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P.E.I. looks to increase green power with Hydro-Québec deal

Canadian Press -- Ghiz, the Premier of P.E.I., unveiled his intentions to purchase up to 100MW of electricity from Hydro-Québec

Ghiz told Quebec Premier Couillard he’d like to establish a business relationship in terms of the future sale of hydroelectric power

This is a modest contract for Hydro-Québec, but Couillard said it’s an important to do business with other Canadian provinces

P.E.I. is in the process of buying a new cable linking the tiny island to NB to bolster electrical capacity

P.E.I. generates 30% of its energy through wind turbines and is looking to up the green quotient of its energy with hydro

A contract with P.E.I. combined with the recent deal with ON to supply hydro power in peak hours raised the profile of Hydro-Québec

The next step will be to give competitive rates to Newfoundland  (go to article)

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Oil jumps three percent to $63 as energy firms slash investments

Reuters -- Brent crude jumped 3% to above $63 on Thu, extending a rebound from 5-yr lows this week as oil's 6-mth price rout

Oil this week has almost halved since Jun as fast-growing U.S. shale output overwhelms demand

Signs that lower prices are threatening future production have given some traders pause. Oil prices were volatile on Wed, briefly spiking as much as 6% as players rushed to close short positions, before falling back

"investors favour support around $60. Lower investment in production could be felt in the market as early as the Q2 2015

Chevron has put a plan to drill for oil in the Beaufort Sea on indefinite hold, while Marathon cut its capital expenditure for next year by about 20%

Canadian oil producers also deepened cuts in 2015, as Husky, MEG and Penn West joined those hacking  (go to article)

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How Obama (and Bush) helped drive down oil prices

Yahoo -- Few people foresaw the nearly 50% plunge in oil prices this year. But the forces reshaping the oil market have been aligning for nearly a decade, with part of the impetus coming from Washington.

In 2007, Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act, which President George W. Bush promptly signed. The EISA raised federal mileage requirements for passenger cars for the first time since 1990, in an effort to reduce U.S. gas consumption and make America less dependent on foreign oil.

The new rules required automakers to achieve average fuel economy of 35 miles per gallon among all the new vehicles in their fleet by model year 2020 -- up sharply from a requirement of 27.5 MPG for cars and 22.2 MPG for light trucks (pickups and SUVs) at the time.

President Obama raised the MPG goa  (go to article)

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Most North America Shale Plays Still Profitable at $65/Barrel - See more at: http://www.rigzone.com/

Rig Zone -- At $65/barrel, most North America shale plays are still profitable with the current rig and well economics on an individual or series basis, according to an industry expert with A.T. Kearney. The firm doesn’t see any major pullback in activity at this price level, except for companies with stronger balance sheets possibly deferring or slowing programs to take advantage of consolidation opportunities with other players that may have higher debt levels and are looking for merger activity, said Vance Scott, partner and leader of the Americas energy practice at global management and strategy consulting firm A.T. Kearney. Deeper, more expensive shale plays that have more exotic completion requirements are always going to be more sensitive to commodity pricing, said Scott. Bakken wells tend to b  (go to article)

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North Sea oilfields ‘near collapse’ after price nosedive

The Telegraph -- The North Sea oil industry is “close to collapse”, an expert has warned, as a slump in prices piles pressure on drillers to cut back investing in the region.

Robin Allan, chairman of the independent explorers’ association Brindex, told the BBC that it is “almost impossible to make money” with the oil price below $60 per barrel.

“It’s a huge crisis. This has happened before, and the industry adapts, but the adaptation is one of slashing people, slashing projects and reducing costs,” he said.

Mr Allan’s glum outlook for oil production and exploration in the UK Continental Shelf came on a volatile day of trading for crude. Brent – a global pricing benchmark comprising crude from 15 North Sea fields – ended trading in London down 1pc at around $60 per barrel after trading up by as much...  (go to article)

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Motiva backs off hydrocracker expansion at Texas refinery

REUTERS -- Motiva Enterprises has withdrawn its permit request to expand a hydrocracker and diesel hydrotreater unit at its Texas refinery, the largest in the United States.

In a brief letter received by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month, Motiva asked, without explanation, to withdraw its August permit application for the project at the company's 600,250 barrels per day refinery. The company had sought to start construction in April 2015.

Royal Dutch Shell, which operates the refinery it jointly owns with Saudi Aramco, declined to explain Motiva's about-face or say whether the project remains under consideration.

