[MIDDLE EAST] Iraq's Oil Output Is Highest Since U.S.-Led Invasion

Iraq's daily oil production is at its highest level since the March 2003 U.S. invasion, in large part thanks to improved security, according to a Pentagon audit.

``Iraqi oil production set new records this quarter, with output reaching 2.43 million barrels per day, the highest quarterly average since the invasion,'' Stuart Bowen, the Defense Department's inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, wrote in his 18th quarterly report to Congress on the expenditure of $50 billion in U.S. economic aid. Production fell to 1.3 million barrels a day during 2003. A $34 million security system of ditches, fences and concertina wire has stopped attacks since July 2007 on the pipeline from Kirkuk in the north to a major refinery in Baiji, central Iraq, according to the report, which was released today. The result has been a substantial rise in crude oil exports from the north, Bowen said

``Iraq's burgeoning oil windfall, which has yielded more than $33 billion in revenues to date in 2008,'' may result in another $7 billion that could be spent on reconstruction as U.S. spending winds down, Bowen said. Analysts say Iraq has the world's third-largest reservoir of untapped crude oil.

Contributing to Iraq's improved security was the so-called surge of almost 30,000 U.S. military personnel that ended this month plus operations of the Iraq Security Forces, who cleared Muslim militias from Basra, Baghdad's Sadr City, Mosul and Amara, said Bowen, who for the third time this year reported increasing improvements in Iraq's security and economy.

`Year of Transfer'

These operations have been followed by Iraqi government commitments to spend more than $100 million in each of these cities, he said.

The Iraqi government is spending more money on reconstruction in this ``year of transfer,'' Bowen said, up to an estimated $13 billion this year compared with $4.2 billion in U.S. funds.

An indication of improved security is the reduction in U.S. combat deaths, with four so far this month, plus another five non-combat deaths, according to the Pentagon. The four combat deaths is the lowest number since May 2003.

``As heartening as that is, it is not the metric by which we measure success but it is certainly an encouraging sign,'' spokesman Geoff Morrell said yesterday at a Pentagon briefing.

Since the March 2003 invasion, 4,117 U.S. members of the U.S. military have died in combat in Iraq, according to Pentagon figures.

Increased Exports

Iraq's increased production between July 2007 and May was especially noticeable in the north, where exports rose by about 91.3 million barrels, or about $8.2 billion, Bowen said.

In addition to expanded exports, the uninterrupted growth in supplies of refined petroleum products ``has contributed to the increase in electricity production and improved living conditions of the Iraqi people, making fuel available for heating, cooking and transportation,'' he wrote.

In contrast, Bowen wrote in January 2007 that at least some of the oil storage facilities at Baiji were under insurgent control.

``It's a good-news story, but the cloud in the silver lining is that the actual production capacity has been barely sustained and hardly expanded,'' Yahia Khairi Said, director of Middle East Revenue Watch at the London School of Economics, said today in a telephone interview. ``It was in a bad shape to begin with and during the war. Iraq has not succeeded in properly maintaining the fields or expanding their capacity.''

Cheney Comments

At the start of the Iraq war more than five years ago, Vice President Dick Cheney said Iraq might be able to increase oil production to 2.5 million to 3 million barrels daily by the end of 2003. Iraq pumped 2.48 million barrels a day in February that year, the last full month before the war began. Production fell 44 percent the following month, to 1.4 million barrels a day. It decreased to 1.3 million barrels during 2003, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy's Information Administration.

The department said in an August 2007 report that the Baiji refinery ``has been subject to repeated disruptions and power loss and generally operates at around 75 percent capacity.'' Bowen said the turnaround in the north ``stems in part from the improved security across Iraq and the success of the Pipeline Exclusion Zone,'' barriers that protect oil pipelines.

The Iraqi government plans to build similar protection systems for the pipelines between Baghdad and Karbala and between Baiji and Baghdad, the Pentagon said.

Source: Bloomberg|by Tony Capaccio

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[OIL PRICES] The prices jump on tight gasoline supply report

Oil prices soared over $4 a barrel today, halting a dramatic two-week slide after a surprise drop in U.S. gasoline supplies fed speculation that record fuel prices aren't keeping Americans off the roads.

But energy market analysts offered mixed views on whether prices would swing back toward record levels above $147 a barrel hit earlier this month or if today's big rally was just a temporary bump.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery jumped $4.58 cents to settle at $126.77 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier rising as high as $127.39. It was crude's biggest one-day rally since July 10, when prices ended $5.60 higher. Oil closed $2.54 lower on Tuesday at $122.19 a barrel.

The Energy Information Administration said in its weekly inventory report that U.S. gasoline supplies fell by 3.5 million barrels last week. Analysts surveyed by energy research firm Platts expected gas supplies to increase by 400,000 barrels. U.S. crude stockpiles also fell by 100,000 barrels last week, less than the 1.3 million barrels analysts had predicted.

