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US West Coast gasoline differentials fade on rare UK cargoes

Platts -- Rare gasoline imports were entering the West Coast market as refiners start to emerge from maintenance, pressuring Los Angeles CARBOB down 6.50 cents Monday and dragging premium grades even lower.

Platts assessed Los Angeles CARBOB at NYMEX May RBOB futures plus 11.50 cents/gal. Premium LA CARBOB dropped 4 cents to a 20-cent spread over CARBOB, but an overall 10.50-cent decline against the futures. Other gasoline and premium gasoline markets along the West Coast also declined.

"Bids are hard to find," one broker said, noting that the incoming cargoes are supposed to be mostly carrying components for making premium gasoline grades. "Premiums are starting to narrow."

Platts cFlow vessel-tracking software showed three cargoes from Canada and the United Kingdom expected to arrive in Souther  (go to article)

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Report: Cheap crude prices could boost the U.S. economy for another two years

Fuel Fix -- A business economics group has boosted its outlook for U.S. economic improvement this year and next, particularly for job growth.

The March report from the National Association for Business Economics forecasts more hiring, a lower unemployment rate, a lower inflation rate and more growth in consumer spending in 2015, compared to the group’s forecast in December 2014.

The report, released early Monday, also predicts more investment by businesses in both equipment and intellectual property, as well as modest growth in stock prices.

“Healthier consumer spending, housing investment and government spending growth are expected to make outsized contributions to the projected acceleration in overall economic activity. Accordingly, recent labor market strength is expected to continue,” John Silv  (go to article)

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Natural Gas Liquids Prices Fall More than Oil and Gas Prices

Market Realist -- In the previous part of this series, we discussed US natural gas liquids (or NGLs) production trends. In this article, we’ll discuss how natural gas liquids prices have moved relative to crude oil and natural gas prices.

From the beginning of January 2007 to early 2012, the price of NGLs produced at natural gas processing plants traded in line with West Texas Intermediate (or WTI) crude oil prices. From January to December in 2014, NGL prices decreased by 52%. In comparison, natural gas prices decreased by 45%, and crude oil prices decreased by 42%
Among the major NGL prices, ethane dropped by 36% in the past year, while propane price declined by 51% during the same period.

What determines NGL prices?

As a result of the price premium to natural gas, NGL production increased faster than  (go to article)

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Oil is heading for its longest run of quarterly drops as the deadline for an Iran deal looms

Bloomberg -- Oil is headed for a third quarterly loss as Iranian and Western diplomats worked toward a nuclear deal that may lead to the OPEC member increasing crude exports.  (go to article)

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Tesla Hasn't Solved Range Anxiety

Yahoo News -- The announcements were praised by some analysts, but former General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) executive Tony Posawatz thinks Tesla missed the mark.

"Range anxiety is a term I actually coined in late 2006," Posawatz, who launched the Chevy Volt and led GM's efforts in electrification, told Benzinga. "[It] is dealt with by customers because they have a lack of range to do what they need to do to accommodate their everyday life and the spontaneous things that happen."

Posawatz said that what customers want is either "more range" or the ability to charge the vehicle more frequently and at a faster rate. Ideally, electric cars would be similar to those that run on gasoline -- charge stations would be everywhere, and it wouldn't take more than a couple of minutes to refuel the vehicle.
 (go to article)

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Oil industry to Obama: Stop excluding Atlantic drilling leases

Fuel Fix / Houston Chronicle -- WASHINGTON — As the Obama administration weighs where to sell offshore drilling leases from 2017 to 2022, the oil industry has a single plea: Stop ruling out potential prospects.  (go to article)

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Moonshine, Hogs and Drought Fuel Sorghum Boom Across U.S. Plains

Bloomberg -- Across the Great Plains, U.S. farmers are turning to a little-known grain called sorghum for relief from a two-year slump in agriculture prices.