The withdrawal came after global oil prices have fallen nearly 50 percent since June.

"Motiva routinely adjusts our business plans, based on company needs...  (go to article)

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‘There will be some blood': Will Canada’s oilpatch be able to withstand the price onslaught?

Financial Post -- There will be bloodletting and pain as the impact of low oil prices reverberates through the Canadian oilpatch, but the industry is entering the downturn from a position of strength, according to analysts.

“There will be some blood on the streets, but if companies can keep their cash to debt ratios down below three times or in some cases four times at least they are not facing a bankruptcy-type position,” said Jeremy Kaliel, executive director, institutional equity research at CIBC World Markets Inc.

The dramatic decline in oil prices has caught the industry off guard, leaving companies scrambling to cut capital expenditures and dividends and redrawing their 2015 plans.

The U.S. oil and gas industry is already feeling the heat as much of the shale boom was fuelled by a diet of cheap deb  (go to article)

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As winter hits, utilities, railroads guardedly optimistic about coal deliveries

Star Tribune -- WASHINGTON – Representatives of the power and rail industries expressed guarded optimism Thursday about coal deliveries needed to generate electricity for Minnesota this winter.

Speaking to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), officials from BNSF Railway, Minnesota Power and the Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator agreed that stockpiles of coal, which had been critically low at many electricity generating plants, have grown recently.

But they warned that unexpected bad weather or unanticipated shipping problems on the state’s overcrowded rail system could change that.

“We’ve got a stockpile that gets us into the coldest months of the winter,” Dave McMillan, Minnesota Power’s vice president of external affairs, told the Star Tribune after his FERC testimony. “But we nee  (go to article)

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Road salt use gets weighed against saving money, environment

Star Tribune -- In a new economic analysis, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says that just a 10 percent reduction in application would save metro area cities and counties at least 35,000 tons of salt and $8 million a year in winter maintenance — along with one or two lakes.
Some 40 lakes, streams and wetlands in the Twin Cities are contaminated with chloride, and that number is expected to rise when the state completes its assessment of another 38 targets later this year.
And after decades of winter salt use, now even groundwater is contaminated. Thirty percent of state monitoring wells in the Twin Cities exceed the standard established to protect aquatic life, and 27 percent are above the level set to protect the taste of drinking water.

Most of the metro area’s drinking water comes from much dee  (go to article)

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Oil Crash Exposes Shale Drillers in Risky Three-Way Bets

Bloomberg -- Tumbling oil prices have exposed a weakness in the insurance that some U.S. shale drillers bought to protect themselves against a crash.

At least six companies, including Pioneer Natural Resources and Noble Energy Inc., used a strategy known as a three-way collar that doesn’t guarantee a minimum price if crude falls below a certain level, according to company filings. While three-ways can be cheaper than other hedges, they can leave drillers exposed to steep declines.

“Producers are inherently bullish,” said Mike Corley, the founder of Mercatus Energy Advisors, a Houston-based firm that advises companies on hedging strategies. “It’s just the nature of the business. You’re not going to go drill holes in the ground if you think prices are going down.”

The three-way hedges risk exacerbatin  (go to article)

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Girling Duels Obama on Keystone Export Debate Amid Glut

Bloomberg -- Russ Girling’s Keystone XL saga is taking a new twist with a global glut of cheap oil.

The criticism the chief executive officer of TransCanada Corp. is increasingly confronting, including from President Barack Obama, is that the pipeline will just be a corridor for Canadian oil-sands crude to reach China. Girling’s answer is that the U.S. isn’t weaning itself off foreign oil anytime soon and that Gulf Coast refineries will be the buyers, not Asia.

The argument “that seems to have gotten traction is the notion that we’re going to export this oil through the United States to China,” Girling said yesterday in an interview at his Calgary office. “Whoever’s masterminding this notion, it’s all about fear-mongering and they’ve found a nerve that resonates.”

It appears to have resonated with t  (go to article)

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Hidden Costs of Solar Tariffs

Bloomberg -- The Barack Obama administration's decision to put tariffs on Chinese and Taiwanese solar panels is almost certainly bad for the planet. It may also be bad for U.S. jobs.