The report gave some traders reasons to believe that crude's slide was overblown and that the drop in gas supplies mean prices have fallen enough to nudge Americans back onto the roads.

"It's stopping the bearish momentum that we've seen over the last few days," Phil Flynn, analyst at Alaron Trading Corp. in Chicago, said of the surprise decline in gas supplies.

But some analysts raised questions whether U.S. fuel demand was picking up. Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst of Oil Price Information Service in Wall, N.J., doubted that Americans are actually driving more, saying a seasonal bump in gas demand probably drew down supplies temporarily.

"It's nonsense to say that this proves that people are back to their old driving habits," Kloza said. "There just wasn't enough enthusiasm to push prices lower. "

Crude's jump was boosted by word that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will quit his post in September, an announcement that raised doubts about the future of U.S.-backed Middle East peace efforts in the oil-producing region.

Also supporting prices was a report by Goldman Sachs, which affirmed its earlier forecast that crude will hit $149 a barrel by the end of the year.

The investment bank called weakness in U.S. energy demand "transient rather than permanent," saying the fundamentals of falling oil production and rising world energy consumption remain intact. Past forecasts for higher oil prices have caused jumps in prices as speculative buyers are drawn into the market.

Still, other analysts said oil's recovery doesn't mean prices are about to go higher again, but rather shows that traders saw a short-term buying opportunity after Tuesday's sell-off.

"I still expect to see further air being let out of this balloon," said Stephen Schork, an analyst and trader in Villanova, Pa.

He noted that U.S. demand for energy is falling across most sectors. Inventories of distillates, which include heating oil and diesel, rose by 2.4 million barrels, more than the 1.8 million barrels expected, according to the EIA report.

And Americans continue to cut back on their driving to cope with almost $4-a-gallon pump prices. The average price of a regular gas fell 1.5 cents today to $3.926, according to auto club AAA, the Oil Prices Information Service and Wright Express.

"We clearly have demand destruction," Schork said.

Before today's rebound, crude prices had dropped in seven of the last 10 sessions, and are down about 14 percent from their peak above $147 a barrel earlier this month. Prices remain about 60 percent higher than at this time last year.

The dollar was stronger today against the euro, but the oil market seemed to be ignoring a trend that ordinarily would pressure prices. Investors buy commodities as a hedge against inflation and a weaker dollar but tend to sell when the American currency strengthens.

Oil also gained Tuesday's announcement from Royal Dutch Shell PLC that it may not be able to fulfill some oil export contracts after Nigerian militants sabotaged a pipeline in the Niger Delta. Militant attacks on Nigerian oil facilities have trimmed nearly one quarter of the country's regular daily output. The strongest Nigerian militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, said it sabotaged two pipelines early Monday in the southern oil-producing region.

In other Nymex trading, heating oil futures rose 5.08 cents to settle at $3.5203 a gallon while gasoline prices gained 12.74 cents to settle at $3.1351 a gallon. Natural gas futures rose 11.8 cents to settle at $9.248 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, September Brent crude rose $3.34 cents at $126.05 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Source: Associated Press

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[UNITED STATES] Noble Energy swings to loss because of futures contracts

Noble Energy, the oil producer that's expanding in the Rocky Mountains and Africa, posted its first quarterly loss in two years because of a drop in the value of contracts that lock in prices on future petroleum sales. The loss was $144 million, or 84 cents a share, compared with profit of $209 million, or $1.21, a year earlier, Houston-based Noble said today in a statement. Excluding the change in contract valuations, profit was $1.93 a share, 12 cents lower than the average of 18 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The company fell short of estimates because of an almost tenfold increase in expenses related to a deferred-compensation program, said Michael Jacobs, an analyst at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. in Houston. Revenue jumped 52 percent to $1.21 billion and output rose 9 percent, Noble said.

"They continue to run the company exceptionally well," said Darren Peers, who helps manage $30 billion at NWQ Investment Management in Los Angeles. "They had some higher compensation expense, but that's always a bit of a moving target. Operationally, they were quite good."

Noble also announced the $291 million acquisition of 15,500 acres in western Oklahoma with production equivalent to 25 million cubic feet of gas a day. The company plans to drill 70 wells on the properties in the next two years to double output.

Noble fell 11 cents to $74.51 at 9:40 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock has dropped 6.3 percent this year, the third-worst performance in the 10-member index of independent oil and gas producers in the Standard & Poor's 500.

U.S. accounting rules require oil and gas producers that use forward sales to record costs or gains to reflect changes in the valuation of their hedging contracts based on current market prices. Such costs, which don't affect cash flow or the amount of money a producer is paid for oil and gas, reduced Noble's net income by $481 million, according to the statement.

The contracts locked in prices before crude surged to a record and natural-gas futures rose to their highest level since 2005. Noble put many of its hedges in place late last year, after oil prices jumped 57 percent and surpassed $99 a barrel for the first time.

