Alberta, Alstom, AREVA, British Columbia, Canada, Cartel, crude oil grades, Enbridge Pipeline, EU, Fukushima debris, gas insulated switchgear cartel, Kermode Bear, LLS, Mitsubishi, news, Northern Gateway oil pipeline, oil and gas, oil sands, petroleum, Siemens, Spirit Bear, Tar Sands, Toshiba
Our most recent updates are on top (order inverted), so that daily readers did not have to scroll-down. This post continues here: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/the-ongoing-saga-10-news-updates-tidbits-trivia/ It is a continuation of: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/the-ongoing-saga-8-news-updates-tidbits-trivia/
Saturday, 28 December 2013
Criminal TEPCO will make a “profit” on the backs of the Japanese people
Their profits are based on restart of a nuclear plant and taxpayer (“government”) subsidy:
“Tepco submits new business plan to government, seeks more funds
Posted:Fri, 27 Dec 2013 03:56:22 -0500
TOKYO, Dec 27 (Reuters) – The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant submitted a revised business plan to the government on Friday aimed at securing steady profit with the restart of its undamaged Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant in July“. http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/basicmaterialsNews/~3/PClzKte7OUU/japan-nuclear-idUSL3N0K61EV20131227
This is where one REALLY sees what fascism is about. If one looks at historical evidence (e.g. companies which used slave labour) and/or read Daniel Guerin’s “Fascism and Big Business“, it becomes clear that fascism was essentially about subsidies to heavy industry and mining companies. These are the companies which are needed to build up military and these are the companies that were using slave labour in Germany and the countries it occupied, and in Japan and countries it occupied. This is exactly what is going on with the nuclear industry. It has been built on taxpayer subsidies and private profits. The burden of Tepco’s cost-cutting, which led to the disaster, will fall on the Japanese taxpayer and probably the international taxpayer, as well. It has the potential of destroying the world. It appears that there will be attempts to freeze the radioactive water at Fukushima, hopefully instead of following IAEA recommendations to just dump it (though we fear there may be both). If this is done, you can be certain it is because there is plenty of money to be made in doing this. The project will be paid for by the Japanese taxpayer and perhaps foreign taxpayer. There is rarely such a thing as government money. There is taxpayer money. Some countries do have nationalized oil and gas monies, for instance, which might be “government money”, but most government money is from the tax payers. Even monies from natural resources might be used for public, rather than private good. Recall, as well, that the Nazi party was called National Socialist. Many of you will have already noticed that by the above definition of fascism, many or most countries would be fascist (e.g. military industrial complex). To be classified as entirely fascist probably requires a clamp down on free speech (see Japan’s new secrecy law) and dictatorship, in conjunction with this socialization of cost and risk; privatization of profit, also known as socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. Note that while Areva and EDF, major nuclear players, are majority government owned companies, they are contracting out to private “big business” and thus still represent socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. While most of the Fukushima workers get no health care coverage or followup – hard core capitalism, Tepco itself gets public taxpayer subsidies. What is especially sad is that anyone who has visited Japan knows that the majority of the Japanese people want to do things with perfection. If they are not done with perfection, it is clear that it is because of corporate cost-cutting for increased profit.
Friday, 27 December 2013
Our Radioactive Reindeer post has been updated: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/12/25/radioactive-reindeer/ There is information in it of use for humans, as well.
“History tells us that if people do not correctly understand the evils of the fascist war, cannot reflect on war crimes, a country can never (achieve) true rejuvenation.”
We will delay the Reuters Energy and Basic Materials news. It’s been saved but needs review and will appear as a new post. We wanted to write about Japan’s Prime Minister and didn’t even know it was in Reuters (in the World section), but there it is:
“Japan’s Abe visits shrine for war dead, China, South Korea angered
Posted:Thu, 26 Dec 2013 18:23:32 GMT
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited a shrine on Thursday that is seen by critics as a symbol of Tokyo’s wartime aggression, infuriating China and South Korea and prompting concern from the United States about deteriorating ties between the North Asian neighbors.” http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/Reuters/worldNews/~3/KbWic-_Xjo0/story01.htm (article at link)
“China media slams Japan PM for paying homage to ‘devils”
Posted:Fri, 27 Dec 2013 04:28:53 GMT
BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese newspapers blasted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday, describing his visit to Yasukuni Shrine as “paying homage to devils” and warning that China has the ability to crush “provocative militarism“. http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/Reuters/worldNews/~3/qjHGM2qBgkA/story01.htm (article at link)
From the Reuters article: “History tells us that if people do not correctly understand the evils of the fascist war, cannot reflect on war crimes, a country can never (achieve) true rejuvenation.”