The tariffs, announced yesterday, could increase the price of solar products from China and Taiwan by more than 200 percent. The move was prompted by SolarWorld AG, a German maker of solar panels that has a factory in Oregon. The U.S. claims that the imports benefited from unfair subsidies.
...
The main beneficiary of the ruling is likely to be Malaysia, a Southeast Asian nation that is already the second-largest exporter of solar panels to the United States, after China and narrowly ahead of Taiwan.  (go to article)

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Oil price led by drop in consumption

NETRIGHT DAILY -- Missing from that analysis is the drop in consumption. In OECD nations, consumption of oil is down year over year as of July, from 45.9 million barrels of oil a day, to 45.7 million a day, a 0.35 percent drop.
Consumption was down the year before that, too, by 0.61 percent.
This is led by the continued slowdown in Europe and Japan, and don’t forget in China, too, which is not a part of the OECD. U.S. consumption was actually up, but not enough to offset the recession elsewhere.

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Exclusive: New U.S. oil and gas well November permits tumble nearly 40 percent

Reuters -- (Reuters) - Plunging oil prices sparked a drop of almost 40 percent in new well permits issued across the United States in November, in a sudden pause in the growth of the U.S. shale oil and gas boom that started around 2007.

Data provided exclusively to Reuters on Tuesday by industry data firm Drilling Info Inc showed 4,520 new well permits were approved last month, down from 7,227 in October.

The pullback was a "very quick response" to U.S. crude prices, which settled on Tuesday at $66.88 CLc1, said Allen Gilmer, chief executive officer of Drilling Info.  (go to article)

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Oil plunges as market fails to find bottom

CNBC -- Oil futures fell sharply, failing to hold a rally for a second day and signaling traders that the selling is not over.

Oil traded wildly in a big wide 8 percent intraday swing, the day ahead of the expiration of the January futures contract at the Nymex. West Texas Intermediate futures for January were up as much as 4 percent before turning lower, to settle down 4.2 percent at $54.11 per barrel, a fresh five-year low. Brent was trading below $60 after being up 4 percent earlier in the day.

"We're in contango, and we have weak cash prices. The downward pressure as you get to expirations gets intense," said John Kilduff of Again Capital. "These are what bear markets look like. When you recall the bull markets of the past years, this is the same thing that happened on the upside."  (go to article)

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Texas is in danger of a recession

CNN Money -- Turmoil in the oil market could knock Texas into a recession.
The shale oil boom has been a blessing to Texas, making the state an economic standout during the past few years of ho-hum U.S. growth.

But oil's dramatic plunge below $55 a barrel is scaring the shale industry. Since some wells are unprofitable at lower prices, shale companies will be forced to dial back capital spending and cut jobs.

While cheap gas is likely to be a net positive for the U.S., Texas is poised to take a hit because of the pivotal role that oil plays in the state's economy.

"We think Texas will, at least, have a rough 2015 ahead, and is at risk of slipping into a regional recession," Michael Feroli, JPMorgan Chase chief U.S. economist, predicted Thursday.

 (go to article)

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How Buffett, Soros and Other Billionaires Play Oil

MSN Money -- "Oil prices fell Thursday, hitting an eight-month low, as markets continued to react to disappointing economic news across the globe."

The line could easily have come from virtually any news clipping out this week. It's from a CNNMoney article dated June 21, 2012.

The market's got a bad short-term memory. As far as falling oil prices go, well, we've seen this all before -- and billionaire investors including Warren Buffett and George Soros have seen it before and know how to play it.
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Legal Standing May Be Key to Nebraska Court's Keystone XL Case

Reuters -- The controversial Keystone XL pipeline has a major hurdle to cross in the Nebraska State Supreme Court, which may rule as soon as Friday, and one aspect of the case there has been somewhat overlooked.

A ruling in Keystone's favor would clear the way for the White House to approve or reject the pipeline, which proponents say would create thousands of jobs. A ruling against would send the TransCanada Corp plan into a logistical tailspin.

The Nebraska case, which dates back to 2012, centers on who in the state government should decide the pipeline's path.

Earlier this year, a Nebraska district court ruled in favor of three landowners who challenged a 2012 law empowering Nebraska's governor to make that decision.

The court reasoned that the law violated the state's constitution by usurping  (go to article)

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Rise of the car-sharing apps poses threat to auto sector

news.yahoo.com -- LONDON (Reuters) - The humble smartphone could throw a spanner in the works of the car sector's post-crisis turnaround, with the big manufacturers facing a long-term threat from apps that make it easier and cheaper to share or hire vehicles than to buy them.

Investor sentiment is on a knife edge. Car sales are back in recovery mode in most major European markets, yet the fragility of the turnaround could yet be exposed by another economic slowdown while investors have flagged the potential danger posed by web-based services further down the road.

