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Sep. 11, 2013, 9:52 AM
- Pennsylvania officials filed criminal charges yesterday against Exxon Mobil's (XOM) XTO subsidiary, claiming it violated state environmental laws by spilling more than 50K gallons of drilling wastewater into a stream in 2010.
- XOM will fight the charges, saying there was no intentional or negligent misconduct in the incident, and the spill didn't result in significant or lasting environmental harm.
- XOM already reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department and EPA over the same incident, agreeing in July to pay a $100K fine and take steps to prevent future drilling wastewater spills.
Sep. 11, 2013, 7:58 AM
- The giant Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan begins pumping its first oil, marking the end of nearly a decade of delays and cost overruns that have pushed the cost up to more than $40B.
- Eni (E) says the field would grow up to a peak of 180K bbl/day in the first phase, then steadily grow up to 370K bbl/day.
- Kazakh state energy company KazMunaiGaz, Eni, ExxonMobil (XOM), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) and Total (TOT) each hold 16.8% stakes.
- Kashagan and neighboring fields in the North Caspian Sea hold estimated reserves of ~35B barrels of oil in place.
Sep. 10, 2013, 12:36 PM
- A major expansion of the first private pipeline in the former Soviet Union is running up to one year behind schedule, Reuters reports, complicating oil exports from the Caspian Sea region.
- Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft is a major shareholder in the pipeline alongside Kazakhstan's state pipeline firm and Chevron (CVX).
- Oil majors such as Eni (E), Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B), Exxon (XOM) and Total (TOT) are preparing to launch the huge Kashagan field in Kazakhstan and hope to obtain access to as many export routes as they can.
Sep. 4, 2013, 6:57 PM
- There's been no change in the list of top 10 holdings of Morningstar's Ultimate Stock Pickers so far this year, but one wonders about the fate of Microsoft (MSFT) after its much criticized purchase of Nokia's main handset business; it had been the top high-conviction holding in the group.
- The top 10 holdings: MSFT, GOOG, WFC, JNJ, BRK.B, AIG, PG, WMT, PEP, UPS.
- Among purchases during the most recent period, National Oilwell Varco (NOV) topped the top 10 list of high-conviction buys, followed by WFC, GM, SLB, INTC, AAPL, XOM, APA, CHRW, EMC.
Sep. 3, 2013, 3:18 PM
- Saudi Aramco extends the deadline to Oct. 20 for companies to bid for construction of a clean fuels and aromatics project at its largest refinery in Ras Tanura, Reuters reports, part of an effort by Middle Eastern refiners to produce cleaner fuels for export markets.
- Aramco also is extending the date for bids to build a 2,400 MW power plant to supply electricity to its new 400K bbl/day refinery in Jizan, one of three refineries the state-run firm is building with help from Exxon (XOM), Sinopec (SNP) and Total (TOT).
- Ras Tanura also will help supply a new petrochemicals joint venture with Dow Chemical (DOW).
Sep. 3, 2013, 12:53 PM
- UBS highlights top energy stocks to buy that could benefit from the current Middle East situation.
- UBS expects the large integrated oil companies, including Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX), to benefit from the increase in oil pricing, even if it is temporary.
- While E&P companies are more sensitive to changes in commodity prices than the majors, they also may have the most upside potential among energy stocks; the firm focuses on DVN, EOG and WLL.
- UBS would hold names in the oil services group through the period and buy on any dip: BHI, HAL, SLB.
- Refiners are at a disadvantage as oil prices rise and better off when prices fall, so UBS would focus on other areas for now.
Aug. 30, 2013, 3:48 PM
- Apache (APA +9.2%) may have "knocked it out of the park" with its sale of a third of its Egypt oil and gas assets to Sinopec (SNP -1.2%) for $3.1B (I, II), but the reaction toward SNP is more ambiguous.
- The deal, China's biggest investment in the Middle East to date, shows a continued global search for energy and resources to feed an economy growing at a 7%-plus annual rate and a higher tolerance for risk than its western counterparts; note that PetroChina (PTR) reportedly is in talks to acquire 25% of Exxon's (XOM) West Qurna-1 oilfield in Iraq.
- The deal also could provide a boost for other energy producers with significant operations in the region; Occidental Petroleum (OXY -0.2%) produces ~37% of its total output in the Middle East and North Africa, and is thought to be looking to sell all or part of those assets.
Aug. 29, 2013, 12:44 PM
- With strikes on Syria no sure thing now, oil prices have fallen nearly 1% and taken oil stocks with them; in fact, energy (XLE -0.6%) and utilities (XLU -0.7%) are the only S&P sectors in the red.
- Among global producers: XOM -1.2%, CVX -0.7%, COP -0.6%, RDS.A -0.6%, BP -0.9%, TOT -1.6%.
- Notable decliners: CNX -2.4%, RRC -2.1%.
- Refiners are among energy stocks bucking the sector's downward trend: VLO +0.7%, TSO +0.9%, PSX +0.6%, MPC +0.8%, WNR +1.5%, HFC +2.3%, ALJ +2.9%.