We totally agree with the above quote from China. To add insult to injury, PM Abe’s grandfather was a notorious fascist war criminal who got off the hook (see details below). And, Japan refuses to apologize (or give reparations) to Chinese and Korean victims of slave labour, used in the run up to and during World War II.
We would like to see China use its weight to make sure that Japan is forced to properly handle Fukushima.
We are convinced that the fact that so many World War II criminals got off the hook in Japan, due apparently to the Korean War, is related to the impunity of TEPCO and the Japanese gov, in relation to Fukushima. After the US nuclear bombed Japan to stop the imperial fascists, the Japanese rulers (grandchildren of the same) are being allowed to poison and perhaps kill the entire world with Fukushima, if they are not stopped. Think Kamikaze, suicide bombers. They are being encouraged by the IAEA to just dump radioactive water into the Pacific. In fact, since a Japanese gov web site posting, in September, called for help in filtering the tritium, and then IAEA told them in November that dumping the tritium, incrementally into the ocean was ok, the IAEA have become major criminals in this operation. Of course, we cannot overlook the new Japanese secrecy law which will make it even more difficult to know what is going on there. The water, including tritium must be filtered properly (complex because tritium is water), and everything handled the best possible way. No more impunity and anything goes can be allowed. World War II must be over once and for all. Apparently it is not or the Allies lost. If you think we exaggerate, read on and be surprised, as we were!
Unfortunately, unless we overlooked it, Reuters lets us all down by not contextualizing just how bad it is for PM Shinzo Abe to go to pay homage to the war dead. PM Abe’s grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, was a top dog under Japanese occupation of China, and was accused of using Chinese slave labour in mines and elsewhere. He even visited Nazi Germany to get ideas! As Minister of Commerce and Industry, in 1941, he would have been largely responsible for military production during WWII (Japan bombed Pearl Harbour in December 1941 and the US entered the war). Additionally:
“Although Prime Minister Tōjō concurrently was first Minister of Munitions, the actual day-to-day running of the Ministry devolved to his deputy, Nobusuke Kishi.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Munitions_(Japan) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobusuke_Kishi
“Kishi attended Tokyo Imperial University (now the University of Tokyo) and entered the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in 1920. In 1935, he became one of the top officials involved in the industrial development of Manchukuo, where he was later accused of exploiting Chinese forced labor. Prime Minister Hideki Tōjō, himself a veteran of the Manchurian campaign, appointed Kishi Minister of Commerce and Industry in 1941, and he held this position until Japan’s surrender in 1945. He was also elected to the Lower House of the Diet of Japan in 1942.
As with other members of the former Japanese government, Kishi was held at Sugamo Prison as a “Class A” war crimes suspect by the order of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers. Unlike Tōjō (and several other cabinet members), however, Kishi was released in 1948 and was never indicted or tried by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. However, he remained legally prohibited from entering public affairs because of the Allied occupation’s purge of members of the old regime.
When the purge was fully rescinded in 1952 with the end of the Allied occupation of Japan, Kishi was central in creating the “Japan Reconstruction Federation” (Nippon Saiken Renmei)….
Kishi won his first postwar Diet seat in 1953, and was reelected eight times until his retirement from politics in 1979” He was Prime Minister of Japan from 31 January 1957–19 July 1960. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobusuke_Kishi
If you wonder where our Haiti news is – well, Duvalier and entourage are getting off the hook there for crimes against humanity and possibly even getting off for theft of public funds; the current President Martelly and PM Lamothe appear off the hook for allegations of corruption along with perjury regarding a meeting with the judge investigating the case, who subsequently dropped dead. And Duvalier III, may run for public office. Those, like us, who thought that Duvalier would be swiftly and surely punished, missed the more serious case of Japanese fascists and war criminals running the Japanese government for most of the post-war years. If Japan was nuked and remained in fascist hands, what hope can there be for Haiti? It is clear that now that former President Aristide married, his hands are tied. They only have to threaten his wife and children. Impunity anywhere in the world breeds impunity elsewhere, as we are so linked together.