So-called market-to-market adjustments represent "money left on the table" as prices continued to rise this year, Kenneth Carroll, an analyst at Johnson Rice & Co. in New Orleans, said in a July 16 interview. Carroll said he expected Noble to earn $2.13 a share, excluding the hedging loss.

The company pumped the equivalent of 218,000 barrels of oil a day during the quarter, up from 200,000 a year earlier. Rising gas output in West Africa and Israel more than made up for a drop in crude production in every region where Noble has operations.

Noble was paid an average of $105.46 per barrel of crude, a 46 percent increase. The company's average gas price was $5.86 per thousand cubic feet, up 11 percent from a year earlier.

Chief Executive Officer Charles Davidson is expanding the search for untapped oil and gas fields to the coastal waters of Equatorial Guinea, deeper areas of the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea.

Noble's 28 percent profit margin is fourth-highest in the company's U.S.-based peer group, behind Fort Worth-based Quicksilver Resources, Ultra Petroleum and CNX Gas, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Source: Bloomberg

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[MIDDLE EAST] General Electric in $8bn Abu Dhabi investment

General Electric is joining forces with Abu Dhabi investment firm Mubadala Development to provide $8 billion of finance in the Middle East and Africa. The move is part of plans by the US industrial conglomerate, which covers jet engines to healthcare and media, to seek out higher growth areas.

The companies are set to establish projects in clean energy and water as well as oil and gas. Longer term, Mubadala aims to be one of General Electric's major shareholders.

Among the projects the two firms are set to work on is a clean energy technology centre in a new city, Masdar City, that intends to be carbon neutral.

General Electric has been targeting growth in the Middle East and last year the firm saw revenue from the region increase by 50% on the year before to $5 bn.

"What this joint venture allows us to do is get good geographic and asset spread of risk, but more importantly it allows us to reallocate to higher-return opportunities in commercial finance," said General Electric's chief executive Jeff Immelt.

General Electric recently reported a 6% fall in second-quarter profits as a result of the US economic slowdown and cooling consumer spending.

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[RUSSIA] The conflict tempers BP gains. Unresolved issue overshadows rise in quarterly profit

Concern over turmoil at BP's Russian venture, which accounts for one-fourth of its production, dominated the company's announcement of a 28 percent surge in second-quarter profits Tuesday. That key Russian joint venture, TNK-BP, is in the middle of a bitter shareholder dispute that analysts are watching closely. The venture, split between BP and AAR, a group of Russian billionaires, is Russia's third-largest oil producer. BP's partners want to cut investment to distribute more money for shareholders, but the London-based oil giant says that would cut output.

TNK-BP CEO Robert Dudley left the country last week after Russian prosecutors called him in for questioning, a request that was dropped after his departure.

Tony Hayward, BP's CEO, acknowledged Tuesday that doubt has been cast about TNK-BP's performance, but he said the venture has replaced reserves by nearly 140 percent since BP got involved in 2003. He also said TNK-BP distributed $18 billion to shareholders from 2003 through last year.

He said the dispute is about control, future governance and direction of the venture. "Other shareholders want to tear up the agreement they willingly signed in 2003," Hayward said. "We are not prepared to do that and will vigorously defend our rights using all legal means at our disposal. We will not be intimidated by strong-arm tactics."

Simmons & Co. International said in a note to investors Tuesday that while the outcome of the feud is uncertain, "it is worth noting that TNK-BP accounted for 16 percent of BP's adjusted earnings and 24 percent of its worldwide production" in the second quarter.

In the quarter, record oil prices that rose to $140 a barrel from $100.99 pumped second-quarter profits to $9.5 billion, or $2.18 per share, up from $7.4 billion, or $2.03 per share, in the second quarter of 2007. Production remained flat, while refining margins at half their year-ago levels limited the bounty from commodity prices.

Revenue surged to $111 billion from $74.4 billion.
Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Marathon Oil are slated to release results Thursday and Chevron on Friday. Hayward, former head of exploration and production for BP, who finished his first year as CEO in May, has repeatedly pledged to improve performance amid setbacks dating back to the 2005 explosion at its Texas City refinery and delays in getting key Gulf of Mexico platforms up and running. The company said Tuesday that the Texas City plant is on its way back to running at full tilt after more than $1 billion in upgrades and repairs since September 2005, and the platforms are preparing to ramp up to full production of a combined 450,000 barrels of oil per day.

"We are operating, it seems to me, in interesting times," Hayward said. "The world's economy is weakening, and the global political situation is delicate. The oil price continues to be high and volatile. Against this background, BP is making steady progress."

During the quarter, BP's overall production reached 3.83 million barrels of oil equivalent per day — nearly matching the year-ago period's production. The company said that excluding impacts of production-sharing contracts with other countries, overall production rose 6 percent. Under such contracts, companies are paid for their investments in barrels of crude. The higher the price, the fewer barrels they receive.

