Posts Tagged ‘oil’

Most Asian markets down as oil slump hits energy firms

July 17, 2018

 

A man walks in front of trading boards at a private stock market gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, July 3, 2018.

AP Photo/Vincent Thian

Energy firms led a sell-off in most Asian equity markets on Tuesday a day after supply fears sent oil prices plunging, while confidence remains fragile owing to ongoing fears of a global trade war.

After hitting three-and-a-half-year highs at the start of the month, crude has dropped almost 10 percent as it is hit by a perfect storm of issues that have fuelled fears of a glut.

Worries about the impact on demand caused by a possible trade war between the US and China took their toll last week, as did news that Libya was exporting again after recent oil field closures. That all came just weeks after major producers Saudi Arabia, Russia and OPEC agreed to lift a 2016 ceiling that had supported prices.

© AFP/File | Speculation the US could seek increased production from oil cartel OPEC and tap into its own Strategic Petroleum Reserves sent oil prices plummeting

The latest spark for selling came Monday on reports the US may tap its Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower prices and speculation Riyadh was considering increasing output for some Asian countries.

Also Monday US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin indicated the Trump administration could allow some exceptions to a ban on purchases of Iranian oil.

“It very much seems like a continued reaction to potential supply increases,” Bart Melek, head of global commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, told Bloomberg News.

“The combination of the supply-side effect and the potential for less demand as a result of trade woes that we’re seeing are prompting people to take some of the long bets off oil right now.”

Both main contracts tumbled more than four percent Monday, though they saw some minor increases in Asia.

– IMF trade warning –

The losses filtered through to energy firms with CNOOC and PetroChina down more than three percent in Hong Kong, while Woodside Petroleum was more than two percent off in Sydney and Tokyo-listed Inpex lost more than one percent.

Broader stock markets were also mostly down with Hong Kong 1.1 percent lower, Shanghai one percent off and Sydney 0.4 percent lower. There were also losses for Seoul, Wellington, Taipei and Singapore.

However, Tokyo — which was closed for a holiday Monday — rose 0.6 percent by the break thanks to a weaker yen.

Ongoing fears about a China-US trade war continue to nag investors, with both sides filing counter-complaints at the World Trade Organization after recently imposing and threatening further tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods.

And on Monday the International Monetary Fund warned about the effects of a stand-off between the world’s two economic superpowers.

“The risk that current trade tensions escalate further — with adverse effects on confidence, asset prices, and investment — is the greatest near-term threat to global growth,” IMF chief economist Maurice Obstfeld said.

Attention is now on the start of the corporate earnings season, with hopes strong reports will deflect from the trade war, while Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell is to give two days of congressional testimony from Tuesday.

– Key figures at 0300 GMT –

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.6 percent at 22,724.46 (break)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 1.1 percent at 28,220.20

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 1.0 percent at 2,785.60

Dollar/yen: UP at 112.52 yen from 112.27 yen at 2100 GMT

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1702 from $1.1712

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3232 from $1.3237

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP one cent at $68.07 per barrel

Oil – Brent Crude: UP 36 cents at $72.20 per barrel

New York – Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 24,064.36 (close)

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.8 percent at 7,600.45 (close)

AFP

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SINGAPORE (AFP) – Brent crude recovered in Asian trade Tuesday after plunging more than 4 percent to three-month lows on concerns over increased production and reports the US could tap into strategic reserves.

The black gold had closed decisively lower in New York on worries of excess supply, with reports that Saudi Arabia is looking to increase production.

Speculation that US President Donald Trump could seek increased production from oil cartel OPEC and tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserves to push down gasoline prices, sent oil plummeting.

Both Brent crude and US benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell more than 4 percent Monday, with the former hitting three-month lows of below $72 a barrel.

In early Asia trade Tuesday, WTI was back up 3 cents to $68.09 and Brent crude was up 45 cents to $72.29.

After withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal in May, the US said it would reinstate sanctions on the oil-producing nation, and warned other countries to stop purchasing Iranian exports including crude.

“The big news… was that US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the US wants everyone to go to zero Iranian imports but that exemptions could be made for those who can’t get there by the deadline,” said AxiTrader chief market strategist Greg McKenna in a note to clients.

Following a massive global supply glut, prices had been propped up in recent months by a production cap agreement led by oil cartel OPEC and Russia, but this has since been scaled back.

Traders will now be looking towards data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute, due later Tuesday, for an indication of US crude stockpiles.

“The sweeping slew of bearish signals has wholly eroded market sentiment,” said OANDA head of Asia-Pacific trading Stephen Innes.

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Iraqis demand change as protests run into second week

July 16, 2018

Protests in Iraq continued into their second week Monday following days of clashes that left six people dead, with demonstrators rallying to put social problems in the spotlight.

Months after Iraq declared victory over the Islamic State group, attention has turned from the military battle to the fight for jobs and public services.

Thousands of people rallied in fresh protests Monday in the eastern province of Diyala and the southern city of Nasiriyah, according to AFP correspondents.

© AFP | A protest sign held during demonstrations in the southern city of Basra on July 15, 2018, reads “Basra’s oil belongs to Basra”

Iraqis already made their dissatisfaction with their leaders known through massive abstentions in May’s national elections, and now citizens are taking to the streets to demand they see benefits from the country’s vast oil reserves.

“These oil fields belong to us, yet we get nothing,” said Hussein Ghazi, a 34-year-old protester in the port city of Basra.

The oil sector accounts for 89 percent of the state budget and 99 percent of Iraq’s export revenues, but only one percent of jobs, as the majority of posts are filled by foreigners.

Officially, 10.8 percent of Iraqis are jobless, while youth unemployment is twice as high, in a country where 60 percent of the population is aged under 24.

For the demonstrators, who have taken their campaign to the headquarters of political parties across the southern provinces, setting some on fire and ripping down political posters, corruption is central to their plight.

Following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the country’s new leaders and public servants reaped the benefits of public funds and natural resources, leaving citizens with only basic infrastructure, according to protesters.

“We hear a lot of grand words, but we don’t see anything coming,” said Basra demonstrator Aqil Kazem, an unemployed 27-year-old.

Chronic electricity cuts continue to leave Iraqis without respite from summer temperatures, which during the protests have reached 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit).

Iraqis have also suffered from water shortages this year from drought and dams built by neighbouring countries.

– Promise of state cash –

Since the daily protests began on July 8 in Basra, six people have been killed.

Those who died during demonstrations were shot, one by security forces at the start of the protests and five by unknown shooters.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi flew into the city on Friday in an effort to restore calm, a day later announcing investment worth $3 billion (2.6 billion euros) for Basra province.

He also pledged additional spending on housing, schools and services in the oil-rich but neglected region.

As demonstrations continued, Abadi on Sunday met with security and intelligence chiefs in Baghdad and warned them to be on alert “because terrorists want to exploit any event or dispute”.

The prime minister also ordered security services not to use live fire against unarmed civilians.

The unrest first erupted when security forces opened fire, killing one person, as youths demonstrated in Basra demanding jobs and accusing the government of failing to provide basic services including electricity.

Since then the protest movement has spread to provinces across the south: Dhi Qar, Karbala, Maysan, Muthana and Najaf.

On Saturday the internet was cut across the country, as demonstrations threatened to spread. Authorities said the shutdown was owing to maintenance work and Iraq was back online Monday.

Despite the internet blackout, hundreds of protesters in Baghdad closed a highway on Sunday as they chanted slogans such as: “The people want to overthrow the regime”.

The demonstrators have won the backing of Iraq’s top Shiite authority, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who has also called on them to refrain from violence.

The latest rallies follow a 2015 protest movement against corruption and the absence of public services, led mainly by nationalist Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr who won this year’s elections on an anti-graft ticket.