A kernel-yielding stalk that’s native to Africa, sorghum has three things going for it right now: it’s cheap to plant; it holds up better in drought-like conditions than other crops; and most importantly, demand is soaring in China, where farmers feed the plant to their hog herds, and moonshiners make it into a whiskey-like liquor called baijiu. While corn, soybeans and wheat slumped into bear markets last year amid a global supply glut, sorghum prices have held stable.
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While lesser known than corn, wheat, rice and barley, sorghum is the world’s 5th-largest grain by output. Like corn, it is used mostly to feed livestock and to make ethanol.  (go to article)

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Police All Over the U.S. Are Issuing Fewer Traffic Tickets

Time -- Drivers appear to be catching a break from cops, who are writing fewer tickets of late. But don't think for a second the decrease is because police have become softies all of a sudden.

The Nevada Supreme Court says it could be completely broke by May 1. The primary reason the court won’t have enough cash to operate? Not enough people are breaking the law. Or rather, not enough people are being caught breaking the law.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal recently reported that the number of traffic and parking citations has plummeted in Nevada, from 615,267 in 2010 to 484,913 last year. That’s a dip of more than 21% over five years. The state court system’s budget relies on millions of dollars in funding from such citations, so when significantly fewer tickets are issued, it can wreak havoc ...  (go to article)

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Oil could fall below $30 a barrel, but here’s why that’s a good thing

Market Watch -- Oil futures could tumble as far as the mid-$20s before bottoming. But if history is a guide, that could be a positive scenario for stocks as corporate earnings and consumers reap the benefit of lower energy prices, said Scott Minerd, global chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners.

But first, Minerd sees little reason to expect a significant near-term rebound for oil prices.

The supply-demand dynamics remain decidedly unfavorable, he said in a meeting with reporters Monday, particularly with storage capacity at the Cushing, Okla., delivery hub likely to run out in coming weeks. That will put even more crude on the spot market. He also isn’t convinced rig counts have fallen far enough to stop U.S. oil production from rising.  (go to article)

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Oil drops to $55 as Iran nuclear talks intensify

REUTERS --

Brent crude oil dropped towards $55 a barrel on Tuesday as Iran and six world powers entered a final day of talks over a nuclear deal that could see the energy-rich country increase oil exports to world markets.

With a self-imposed deadline set for the end of the day, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China ramped up the pace of negotiations with Iran in Switzerland over an outline deal on Tehran's nuclear programme.

Disagreements on enrichment research and the pace of lifting sanctions remained as hurdles that could scupper a deal to end a 12-year standoff between Iran and the West.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Moscow he believed the talks had a good chance of success.

"The chances are high. They are probably not 100 percent but you  (go to article)

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With So Much Oil Flowing, U.S. May Be Reaching Storage Limits

NPR -- Never before has the U.S. had so much oil spurting up out of the ground and sloshing into storage tanks around the country. There's so much oil that the U.S. now rivals Saudi Arabia as the world's largest producer.

But there has been some concern that the U.S. will run out of places to put it all. Some analysts speculate that could spark another dramatic crash in oil prices.  (go to article)

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Chrysler eyes market for hybrid, plug-in minivans

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..freep.comAcross the board, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan and Toyota have aggressively developed and launched a growing number of hybrid and electric cars, but Fiat/Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is absent from the mix. It doesn't have a single hybrid in its lineup.That could be changing very soon.  According to the Detroit Free Press, Sergio Marchionne confirmed in January that a "massive" program to develop a plug-in hybrid minivan is underway, but he did not shared many details. Nor was there talk of the plug-in during a media tour last month of the Windsor Assembly Plant, the company's only minivan plant."As we retool the plant for production of the next-generation minivan, we are also preparing the line with the necessary tooling for production of the PHEV (plug-in electric hybrid) version," Jodi Tinson, spokeswoman for FCA US, told the Free Press.The company's five-year plan includes a plug-in electric version of an unnamed full-size crossover in 2017 which co  (go to article)

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New device blocks cell signals inside vehicles to stop distracted driving, says developer

Edmonton Journal -- An Edmonton businessman who is determined to keep his own children from driving distracted has created a device that he says delays texts, phone calls, social media messages and other alerts until a vehicle is in park.

Angus Poulain, a father of six, said he got the idea for his KRS, or Keeping Roads Safe, device about four years ago because his kids spent so much time texting and communicating through social media. He has 15-year-old twins who hope to get their drivers’ licences soon.

“You see people all over the place (on devices). It’s just an epidemic,” Poulain said in an interview from Nova Scotia, where he spends half his time.