The rise of the likes of car hire app Zipcar and car-pooling rival BlaBlaCar are expected to present new challenges to mass-market carmakers such as Ford, GM, Volvo, Renault and Volkswagen while presenting fresh opportunities for existing rental  (go to article)

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Exxon Mobil Shows Why U.S. Oil Output Rises as Prices Plunge

Bloomberg -- Crude oil production from U.S. wells is poised to approach a 42-year record next year as drillers ignore the recent decline in price pointing them in the opposite direction.

U.S. energy producers plan to pump more crude in 2015 as declining equipment costs and enhanced drilling techniques more than offset the collapse in oil markets, said Troy Eckard, whose Eckard Global LLC owns stakes in more than 260 North Dakota shale wells.

Oil companies, while trimming 2015 budgets to cope with the lowest crude prices in five years, are also shifting their focus to their most-prolific, lowest-cost fields, which means extracting more oil with fewer drilling rigs, said Goldman Sachs Group. Global giant Exxon Mobil, the largest U.S. energy company, will increase oil production next year by the biggest  (go to article)

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Tesla Motors' Elon Musk Wheels and Deals to Save NY Gov. Cuomo

Watchdog.org -- It's easy to see why Barbara Walters named billionaire Elon Musk one of 2014's most fascinating people.

In the waning days of his 2014 re-election campaign, Gov. Andrew Cuomo turned to Musk to bail him out of a $1 billion economic development deal that was going down in flames — and could very well take Cuomo's political ambitions with it.

Cuomo had already done Musk a favor, successfully working with the state Legislature to grandfather-in five service centers owned by Musk's Tesla Motors when a bill was in the works to outlaw car sales that take place outside of traditional dealerships.  (go to article)

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LA To San Fran In 35 Minutes? Hyperloop CEO Says Speed Tube Could Become Reality

losangelescbslocal.com -- PLAYA VISTA (CBSLA.com) — It takes about six hours to drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco – depending on your speed – and more than an hour to fly.
But in the future, the trip may take a matter of minutes.
Designers of the speed tube called Hyperloop say they are one step closer to making that happen.
Tesla founder Elon Musk says the technology is being developed with the help of about 25 UCLA graduate architecture students at a facility in Playa Vista.
Hyperloop has teamed up with the students to create the tube technology, designed to connect cities less than 300 miles apart.
“They look at this like a blank sheet of paper on which they can realize their fantasies,” UCLA professor Craig Hodgetts said.
On top of pylons is a hovering capsule inside a low-pressurized tube, which can reac  (go to article)

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FP Live Chat Friday, Dec. 19 at 11am ET: Oil price wars — Who will be left standing?

Financial Post -- Crude oil prices plummeted $50 over the past few months, as a heady mix of geopolitical and economic factors have conspired to keep crude oil production high

OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, Russia and producers in N Am refuse to cut production, fearing the loss of market share

How will this showdown end, and who will be left standing

To answer these and other questions, join Yadullah Hussain, FP Energy Editor and an international panel on Dec 19, Fri, at 11am ET

The panellists are:
Dinara Millington, VP, Canadian Energy Research Institute

Robin Mills, energy consultant, based in Dubai, UAE. Author of The Myth of The Oil Crisis

Emad Mostaque, strategist, based in London, UK

To participate, simply ask your questions below when the session begins or email fpenergy@nationalpost.com

In the m  (go to article)

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Driver who stopped for ducks gets jail, 10-year driving ban

USA Today -- The woman who stopped her car in the left lane of a Montreal area highway to herd ducklings to safety, which led to the death of a motorcyclist and his teen daughter, will not spend the rest of her life in prison, Canadian media outlets report.

Emma Czornobaj, 26, was sentenced Thursday to 90 days in jail, no driving for 10 years and 240 hours of community service. She will report to jail on Jan. 10, serving out her sentence on the weekends, the Montreal Gazette, CTV News and CBC News report.

Though the maximum sentences for the crimes for which Czornobaj has been convicted are life in prison, thousands of people signed petitions asking for leniency for Czornobaj. The family of motorcyclist Andre Roy, then 50, and Jessie Roy, 16, who rode on the back of the motorcycle, ...  (go to article)

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Warning: Don't Put Leaves In Bike Lanes

WFMY-TV -- Here's a warning about something you probably never think about, that's creating a hazard to everyone on the roads.

