Kazakh energy officials fired over gasoline shortages

MOSCOW (MRC) — Kazakh Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev fired two senior energy officials on Tuesday after the Central Asia’s biggest oil exporter reported fuel shortages on the domestic market, prompting long queues at petrol stations, said Reuters.

The former Soviet republic operates three large refineries, but still imports almost a third of its fuel from neighboring Russia. One of the three refineries halted gasoline production on Sept. 21 for maintenance and upgrade work.

The government has sought to negotiate higher Russian supplies to compensate for that. But many petrol stations in Almaty, the biggest Kazakh city, have halted or limited sales this month citing lack of fuel, while others have raised prices.

At a government meeting on Tuesday, Sagintayev sacked Deputy Energy Minister Aset Magauov and deputy chief executive of state energy firm KazMunayGaz, Daniyar Berlibayev, blaming the ministry and the company for failing to ensure stable supplies.

The government has said upgrades should allow the country’s three refineries to fully supply the domestic market next year.

Indian Oil buys new US crude grades for December delivery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indian Oil Corp Ltd (IOCL), the country’s largest refiner, has bought two new types of US crude for December delivery as it tests different grades from the United States, trade sources said on Tuesday, reported Reuters.

IOC bought 1 MMbbl each of US Southern Green Canyon (SGC) and WTI Midland crude likely from a Chinese trader, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The purchase was in addition to 2 MMbbl of Basra Light crude to be delivered in the same month.

The United States has become a new source of crude supply for Asia since Washington lifted a ban on crude exports in late 2015. India joined other Asian countries in buying US crude in the fourth quarter to widen its import sources as well as to reduce trade surplus with the United States.

IOC has issued another sour crude tender that will close later this week to purchase more oil for the same period, according to a document reviewed by Reuters.

Officials at IOC weren’t available for comment.

The refiner has bought about 5.5 MMbbl of US crude so far this year.

Other Indian refiners to have bought US crude include Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd, Bharat Oman Refinery, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd and Reliance Industries Ltd.

As MRC wrote previously, IOCL conducted maintenance at its polypropylene (PP) plant in Indian from mid-July to mid-August 2017. As per earlier plans, the plant was supposed to shut in early-July 2017. Located at Panipat in the northern Indian state of Haryana, the PP plant comprising two units has a production capacity of 300,000 mt/year each.

Indian Oil Corporation Limited, or IndianOil, is an Indian state-owned oil and gas corporation with its headquarters in New Delhi, India.

TransCanada to abandon Energy East, Eastern Mainline pipeline projects

MOSCOW (MRC) — TransCanada Corp said it expects to take a CUSD1 B charge in the current quarter after deciding to abandon its Energy East and Eastern Mainline pipeline projects, after intense scrutiny by Canada's energy regulator, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The termination comes after the National Energy Board (NEB) expanded the scope of its review of Energy East in August, saying it would consider the pipeline's indirect greenhouse gas contributions. Energy East's importance has somewhat diminished for TransCanada since US President Donald Trump this year signed an order reviving the company's Keystone XL pipeline, which would run from Alberta's oil sands to US refineries.

TransCanada had said last month that it would have to abandon the Energy East project after the NEB's decision. The termination was the latest blow to a project that Canada's oil industry says is needed to bring oil sands crude to overseas markets and avoid deep discounts on Canadian barrels that eat into revenue for producers already struggling with low prices.

"After careful review of changed circumstances, we will be informing the National Energy Board that we will no longer be proceeding with our Energy East and Eastern Mainline applications," TransCanada said in a statement on Thursday.

Blast at Tupras refinery in Turkey kills four

MOSCOW (MRC) -- An explosion in a storage tank at a Tupras refinery in the western Turkish province of Izmir on Wednesday killed four people but had no impact on production, reported Reuters with reference to the company's statement.

Tupras said in its statement that the explosion occurred following maintenance work on Wednesday morning.

Television footage showed black smoke rising from the site of the blast.

As MRC informed before, in early August 2016, Turkey's biggest petrochemicals company, Petkim, said that police had launched operations at its main facility in Aliaga have not affected operations.

Oil rises above USD56 on Saudi export cut

MOSCOW (MRC) — Oil rose to above USD56 a barrel on Tuesday, supported by Saudi Arabian export cuts in November and comments from OPEC and trading companies that the market is rebalancing after years of oversupply, said Reuters.

Saudi Arabia has cut November allocations by 560,000 bpd, in line with its commitment to an OPEC-led supply reduction pact. In the United States, some production remains offline following Hurricane Nate, lending additional support. "Prices have been boosted by news that Saudi Arabia is planning to reduce its oil shipments to customers in November," said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

Brent crude, the international price benchmark, was up 80 cents at USD56.59 a barrel at 1326 GMT. US crude gained 97 cents to USD50.55. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other non-member producers are cutting output by about 1.8 MMbpd until next March to get rid of a price-sapping supply glut.

OPEC is increasingly confident that the market is rebalancing fast, helped by the cutback as well as by stronger-than-expected growth in global demand. The chief executive of trading firm Gunvor, Torbjorn Tornqvist, also said the market was rebalancing, citing falling product stocks and crude held in floating storage clearing up.

"We don't see this market being out of balance one way or another," he told the Reuters Global Commodities Summit taking place this week. Overall crude stocks "are still high," he added, and OPEC needed to stick to its output curbs.

Short-term price support was coming from the United States, where 85% of US Gulf of Mexico oil production, or 1.49 MMbpd, was offline following Hurricane Nate, according to official figures. OPEC has managed record-high adherence to its supply cutting deal this year and is considering extending the deal beyond its March 2018 expiry. Some analysts have been concerned that a price recovery could tempt producers to open the taps again.

But analysts at JP Morgan said this was less of an issue, saying "concerns that OPEC compliance would fade into the fourth quarter now appear unfounded."

"Stronger-than-assumed economic growth offers the potential for tight market conditions to continue if OPEC extends the current deal for another nine months," the bank said.