“So we came up with this device ... It’s not an app. It installs right into your car and it delays signals — any texting, notifications, Instagramming,  (go to article)

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BNSF adds safety rules for oil trains

Longview News-Journal-AP -- BNSF has started taking additional safety measures for crude oil shipments because of four recent high-profile derailments in the U.S. and Canada, the railroad said Monday.

Under the changes, BNSF is slowing down crude oil trains to 35 mph in cities with more than 100,000 people and increasing track inspections near waterways. The Fort Worth railroad also is stepping up efforts to find and repair defective wheels.

BNSF spokesman Michael Trevino said these additional safety efforts were imposed last week in response to the recent derailments, including one involving a BNSF train earlier this month near Galena, Illinois, and the Mississippi River.

"The recent incidents involving crude trains, including our own event in Galena, has led us to believe that we must take further action,"...  (go to article)

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Dealerships not endangered, but need improvment

Detroit Free Press -- Dealerships are not an endangered species — in fact women and young buyers want to visit a showroom to validate their research, get a test drive and do some haggling over price.

Those are among the findings of the Autotrader "Car buyer of the future" study released Monday night in New York in advance of the New York Auto Show that opens to the media on Wednesday. The findings are based on interviews with more than 4,000 consumers.

Overwhelmingly, consumers don't like the current car-buying process, especially the 4-6 hours it takes to complete the transaction at the end, including an hour just for the credit check, said Jared Rowe, president of AutoTrader.

But that does not mean they want to excise the dealership out of the equation. In fact, 84% said they want to buy their car in...  (go to article)

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How a Former Audi Guy Plans to Spend $12 Billion Reviving Caddy

Bloomberg -- Johan de Nysschen was plenty skeptical when General Motors Co. asked him to run Cadillac.

De Nysschen helped make Audi a real contender in the U.S. and had recently joined Nissan’s Infiniti. Why jump to Cadillac, a brand that actually sold fewer vehicles last year despite a boom in luxury automobiles?

De Nysschen spent hours on the phone with GM President Dan Ammann to make sure this was no vanity project. The clincher: GM agreed to invest heavily in Cadillac, eventually budgeting $12 billion for the next five years, or more than a quarter of the sum being spent on new models companywide. Ammann & Co. also pledged to give de Nysschen enough time and people to get the job done as part of a plan to split Cadillac into a company that’s now based in New York.

GM is counting on Cadillac to d  (go to article)

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Lexus ES 300h Hybrid Sedan Gets 40 MPG

Boston.com -- To pay or not to pay, that is the question.

Is it is nobler to drive a Camry hybrid sedan at $32,492 or to spend 50 percent more for its upscale cousin, the Lexus ES 300h sedan for $48,410?

With apologies to Mr. Shakespeare, this is a quandary for the consumer. And here’s another for the Lexus shopper: deciding between the hybrid power train and the traditional gasoline engine.

Friend and former Boston Globe compositor Hank Sarazen recently bought the non-hybrid version of the ES, the Lexus ES 350.

“I looked at the hybrid and considered it,” he says, “but the deciding factor was the lack of space in the trunk. We travel, and we need a big trunk. The battery pack takes a big chunk out  (go to article)

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Canexus reports 'significant' layoffs in Calgary, Bruderheim

Calgary Herald -- Canexus reported Monday it has “reduced significantly” the workforce at its Calgary head office and at its crude-by-rail loading terminal at Bruderheim, just northeast of Edmonton.

The company said the moves were made as part of a plan announced in early March to cut costs and enhance revenue to generate $10M to $15M in additional annual profits in the future. Executives agreed to a compensation freeze and directors took a 10% fee cut as part of the program.

“Our Calgary head office and NATO (North American Terminal Operations) staff have been reduced significantly,” Canexus stated in a news release Monday. “We expect savings of $5M to $6M per year, excluding related severance costs.”

Spokesman Robin Greschner said 16% of the staff at Calgary and NATO had been affected. She didn’t have  (go to article)

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U.S. may skirt oil storage crisis as drivers hit the road

Reuters -- A month ago, it seemed inevitable: a massive global oversupply of crude oil production would overwhelm storage tanks in Oklahoma and fill supertankers off Singapore.

