Several countries have breached arms embargo agreed at Libya summit: U.N. By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Libya summit in Berlin

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Several countries backing rival factions in Libya have violated an arms embargo which they had agreed to uphold a week ago at a summit in Berlin, the United Nations said on Saturday.

Last Sunday, foreign powers backing opposing camps fighting over Libya’s capital Tripoli agreed at a summit hosted by Germany and the United Nations to push the parties to a lasting ceasefire and respect an existing U.N. arm embargo.

“Over the last ten days, numerous cargo and other flights have been observed landing at Libyan airports in the western and eastern parts of the country providing the parties with advanced weapons, armored vehicles, advisers and fighters,” the U.N mission to Libya (UNSMIL) said in a statement.

“The mission condemns these ongoing violations, which risk plunging the country into a renewed and intensified round of fighting,” UNSMIL said.

It blamed several countries which were present at the Berlin conference, without naming them.

The United Arab Emirates and Egypt support eastern forces of Khalifa Haftar which have been trying to take Tripoli in a near-ten month campaign. The internationally recognized administration based in Tripoli trying to fend off Haftar’s forces is backed by Turkey.

Fighting had abated in the past two weeks but on Saturday heavy artillery could be heard in Tripoli, a Reuters reporter said.

The Berlin summit had gathered top officials from the UAE, Egypt, Turkey as well as western countries such as the United States, France, Britain and European Union.

Germany also invited Haftar and Tripoli Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, who both met separately with Chancellor Angela Merkel but refused to sit down together.

Libya has been engulfed in chaos since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011. Haftar is backing a rival administration based in the east.

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Copper Sees Worst Losing Streak Since 2018 on Virus Fears By Bloomberg



(Bloomberg) — Copper saw its worst streak of losses since mid-2018 as more patients were infected by the deadly coronavirus in the U.S., spurring a sell-off in riskier assets while boosting gold’s haven appeal.

U.S. officials are monitoring more than 60 people as they attempt to catch new cases of coronavirus in travelers from China, the center of the outbreak. Mounting concerns that the spreading deadly disease could further crimp global growth sent equities and commodities declining.

China, the world’s largest consumer of commodities including industrial metals, locked down Wuhan and its surrounding areas to contain the coronavirus, the first large-scale quarantine in modern times.

“If you all of a sudden take China off the board because you’re looking at shutting down mills and shutting down transportation to the mills, it’s going to hurt,” said Peter Thomas, a senior vice president at Chicago-based broker Zaner Group, said by phone.

Copper, often a barometer of global growth, fell 1.5% to settle at $2.684 a pound at 1:02 p.m. on the Comex in New York. March futures are down 6.6% since mid-January, the biggest seven-session loss for a most-active contract since July 11, 2018.

“We suspect that even more demand destruction fear is justified because the virus will also undermine Chinese sentiment and dampen the biggest shopping period of the Chinese calendar,” Phil Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures, said on an emailed note.

The Bloomberg Industrial Metals Subindex Total Return, which tracks , aluminum, zinc and nickel, slipped 1.3%, poised for the steepest four-day decline since September 2018. The wider commodities gauge is set for the biggest weekly loss since December 2018.

The outbreak has also boosted bullion’s appeal as haven. Over the past five days, investors poured more than $1 billion into SPDR Gold Shares (NYSE:), the largest exchange-traded fund backed by the metal.

On the Comex in New York, for April delivery rose, posting five straight weekly gains.

Story Link: BASE METALS: Copper Set for Worst Week Since 2018 on Virus Fears

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Oil Heads for Worst Week in a Year as Virus Selloff Deepens By Bloomberg



(Bloomberg) — Oil headed for its worst weekly slump in more than a year amid fears that China’s coronavirus will cripple fuel demand just as markets struggle with a fragile world economy and adequate supplies.

Futures sank as much as 2.9% in London to approach $60 a barrel for the first time since November as deaths from the coronavirus rose to 25 and China expanded travel restrictions for over 40 million people in an attempt to halt contagion. The U.S. is monitoring more than 60 people for potential infection, and lawmakers said health authorities are expected to confirm a third case.

