas day by setting off bombs near Christian churches – killing at least 37 and wounding dozens more. A suicide bomber attack on the state TV offices in Tikrit killed the news director, news anchor, and several others.
 
In Iran, the Parliament in considering moving the capital from Tehran, a city of 12 million, to some place with less pollution, smaller traffic jams, and fewer crimes. If the measure passes, a commission will spend two years studying the issue. The nuclear talks between Iran and the six powers are due to resume in the next few days.
 
The situation in Egypt continues to deteriorate with a major bombing of a police station, clashes at universities, and the detention of political activists of all stripes by the military government.
 
Moscow has released 16 Greenpeace activists that were arrested in September and at first charged with piracy for climbing on a Russian drilling rig in the Arctic. An additional 29 members of the Greenpeace crew are expected to be released later this week. 

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