The “Great Game” is still on:
We can tell you in a few words the overall tone of much of the news. EPA will reopen the case about Range Resources’ fracking causing water pollution. The fight for natural resources in Africa continues. The arms dealers will make a killing, as will the winners. The tone is the same as 20 plus years ago. Some of the countries may differ, as may the players, but it is the same “Great Game”, for natural resources. The only difference is that we follow it on internet now rather than shortwave radio. Same death, destruction, lives ended and ruined, for nothing but greed and access to other people’s natural resources.
Arctic 30 Finally Going Home
(Whoops, we thought they’d gone home already!)
They will be home for Orthodox Christmas
They will be home for Orthodox Christmas, which is January 7th. That would be Russian Christmas. This is a really interesting story. One of the Arctic 30 is the fourth generation to be imprisoned in Russia for political dissent – first under the Czar, then under Stalin, and in the post-Stalin USSR, then Putin’s Russia! It suggests continuity and more similarities than differences in the way Russia is ruled, as a historian once commented.
“First of the Arctic 30 leaves Russia
Press release – December 26, 2013
St Petersburg, 26 December 2013 – The Arctic 30 are leaving Russia. Swedish activist Dima Litvinov is on a train and heading for the border. He will enter Finland at 20:30 local time (17:30 GMT).
Fourteen of the Arctic 30 were given exit stamps in their passports today, the rest will be given their stamps tomorrow. The non-Russians will all leave the country in the coming days, many of them tomorrow. They will soon be back with their families.
Before taking his seat on the train, Dima said:
‘I’ve never regretted what we did, not once, not in prison and definitely not now. Sometimes you just have to stand up and ask to be counted, and that’s what we did in the Arctic. They didn’t throw us in jail for what we did, they locked us up because of what we stood for. The Arctic oil companies are scared of dissent, and they should be. They may have celebrated when our ship was seized, but our imprisonment has been a disaster for them. The movement to save the Arctic is marching now. Our freedom is the start of something, not the end. This is only the beginning.’
Dima is the fourth generation of his family to be imprisoned for political activity. His great-grandfather Maxim Litvinov opposed Tsar Nichols II before being made Soviet foreign minister. His grandfather Lev Kopelev was imprisoned by Stalin for 10 years for opposing the regime and speaking out against Soviet atrocities against German civilians in World War Two. Lev was imprisoned with his friend Alexander Solzhenitsyn and was the inspiration for the main character in Solzhenitsyn’s novel First Circle. In 1968 Dima’s father Pavel Litvinov was one of seven people who protested against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in Red Square, an act of defiance for which he was sentenced to internal exile in Siberia when Dima was 6. The family left Russia when he was 11.
‘I’m leaving Russia again, and like that day 39 years ago I don’t know if I will ever be able to return,’ said Dima.” (Bold added for emphasis) Read entire article here: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/First-of-the-Arctic-30-leaves-Russia/
Now, there’s an inspiring story! If we can only get them going over the Fukushima problem! At least one model shows the radiation from Fukushima going across the Arctic, under the ice!
Thursday, 26 December 2013
Unfortunately, news hasn’t gone on vacation. End of quarter and end of year seems to have generated plenty of news related to mining, and oil and gas. China is going to help Pakistan build a mega nuclear power plant in or near Karachi. Also, a train of radioactive waste derailed just outside of Paris France. If there is nuclear energy, there is going to be waste. It is, of course, why they want to put nuclear dumps beside the plants. But, the plants are near water, which is generally the worst place to put a waste dump. More and more they are putting new plants and waste on the ocean front. They don’t admit to it, but it seems to be to allow them to shove the nuclear plant off into the ocean and/or let the waste go there in the event of an emergency. Emergencies there will be, if we don’t all die of Fukushima beforehand, as the new ocean front Areva plant in France, under construction in Flamanville, has a cracked foundation, which they only patched, and all sorts of other well-documented problems. The Areva built plant in Finland had all sorts of well-documented problems too. It is unclear if the solutions there were adequate. Maybe they should not build plants in places beginning with F? We think they shouldn’t build them at all. It is clear that they want to flood the dumps at closure, as well. Underground structures leak, by definition. The more water, the more they leak and require pumping. And, the more corrosion. No one sees that the ocean, too, must have its limits of tolerance. Global sea waters are predicted to rise with melting of ice, and many of these sites are subject to storms. There is already still leaking Fukushima on the ocean front, and rusting waste barrels of radioactive waste off the seacoast of most of the Northern Hemisphere.