Andy Inglis, BP's head of exploration and production, told analysts that Thunder Horse in the Gulf of Mexico is producing more than 40,000 barrels a day from a single well. The platform, with capacity of 250,000 barrels a day, is on track to be fully commissioned with more wells operating by the end of this year, he said.

BP's refining and marketing segment earned less while processing more crude because of low refining margins. The segment earned $539 million, down from $2.74 billion when margins were high in the second quarter of last year. BP processed 2.24 million barrels a day in the quarter, up from 2.12 million barrels in the year-ago period, but the average margin was $8.19, down from $16.66 a year ago.
A refining margin is the difference between what companies pay for crude and the selling price of gasoline and other products made with it.

The margin environment's effects on integrated companies depends on the level of their exposure to refining, but pure refiners illustrate the issue. San Antonio-based Valero Energy's results, also released Tuesday, showed net income down 67 percent to $734 million, or $1.37 a share, from $2.25 billion, or $3.89 a share in the second quarter of 2007. Revenue was $36.6 billion, up from $24.2 billion a year ago.

Valero said benchmark Gulf Coast gasoline margins decreased about $22 per barrel, or 77 percent, from $28.95 per barrel in the second quarter of 2007 to $6.60 per barrel in the second quarter of 2008. John Parry, an analyst with John S. Herold, noted that U.S. refiners like Valero have a tougher time weathering the low-margin environment because the U.S. market relies more on gasoline at a time when demand is waning. But refineries in Europe, where diesel is dominant, are faring better because diesel demand remains strong, he said.

Source: Houston Chronicle |By KRISTEN HAYS

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[OIL PRICES] Oil resumes downward streak on demand worries

Oil prices tumbled more than $3 a barrel today, falling to their lowest level in seven weeks as the perception that record prices are eroding the world's thirst for energy sparked another dramatic sell-off.

The drop was a throwback to oil's nosedive over the past two weeks and outweighed supply concerns touched off by a militant attack Monday on two Nigerian crude pipelines. It was oil's seventh decline in the last 10 sessions.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery fell $3.36, or 2.69 percent, to $121.37 a barrel in early afternoon trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, prices fell more than $4 a barrel to $120.42, the lowest level for a front-month contract since June 10; they have now fallen more than $25 from their trading high of $147.27, reached July 11.

Prices rose $1.47 on Monday to settle at $124.73 a barrel.

More concerns that crude's run-up over the past year has pushed prices to unsustainable levels fed Monday's decline. The U.S. Transportation Department said Monday that U.S. drivers logged 9.6 billion fewer vehicle miles in May — or 3.7 percent — compared to the same period last year, the biggest drop ever for the historically busy summer driving month.

And demand for oil in the U.S. — the world's thirstiest consumer — continues to fall, dropping by 891,000 barrels per day in May compared the same month a year ago, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said Monday.

"We're seeing both statistical and anecdotal evidence of very rapidly weakening demand picture," said Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultancy Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Ill. "I think we could see $117 a barrel in a one-week time frame, and this market could eventually get to $100."

Also weighing on prices was a sharply stronger dollar compared to the euro, which made commodities less attractive to investors who have bought oil futures as a hedge against inflation and weakness in the U.S. currency.

The euro bought $1.5579 compared with $1.5752 late Monday in New York.

"It looks like oil is selling off today with the very, very strong dollar and nothing to drive it higher. Quiet seems to be bearish these days," said Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service in Wall, N.J.

In a further sign high prices are curbing Americans' consumption for fuel, retail gas prices fell further below the $4-a-gallon mark. The average price of a regular gas fell 1.7 cents to $3.941, according to auto club AAA, the Oil Prices Information Service and Wright Express.

Monday's attack in Nigeria targeted two pipelines believed to be owned by a unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC and was the latest in a two-year campaign of attacks on the country's oil industry. Shell said a pipeline had been damaged in attacks and that some crude production had been shut down to prevent the oil from spilling into the environment.

The oil company said today it may not be able to fulfill some oil-export contracts because of the damage. Shell didn't specify how much oil production was cut by the attack or how long repairs would take.

"These attacks have of course happened in the past and caused temporary disruptions and so that's what the market expects — it's been factored in," said Victor Shum, an energy analyst with consulting firm Purvin & Gertz in Singapore.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta says it is acting to force the Nigerian federal government to send more oil industry funds to the southern region, which produces all of Nigeria's crude oil but remains impoverished after decades of corrupt and wasteful governance.

Analysts at JBC Energy in Vienna, Austria, estimated the repeated attacks on country's oil installations, Nigeria's output had fallen to just below 1.9 million barrels a day from more than 2.4 million barrels a day in 2005.

Oil market analysts are awaiting U.S. data later in the week for indications of how the world's largest economy could be expected to perform in coming months. Figures for gross domestic product for the second quarter will be released Thursday, while July auto sales and the July employment report are both due Friday.