The fallen leaves you rake to the edge of the street or put in the bike lane can be hazardous to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
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Oil resumes slide after brief rebound on short-covering

Yahoo Finance -- NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global crude prices fell again on Thursday, a day after a short-covering rally, as traders placed new bets that the market would resume a six-month rout on worries about a supply glut.

In early trade, oil extended gains from the previous session, when short-covering lifted prices more than $3 (2 pounds) a barrel.

But in late morning trade in New York, benchmark Brent and U.S. crude fell more than $1 a barrel to session lows. They then retraced some losses, with Brent down around $60 a barrel while U.S. crude was down near $55.

"We're continuing to search for a bottom, and might even see another significant drop before the year-end," said Gene McGillian, an analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

Traders also cited a Bloomberg report that a Nigerian po  (go to article)

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Canada's National Average Falls Below 100c/L, First Time Since 2010

GasBuddy Blog -- The national average price of gas in Canada today has fallen to a level not seen since since August, 2010 and now stands at 99.9c /l.  The milestone arrives on the 77th consecutive day on which the national average has declined.  “The price of gas has shed 40c/l, or 28% of its retail value since hitting its peak price this year of 139.3 back on June 22,” said Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.  “While there’s a confluence of factors that have contributed to the extensive price decline, there’s no question that the newfound cash in consumers’ pockets aligns closely with the concurrent decline in the broad basket of global crudes many of which have shed 50% of their value to date.”   “ ‘How low can they go?’ is the question everyone’s asking,” McTeague adds, “Tough to say, because energy markets are so volatile  prices can move in any direction without notice, including this evening where prices are set to increase across most of Canada.  (go to article)

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Michigan lawmakers reach road aid deal

Detroit News -- Michigan voters will be asked to approve a 1 cent increase in the 6 percent sales tax as part of a road funding plan Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders are expected to announce late Thursday morning.

The sales tax increase to 7 percent would be partially dedicated to replacing revenue for schools and cities lost by repealing the sales tax on fuel, according to a draft of the plan obtained by The Detroit News.

Snyder and legislative leaders from both parties are planning an 11:45 a.m. press conference, sources told The News.

Lawmakers in both chambers were briefed on the plan by their leadership during mid-morning caucus meetings.

"I think it's great. I hope the voters approve it," Rep. Mike McCready, R-Bloomfield Hills, said after the House GOP caucus meeting.  (go to article)

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Michigan motorists finding gas for $1.99

Detroit News -- Ypsilanti — The sight of gas prices dropping below $2 a gallon Thursday morning had many Michigan motorists wondering if they've stepped into the Way Back machine.

While prices continue to drop across the state, the city with the lowest of the low prices is Ypsilanti, where motorists saw a cash-only price of $1.94 per gallon.

Peter Mahan, manager of the Mobil station in Ypsilanti on Clark at Prospect, said he dropped gas prices after a 5:30 a.m. fuel survey showed his competition below $2 a gallon.

"We base our price on our competition," he said. "They were all at $1.99 and were at $2.09."

Mahan followed the early morning discount with another discount at 10 a.m., bringing the price down to $1.94 a gallon. He said low prices help to bring in new customers who happen to drive by and see  (go to article)

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U.S. Gasoline Drops Below $2.50 for First Time Since 2009

Bloomberg -- U.S. drivers are paying less than $2.50 a gallon at the pump for the first time in more than five years.

Retail gasoline prices slipped to an average $2.477 a gallon last night, data from the Heathrow, Florida-based motoring group AAA showed. That’s down from this year’s peak of $3.696 in April, and the first time the average has dipped below $2.50 since October 2009.

The AAA projects prices will drop to between $2.25 and $2.40 a gallon by New Year’s Day, making for the cheapest holiday gasoline since 2008, Michael Green, a Washington-based spokesman for the motoring group, said in an e-mail.

Tumbling crude prices and rising refinery activity have sent pump prices tumbling. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries declined to reduce its output quota at a meeting last month, let  (go to article)

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Oil crunch could cost Texas 128,000 jobs, Fed model shows

FuelFix -- HOUSTON – Plunging oil prices may grease the wheels of the U.S. economy, but a prolonged shakeout could hurt in the oil-soaked state of Texas.