Now, there are growing signs that the U.S. oil market can avoid the doomsday scenario in which it runs out of room to stockpile surplus crude, a development that oil traders worried would send crude prices into another tailspin.

One reason is that refiners, spurred by high profit margins, are rushing to buy crude and churn out more fuel in response to an unexpectedly swift rise in U.S. road travel and soaring Chinese demand for fuel-hungry sport utility vehicles.

Furthermore, shale oil drillers have hit the brakes on new wells faster than many anticipated. This could throw years of unyielding growth into reverse as early as  (go to article)

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EPA chief says Keystone Pipeline wouldn't be climate 'disaster'

AP via Mashable -- The chief of the Environmental Protection Agency told a Washington audience on Monday that building the contentious Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico would not, by itself, constitute a "climate disaster."

Many opponents of the pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil from Alberta to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico for export, argue that it would lead to the emissions of enough planet-warming greenhouse gases that it would be game over for efforts to constrain the amount and speed of global warming.

Speaking at a Politico luncheon on Monday, Gina McCarthy told moderator Mike Allen that a single pipeline project would not doom efforts to combat global warming.

"No, I don’t think that any one issue is a disaster for the climate, nor do I think there is one solution  (go to article)

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Which States Have The Most Diesel Vehicles? New Data Gives Results

Yahoo -- Just as diesel fuel isn't available at every single gas station, diesel vehicles are unevenly distributed in the United States.

And despite double-digit rises in registration numbers, the preponderance of diesel engines in North America remain in trucks--especially heavy-duty trucks--rather than passenger cars.
Data provided by IHS Automotive to the Diesel Technology Forum indicates that sales of diesel cars and SUVs rose 13.5 percent last year over 2013.

That compares to an increase in overall U.S. vehicle sales of 5.8 percent, according to data from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

The data showed that the highest increases in diesel registrations came in California, Massachusetts and Nevada, with year-over-year increases of 23.7 percent, 21.0 percent, and 17.8 percent respec  (go to article)

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Best cars for making it to 200,000 miles

Yahoo -- Almost any car can make it to 200,000 miles if you’re willing to throw enough money at it. But that doesn’t mean that keeping it is a good idea. A less expensive and more hassle-free way to go is to simply buy a safe and reliable model in the first place, and properly maintain it for the long haul. Just follow the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual, take care of minor problems as they arise, keep it clean, and you should be good to go.

The models listed below are all safe bets. Of the 1.1 million vehicles represented in our annual subscriber survey, these are the ten cars, SUVs, and minivans respondents most often reported as having more than 200,000 miles. As a bonus, all happen to be models that were Consumer Reports recommended when new. That means they’re not just reliable,  (go to article)

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50 States of Speeding: Laws for every state in the U.S.

MSN News -- 50 States of Speeding: Laws for every state in the U.S.

Everyone, with the exception of the Buick driver parked in the left lane, exceeds the speed limit once in a while. You generally know how much law-breaking you can get away with where you live—a few over on the highway is flow-of-traffic territory, and the constabulary looks the other way. One of those unwritten rules.

But it's important to be aware of the rules that are written, especially when leaving your local comfort zone. For instance, did you know that North Dakota will pull your license for a week and issue a fine for 36 mph or more over the limit? Or that most states have open reckless driving laws that can lead to days or even months of jail time? Reckless driving is generally defined as willful or wanton disregard fo  (go to article)

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GM Oshawa plant closures would have sweeping economic impact: Unifor

Andrew Seale | Insight -- It feels a bit like Canada’s auto industry is circling the drain.

With General Motors of Canada shuttering one of its Oshawa plants next year and the future of the other up in the air with no new vehicles in the pipeline and production of vehicles – like the Chevrolet Camaro – headed to Lansing, Michigan, Canada stands to lose big,  (go to article)

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U.S. oil train traffic mostly from Midwest to East Coast, data shows

Reuters via CNBC -- U.S. oil trains delivered more than 13.5 million barrels of crude oil from the Midwest to the East Coast in January, according to government data that gives a first of its kind snapshot of such shipments.

The data from the Energy Information Administration is the first if its kind from the independent statistics arm of the U.S. Energy Department.