A lot of the Reuters titles, below, may appear like nothing, but, in fact, most of the Reuters articles, from the last few days seem important. We read that lower gold prices have led Americans to hit the jewelry stores. If they knew the cost of mining and its impacts would they rush there? Probably at least half would not. Only those who hate trees and life itself would go. Somehow a news title about concentration of ownership in funeral homes made it into energy or basic materials news. There is plenty of money to be made in both cancer and in death. So, it is a win-win for many companies. If, because of Fukushima, there is a massive die-off of ocean plants which provide so much of the earth’s oxygen, along with deforestation, who will be alive to benefit from the money to be made? South Sudan, Sudan, Sudan. No time to sort out the details, but Reuters clarifies the oil aspect, and there is also mining and even teakwood. Many more things, some more important than some of those just mentioned, are found at Reuters, below.
Before the Reuters titles, we are providing some other wikipedia and news info which contextualizes some of the articles. Sorry the dates are scrambled for Reuters. In order to make the titles clickable we are bringing in Reuters format. It is not easy to move the titles around and keep the format — in fact it is very easy to lose the formatting. It doesn’t want us to always stick the titles where we want either. We probably need a monkey to figure this out and do it for us. That would probably be monkey abuse anyway. Strange that in pre-computer days, as a four year old, I got great joy from grading university level multiple choice exams (not the essays however). Now, that would be considered abuse and child labour.
We hope that a closed Hong Kong stock exchange will give us a slight reprieve from news, but probably not, since US Reuters even worked Christmas Day:
“The marketing miracle of Christmas in Hong Kong
Make no mistake, the festive season has real significance -meaning it’s money for business and money in the bank for traders.” Column by Stephen Vines, Tuesday, 24 December, 2013 http://www.scmp.com/business/article/1389364/marketing-miracle-christmas-hong-kong
Hong Kong Stock Exchange closed for Christmas http://www.hkex.com.hk/eng/market/sec_tradinfo/tradcal/nont10.htm
“First Nations and NGOs Demand Full Disclosure and Government Action on Sherritt’s Toxic Coal Mine Spill
Wednesday, December 18, 2013” http://www.miningwatch.ca/news/Obed_Dec18
“Spilled Coal Slurry Not Inert But Laced with Arsenic, Toxic Metals, and Carcinogenic PAHs
Friday, November 15, 2013
Data Shines Light on Efforts to Keep Public in the Dark and Downplay Impacts of Massive Spill
(Ottawa) On October 31, an impoundment holding a slurry of waste from Sherritt International’s Obed Mountain coal mine failed releasing approximately 670 million litres of waste into the Athabasca River watershed” http://www.miningwatch.ca/news/spilled-coal-slurry-not-inert-laced-arsenic-toxic-metals-and-carcinogenic-pahs
“Goldman Sachs Sued For Allegedly Inflating Aluminium Prices Reuters | Posted: 08/04/2013 11:59 pm EDT | Updated: 08/05/2013 2:36 pm EDT” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/05/goldman-aluminium-price_n_3705609.html
“Goldman Sachs and London Metal Exchange sued over aluminium storage: LME and Goldman Sachs named as co-defendants in suit alleging ‘anti-competitive and monopolistic behaviour Associated Press, theguardian.com, Monday 5 August 2013”
Quote from Reuters (below): “Lao development model: that the country is squandering its natural wealth and enriching its elite, while the majority is left behind.” http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/basicmaterialsNews/~3/LXJb1xfkBbw/laos-economy-idUSL4N0JJ21820131223
Context for (South) Sudan:
Sudan, Oil and Gas Concessions (2004) from Wikimedia
“Extensive petroleum exploration first began in Sudan in the mid-1970s. Significant finds were made in the Upper Nile region and commercial quantities of oil began to be exported in October 2000, reducing Sudan’s outflow of foreign exchange for imported petroleum products. Today, oil is an important export industry in Sudan. Estimates suggest that oil accounts for between 70% and 90% of Sudan’s total exports. The primary importers of Sudanese oil are Japan, China, South Korea, Indonesia, and India.
