Latest Fuel News

February 2024

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Red Sea Attacks Increase Shipping Times and Freight Rates

After Yemen-based Houthi militia attacks on commercial ships transiting the Red Sea started in November 2023, some vessels began opting to avoid the Bab el-Mandeb chokepoint—a narrow strait that borders the Yemeni coast and is the southern entrance to the Red Sea. Instead, they’re choosing to take longer, more costly routes around the tip of Africa.

Ships transiting between Europe and Asia via the Suez Canal must pass through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. The Bab el-Mandeb Strait is an important oil and natural gas chokepoint, accounting for 12% of seaborne oil trade and 8% of liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade in the first half of 2023. Major oil and natural gas companies that are avoiding the Red Sea include Equinor, which operates mostly natural gas carriers, and bp, which operates both oil and natural gas carriers. As of January 23, 2024, other major energy companies pausing Red Sea transits include EuronavQatarEnergyTorm, Shell, and Reliance.

Continue reading here (Source: US Energy Information Administration).

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Oil Prices Rise After US Retaliatory Strikes in Middle East

Oil prices rose Monday after the U.S. launched retaliatory strikes in Iraq and Syria against Iranian forces and their allies over the weekend, raising the risk that the Middle East is heading toward a broader conflict.

The West Texas Intermediate contract for March rose 50 cents, or 0.69%, to settle at $72.78 a barrel. The Brent contract for April gained 66 cents, or 0.85%, to settle at $77.99 a barrel. 

The two benchmarks were down about 1% earlier in the session. Continue reading here (Source: CNBC).

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Gasoline Prices Are Rising, But A Bigger Uptrend Is Set for Later This Month

Gasoline at the pump costs more than it did a month ago, but U.S. drivers are likely to face even bigger gains by late February as refinery-maintenance season kicks in.

The average U.S. retail price of regular unleaded stood at $3.132 a gallon early Friday afternoon, according to data from GasBuddy, up 4.7 cents a gallon from a month ago.

Gas prices have been inching higher, primarily due to a rise in oil prices on the back of Houthi attacks on vessels in the Red Sea and the late January attack on U.S. troops in Jordan, said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. Those events have raised the risk of escalation that could impact oil supply and further shipping delays, he said. Continue reading here (Source: MarketWatch).

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Australia Advances Towards a Renewable Diesel Fuel Standard

Australia is actively working towards establishing a new fuel quality standard for renewable diesel, marking a significant step in its journey towards sustainable energy and emissions reduction. The focus on renewable diesel reflects the country’s commitment to decarbonising sectors that are challenging to transition away from fossil fuels.

The country has long been reliant on fossil fuels as a primary energy source, playing a crucial role in the nation’s economic advancement. According to the government, Australia’s fuel consumption surpassed 50 billion litres (13.2 billion US gallons) in 2022. This dependence has faced growing scrutiny due to the environmental consequences of burning fossil fuels.

Diesel is a key contributor to the nation’s energy needs, constituting 60% of fuel consumption in 2022. It is a more significant energy source than electricity, given its widespread use in the freight transport, mining, construction and agricultural sectors. Australia faces the challenge of harmonising the economic advantages of its fossil fuel industry with the imperative to curtail carbon emissions and transition towards renewable energy alternatives—particularly addressing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions stemming from diesel combustion. Continue reading here (Source: F+L Magazine).

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Natural Gas Prices Are Off 40%. Some of the Problem's Won't Go Away

Natural gas prices have fallen 40% in the past three months, putting them on the verge of dropping below a key price threshold for the first time since April.

Natural gas futures have been trading just above $2 per million British Thermal Units for the past few days, threatening to break that level.

The price drop is one of the rare cases in finance when people can actually blame it on the weather. Natural gas is primarily used for electricity-generation and heating.

Continue reading here (Source: MarketWatch).

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LNG "Pause" Is Not A "Reversal," Biden Admin Reassures Allies

Assistant U.S. Secretary for Energy Resources Geoffrey Pyatt has told reporters that U.S. allies have been reassured that the Biden Administration’s pause on LNG will not affect currently permitted exports. 

"I've found that our allies who raise these issues with me, tend to be quickly reassured when you explain to them what this is, which is a pause," not a reversal, Pyatt told reporters in a call reported by Reuters.

"This policy will have no impact on currently permitted LNG exports,” he continued. 

Continue reading here (Source: OilPrice).

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