In other Nymex trading, heating oil futures fell 9.54 cents to $3.4666 a gallon while gasoline prices fell 8.05 cents to $2.9895 a gallon. Natural gas futures lost 6.9 cents to $9.094 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, September Brent crude lost $3.35 to $122.48 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Source: Associated Press

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[INDIA] Gas production from Reliance Industries's D6 field delayed

Reliance Industries is likely to see a 2-3 week delay in gas production from its prolific eastern offshore D6 field after two of its vessels went out of operations following shipping authorities issuing new norms. US-operators of Helix Eclipse and Helix Express, that were doing undersea installations in D6, took off their vessels from operation on July 12 after Shipping Authorities refused to renew their operational licence in view of a ban of vessels over 25 years in age. The vessels were, however, back in business on July 23 after the Shipping Ministry clarified that its 25-year vintage criteria will not apply to oil vessels who will be judged only by their classification.

The 10-day halt in installation work will see gas production from D6 being delayed by at least 2-3 weeks, an industry official said. "Gas will not flow before August-end."

He said initial production will be 15 mn standard cubic meters per day, which will ramp up to 40 mmscmd by December.

Reliance is investing USD 5.2 billion bring to production Dhirubhai-1 and 3 gas fields - two of the 18 finds made in the KG-DWN-98/3 (D6) block in Krishna Godavari basin. Alongside, it is also developing the MA oil field in the same block.

Oil production is also likely to start by September. Volumes will ramp up to 80 mmscmd within first year of production. Peak oil output is seen at 40,000 barrels per day (2 mn tons per annum).

DG Shipping had in April banned operation of all vessels of more than 25 years age, potentially crippling offshore oil and gas production. It later announced that vitange will not be the criteria for oil vessels. Oil vessels will be judged by the their safety certifications.

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[AFRICA] Crude Oil Trades Near $125 After Attack on Nigerian Pipeline

Crude oil traded near $125 a barrel in New York after rising 1.2 percent yesterday as Royal Dutch Shell Plc reduced Nigerian production because of an attack on a pipeline by militants.

Nigeria's main militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, claimed responsibility for the attack. The incident occurred on the Nembe Creek trunk line, and Shell said it had to cut some output without specifying the amount of production lost.

``The Nigerian attacks galvanized support on the supply side,'' said Gerard Burg, energy and minerals economist with National Australia Bank Ltd. in Melbourne. ``Price declines in the past few weeks were demand-related, but supply issues, which have been the key driver for prices this year, are back in the headlines.''

Crude oil for September delivery rose 31 cents to $125.04 a barrel at 11:50 a.m. Singapore time on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, it gained 86 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $125.59. Oil has increased 63 percent in the past year. Yesterday, crude climbed $1.47, or 1.2 percent, to $124.73.

Prices have dropped more than $20 from the record $147.27 a barrel reached on July 11 on concern that high prices have cut demand for fuel in the U.S., the world's largest energy consumer. The nation's motorists drove less in May than a year earlier, a seventh consecutive monthly drop, the Federal Highway Administration reported yesterday.

The International Monetary Fund yesterday said there's no end in sight to the U.S. housing recession and warned that deteriorating credit conditions for consumers and banks may prolong a period of slow economic growth.

``Consumers are responding to higher oil prices and are changing their habits,'' National Australia's Burg said.

Nigerian Attacks
Brent crude oil for September settlement rose 31 cents to $126.15 a barrel at 11:35 a.m. Singapore time on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange. Yesterday, the contract gained $1.32, or 1.1 percent, to $125.84.

The Nigerian pipeline attacks occurred at 1:15 a.m. local time yesterday, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta spokesman Jomo Gbomo said in an e-mailed statement. Assaults on Nigerian oil facilities have cut output by 20 percent since 2006 and reduced the country to the status of Africa's second-largest producer, after Angola.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country has 6,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges, the Associated Press reported July 27. The Middle East's second-largest producer of oil has threatened to blockade the Strait of Hormuz, the export channel for a quarter of the world's crude oil, if its nuclear facilities are targeted.

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries President Chakib Khelil said in Jakarta today the producer group wants to ensure adequate oil supply to consumers and there isn't any need to cut production.

``We are not worried with any price because we don't decide the price,'' he said. ``We just meet the demand.''

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet in Vienna on Sept. 9. The group left production unchanged at its past three meetings in December, February and March.

Source: Bloomberg|By Nesa Subrahmaniyan

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[OPEC] Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to Ensure Adequate Crude Oil Supply, Chakib Khelil Says

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)´s President Chakib Khelil said the producer group wants to ensure adequate oil supply to consumers and there isn't any need to cut production.

``We are not worried with any price because we don't decide the price,'' he told reporters in Jakarta today. ``We just meet the demand.''

Oil has fallen 15 percent in New York from a record $147.27 a barrel reached on July 11, on concern high oil and fuel prices will slow demand growth. Still, prices are up 63 percent from a year earlier, as a weaker dollar prompted investors to switch to commodities as a hedge against inflation.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet in Vienna on Sept. 9. The group left production unchanged at its past three meetings in December, February and March.