Oil producers in North Dakota have relied on oil trains to reach East Coast refiners eager to process the light, sweet crude from that energy patch.

Link to data: http://tinyurl.com/nlhsvak  (go to article)

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Crude pares losses on Iran talks, ends at $48.68 a barrel

Reuters -- Oil prices fell for the second straight session on Monday as Iran and six world powers negotiated a deal for Tehran's nuclear program that could end Western sanctions, allowing the OPEC member to ship more crude into an already flooded market.

 (go to article)

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Russian exports could be the next biggest threat to global crude oil prices

Houston Chronicle -- The next big threat to oil prices isn’t from OPEC or Bakken shale. It’s Russian samovars, or teapots.

Simple refineries that process crude into fuel oil are scaling back, because when oil prices slump, the government reduces the discount that these refiners — known as teapots to those in the industry — get for exporting fuel. They use less crude, freeing it up for sale abroad, which in turn adds to the global glut.

Russia may increase oil exports by as much as 250,000 barrels a day this year, according to James Henderson, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies who’s followed the country’s energy industry for more than 20 years. That would equate to 5 percent growth in shipments, the most in at least a decade.

“The pain Russia is feeling from low oil prices h  (go to article)

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U.S Crude Production Sets Record in 2014

Houston Chronicle -- U.S. oil companies set a record last year when they pulled 1.2 million more barrels of crude per day from the ground than in 2013, the most dramatic increase in volume since the government began keeping track more than a century ago.

Crude production surged to 8.7 million barrels per day in 2014. That’s 16 percent higher than the year prior, marking the highest growth rate since 1940, according to a new analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  (go to article)

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Rickers expands electric car charging

GasBuddy Blog -- Over the weekend we reported on Atlanta and Detroit among the nation's leading markets for electric vehicle compatibility... add Indiana to the mix!

Ricker’s, a chain of 50 Indiana convenience stores, has announced a new partnership with Nissan to help bring the auto manufacturer's “No Charge to Charge” program to Indianapolis, providing two years of no-cost, public charging to Indianapolis-area Nissan LEAF buyers.

The Indianapolis-based convenience store operator will install fast-charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) at nine Ricker fueling stations across Central Indiana, the largest city-wide deployment of EV chargers at a chain of fueling stations in the U.S....  (go to article)

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Exclusive: Exxon eyes 850,000 bpd goal for Beaumont refinery expansion - sources

Reuters -- Exxon Mobil Corp is considering scaling up plans for a multibillion-dollar expansion of its Beaumont, Texas, oil refinery to make it one of the largest in the world, according to sources familiar with the plans.

Since at least last summer, Exxon has been quietly contemplating a major project to expand Beaumont in what would be the biggest U.S. refinery investment since the shale revolution, which has transformed the country into a growing producer and handed refiners a profit windfall of cheap crude.
 (go to article)

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Texas oil town boom deflates as drilling slows

National Post -- Sales tax receipts in the thriving oil town of Midland, Texas, fell this month, only the third decline in five years and one of the first signs of how low oil prices are beginning to ripple beyond oil company bottom lines and into the wider economy.

At the heart of the Permian Basin, one of the biggest oil deposits in the country, Midland experienced lightning fast growth over the past five years as energy companies flocked in, bringing jobs, investment and large construction projects.

Now, a 50% drop in oil prices since June to below US$50 a barrel, the biggest decline since the recession, has forced drillers to cut their workforces, slow drilling and halt investments.

The city’s overheated housing market has also shown signs of easing. The 514 unsold houses on the market in Midland Co  (go to article)

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Popular Google search: 'Why are gas prices so low?'

CNNMoney -- The dramatic crash in oil prices is a mystery to many Americans.

If you type "why are" into Google search, the top two auto-complete results are: "gas prices so low" and "oil prices falling." The next most popular forms of this question: "why are gmos bad" and "why are gas prices going up."

The uncertainty -- and rush to Google for answers -- is understandable. Even the smartest people on Wall Street didn't predict the massive supply glut that caused oil to collapse from $107 a barrel in June to just $49 today.
 (go to article)

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Mexico and U.S. agree to co-operate on greenhouse gas cuts — leaving Canada on the sidelines

Canadian Press - OTTAWA -- The Harper government is temporarily standing on the sidelines as international negotiations ramp up for a UN climate conference at the end of this year.