Aug. 28, 2013, 2:47 PM
- Malaysia-based SapuraKencana and Petrofac are among companies selected for second round bidding for Newfield Exploration's (NFX +3.1%) $2B in oil and gas assets in Malaysia and China, according to local reports.
- NFX's advisor Goldman Sachs earlier had shortlisted Exxon Mobil (XOM), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B), Talisman Energy (TLM) and Kuwait's state-run exploration company to submit second round bids, which will close Sept. 26.
Aug. 28, 2013, 11:59 AM
- Energy stocks (XLE +1.9%) lead the way this session as West Texas crude tests $110, with tensions over Syria continuing to feed Middle East supply concerns; Syria concerns and Libyan export cuts are trumping the bearish influence from a surprise gain for U.S. crude supplies.
- Among sector leaders: MRO +3.3%, EOG +3.1%, CVX +2.5%, TOT +2.4%, WLL +2.4%, APC +2.2%, RDS.A +2.1%, XOM +2.1%, HAL +2%, SLB +2%, COP +1.8%, PSX +1.7%, BP +1.6%, APA +1.6%, HES +1.5%, KOG +1.3%.
- ETFs: ERX, VDE, DIG, IEO, IEZ, IYE, PXE, PXI, XES, XOP, RYE, FXN, OIH, PXJ, PSCE, ERY, DUG, DDG, FRAK.
- After big losses yesterday, gold miners (GDX +2.4%) are strong today despite only a slight gain in the metal.
- Miners: ABX +3.6%, GG +3.2%, NEM +2.2%, KGC +2%, SLW +2%, GFI +1.2%.
Aug. 26, 2013, 8:27 AM
- Iraq's oil minister confirms BP is interested in getting involved in the redevelopment of the country's Kirkuk oil field, where production has declined to 260K bbl/day from 900K bbl/day in the early 2000s.
- He denies reports of Russia's Lukoil (LUKOY.PK, LUKOF.PK) showing any interest in the redevelopment of Kirkuk.
- Also, the minister says Exxon Mobil (XOM) has sought government approval to sell 35% of its stake in the West Qurna-1 field, and the government likely will approve the sale.
Aug. 23, 2013, 6:25 PM
- High development costs - including the billions needed to fund drilling programs, new export terminals and thousands of miles of pipe across the wilderness - make discount sales of Canadian liquefied natural gas “difficult to financially justify," the International Gas Union says in a new report.
- West coast LNG projects proposed by Chevron (CVX), Exxon Mobil (XOM) and others may struggle to meet demands by overseas buyers for sales volumes linked to low North American gas prices instead of higher Asian prices, the report says.
- CVX, for one, has balked at demands for discount sales from its 5M metric tons/year Kitimat, B.C., LNG proposal, arguing higher prices are needed to justify the huge capex involved in building export infrastructure.
Aug. 23, 2013, 2:16 PM
- As the exclusivity arrangement has lapsed in InterOil's (IOC +4.6%) ongoing negotiations with Exxon Mobil (XOM) in Papua New Guinea, Upstream reports Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) has rejoined the battle for IOC's natural gas resources in the country.
- A Platts report in May had indicated Shell was a frontrunner in winning a share of IOC's LNG project in the country, but no similar reports followed.
Aug. 23, 2013, 6:54 AM
- Iraq's oil minister has confirmed speculation that Exxon Mobil (XOM) is selling stakes in the the country's West Qurna-1 oilfield to PetroChina (PTR) and Indonesia's Pertamina.
- The U.S. major is selling 25% to the Chinese company and 10% to Pertamina, with the deals set to possibly be finalized after two or three weeks.
- Exxon, which owns 60% at the moment, will reportedly remain the operator of the $50B project, while Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) will retain its existing 15%.
Aug. 22, 2013, 3:29 PM
- Nigeria risks losing $185B within 10 years and oil production may slump by 25% from 2.4M bbl/day as higher taxes proposed by a new law will deter investment in the country’s oil industry, according to the managing director of Exxon Mobil’s (XOM +0.7%) Nigerian unit.
- The new law aims to increase the government’s share of profit from oil pumped to at least 73% from 61% currently.
- XOM, Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B), Chevron (CVX), Total (TOT) and Eni (E) combined pump ~90% of Nigeria’s oil through ventures with the state-owned oil company; the group says proposed increased taxes in the legislation would make exploration "uneconomical."
Aug. 22, 2013, 12:10 PM
- China and Indonesia are set to join Exxon Mobil's (XOM +1%) $50B project to develop Iraq's West Qurna-1 oilfield, sources tell Reuters, adding details to a report last week.
- Various scenarios for farming out XOM's 60% stake are still under discussion, but PetroChina (PTR -0.3%) looks ready to take 25% and Indonesia's state-owned Pertamina 10%; XOM would remain operator but its share could be cut to 25%, and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) would retain its existing 15%.
- China already is the top foreign player in Iraq's oilfields and such a big stake in West Qurna-1 would make PTR the single biggest foreign investor in Iraqi oil.
Exxon Mobil Corporation is engaged in energy, involving exploration for, and production of, crude oil and natural gas, manufacture of petroleum products and transportation and sale of crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products.
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