``If the dollar continues to strengthen and political situation improves, the long-term price will be about $70 to $80,'' he said. ``Prices today are abnormal at $123.'' Crude oil for September delivery rose as much as 86 cents or 0.7 percent, to $125.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange today.

Source: Bloomberg|By Leony Aurora

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BLOGGERS: The Ecofriendly Bed by Danny Seo

BLOGGERS: The Ecofriendly Bed by Danny SeoIf you are a fan of the eco-friendly world design, you need to know the products of Danny Seo. Who is interesting to introduce the eco-friendly beds in your home.

The Natural Care bed by Danny Seo helps eliminate pressure points across your entire body, even if you suffer with pain in any of your body part this bed will be good for you .. The Natural latex, is a natural rubber tree based latex is derived from the milk sap of the rubber tree (Hevea Brasiliensis). Add to that, the mattresses are inherently resistant to dust mites, mold and mildew.

Why this bed is so special for our body and rest in the night? Because, the natural rubber used in the latex mattresses is derived from ilk sap of the rubber tree. The sap when harvested and refined provide one of the most soothing and responsive sleeping surfaces ever. This latex mattress, besides being bio-degradable and environmentally-friendly, comes with a 20 year guarantee. They feature 360 degrees of 3″ foam encasement to fully maximize the sleeping surface. It’s perfect not only for me who has a back problem but for my husband and daughter who gets allergies all the time.

Visit the Danny Seo´s website (http://www.naturalcarebed.com), to more information and benefits from this eco-friendly bed.

Source: NaturalBed

Manuel Torres Laveaga

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BLOGGERS: The Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn. PPHN LAWYERS!

Some babies suffer a kind of cardiopulmonary disorder (failure of the normal circulatory transition) in which the arteries of the child to the lungs remain constricted after delivery, limiting the amount of blood flow to the lungs and therefore the amount of oxygen into the bloodstream, this situation is called Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN).

This syndrome PPHN is usually noted in term or post-term infants. The baby presents clinically with cyanosis and respiratory distress, with tachypnea, but with minimal retractions during the first day of life. The infants chest radiograph may be normal (as noted in infants with primary PPHN, i.e. PFC) or demonstrate various abnormalities compatible with aspiration, pneumonia, diaphragmatic hernia, or hyaline membrane disease. This path physiologic syndrome has been variously described as Persistent pulmonary vascular obstruction, Persistent fetal circulation, Pulmonary vasospasm, Neonatal pulmonary ischemia and Persistent transitional circulation.

The most appropriate treatment of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn between another are the Improving alveolar oxygenation with supplemental oxygen (FiO2), Minimize inappropriate pulmonary vasoconstriction, Maintain systemic blood pressure and perfusion. Although this treatment, 10 to 20 percent of affected infants do not survive.

To know more about Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn between and sertrali. You should visit the website of
PPHN LAWYERS (http://www.pphnlawyers.com/) - Paxil Attorneys California; This firm maintains the highest AV® peer review legal rating and is recognized as a preeminent plaintiff firm that tries or settles serious personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits across the nation.they give a lot info for help to families with children born with PPHN, they going to help you to clarify the best course of action which has to be taken in regards to the prevalent situation.they going to give you support to know about your legal rights.


Manuel Torres Laveaga

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BLOGGERS: baby´s accessories. BABYTHINGS4U!

If you are expecting your first baby in your family? For those parents who are looking for high quality baby´s accessories. Once you know your baby is arriving you need to start planning in advance and deciding on what furniture you will buy and what purpose it will serve for the baby. There are many types of baby furniture created to give parents rather than the baby more comfort while taking care of the baby. The best product for your baby Babythings4u (http://www.babythings4u.co.uk) is a website with all the things for your baby, like baby cribs (these include baby cribs of several colors and materials where your baby can really have a better and undisturbed sleep), pushchairs, night lights, beddings and mattresses, nursing chairs and pillows, mobiles, travel cots and beds, hoes, bathing accessories, etc .. Babythings4u is helpful and informative online store, here there is even a special offers section of their website for those special deals where you going to have the best support in your order. You can check out cheap baby cribs and other baby furniture at Babythings4u (http://www.babythings4u.co.uk).

When you need to ask for more info you might visit their website in Babythings4u (http://www.babythings4u.co.uk), or send an email at info@babythings4u.co.uk, be sure you going to find or get the help in finding the items you need for your or others baby needs.

Source: Babythings4u

Manuel Torres Laveaga

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[EUROASIA] LUKoil to Buy Akpet, a turkish distributor

LUKoil agreed to buy Turkish fuel distributor Akpet for $500 million on Monday, securing 5 percent of Turkey's oil-product retail market as it continues its downstream expansion. LUKoil, the country's second-largest oil producer, plans to double its Turkish market share to 10 percent within a decade after acquiring eight oil-product terminals with total capacity of 300,000 cubic meters, president Vagit Alekperov said.