The conference scheduled for Paris in December is supposed to result in a post-2020 global agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions — a successor to the Copenhagen accord signed in 2009.

To help the negotiations, countries that are ready have been asked to submit their emissions targets and climate plans by March 31, a Tuesday deadline Environment Canada says it won’t meet.

The U.S. is expected to announce its post-2020 emissions targets today or Tuesday, but had already broadly laid out its goals in announcing a climate deal with China last November.

In the meantime, the U.S. and Mexico agreed to a joint task force on climate p  (go to article)

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‘There is a burning platform here': Energy service CEO says oilsands operators must cut the ‘fat’

Financial Post -- Canadian oil and natural gas producers need to focus on “standardizing” construction solutions to cut costs in the current commodity price environment, according to the chief executive officer of an energy-service and project management company.

“When oil was at $10, operators were making 10%, and when it rose to $100 they were still making 10%,” said Samir Brikho, chief CEO of AMC Foster Wheeler. “The reason is that supply costs are going up. Once you start to harmonize and modularize, you have a totally different cost.”

Foster Wheeler was the engineering, procurement and construction management contractor for Imperial Oil on the Kearl oilsands project, which saw its costs rise $2B to reach $12.9B for the 110Kbpd project.

Since the last oil price crash of 2009, oilsands producers have  (go to article)

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Nation's Biggest Nuclear Firm Makes a Play for Green Money

ABC-AP -- The biggest player in the beleaguered nuclear power industry wants a place alongside solar, wind and hydroelectric power collecting extra money for producing carbon-free electricity.

Exelon Corp. operator of the largest fleet of U.S. nuclear plants, says it could have to close three of them if Illinois rejects the company's pitch to let it recoup more from consumers since the plants do not produce greenhouse gases.

Chicago-based Exelon essentially wants to change the rules of the state's power market as the nuclear industry competes with historically low prices for natural gas. Dominion Resources Inc. recently closed the Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin for financial reasons, and Entergy Corp. likewise shuttered its Vermont Yankee plant.

Plans for a new wave of U.S. nuclear plants...  (go to article)

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Iran riches coveted by Big Oil after decades of conflict

Fuel Fix -- Outside the boardroom of BP Plc’s headquarters on London’s swanky St. James’s Square, a display case houses the geological data from Masjid-i-Solaiman, Iran’s first oil well.

The discovery of crude in 1908 laid the foundations for the company that would become British Petroleum and opened one of the richest opportunities that Western oil companies have ever enjoyed in the turbulent Middle East. Since then, the industry’s history in Iran is intertwined with CIA-backed coups, colonial exploitation and the anti-Western resentment surrounding the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Now, as Iran and the U.S. enter 11th-hour negotiations to reach a nuclear deal and ease sanctions, the Middle Eastern country is emerging again as a potential prize for Western oil companies such as BP, Royal Dutch Shell Plc  (go to article)

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Big Oil Pressured Scientists Over Fracking Wastewater's Link to Quakes

Yahoo -- In November 2013, Austin Holland, Oklahoma’s state seismologist, got a request that made him nervous. It was from David Boren, president of the University of Oklahoma, which houses the Oklahoma Geological Survey where Holland works. Boren, a former U.S. senator, asked Holland to his office for coffee with Harold Hamm, the billionaire founder of Continental Resources, one of Oklahoma’s largest oil and gas operators. Boren sits on the board of Continental, and Hamm is a big donor to the university, giving $20 million in 2011 for a new diabetes center. Says Holland: “It was just a little bit intimidating.”

Holland had been studying possible links between a rise in seismic activity in Oklahoma and the rapid increase in oil and gas production, the state’s largest industry. During the meeting,  (go to article)

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Geopolitical risk could offset Iran deal's oil impact: Strategist

CNBC -- Traders are worried that Iran will put pressure on crude if it begins selling oil into an already oversupplied market, but rising geopolitical risks could push prices higher, Helima Croft, chief commodities strategist at RBC Capital Markets, said on Monday.  (go to article)

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Oil prices will remain 'choppy': Chevron CEO

CNBC -- Expect oil prices to remain low and "choppy" this year, Chevron CEO John Watson said Friday.