The Asian virus has spooked traders even as the World Health Organization stopped short of declaring a global health emergency. The contagion is disrupting travel during the Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions normally fly or ride home. The selloff has accelerated as trend-following funds turned bearish, according to TD Securities.

“Contagion fears are spiking ahead of the biggest yearly migration ahead of new year,” says Daniel Ghali, a commodities strategist at TD Securities. “The fear factor is the risk of contagion, synonymous to what happened in 2003 with SARS which led to a 2% drop in Chinese economic growth.”

The fast-spreading virus is the latest challenge for a market that’s been buffeted this year by geopolitical turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the phase-one trade deal between Beijing and Washington. Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:). said earlier this week that, if the coronavirus has an impact similar to the 2003 SARS epidemic, demand could be curbed by 260,000 barrels a day.

See also: China’s Economy Was Brightening This Month Before Virus Fear Hit

for March settlement fell $1.54 to $60.50 a barrel on the ICE (NYSE:) Futures Europe exchange as of 1:05 p.m. in New York. Futures were on track for a weekly loss of 6.7%, the biggest since Dec. 21, 2018.

West Texas Intermediate futures for March delivery slipped $1.37 to $54.22 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Options traders are paying the most since Oct. 31 for protection against price swings, according to the CBOE/CME WTI volatility index.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

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Trump increases tariffs on derivative steel, aluminum products from some countries By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump addresses U.S. mayors at the White House in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation increasing tariffs on derivative steel products by an additional 25 percent and boosting tariffs on derivative aluminum products by an additional 10 percent.

Trump said Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea are exempt from the additional tariffs on steel products, and Argentina, Australia, Canada and Mexico are exempt from the added tariffs on aluminum articles.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

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Libyan central bank chief says oil blockade must be lifted By Reuters


© Reuters. Libyan central bank chief says oil blockade must be lifted

By Ahmad Ghaddar

LONDON (Reuters) – A blockade of major Libyan oil ports is damaging the economy and must be quickly resolved, the Tripoli-based central bank governor told Reuters on Friday, adding that Libya could run a budget deficit in 2020 as a result.

“Now oil represents 93-95% of total revenue and covers 70% of total spending. This is a bullet in the head, that will hurt Libya and the Libyan people,” Sadiq al-Kabir said in an interview in London. “We really hope the crisis is resolved as fast as possible because it hurts everyone.”

Libya’s internationally recognized prime minister Fayez al-Serraj has warned of catastrophe if the week-long blockade by eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces, which has cut oil output to almost zero, is not lifted.

Previously, oil production was 1.2 million barrels a day.

Kabir said the central bank had not yet agreed on a budget for 2020 with the internationally recognized government, which had proposed a budget deficit of 17.5 billion dinars.

“We rejected that and asked them to trim spending,” he said, adding that a deficit was still possible due to the oil blockade.

Kabir has been challenged by eastern officials, which have set up their own government and central bank branch selling bonds outside the official financial system to raise funds.

The national debt, exclusively in local currency, was now 50 billion dinars, Kabir said.

Eastern officials complain they do not benefit from oil revenues, accusations rejected by Tripoli officials as the Tripoli-based central bank funds some public salaries and fuel supplies to the east.

Kabir declined to give a figure for foreign reserves but said they had risen slightly in the last two years, when oil production was more stable than in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Global LNG Poised for Terrible Year as New Supply Floods Market By Bloomberg



(Bloomberg) — Liquefied prices are poised to test record lows this year thanks to an onslaught of new supply and warmer winter temperatures curbing consumption.

The startup of new export projects from Australia to the U.S. has flooded the market, while brimming stockpiles in Europe and an expected slowdown in Chinese demand have dumped cold water on consumption prospects. LNG for spot delivery to North Asia is on track to hit an all-time low this summer, while gas prices in Europe and the U.S. are trading at the weakest seasonal levels since 1999.

“The global oversupply of LNG has been building and building and building,” said Ron Ozer, founder of gas-focused hedge fund Statar Capital LLC in New York. “The gas market can’t stomach the oversupply and warm weather, and it’s getting both.”