AFP

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Iraqi police arresting protesters in the south

July 16, 2018

Iraqi security forces in the southern oil-rich province of Basra have started arresting protesters who took part in the week-long demonstrations there to demand more jobs and better services, activists said Monday.

Protests in the city of Basra, the provincial capital and Iraq’s second-largest city, are not unusual in scorching summer weather but they boiled over last Tuesday, when security forces opened fire, killing one person and wounding five.

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Above, members of the Iraqi security forces detain a protester on July 14 who took part in the week-long demonstrations to demand more jobs and better services. (AFP)

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Within days the rallies spread to other provinces. In some places, protesters broke into local government buildings and burned the offices of some political parties.

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The government rushed to contain the protests with promises of thousands of jobs, mainly in the oil sector, and an urgent allocation of 3.5 trillion Iraqi dinars ($3 billion) for electricity and water projects. It blamed “infiltrators” for the damages.

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The arrests started on Sunday night, with police chasing protesters down main roads and alleys following demonstrations in the city of Basra, and also in the countryside and around oil fields, two activists told The Associated Press.

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The activists could not give a specific number for those arrested, saying only “hundreds.” They spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for their safety. Officials were not immediately available to comment.

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The activists said Internet was back on after a two-day shutdown, but a heavy deployment of security forces outside the local government building in Basra prevented protesters from gathering there Monday.
Police also closed off surrounding streets with barbed wire.

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Meanwhile, authorities reopened the country’s second-busiest airport, in the city of Najaf, following a two-day shutdown after a mob broke into the facility on Friday, damaging the passenger terminal and vandalizing equipment.

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Transportation Minister Kadhim Finjan Al-Hamai was at the Najaf airport to announce the reopening on the Iraqi state TV as an Iraqi Airways plane landed behind him. He said 18 local and international flights were to land on Monday.

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The shutdown had caused “heavy losses” to the government, the airport and airline companies, he said without elaborating.

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Kuwait Airways, the Royal Jordanian and Iran’s Aviation Authority suspended their flights to Najaf on Sunday, citing security concerns. The United Arab Emirates’ FlyDubai canceled Saturday’s flights to Najaf and said it was suspending its flights until July 22.

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Iraq’s vital Um Qasr port on the Arabian Gulf, and two main border crossings — Safwan with Kuwait and Shalamcheh with Iran — were closed to both passengers and goods as protesters had blocked the main roads leading to the sites.

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Basra is home to about 70 percent of Iraq’s proven oil reserves of 153.1 billion barrels. It is located on the Arabian Gulf bordering Kuwait and Iran, and is Iraq’s only hub these days for all oil exports to the international market.

AP

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1339741/middle-east

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South China Sea: China’s Blocking of the Philippines Likely Costing Filipinos Billions in Unclaimed Oil, Sea Resources

July 16, 2018
China’s continued blocking of Reed Bank drilling could cost Philippine development — expert
Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) – July 16, 2018 – 9:53am

MANILA, Philippines — China’s continued blocking of oil and gas drilling on Reed Bank in the West Philippine Sea may bring economic repercussions for the Philippines, a maritime law expert warned.

In 2015, the Department of Energy suspended all drilling and exploration works in the West Philippine Sea due to a territorial dispute with China.

The Reed Bank, also called Recto Bank, is being considered as a possible replacement to the nation’s main source of natural gas, the Malampaya field, which will run out in less than a decade.

Image result for Jay Batongbacal,, photos

Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, warned that the Philippine’s plans for economic development will be affected if the Malampaya field runs out of oil and gas.

RELATED: 81% of Pinoys reject government inaction on SCS

The country is seen to lose 30 percent of its energy requirements by 2025 if this happens.

“Luzon will be the most affected. But not only that, there will also be financial effects, the side effects will be big because when you do not have power, your industry will just stop,” Batongbacal said on Vice President Leni Robredo’s radio show on Sunday.