If U.S. benchmark crude remains cheap at around $55 a barrel, the state could lose 128,000 jobs by the middle of 2015, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas model of how oil prices impact U.S. jobs.  (go to article)

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Stocks surge as oil continues rise; Dow up 225 pts

CNBC -- U.S. stocks surged on Thursday, extending Wall Street's best day of the year, after the Federal Reserve said it would be patient in increasing interest rates and as crude furthered its rise."With Janet Yellen becoming an oil analyst yesterday by suggesting that the recent price declines in crude oil will be "transitory", anything with the word energy after its name is probably trading higher this morning," Nick Raich, CEO of the Earnings Scout, noted of the Fed chair in emailed commentary.After rising to $58.73 a barrel, West Texas Intermediate (New York Mercantile Exchange: @CL15F) was more recently up 19 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $56.66 a barrel. Thursday data had jobless claims falling by 6,000 to 289,000 last week, the lowest since early November.

Coming Up This Week: Thursday 1  (go to article)

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Falling oil prices, sanctions, market panic send ruble to record lows

Hamilton Spectator -- MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin faces a major new challenge after a catastrophic fall in the value of the ruble, which hit a new low Tuesday despite the Central Bank's desperate efforts to halt the selling.

On the streets of Moscow, panicky consumers rushed out to buy home appliances before they became even more expensive.

Putin's popularity has been based on oil-driven economic growth that has helped increase incomes during his 15-year rule. The ruble's collapse, driven by a combination of slumping oil prices and Western sanctions, is denting that pillar of his power.

The Kremlin has tried to shift blame for Russia's economic woes, accusing the West of inflicting economic pain on Russia in an attempt to force a regime change.  (go to article)

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Grand theft auto? Not so much anymore

CNBC -- There may be far more cars on the road, but thanks to increased law enforcement and enhanced automotive technology, car theft has plunged 58 percent since 1991's all-time high, according to new FBI data.

Although that marks a significant decline, nearly 700,000 vehicles were still snatched in the U.S. last year.
"If you own a vehicle, your chances of having it stolen today are statistically and significantly less than at any other time since 1960," according to a new analysis of the data by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, or NICB.  (go to article)

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California adds new electric-vehicle perk

San Diego Union Tribune -- California’s plug-in electric vehicle drivers are about to get new financial perks.

Members of the California Public Utilities Commission are scheduled to sign off today on guidelines for an annual credit against utility bills or a one-time vehicle rebate. The commission will let individual utilities decide which incentive to offer.

Southern California Edison is proposing a one-time rebate of $250 to $350 per new vehicle owner.

San Diego Gas & Electric intends to provide an annual bill credit but declined to say how much.  (go to article)

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Cheap Oil Jamming Rails Means Higher U.S. Power Bills

Bloomberg -- U.S. electricity costs are poised to reach the highest level since 1999 because railroads are too clogged to deliver enough coal to power plants.

While the U.S. has the world’s biggest coal reserves, utilities are forecast by the government to end the year with the lowest stockpiles since 2005. With carriers including BNSF Railway jammed with record shipments of oil and grains, Xcel Energy and other power producers say they can’t get the coal they need.

The rail delays mean utilities haven’t rebuilt inventories that fell to a seven-year low last winter. Power producers filed 10 notices this year warning regulators that stocks were low enough to threaten generation, compared with two filings in 2013. Utilities have been obliged to rely more on natural gas, increasing costs for customers  (go to article)

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What Do You Do If You're Shell and Oil Is Plunging? Sell 1,000 Hot Dogs a Day

Bloomberg -- The price of oil may be disappointing to Royal Dutch Shell’s top executives, but their hot dogs and coffee are doing just fine.

Retail sales for the 45,000 gas stations owned by Shell worldwide generated $6 billion in non-fuel revenue last year, and that amount will rise this year, said Istvan Kapitany, the Hague-based company’s executive vice president for retail.

The result: while Shell cut $4.6 billion out of its third-quarter capital spending, it plans to expand what is already the world’s biggest chain of gas stations, particularly in Asia, Kapitany said. Some stations in Norway now sell more than 1,000 hot dogs a day, the company said, and the chain -- stretching across more than 70 countries -- sold about 100 million cups of coffee last year.

“In the retail business, it’s  (go to article)

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Cheaper oil could fuel a drop in mortgage rates

CBS News -- Consumers are finding another upside in tumbling oil prices: lower mortgage rates.

While indirect, there's a link between the steep slide in crude and current super-low mortgage rates. Concerns of a slowdown in global growth have partly pushed down oil prices, and those fears have also pushed down yields on longer-term Treasurys, to which mortgage rates tend to closely follow.