Most of Sudan’s oil reserves are located in the Muglad and Melut rift basins in the south of the country. Oil fields in the south, such as those at Heglig and in the South Sudanese state of Unity, formerly part of Sudanese territory, are linked to the country’s refineries via pipelines. The two largest oil pipelines are the Greater Nile Oil Pipeline, which travels 1,600 kilometres from the Unity oil field to Port Sudan on the Red Sea via Khartoum, and the PetroDar pipeline, which extends 1,380 kilometres from the Palogue oil field in the Melut Basin to Port Sudan.
Crude oil from the Muglad Basin is known as “Nile Blend” and is refined at the Khartoum crude oil refinery. In 2006, the China National Petroleum Corporation upgraded the Khartoum refinery, doubling its capacity to 100,000 barrels per day (16,000 m3/d). Oil from the Melud Basin is known as “Dar Blend” and is refined at the Port Sudan Refinery, which has a capacity of 21,700 barrels per day (3,450 m3/d). In 2005, the Sudanese government contracted Petronas to build a new refinery at Port Sudan. Sudan’s crude oil output is predicted to peak in 2008, although current revenue levels may be sustained for a decade or more.
In September 2012, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir opened the country’s first gold refinery and it is speculated to be one of the largest such constructions in Africa. The refinery will produce more than 328 tonnes of gold annually. Economic analysts say that the refinery is part of government’s strategy to make up for lost oil revenue after the South Sudan split of 2011.
The refinery will also be able to process silver and its opening should reduce the amount of gold and silver smuggled to other markets. According to Reuters, Sudan hopes to double its gold revenues this year to $3 billion. In August 2012, the finance ministry of Sudan said that the export of gold ore from Sudan would be prohibited once the refinery was opened.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Sudan (references at link; bold added for emphasis)
“Loka Teaks is the largest teak plantation in Africa“. Photo by Pojulu. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Sudan
“The economy of South Sudan is one of the world’s most underdeveloped with South Sudan having little existing infrastructure and the highest maternal mortality and female illiteracy rates in the world as of 2011. South Sudan exports timber to the international market. The region also contains many natural resources such as petroleum, iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold, diamonds, hardwoods, limestone and hydropower. The country’s economy, as in many other developing countries, is heavily dependent on agriculture.
The oilfields in the South have kept the region’s economy alive since 1999. South Sudan has the third-largest oil reserves in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, after South Sudan became an independent nation in July 2011, southern and northern negotiators were not immediately able to reach an agreement on how to split the revenue from these southern oilfields. It is estimated that South Sudan has around 4 times the oil deposits of Sudan. The oil revenues, according to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), were split equally for the duration of the agreement period. Since South Sudan relies on pipelines, refineries, and Port Sudan’s facilities in Red Sea state in Sudan, the agreement stated that the government of Sudan in Khartoum would receive a 50% share of all oil revenues. This arrangement was maintained during the second period of autonomy from 2005 to 2011.
Oil and gas concessions in Sudan – 2004
In the run up to independence, northern negotiators reportedly pressed for a deal maintaining the 50–50 split of oil revenues, while the South Sudanese were holding out for more favorable terms. Oil revenues constitute more than 98% of the government of South Sudan’s budget according to the southern government’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and this has amounted to more than $8 billion in revenue since the signing of the peace agreement. However, after independence, South Sudan objected to Sudan charging US$34 per barrel to transport oil through the pipeline to the oil terminal at Port Sudan. With production of around 30,000 barrels per day, this was costing over a million dollars per day. In January 2012, South Sudan finally suspended oil production, causing a dramatic reduction in revenue and food costs to rise by 120%.