The maritime expert added that a substitute for Malampaya would be more expensive. At least 10 years of lead time would be needed in pursuing natural gas and petroleum energy projects.

Reed Bank, which reportedly has about 21 percent more gas than the reserves in Malampaya, is one of the two areas being eyed as sites of joint exploration between the Philippines and China.

The area is within the country’s exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea but it is also being claimed by China.

Last February, the Philippines and China agreed to form a panel that would draft a framework on joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said that the Philippines wants a deal as good as the one on the Malampaya project, which is 65 km off Palawan.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

“We desire a contract that’s as good or better than Malampaya… If we can have a deal that is as advantageous as Malampaya or better, what’s the difference if we are dealing with China?” Cayetano said.

The Chinese government had assured the Philippines that joint development would not affect the legal position of both countries on the issue.

“Pending final settlement, China would like to conduct practical cooperation in various fields with parties concerned, including under the principle of shelving differences and seeking joint development,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a press briefing in April.

READ: What Cayetano missed in justifying South China Sea joint development

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/07/16/1834042/chinas-continued-blocking-reed-bank-drilling-could-cost-philippine-development-expert#Vce5uOTZGQXmVWXI.99

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Asia Stocks Decline Amid Mixed China Economic Data

July 16, 2018

Asian stocks fell as mixed economic data in China failed to allay concern about the world’s second largest economy’s ability to the withstand the impact of the trade dispute. Crude slid and the yen traded near the weakest level since January.

Image result for china trade, photos

Equities from Sydney to Shanghai dropped, while those in Hong Kong recouped losses during the morning. Volumes were down in most markets with Japan shut for a public holiday. The yen held its recent losses after posting its biggest weekly slide in 10 months. Oil fell below $71 a barrel amid speculation the Trump administration is considering tapping into emergency crude supplies. U.S. equity futures ticker higher after Friday’s gains pushed the S&P 500 back above 2,800, with a pause in trade tensions outweighing a mixed start to the earnings season.

Trade tensions have eased somewhat as officials in Beijing appeared to moderate their response to President Donald Trump’s tariff threats amid a slowing economy, falling stock market and weakening currency. Data Monday showed China’s economic expansion slowed down slightly from the previous quarter, with industrial output in June missing estimates. Later this week investors expect Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to lay the groundwork for further tightening.

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These are some key events coming up this week:

  • Earnings season continues with reports due from companies including: Bank of America, BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, American Express, Netflix, Microsoft, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and IBM.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold their first summit together.
  • Fed’s Powell delivers the semi-annual Monetary Policy Report to the Senate Banking Committee and answers lawmakers’ questions.

And here are the main market moves:

Stocks

  • Hang Seng slid 0.2 percent as of 12:22 p.m. in Hong Kong, having slipped as much as 0.7 percent earlier. Hang Seng China Enterprises Index down 0.7 percent.
  • Shanghai Composite declined 0.5 percent.
  • South Korea’s Kospi index slipped 0.2 percent.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.5 percent.
  • Futures on the S&P 500 Index were up 0.1 percent. The underlying gauge rose 0.1 percent Friday.

Currencies

  • The Japanese yen slid 0.1 percent to 112.48 per dollar.
  • The offshore yuan rose 0.1 percent to 6.7083 per dollar.
  • The euro was little changed at $1.1684.
  • The British pound rose 0.1 percent to $1.3240.
  • The kiwi dollar climbed 0.2 percent to 67.67 U.S. cents.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries dipped two basis points to 2.83 percent Friday.
  • Australian 10-year government bond yields were steady at 2.63 percent.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude declined 0.6 percent to $70.60 a barrel.
  • Gold fell 0.1 percent to $1,243.64 an ounce.