"The oil collapse of 2014 appears to have been a key driver" of the decline in mortgage rates, according to a report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch mortgage-rate strategist Chris Flanagan. "Further oil price declines could lead the way to sub-3.5% mortgage rates."  (go to article)

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Car plows into crowd; 1 dead, up to 12 injured

CNN -- One person died and up to a dozen others were injured after a car plowed into a crowd of people in Southern California after a church Christmas event, police said.

“The vehicle struck a group of pedestrians, which included up to … 12 people, many with critical injuries that have been transported to multiple hospitals,” said Lt. Joe Hoffman of Redondo Beach Police Department.
 (go to article)

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Receive $100 for reporting an impaired driver in Palm Beach County

Palm Beach Sun Sentinel -- Report an impaired driver in Palm Beach County and you could get $100.

During the holiday party season, the number of drunken revelers rises, so county residents are being enlisted in the DUI battle.

"It gives law enforcement additional eyes on the road," said Donna Bryan, spokeswoman for the Safety Council of the Palm Beaches. "Everyone should have an interest in getting impaired drivers off the roads because it could be someone who hits your loved one."

Since 2001, Palm Beach County has had the Mobile Eyes program, which has led to hundreds of arrests.

The Mobile Eyes program works simply: If residents spot an impaired driver, they call 911 and an officer is dispatched. If an arrest is made, the police fill out a Mobile Eyes report that is sent to the Safety Council.  (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia Says Hard for OPEC to Give Up Oil-Market Share

Bloomberg.com -- Saudi Arabia and OPEC would find it “difficult, if not impossible” to give up market share by cutting crude production, the country’s oil minister said.

Global oil markets are experiencing “temporary” instability caused mainly by a slowdown in the world economy, Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said, according to comments published today by the Saudi Press Agency. He reiterated the country’s intention to maintain output amid plunging prices.

“In a situation like this, it is difficult, if not impossible, that the kingdom or OPEC would carry out any action that may result in a reduction of its share in market and an increase of others’ shares,” Naimi said, according to the state-run news agency. Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in OPEC, will stick to its oil policies, he said.

 (go to article)

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North Idaho oil train risks to be assessed under grant

The Spokesman Review -- North Idaho governments will use a $36,000 federal grant to update their emergency preparedness plans to address the growing number of oil trains rumbling through their communities.

On average, two to three loaded oil trains pass through Spokane daily. But before they hit the Inland Northwest’s largest city, the trains travel along the Kootenai River, pass through downtown Bonners Ferry, cut through Sandpoint, cross Lake Pend Oreille and follow U.S. Highway 95 before heading west into Washington.

“Cargo being transported through our counties is always changing,” said Bob Howard, Bonner County’s emergency management director.

Public buildings, fish hatcheries, water intakes for cities and other critical community resources are on the oil train’s route.  (go to article)

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Wisconsin man blames fried fish for 10th DUI arrest

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..wate.comThe saddest thing about this story is that when most media outlets reported it, they played with headlines and made a joke about it... "Beer-Battered Man Blames Beer-Battered Fish".

Yes, it's true that the Wisconsin man recently arrested there for DUI told the arresting officer he hadn't been drinking, oh no... that beer the officer smelled was from the beer-battered fish he ate for lunch.  So, naturally, the media couldn't resist.

But they missed the bigger picture... It was the 75-year old drunk driver's 10th DUI arrest in Wisconsin.  And three of those have occurred since his license was revoked.  Should this repeat offender be incarcerated?  And if not now, when? ...  (go to article)

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You know who's not getting cheap gas? The US military

CNBC -- Yes, the price of oil is in a free fall, and a gallon of gas at the station is falling fast, even below two dollars in some parts of the country. But you know who's not getting cheap gas? The U.S. military.

It's paying 100 times the price the rest of us are. The total cost of getting fuel where it needs to be is skyrocketing the cost for military gas. At a burn rate of 300,000 barrels of oil per day, the Department of Defense consumes 1.5 percent of total national consumption, and is the largest user of energy in America. As a result, it is the biggest proponent of clean energy. Even a total cost of $100 per gallon would be a steal for the military. That's because its calculations on energy costs are very different than for a regular consumer.

The $400 price tag, as spoken by Gen. James  (go to article)

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Thursday’s Technical Analysis: WTI Crude Oil

HeffX-LTN -- Thursday’s Technical Analysis: WTI Crude Oil

$USO

WTI Crude Oil closed higher Wednesday consolidating above monthly support crossing.

The mid-range close set the stage for a steady opening when Thursday’s US session opens.