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is a major investor in South Sudan’s oil sector. South Sudan’s economy is under pressure to diversify away from oil as oil reserves will likely halve by 2020 if no new finds are made, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Sudan (references at link)
Reuters News Feeds
(For Full Article Click on Title)
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 16:01:07 -0500
NEW YORK, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Commodities ended broadly lower in thin trading on Monday, with a few markets like natural gas and zinc being the exception, as players pared risk ahead of the year-end holidays.
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 16:00:50 -0500
VIENTIANE, Dec 24 (Reuters) – For the Communists running Laos, the fruits of capitalism have never been so bountiful.
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 15:53:38 -0500
Dec 23 (Reuters) – Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc said on Monday it reached an agreement with Chief Executive Richard Adkerson to cancel his employment agreement, giving up his guaranteed salary, benefits and rights to substantial severance in exchange for restricted stock worth about $36 million.
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 14:34:50 -0500
NEW YORK, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Tumbling gold prices, growing consumer confidence and aggressive discounting by retailers have Americans flocking to jewelers’ counters this holiday shopping season.
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 10:10:30 -0500OTTAWA, Dec 23 (Reuters) – The Canadian economy showed unexpected strength in October, growing for the fourth month in a row and boosting market hopes that the country might finally be shaking off the worst of the great recession.
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 04:06:53 GMT
* Fuel inventories down for 5th mth in a row (Adds detail)
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 03:23:04 GMT
Dec 23 (Reuters) – W.R. Grace & Co said it has settled the only remaining appeal for its Chapter 11 plan with a group of bank lenders, paving the way for the U.S. chemicals maker to emerge out of bankruptcy protection after 12 years.
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 02:56:48 GMT
(Adds U.N. chief calling for more peacekeepers, Power quotes)
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 01:46:54 GMT
Posted:Wed, 25 Dec 2013 02:12:36 -0500(Adds milestone, updates close prices) SHANGHAI, Dec 25 (Reuters) – Chinese steel futures fell to a five-week low on Wednesday after a brief rebound in the previous session, weighed down by expected slowing demand in the winter months. Steel demand in northern China typically weakens in November and December as cold temperatures hamper construction. Tighter credit and slower steel production have also hurt demand for raw material iron ore. The most-traded May rebar futures contract
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 15:49:54 -0500Dec 24 (Reuters) – Private equity-owned Continental Building Products Inc, created after the sale of Lafarge SA’s North American gypsum business, filed with regulators to raise up to $200 million in an initial public offering of common stock.
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 14:15:43 -0500
NEW YORK, Dec 24 (Reuters) – New York copper futures jumped over 2 percent on Tuesday after an erroneous buy order sent prices to their highest levels since April, triggering buy stops and roiling quiet pre-holiday trade, traders and sources said.
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 13:54:14 -0500By Barani Krishnan NEW YORK, Dec 24 (Reuters) – A trading error likely caused copper to spike higher on Tuesday, while most other commodities saw slight gains or price changes as players minimized risk ahead of the Christmas holiday, traders said. Oil , natural gas, gold and cotton were among commodities that inched higher. Sugar , corn and aluminum were nearly flat. The Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity CRB index was up 0.3 percent after a positive close for 13 of the 19 commodities it
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 13:41:30 -0500
* Rusal demands LME cancel planned rule changes, seeks no cash
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 12:58:42 -0500
Dec 24 (Reuters) – Centerra Gold Inc said on Tuesday it has reached a non-binding agreement with the government of the Kyrgyzstan that could pave the way for joint ownership of Kumtor, the country’s flagship gold mine.
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 10:22:20 -0500
* To sell royalty portfolio, stake in coal development assets to Altius Minerals for C$481 mln
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 09:57:30 -0500Dec 24 (Reuters) – Centerra Gold Inc said it had agreed with Kyrgyzstan to swap the government’s 32.7 percent stake in the Canadian miner for half of the Kumtor gold mine, in a deal that could end a long-drawn argument over the mine’s ownership.
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 22:42:21 GMT
Dec 22 (Reuters) – Brazilian investment bank Grupo BTG Pactual SA will add more than 100 people to its staff in London as it attempts to build its commodities business, the Financial Times reported.