— With assistance by Richard Richtmyer

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-15/asia-stocks-signal-mixed-start-ahead-of-china-data-markets-wrap

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Security situation at Najaf, Iraq deteriorates — Airlines suspend service — Protests over poor public services, unemployment, Iranian interference 

July 15, 2018

Image result for Royal Jordanian airline, photos

Jordan’s state airline said on Sunday it had suspended four weekly flights to the Iraqi city of Najaf due to the “security situation at it’s airport, a company statement said.

Royal Jordanian said Najaf is the ninth destination in the region – from Mosul in Iraq to Aden and Sanaa in Yemen – to which it has suspended flights due to turmoil in recent years.

Najaf is among the cities in southern Iraq that have witnessed days of protests over poor services and against alleged official corruption.

Reuters

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Toby Chopra

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DUBAI (Reuters) – Flydubai has halted flights to the Iraqi city of Najaf “due to the disruption on the ground” at the airport until July 22, the Dubai state-owned airline said on Sunday.

Najaf airport was closed on Friday after protests there halted air traffic. Najaf is among the cities in southern Iraq that have witnessed days of protests over poor services and against alleged official corruption.

Flydubai, which operates a daily return flight from Dubai to Najaf, is monitoring the situation, an airline spokeswoman said.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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Image may contain: one or more people, fire, night and outdoor

Iraqi protesters demanding services and jobs burn tires

Iraq: Protests rage over poor public services, unemployment, Iranian interference

July 14, 2018

Security forces kill one as hundreds rally for better services, job opportunities and end to Iranian interference.

The Iraqi government held an emergency meeting on Saturday after protests against high unemployment and a lack of basic services spread to the nation’s capital, Baghdad.

The National Security Council was urgently convened under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and decided to cut internet access in the capital to prevent the unrest from spreading further, Anadolu Agency reported.

Image result for protests, Iraq, July 2018, photos

Hundreds of Iraqi protesters stormed government buildings in the south of the country on Friday and occupied Najaf International Airport, demanding better services, job opportunities and an end to alleged Iranian interference.

In the latest in a week of daily protests against corruption and poor governance, demonstrators clashed with security forces in several provinces, including Maysan, Dhi Qar, Basra, Najaf and Karbala.

At least one person was killed and 15 injured in Maysan when Iraqi forces shot at protesters after they attacked and set fire to office buildings used by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s Islamic Dawa Party, the Iranian-backed Al-Badr Organisation and the Shia Supreme Islamic Council Party.

According to Iraqi news website Al-Sumaria, 25 anti-riot policemen were also wounded as they tried to stop demonstrators from storming the governor’s house in the province of Dhi Qar.

Image result for protests, Iraq, July 2018, photos

The protesters had gathered near his residence and could be heard chanting slogans such as “Iran, we don’t want you anymore”.

Hundreds of protesters also cut a road leading to the Umm Qasr seaport in Basra province, Iraq’s largest seaport in the Gulf.

Earlier, a group of protesters stormed Najaf’s international airport, with videos posted on social media showing protesters lighting fires on the tarmac in front of the facility.

Hayder al-Khoei

@Hayder_alKhoei

Following anti-corruption protests across southern , protesters in Najaf storm the governor’s office and airport, chanting “the people want the fall of the [political] parties” pic.twitter.com/VkmXVCmAOq

Hayder al-Khoei

@Hayder_alKhoei

Entrance of Najaf airport pic.twitter.com/MDhJaoviEA

“People are hungry, there is no water, no electricity,” protester Abdullah Khaled, 29, told the AFP news agency.

On Saturday, state TV reported that the protest disrupted flights in and out of the busy travel hub but that air traffic had since resumed.

Rampant electricity cuts have exacerbated a sweltering heat wave, with Basra seeing temperatures exceed 48 degrees Celsius in recent days.

The region is home to the oil fields that account for the vast majority of the more than three million barrels of oil Iraq exports every day.

Yet it remains underdeveloped and has suffered from chronic power outages, poor water quality and uncollected waste.