This is what the rock-bottom prices mean for the industry:

American Halt

U.S. gas exports have surged amid the nation’s shale boom, but plummeting prices may now throttle back shipments or encourage sustained maintenance while firms weather the storm. Producers and companies with offtake agreements may decide not to load cargoes because prices are too low to earn a profit after accounting for shipping costs.

With cargoes from the Gulf of Mexico currently priced around $2.65 per million Btu, cash margins are positive only because of weak U.S. benchmark prices, according to Robert Sims, an analyst at Wood Mackenzie Ltd. There’s a chance that production could be reduced if the spread between benchmark Henry Hub and U.S. Gulf LNG narrows 25 cents, he said. Torbjorn Tornqvist, chief executive officer of Gunvor Group Ltd., the biggest independent LNG trader, sees the market about 50 cents away from shut downs.

“I think we can see even lower prices in the next few months,” Tornqvist said in an interview this week in Davos. “The supply and demand balance doesn’t look good.”

Contract Scrutiny

Buyers may demand revisions to long-term supply contracts, such as better pricing or the removal of restrictions on reselling cargoes. Japan’s Osaka Gas Co. has already taken action, moving an Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:).-led LNG joint-venture to arbitration in a bid to get lower rates.

Qatar, one of the world’s biggest suppliers and traditionally the strictest when it comes to pricing, may be showing some flexibility. The supplier has started offering more competitive price links, with the lowest seen to Korea Gas at 10.8% the price of oil, according to FGE, an energy consultant. That compares to 2008, when Qatar signed contracts with Chinese firms in the 16% range.

Investment Delays

After four years of belt-tightening, the amount of investments last year in new production capacity set a record. Companies including Qatar Petroleum, Novatek PJSC and Venture Global LNG Inc. sanctioned new plants from the U.S. to Russia.

But the current wave of additional supply and persistent weak global prices is challenging new projects seeking final investment decisions, according to Morgan Stanley (NYSE:). The bank reduced its outlook for the number of projects reaching FID and revised lower its new supply outlook for the middle of the decade. The low price environment will also likely force Qatar to stagger or postpone its planned 64% capacity expansion, currently scheduled by 2027, according to FGE.

Profit Pain

Weak prices mean more pain for global energy majors including Total SA (PA:) and Eni SpA, who have seen profits from gas-related businesses dwindle. Some European utilities — who face mounting criticism for their use of fossil fuels — may decide to follow peers that are ditching LNG altogether. Denmark’s Orsted A/S cited loss-making LNG operations for its decision to sell the business to Glencore (LON:) Plc at the end of last year, while Spain’s Iberdrola (MC:) SA completed its exit this month.

The Sunnier Side

Royal Dutch Shell (LON:) Plc, the biggest trader of the fuel, has been able to stave off losses on LNG through contracts linked to oil, while leveraging the weak spot market. Most long-term LNG contracts are linked to the price of crude, which puts them about twice as expensive as prompt cargoes sourced on the spot market.

The world’s biggest importers of LNG, Japan’s Jera Co. and Korea Gas Corp., will benefit from lower prices and may be encouraged to shift more of their procurement to the spot market. Jera gets about 20% on spot or via short-term contracts, which run four years of less. That compares with an average of 32% across global LNG trade. Korea Gas bought about one-quarter of its imports on a spot basis in 2018. Still, the firms’ upside is limited as they will source most of the remainder through oil-linked contracts.

India’s transition toward gas may get a boost, as the nation’s price-sensitive buyers are poised to pick up more cargoes from the spot market, Morgan Stanley analysts said in a Jan. 16 note. Beneficiaries of the transition are gas aggregators like Gail India Ltd and Petronet LNG Ltd and city gas distributors, according to the bank.



Exclusive: Guyana opening search for oil firm to trade its crude


© Reuters. Mark Bynoe, the director of Guyana’s Department of Energy, talks to Reuters in Georgetown

By Luc Cohen

GEORGETOWN (Reuters) – Guyana’s government next month plans to begin a search for an oil company or trading firm to market its share of the South American country’s crude, the director of the Department of Energy, Mark Bynoe, said in an interview.