"I believe prices will respond to physical things that are happening in the marketplace and political events all around the world," he said in an interview with "Closing Bell."
 (go to article)

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U.S. oil production growth in 2014 was largest in more than 100 years

EIA -- U.S. crude oil production (including lease condensate) increased during 2014 by 1.2 million barrels per day (bbl/d) to 8.7 million bbl/d, the largest volume increase since recordkeeping began in 1900. On a percentage basis, output in 2014 increased by 16.2%, the highest growth rate since 1940. Most of the increase during 2014 came from tight oil plays in North Dakota, Texas, and New Mexico where hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling were used to produce oil from shale formations.  (go to article)

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A mixed bag at the gas pump, relative quiet

GasBuddy Blog -- It's been a quiet week at the pump for many Americans filling their tanks with the national average declining just 0.2c/gal over the last 168 hours (week).

Yet one thing seems constant in this world aside from death and taxes, and that's gas price fluctuations. Last week, many areas didn't see much fluctuation, but there certainly were some outliers last week. Florida, Ohio and Indiana saw notable jumps at the pump, while Michigan, California and Oregon saw the largest declines.

Overall, the national average paints a quiet picture with prices virtually unchanged. And while three of four number one seeds proceed to the NCAA Final Four- perhaps not a surprise- I'd say there still could be some unexpected surprises at the pump in the weeks ahead....  (go to article)

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Driving without insurance? Police in Michigan can now tell just by running your plate

Mlive -- Police now have an easier way of telling if you are riding dirty on the streets of Michigan.

As of mid-September, police throughout the state can determine if a motor vehicle is properly insured simply by running its license plate.

"When they run a license plate on an in-car computer, it will tell them if the driver of the vehicle has insurance that's valid or not," said Bay County Undersheriff Troy Cunningham. "It doesn't apply to motorcycles or commercial vehicles at this time."

Michigan State Police 1st Lt. David Simon, commander of the Tri-City Post in Bay County's Williams Township, also said the new technology has led to his troopers issuing more tickets with greater ease.

"It is convenient and it's nice for the officers to verify if someone's got insurance or not.  (go to article)

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Atlanta puts roads and bridges on its to-do list

Marketplace -- In next year’s budget, President Barack Obama is asking for nearly $500 billion to fix up the country’s transportation infrastructure. But some cities are starting to spend their own money on roads and bridges, after putting it off during the Great Recession.

Take Atlanta. With crumbling sidewalks and potholed streets, that city needs work. Now it’s actually going to get some. Voters recently approved a quarter of a billion dollar infrastructure bond package.

A couple weeks ago, before the vote, about 40 people who wanted to add their concerns to the list of the city’s infrastructure needs gathered in a community center.

“We never got our final paving,” says Jerry Hicks. He lives in a subdivision that the developer didn’t finish building. “All of the manholes are above the ground.  (go to article)

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Drivers with long commutes pay the toll

Detroit News -- They say you need real drive to succeed in your chosen career, but these days you just need to drive. And according to a new study, that commute is getting longer and longer.

Between 2000 and 2012, the number of jobs within the typical commuting distance of major metropolitan areas dropped by 7 percent, according to a Brookings Institution analysis based on Census Bureau data. Metro Detroit was particularly hard-hit, with a 26.5 percent drop in jobs with decent commutes.

You’d think this has big implications for low-wage workers and people who can’t afford to drive from the city out to the beckoning ex-urbs, but it’s actually suburban residents who are hit the worst. The number of jobs located a typical commute away for city residents dropped by 3 percent, but they declined by 7 percent  (go to article)

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U.S. to unveil highway funding, reform bill

Detroit News -- Washington — The U.S. Transportation Department on Monday will unveil its $478 billion proposal to fund surface transportation repairs over the next six years — less than two months before funding is set to run out again — and call for significant additional auto safety reforms.

The new 361-page bill obtained by The Detroit News on Sunday is a revised version of a multiyear highway bill first introduced last year.

It makes significant additional proposals designed to get unrepaired vehicles off the roads faster — including seeking to require all new car dealers to check for uncompleted recalls when owners take their vehicles in for service.