“If they don’t create jobs and improve services such as water and electricity we will close down Basra and oil production,” said Mohammed Jabbar, 29, an unemployed college graduate.

“We will not stop until our demands are met.”

High unemployment

The demonstrations, which started earlier this week in Basra, spread after Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the supreme spiritual leader of Shia Muslims in Iraq, expressed his solidarity with the protesters.

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and beard

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani

“It is not fair and it is never acceptable that this generous province is one of the most miserable areas in Iraq,” Abdel Mahdi al-Karbalai, the representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, said at Friday prayers in Karbala.

Karbalai urged the “federal and local government to deal seriously with the demands of citizens”, while also calling on demonstrators to refrain from violence.

Prime Minister Abadi has vowed to rebuild Iraq’s economy, which has been ravaged by years of conflict, but frustrations have grown in the oil-rich south.

Officially, 10.8 percent of Iraqis are jobless, while youth unemployment is twice as high in a country where 60 percent of the population are aged under 24.

Iraq is the second biggest producer of crude in the OPEC oil cartel, with 153 billion barrels of proven reserves.

The oil sector accounts for 89 percent of the state budget and 99 percent of Iraq’s export revenues, but only one percent of jobs, as the majority of posts are filled by foreigners.

Iraq is currently in political limbo as the country looks to form a new government after populist leader Muqtada al-Sadr’s surprise poll win saw long-time political figures pushed out by voters seeking change in the country.

Protesters burned tires and blocked the road leading to the city of Basra on Thursday [Essam al-Sudani/Reuters]

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

 

Libya’s Sharara oilfield cuts output after workers abducted

July 14, 2018

Production at Libya’s giant Sharara oil field was expected to fall by at least 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) on Saturday after two staff were abducted in an attack by an unknown group, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said.

Image result for Libya's El Sharara oilfield, Photos

Libya’s El Sharara oilfield

The attack happened at a control station on the outskirts of Sharara, about 40 km (25 miles) from the main part of the field, engineers at the field said. One of the abducted workers was Romanian, they said.

NOC said it expected output to drop by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd), although one engineer said output at the field, which had been producing 200,000-300,000 bpd recently, had already dropped to below 100,000 bpd.

Tripoli-based NOC operates Sharara in partnership with Repsol, Total, OMV and Equinor, formerly known as Statoil.

The field, in Libya’s remote southwest, has suffered security problems in the past, including raids in which vehicles and mobile phones have been stolen.

The facility that was targeted on Saturday is called Station 186 and was also attacked last year.

The NOC said unknown armed assailants entered the station at 6.30 a.m. (4.30 GMT) on Saturday.

“Four of the station staff were initially kidnapped but two of them have been since released,” it said. “Oil wells in the surrounding area have been shut down as a precaution, and all other workers evacuated.”

An engineer at the field said one of the abducted workers was Romanian.

In addition to being one of Libya’s main export grades, Sharara feeds the 120,000 bpd Zawiya oil refinery on the country’s northwest coast.

Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli, Aidan Lewis and Ahmad Ghaddar; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Mark Potter and Edmund Blair

Reuters

U.S. Stock Futures Drift as Traders Weigh Earnings

July 13, 2018

U.S. equity-index futures struggled for traction as investors focused on second-quarter earnings, and as China’s record trade surplus with America served as a reminder that protectionist tensions aren’t going away. The pound fell as the Brexit quagmire deepened.

Futures on the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq fluctuated between gains and losses after JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and Citigroup Inc. posted mostly positive results. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced, with trading volume more than 25 percent lower than the 30-day average and commodity producers underperforming. Stocks in Asia posted a first weekly advance in five as benchmarks in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea gained.

The dollar strengthened and Treasuries edged higher, while European bonds rallied, the euro declined and the yuan fell. The pound headed lower after President Donald Trump warned U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May that her Brexit proposal — already facing an uphill battle for European Union approval — could “kill” any future U.S. trade deal.