"LUKoil bought Akpet for a little bit more than $500 million," Alekperov told a news conference in Istanbul after signing the deal with Akpet's owners.

Last month, LUKoil took its first major step into the West European refining business with the $2.1 billion purchase of a 49 percent stake in Italian refiner ERG's Isab di Priolo refinery on Sicily.

[EUROASIA] LUKoil to Buy Akpet, a turkish distributorThe company, owned 20 percent by U.S. oil major ConocoPhillips, plans to invest $25 billion in refining and retail over the next decade, excluding acquisitions. Its acquisition of Akpet, which operates 693 gas stations in Turkey, also gives LUKoil control of five liquefied natural gas storage tanks with total capacity of 7,650 cubic meters.

It also secures Akpet's three jet-fuel terminals, with capacity of 7,000 cubic meters, and a motor-oil production and packaging plant with capacity to produce 12,000 tons per year.

"The deal fits in well with LUKoil's downstream strategy. LUKoil is proving to be consistent, closely following its strategy of acquiring refining and marketing assets in Europe," Citigroup analyst Alexander Korneyev said in a note.

He said the acquisition price of $700,000 per filling station, excluding other assets, was a fair price — especially compared with the $3 million per station paid when LUKoil bought 75 outlets in Bulgaria this year.

The Akpet acquisition was made by LUKoil's wholly owned subsidiary, LUKoil Eurasia Petrol.

Source: The Moscow Times|

[RUSSIA] Mechel and TNK-BP Finish Off Save Haven

The RTS Index plunged into bear-market territory Friday, falling the most in six months as investors took fright a day after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's stinging censure of coal and steel producer Mechel's pricing policies. Adding to the nervousness were the hurried departure from Russia of TNK-BP chief Robert Dudley, also on Thursday, prompting fears that BP's investment in the country could be in jeopardy and further falls in global oil prices.

Russian stock indexes were hit hardest of all global markets Friday, with the RTS falling 5.6 percent to close at 1,951.29 -- a drop of 22 percent since May 19 -- and the MICEX falling 5.5 percent to 1,487.10, its lowest level since November 2006.

Mechel, the country's largest coking coal producer, fell 33 percent Friday on the RTS, adding to its 38 percent fall that wiped $6 billion off of its New York-traded American Depositary Receipts on Thursday. In his criticism of the company and its majority shareholder billionaire Igor Zyuzin, Putin called for the authorities to probe purported price-fixing on domestic coking coal prices, which he said were higher than export prices in the first quarter.

Analysts saw in Thursday's events worries for the investment case in the country.

In a note to investors Friday, Roland Nash, head of research at Renaissance Capital, said the TNK-BP and Mechel events, combined with the falling oil price, had "finished" Russian equities' "reputation as a safe haven."

A cautiously worded statement by Mechel late Friday promising cooperation with the government helped to lift its ADRs in New York by $3.36 to close at $26.20, but earlier in the day other Russian steelmakers and coal producers felt the effects of the fallout.

Evraz, the country's second-biggest steelmaker, part-owned by former Chukotka Governor Roman Abramovich, dropped 14 percent to $78 in London trading, while Severstal, the biggest steelmaker, owned by another Putin ally, Alexei Mordashov, fell 53 rubles, or 12 percent, to 405.60 rubles on the MICEX exchange.

Putin's comments compounded an already lackluster trading week, battered by falling oil prices and the dismal situation in global markets.

"Investors confidence was shaken if not shattered," said Marat Gabitov, a metals analyst at Aton UniCredit. "The mood out there is quite negative, and the expectation is that Mechel's slumping stocks would drag down the whole market."

Analysts said Mechel's pricing policies, already subject to an investigation by the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, and the worsening TNK-BP saga could trigger a decline in investor confidence and destabilize the stock market.

TNK-BP said Thursday that Dudley had left the country because of what it called "sustained harassment of the company" by BP's Russian partners, billionaires Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, Viktor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik.

Dudley's departure after an acrimonious battle over investment strategy has fueled speculation that TNK-BP's Russian shareholders could now completely take over the company.

While the British-Russia joint venture said last week that it had doubled its first-half profit to $4.7 billion and has increased dividends, the example of a showcase British investment in Russia gone awry could make investors worry about doing business here, analysts said.

Nash, of Renaissance Capital, said the TNK-BP dispute would "likely become even uglier now that the remarkably composed Mr. Dudley has left Moscow," adding that it would probably require the government's intervention to be resolved.

New York oil futures appeared to have stabilized Friday, settling at $126 a barrel -- down 13 percent from their July 3 high.

The falling global oil prices made their mark on Rosneft, which declined 4.9 percent Friday to 228.20 rubles, making for a weekly loss of 9.9 percent. Global banking stocks bounced temporarily on the positive news that the U.S. Congress agreed to bail out the embattled U.S. mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. President George W. Bush waived his veto over the weekend, allowing the rescue package to be put into effect.