It would require tire purchases to be registered with the manufacturer — and give the government the power to set new electronics safety standards a  (go to article)

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Ford's big Lincoln Continental is coming back

CNN -- The Lincoln Motor Company, Ford's luxury division, unveiled a big, richly-appointed, luxury car called the Continental in New York City Monday.

This car has a big job: To regain for Lincoln the respect it once had, decades ago, as a luxury car brand.

In recent years, Lincoln has mostly sold upgraded versions of Ford cars with little difference beyond the design and some added features.

The Continental is, officially, a concept vehicle but something very much like it will go on sale next year, according to Ford (F). And the production car will also be called the Lincoln Continental, making it one of only two Lincoln models, along with the Navigator SUV, to have a name instead of letters like MKZ or MKC.

The Continental is about the same length as a Mercedes-Benz S-class or long-wheelbas  (go to article)

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Oil prices drop on weak demand, potential Iran deal

Reuters -- SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Monday as the market focused on whether Iran and six world powers would reach a deal that could add fuel to an already oversupplied market if sanctions against Tehran are lifted.
The two sides tried to break an impasse in nuclear negotiations on Sunday ahead of a deadline to find a preliminary agreement by Tuesday, exploring compromises in a number of areas.

"Any relaxation of Iran oil sanctions could see increased exports adding to swelling global supplies and further pressuring prices," ANZ said on Monday.  (go to article)

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Northeast, Despite Highest Gas Costs, Resists More Pipelines

AP -- There is near universal agreement that the Northeast has to expand its energy supply to rein in the nation's highest costs and that cheap, abundant, relatively clean natural gas could be at least a short-term answer. But heels dig deep when it comes to those thorniest of questions: how and where?

Proposals to build or expand natural gas pipelines are met with an upswell of citizen discontent. At the end of last year, a Massachusetts route selected by Texas-based Kinder Morgan generated so much venom that the company nudged it north into New Hampshire - where the venom is also flowing freely. During this winter's town meetings, a centuries-old staple of local governance in New England, people in the nine towns touched by the route voted to oppose the project.

 (go to article)

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U.S. Oil Glut Story Grossly Exaggerated

Yahoo -- Recently, I have noticed that oil storage & production data (and media hype for that matter) has disconnected from hard data. This has been occurring for many quarters now with the US economy statistics as well and appears to be the new world order where facts can be spun or massaged to any one’s wishes.

It’s called the “age of propaganda” where truth matters little and comes out later in so called revisions. Take the recent spate of economic data points from the Kansas City Fed which said that economic activity not only stalled but was negative at -4 vs expectations of +1. The recent durable goods statistics also show contraction as well.

Yet we see the services PMI at a 6 month high. How can these divergences be possible? Well for one, some statistics are hard while others are estimate  (go to article)

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Oil prices fall as Iran, world powers seek nuclear deal

Yahoo -- Oil prices fell on Monday, extending steep losses from the previous session, as Iran and six world powers tried to reach a deal that could add oil to the market if sanctions against Tehran are lifted.

The two sides tried to break an impasse in nuclear negotiations on Sunday ahead of a deadline to find a preliminary agreement by Tuesday, exploring compromises in a number of areas.

Benchmark Brent crude futures (LCOc1) had dropped to $56.04 by 0320 GMT, down 37 cents after falling 5 percent on Friday as the market began to price in the possibility of a deal with Iran. Front-month U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures (CLc1) were down 76 cents to $48.11 a barrel.  (go to article)

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New Nontoxic Antifreeze

UPI -- POMONA, Calif., March 25 (UPI) -- Every year, some 90,000 pets and wild animals are poisoned by antifreeze. In 2012, 6,000 people were poisoned by the substance, many of them children.
In unsuspecting hands, the sweet taste and smell of the toxic liquid can entice one to imbibe. And that's bad news.

"Ethylene glycol, the predominant constituent of automotive products, such as antifreeze and deicers, is chemically broken down in the body into toxic compounds," Edward V. Clancy, professor emeritus at California State Polytechnic University, in Pomona, explained in a recent press release. "It and its toxic byproducts first affect the central nervous system, then the heart and finally the kidneys. Drinking sufficient amounts can be fatal."  (go to article)

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