The government is entitled to a portion of the light, sweet crude that a consortium led by Exxon Mobil Corp (N:) began producing last month after making 15 discoveries in recent years. The finds are set to transform the economy of Guyana, an impoverished country of fewer than 800,000 people.

With no refining capacity, Georgetown last year began selling its share of crude through open-market tenders, the first one awarded to Royal Dutch Shell Plc (L:) for loading the first three cargoes allocated to the government. After that, it will depend on a trading firm to sell its oil to export markets as the state builds up capacity to do so itself, Bynoe said.

“We don’t yet have the kind of back office support that is necessary,” he told Reuters on Wednesday afternoon in his office, lined with books on energy and development including historian Daniel Yergin’s “The Prize.”

“We’re moving to this simpler methodology to be able to ensure that as we build out, we are not losing value.”

Bynoe said the government next month expects to begin asking international oil companies (IOCs) and energy trading firms for proposals to operate as the agent.

But he said the selection would not necessarily be made before Guyana’s March 2 elections, given the length of the bidding and evaluation process after launching the search.

Irfaan Ali, who is challenging President David Granger, has pledged to review the terms of oil deals signed by the current administration. He has argued that the government was not transparent in choosing Shell to lift the first cargoes. Bynoe disputed that.

He said the government invited nine oil companies to present bids because crude from the Liza field was new to the market, and the government wanted to see how it performed in different refineries.

He declined to disclose the price included in Shell’s winning bid.

Latin American nations including Mexico and Ecuador have signed contracts with trading companies in recent years so the firms market a portion of their crude exports. Critics say that by doing so, the countries or their state-run firms can lose an opportunity to obtain better terms by dealing directly with refiners.

MORE TO COME

After finding more than 6 billion barrels of recoverable oil and gas resources in Guyana, Exxon and its partners Hess Corp (N:) and CNOOC Ltd (HK:) expect to produce 750,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude by 2025.

Several other firms – including Tullow Oil (L:), Repsol SA (MC:) and Total SA (PA:) are also exploring off the coast, though none have yet made commercial finds.

Bynoe said Guyana expects to hire a company within two months to conduct new seismic surveys in the shallow continental shelf and some in deeper waters to provide hints as to where else oil may lie. He later added that after the procurement was complete, the contract could still take some time to finalize.

That would set the stage for a new licensing round for offshore acreage around the second quarter of 2021, he said.

The government is also working on a new template for production-sharing agreements (PSA) that could apply to future offshore development, but Bynoe reiterated that Guyana has no plans to renegotiate the Exxon deal.

The opposition and outside observers have criticized the Exxon agreement, which includes a 2% royalty and 50% profit share after Exxon recovers its costs, as too generous. But the company and the government argue incentives were necessary to attract investment to a risky play.

Bynoe did not specify what could change with the new PSA, parts of which would need to be approved by Congress, but said Guyana’s basin was a less risky play after Exxon’s discovery, allowing the government to “move from a position of greater knowledge.”

He added that the country expected to hire an international consulting firm to help update its petroleum legislation, which was passed in 1986, by next week at the latest.



PES creditors fight to reject refinery sale to Hilco: court documents By Reuters



By Laila Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Creditors of bankrupt Philadelphia Energy Solutions are opposing the sale of its oil refinery to Hilco Redevelopment Partners, saying another developer made a more lucrative bid for the site, according to court documents filed on Thursday.

Industrial Realty Group submitted a bid of $265 million during an auction last week to sell the idled refinery site, $25 million more than Hilco’s bid, according to filings by law firm Brown Rudnick LLP in United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

PES did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The refiner announced on Wednesday that it agreed to sell its 335,000 barrel-per-day refinery, the largest and oldest on the U.S. East Coast, to Chicago-based real estate developer Hilco, naming Industrial Realty Group as a back-up bidder.

