Concerns over Libya's oil output pushed oil prices up

(Press TV) -- Concerns over Libya's oil output amid growing clashes between anti-government protesters and forces loyal to Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi have pushed oil prices up in global markets. The price of sweet US oil for delivery in April on the New York Mercantile Exchange climbed to 102.23 dollars per barrel, up USD 2.60 on Wednesday.

Tensions in the oil-exporting nation also sent the West Texas Intermediate futures contract soaring at above 103 a barrel -- the highest level since September 2008. Brent crude also increased by 0.2 percent to stand at 116.58 dollars in Asian markets.

Figures released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) show Libya's oil output has been cut down by more than half a million barrels on daily basis.

Libya used to produce 1.6 million barrels of crude per day before the recent popular uprising peaked in the North African oil-rich country.


Total acquired 12% stake in Russia's Novatek

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- French oil giant Total and Russian gas company Novatek have entered into a strategic partnership that will see Total aqcuire a 12% stake in the country's largest independent gas producer. Christophe de Margerie, Total's chairman and chief executive officer and Leonid Mikhelson, Novatek's chairman and one of the main shareholders signed two Memorandums of Cooperation to develope the cooperation between Total and Russian company Novatek and its main shareholders.

The cooperation will be developed around two transactions where Total will become the main international partner on the Yamal LNG project holding a 20% share. Novatek will hold a 51% interest in the project. In addition, Total will take a 12.08% shareholding in Novatek with the intent of both parties to increase the share to 15% within 12 months and to 19.40% within 36 months.

The Yamal LNG project will develop the South Tambey field located in the arctic area of the Yamal peninsula. The resources of this condensate and gas field are estimated at approximately 44 trillion cubic feet of gas (1,250 billion cubic metres), allowing production of more than 15 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year.


Oil-rich West African nation will be turned into a regional petrochemical hub

(Canadian Business) -- Nigeria's government says it is building eight industrial plants to turn the oil-rich West African nation into a regional petrochemical hub. Minister of Petroleum Diezani Alison-Madueke said Tuesday at a presidential rally in the commercial capital of Lagos that the president had approved the construction of a petrochemical plant in Nigeria, as per Associated Press.

She said it would be followed by two fertilizer plants and five fertilizer-blending plants. She said the plants would create 300,000 jobs. She offered no further details about where the plants would be built or how money for construction would be raised.

The announcement came less than two months ahead of April polls when Nigerians will decide if they want to extend the mandate of President Goodluck Jonathan.


US PE prices rise in February

(ICIS) -- US polyethylene (PE) sellers implemented a portion of their 5 cent/lb ($110/tonne, ┬79/tonne) February price increase initiatives with support from rising crude oil and international PE prices, buyers said on Thursday. A large film manufacturer said most of its suppliers raised prices by 3 cents/lb in February, but a couple held the increases until 1 March.

Attention is now shifting to March contract prices, and producers were taking firm initial stances, invoicing an 8 cent/lb increase to customers. The 8 cent/lb increment is made up of the remaining 2 cents/lb held over from February and a separate 6 cent/lb price hike that has been pending since January. Dow Chemical notified its customers on 3 March of an additional 5 cent/lb price initiative for April.

Producers maintained that the February price increases covered all grades, but high density PE (HDPE) prices were relatively soft in February. Brokers had ample availability of competitively priced HDPE spot material. However, prices have firmed in March, sources said.


Asian PET bottle-grade chip prices have hit a 16-year high

(ICIS) -- Asian polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle-grade chip prices have hit a 16-year high, supported by prevailing raw material purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and monoethylene glycol (MEG) prices, market sources said on Friday. On Friday morning, offers for PET bottle-grade chip prices were pegged at above $1,850/tonne (┬1,332/tonne) FOB (free on board) China and South Korean producers were heard offering at up to $1,930/tonne FOB Korea.

Last week, spot prices of the material were assessed at $1,810-1,830/tonne FOB China and $1,820-1,880/tonne FOB Korea, based on ICIS data.

On Thursday, PTA prices were $32-35/tonne firmer, at $1,495-1,505/tonne CFR (cost & freight) China Main Port (CMP) for South Korean cargoes and $1,512-1,522/tonne CFR CMP for Taiwanese parcels, reflecting current discussion levels.

Meanwhile, MEG prices were at $1,258-1,265/tonne CFR CMP, up by $23-25/tonne from the previous week.