Stochastics and the RSI are Neutral to Bearish indicating that sideways to lower prices are possible near term.

If WTI Crude Oil extends the decline off of its June high, the monthly support crossing is the next Southside target.

Closes above the 20-Day MA crossing are needed to confirm that a low is in.

Note: WTI Crude Oil has entered a Bear market as they fell more than 34% so far this year.

US Crude Oil imports have been declining on the back of the shale Oil boom that has brought the US near energy independence.

Crude Oil’s collapse is largely attributed to  (go to article)

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More than 500 rigs may shut down as oil slides, analysts say

FuelFix -- HOUSTON – As many as 550 drilling rigs may have to sit on the sidelines of U.S. shale oil patches over the next few months, analysts say, as oil prices have folded nearly in half since this summer.
The projections come a few days after Texas drilling rigs led the nation in a 1.4 percent weekly decline in the U.S. active rig count, according to oil field services firm Baker Hughes. Oil companies cut 20 rigs in the Permian Basin, a sharp turnaround from the flurry of rigs and hydraulic fracturing equipment that had rushed to West Texas earlier this year.  (go to article)

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Big oil could chop $930B in projects as prices fall

FuelFix -- HOUSTON – Global oil markets could lose as much as 7.5 million barrels of crude over the next decade if sunken oil prices stall the slate of new oil and gas projects around the world, a new report says.

In a report released Monday, Goldman Sachs estimated $930 billion in future oil investments that would bolster production through 2025 are in peril as oil prices have collapsed. That’s around 8 percent of the current global demand for crude, a sizable chunk of the worldwide supply glut that is putting enormous pricing pressure on black gold.  (go to article)

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il Trades Near Five-Year Low on U.S. Stockpiles, Iran

Bloomberg News -- Oil in New York swung between gains and losses near a five-year low as investors weighed a drop in U.S. crude stockpiles against signs that Iran is joining other OPEC members in refusing to cede market share.

Futures were little changed after rising 1 percent yesterday. Crude stockpiles in the U.S., the world’s largest oil consumer, fell by 847,000 barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration reported. Iran “will under no conditions let go of its share” of the market given restrictions on its exports in recent years, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said, according to the ministry’s news website.

Oil has slumped more than 20 percent since OPEC decided at a meeting last month to maintain its output quota, resisting calls from members including Venezuela to cut supply. Iran t  (go to article)

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Enbridge reports crude oil release from a Regina pipeline terminal

CBCNEWS -- The energy company Enbridge has reported a spill of an estimated 1,350 barrels of oil from its Line 4 pipeline at the
Regina Terminal in Saskatchewan.

In a news release issued Wednesday, Enbridge said they shut down a portion of the pipeline around 11:55 p.m. CST Tuesday.

The company said the oil spill occurred entirely within a pumping station and was contained on-site in designated catchment areas.

"There are no impacts to the public, wildlife or waterways," the company said. "Nearby residents and businesses may detect a faint odour."

Enbridge said a cleanup of the oil was expected to be completed Thursday, but there was no estimate for when Line 4 would be restarted.

The company said initial estimates put the volume of the release at approximately 1,350 barrels, although that...  (go to article)

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Marathon Oil will cut more than $1B from 2015 budget

FuelFix.com-Houston Chronicle -- Marathon Oil Corp. will spend about 20 percent less looking for and producing oil next year, the company said Thursday.

The Houston-based exploration and production company said it expects to spend between $4.3 billion and $4.5 billion in 2014, down from a budget of about $5.7 billion in 2014.

The company said it would tailor its budget to favor high-return investments in the U.S. and pare back exploration spending. Marathon said it expects annual production growth to be in the high single digits in 2015.

Marathon also left open the possibility that its budget could shift before being finalized in February 2015.

“The continuing dynamic change in crude oil markets together with the expected impacts to oilfield service costs warrants additional time before finalizing the 2015 budget,”...  (go to article)

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U Of M Study Finds Ethanol Worse For Air Quality Than Gasoline

CBS -- MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For years, the state’s corn and ethanol industries have touted the environmental benefits of burning the alternative fuel in our vehicles.

But newly released research from the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering is raising eyebrows.

The study compared pollution levels from gasoline fuel and 10 alternative energy vehicles, including hybrid electric, natural gas and corn-based ethanol.

One of the most surprising findings is that ethanol might actually be worse for air quality than conventional gasoline fueled transportation.

Researchers looked not only at the end result at the tailpipes but also took into account the full cycle of energy production.  (go to article)

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