PES’s unsecured creditors, which include companies that had supplied contract work to PES, as well as workers’ unions employed by the refinery, have pushed for a buyer that would restart the complex.

Hilco’s proposal for the more-than 1,300-acre (530-hectare) site would result in a permanent shutdown of the plant, Brown Rudnick said, leaving those contractors and union members out of work.

The attorneys did not say whether Industrial Realty Group intended to revive any or all of the idled refining complex, which shut over the summer after a June fire destroyed one of its key fuel processing units. PES filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July.

PES’s bankruptcy plan, which includes the Hilco agreement, is scheduled to be submitted for court approval on Feb. 6. PES creditors will also vote on whether they approve of the plan.

If creditors reject the plan, that would put pressure on PES to prove its bankruptcy proposal is the best option for paying back creditors, the court filing said.

PES’s unsecured creditors also took issue with other elements of the plan, including bonuses for refinery executives and that it fails to resolve a $1.25 billion insurance dispute.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



BP appoints new finance chief as Looney prepares to take over By Reuters



By Ron Bousso and Yadarisa Shabong

LONDON (Reuters) – BP’s (L:) finance chief Brian Gilvary is to step down in June after eight years in the role and will be replaced by a close ally of Bernard Looney who takes over as chief executive next month.

Murray Auchincloss, currently finance head of BP’s upstream division, will become BP’s chief financial officer on July 1, the company said on Tuesday.

Gilvary has been credited with overseeing BP’s financial recovery following the 2010 deadly Gulf of Mexico oil spill which has cost the company more than $65 billion in fines, indemnities and clean up costs.

The London-based company saw its profits recover sharply in recent years, allowing it to remove the scrip dividend last year, an austerity measure on shareholder payouts.

However, in October, Gilvary appeared to backtrack on a previous hint that the company would boost its dividend payouts, angering investors.

His departure comes earlier than anticipated and as Looney, who will replace Bob Dudley as chief executive of BP after a decade, faces the tricky task of navigating the energy major through a rising tide of environmentalism and the move to a low-carbon economy.

“Gilvary’s departure may be associated with a more significant change in the company’s strategy including its financial strategy as the running of BP moves to a new top team,” stockbroker Panmure Gordon said in a note.

Panmure Gordon said Gilvary’s departure may also be associated with “problematic guidance over dividend”, a view which BP later rejected as “not true”.

Gilvary, an avid triathlete who joined BP in 1986, will step down from the board on June 30. He is a non-executive director at Air Liquide (PA:), the Royal Navy Board and the Francis Crick Institute.

(GRAPHIC: BP’s recovery – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/editorcharts/BP-PROFITS/0H001QXXNBJS/eikon.png)

In his current role Auchincloss worked with Looney, who until being appointed CEO was head of BP’s oil and gas production division, known as upstream. Auchincloss oversaw a broad cost-cutting drive across the division in the wake of the 2014 oil price crash.

“I have worked side-by-side with Murray for many years and have the utmost confidence in his ability to step into this critical role,” Looney said in a statement.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Oil Inventories Rose 1M Last Week


© Reuters.

By Kim Khan

Investing.com – Oil prices held steady postmarket Wednesday after an industry group indicated that stockpiles in U.S. oil rose last week.

The American Petroleum Institute, reported that its measure of rose by 1.6 million for the week ended Jan. 17.

were up 0.2% in late trading.

Oil prices have been pressured by a huge build-up in oil products in the U.S. in the last two weeks, indicating that supply is continuing to get ahead of demand. A boost in oil inventories when the official government figures come out could further help the bear case.

The Energy Information Administration will report its weekly inventory numbers tomorrow at 11:00 AM ET (16:00 GMT), slightly later than usual due to the Martin Luther King Day Holiday on Monday.

Traders are looking for a decline of about 1 million barrels for , according to forecasts compiled by Investing.com.

They are also forecasting a rise of about 1 million barrels in and a build of about 3 million barrels in .

Also regarding the potential additional supply headed for the market, Fatih Birol, the head of the Paris-based International Energy Association, said he expects a 1 million-bpd crude surplus in the first half of 2020.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.