Investors will feel some relief as earnings season gets underway in earnest, allowing attention to pivot away from trade relations. The latter seemed to ease somewhat, with officials in Beijing appearing to moderate their responses to Trump’s tariff threats amid a slowing economy, falling stock market and weakening currency. Still, China’s monthly trade surplus with the U.S. rose to a record in June and exports to the nation also soared, underlining the cause of the escalating trade war.

Despite optimism a bumper earnings season can propel equities higher, there remains disagreement as to sustainability of the economic cycle. Former U.S. Treasury official Jim Millstein says the next economic downturn could strike in less than two years, while Guggenheim Partners’ Scott Minerd says there is now a higher chance of a deep U.S. recession as soon as next year.

Meanwhile, West Texas crude climbed back above $70 a barrel, but most metals declined, with gold heading for the lowest close in a year. Emerging-market shares extended gains to head for a first weekly advance in five.

Terminal users can read more in Bloomberg’s Markets Live blog.

And here are the main market moves:

Stocks

  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.2 percent as of 8:36 a.m. New York time.
  • Futures on the S&P 500 Index declined less than 0.05 percent.
  • The MSCI All-Country World Index advanced 0.1 percent.
  • The MSCI Emerging Market Index climbed 0.2 percent.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced 0.3 percent to the highest in more than a week.
  • The euro decreased 0.3 percent to $1.1642, the weakest in more than a week.
  • The British pound dipped 0.4 percent to $1.3157, the weakest in more than a week.
  • The Japanese yen gained 0.1 percent to 112.49 per dollar, the first advance in a week.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries dipped one basis point to 2.83 percent, the lowest in a week on the biggest dip in more than a week.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield sank three basis points to 0.33 percent, the largest tumble in more than three weeks.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield dipped two basis points to 1.282 percent, the biggest decrease in more than a week.

Commodities

  • The Bloomberg Commodity Index declined 0.3 percent.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude advanced 0.6 percent to $70.72 a barrel, the largest gain in a week.
  • LME copper dipped 0.6 percent to $6,191.00 per metric ton.
  • Gold fell 0.5 percent to $1,241.71 an ounce, the weakest in about a year.

— With assistance by Cormac Mullen, Sarah Ponczek, Randall Jensen, and Adam Haigh

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-12/asian-stocks-to-follow-u-s-gains-dollar-slips-markets-wrap

Iraq PM heads to oil-rich Basra after violent protests — Won the war, lost the peace?

July 13, 2018

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi went to Basra on Friday hoping to restore calm in the southern city, which has been gripped by protests over unemployment, his office said.

Abadi flew straight into the city from Brussels where he attended a NATO summit to discuss the Islamic State group and immediately held talks with officials, a statement said.

© AFP | A demonstrator burns tyres during protests against unemployment and high cost of living in the southern Iraqi city of Basra during the night of July 12, 2018

Demonstrations have been ongoing over the past several days, with protesters in some cases setting tyres ablaze to block roads and trying to storm government installations.

The protests erupted on Sunday and security forces opened fire killing a protester, sparking further anger.

As well as unemployment, protesters are frustrated by rising living costs and a lack of basic services in the city, the capital of Basra province

There were further protests on Friday morning and calls for a demonstration in the afternoon in front of the local provincial headquarters.

On Thursday Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said protesters tried to break into an oil installation in the West Qurna oil field of Basra province.

In a statement released by his office, Luaibi said the demonstrators failed to enter the area but had set fire to a gate and a security post.

Officially, 10.8 percent of Iraqis are jobless, while youth unemployment is twice as high in a country where 60 percent of the population are aged under 24.

Abadi has vowed to rebuild the economy, ravaged by years of conflict, but frustrations have been growing especially in the oil-rich south.

Iraq is the second biggest producer of crude in the OPEC oil cartel, with 153 billion barrels of proven reserves.

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