In Russia, Sberbank slid 8.9 percent. The bank said net income in the first quarter climbed 16 percent to 31.1 billion rubles ($1.33 billion).

Source: The Moscow Times|By Tai Adelaja

[RUSSIA] Vladimir Putin's comments drive a company's stock down $6 billion

When Vladimir Putin talks, investors in Russia listen. And some head for the door. Speaking at an industry conference this week, Putin, Russia's former president and now prime minister, spoke five sentences critical of one of his country's big steel companies, Mechel, and its billionaire chief executive, Igor Zyuzin.

In a sign of Putin's enduring power in Russia and around the world, that criticism came with a price: about $1.2 billion per sentence in lost shareholder value.

Such is the power of Putin's words - even after "stepping down" to prime minister in May - that shares in Mechel, a coal mining and steel company, plunged almost 38 percent on the New York Stock Exchange after Putin complained that the company was charging more to its domestic customers than to its foreign ones. The comments wiped out, at least for a day, about $6 billion in stockholder value.

Mechel, which closed Wednesday at $36.61 in New York, tumbled $13.77 on Thursday to close at $22.84, after Putin spoke. The company, which responded Friday, was up $3.15, or 13.8 percent at $25.99 in afternoon trading.

The company's shares trade as American depository receipts in New York. Putin spoke Thursday evening at the conference in Nizhny Novogorod, southeast of Moscow.

On the heels of the imprisonment of one tycoon and some bare-knuckled corporate raids and renegotiations of large energy contracts under Putin, the market did not take this talk lightly.

Over all, the Russian stock market slid more than 5 percent Friday, on fears that Putin's comments might presage another attack on a company similar to the destruction of the Yukos oil company in 2004.

The remarks also coincided with the departure of the American chief executive of the British energy company BP's joint venture in Russia, which is under pressure from its Russian partners and the government, in another glum sign for investors here.

Putin's speech began simply enough.

"We have a respected company, Mechel," Putin said in introducing his subject.

"By the way, we invited the owner and director of the company, Igor Vladimirovich Zyusin, to today's meeting, but he suddenly got sick. Meanwhile, it is known that in the first quarter this year the company exported raw materials abroad at half the domestic, and world, price. And what about the margin tax for the government?"

He added: "Of course, sickness is sickness, but I think Igor Vladimirovich should get better as quick as possible, otherwise we'll have to send him a doctor."

Putin's comments came in the broader context of a discussion of rising raw materials costs and the prospect of imposing high export tariffs on steel as a result.

With inflation soaring in Russia, particularly for manufacturing inputs like steel, government officials are concerned about the impact on a vast infrastructure rebuilding effort that is a centerpiece of Putin's economic program.

The government is also seeking to diversify the economy away from dependence on raw materials exports, to provide employment and protection against a possible retreat in global commodity prices. Putin has asked business owners to comply with this approach, even at the cost of profits. In response, the company issued a statement Friday seeking to calm the waters.

"Mechel shares the concerns of the government of the Russian Federation, steel plants and metallurgical industry in regard to the growth of prices for steel and raw materials in the recent time," the statement said.

"Mechel is ready for cooperation with federal authorities of the Russian Federation and, if required, will provide complete information on any arising issues," it added.

If there were any doubt over who holds sway over Russia's oil-fueled economy, the power of Putin's words could be seen putting that to rest. Indeed, his successor, Dmitri Medvedev, has spoken often of the need to burnish Russia's investor image and improve the rule of law, so far with little effect.

Source: International Herald Tribune|By Andrew E. Kramer

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BLOGGERS: Embedded For Your Future. VANTEON!

BLOGGERS: Embedded For Your Future. VANTEON!
If you need Bandpass Filter or DO-178B / DO-254 help, you could find several services from VANTEON (http://www.vanteon.com/), since 1985, VANTEON has been helping to their clients bring quality assured consumer and commercial electronic and software intensive products to market faster. Their staff could give you full product and system development that can give detailed services you need. So, if you wish to incorporate a wireless feature in your product or services., ask to VANTEON (http://www.vanteon.com/), for customized solutions.

VANTEON (http://www.vanteon.com/), has located its Headquarters in New York; they have enable between another RF design services about Wireless and RF Engineering (like: RF & IF Analog Hardware, Baseband Analog Hardware, DSP & FPGA Hardware, DSP& FPGA Embedded Firmware, Host, Application, and Driver Software) or maybe you need something from their typical services (like: Requirements and Product Specification Refinement, system analysis, architectural definition, technology selection, design, prototype, test, regulatory, certifications and support ).

VANTEON (http://www.vanteon.com/), is a company with the experience to make of your product or services more competitive in the market. Visit its website, you going to able to experience the amazing services of VANTEON´s product has for you. To contact about their business development team or request more information about VANTEON´s Services, just send an email to contact them at mgoltsman@vanteon.com (Mike Goltsman) or call to 888.506.5677.


Manuel Torres Laveaga

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