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 20:54:45 GMT
(New throughout, adds analyst quote, spread data; updates prices)
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 20:29:50 GMT
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 19:56:17 GMT
* Eagle Rock shares rise as much as 17 pct, Regency 12 pct
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 19:29:23 GMT
PARIS, Dec 23 (Reuters) – A rail freight wagon carrying nuclear waste derailed at a depot in Drancy, 3 km (2 miles) northeast of Paris on Monday, the mayor of the town said.
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 19:12:59 GMT
Dec 23 (Reuters) – Occidental Petroleum Corp reached a $26 million settlement with its former chairman, Ray Irani, adding to the executive’s billion-dollar haul over more than two decades.
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 17:48:06 GMT
JUBA, Dec 23 (Reuters) – South Sudan’s government remains in control of the country’s oil fields and will not accept a rebel demand for politicians detained by the authorities over a “foiled coup” to be freed for peace talks to start, the information minister said on Monday.
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 17:32:34 GMT
CARACAS, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Venezuela announced a new exchange rate on Monday of 11.3 bolivars per dollar that tourists can use to change up to $10,000 cash a year, part of a week-old revamp of currency controls aimed at undermining a rampant black market.
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 17:31:03 GMT
* Pay strike holds at Gonfreville, Feyzin and La Mede plants
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 16:41:25 GMT
* Moscow says EU unjustly applies anti-dumping laws to Russian firms
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 16:34:51 GMT
DOHA, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Qatar wants to help Iran to develop its share of the world’s biggest gas field so both countries can reap the maximum long-term rewards, sources at state-run Qatar Petroleum (QP) say.
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 15:05:54 GMT
RIYADH, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s 2014 state budget projects spending will rise a modest 4.3 percent from this year’s plan, the slowest rate in a decade, suggesting the kingdom is starting to curb expenditure after years of huge increases.
Posted:Wed, 25 Dec 2013 09:06:43 GMT
KIEV, Dec 25 (Reuters) – Ukraine expects a $15 billion bailout package from Russia to be fully disbursed in early 2014, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said on Wednesday after Kiev received the first $3 billion tranche.
Posted:Wed, 25 Dec 2013 08:00:00 GMTLONDON, Dec 25 (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell’s 23.1 percent stake in Australian oil and gas group Woodside Petroleum is seen as more likely to be split up and/or sold to institutional shareholders than to go in one piece to a strategic buyer, bankers said.
Posted:Wed, 25 Dec 2013 07:25:03 GMT
BANGKOK, Dec 25 (Reuters) – Thai stocks eked out slim gains on Wednesday amid institutional-led buying although worries about political setbacks at home and weak November trade data capped gains, while Vietnam retreated in a holiday-thinned market. Thai key SET index rose 0.3 percent to 1,331.48 at midday, with about 1.6 million shares changing hands, 29 percent of a full-day average over past 30 sessions. Coal miner Banpu and food exporter Thai Union Frozen Products led gainers. Br
Posted:Wed, 25 Dec 2013 05:46:09 GMT
Posted:Wed, 25 Dec 2013 05:18:37 GMT
HANOI, Dec 25 (Reuters) – Vietnam’s benchmark VN Index edged up 0.16 percent at the midday break on Wednesday, lifted by gains in some blue chips. PetroVietNam Gas, the country’s largest listed firm, rose 0.77 percent, and top insurer Baoviet Holdings was up 0.26 percent. The index dropped earlier on Wednesday before regaining ground in low volumes. Only 37.8 million shares were traded in the morning session, just over a third of the five-day average level of 103 million, according to
Posted:Wed, 25 Dec 2013 04:24:46 GMT
Posted:Wed, 25 Dec 2013 04:01:11 GMT
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 23:13:09 GMTDec 24 (Reuters) – BP Plc has failed to persuade a federal judge to require businesses seeking to recover money over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill to provide proof that their economic losses were caused by the disaster.
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 19:47:49 GMT
TRIPOLI, Dec 24 (Reuters) – Libya’s oil and gas industry association said on Tuesday it was optimistic the government would soon reach an agreement with protesters occupying major oil export ports for months.
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 19:42:26 GMT* U.S. oil inventories likely down for 4th straight week -poll
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 18:25:41 GMTCALGARY, Alberta, Dec 24 (Reuters) – Imperial Oil Ltd has upped its cost estimate for the Mackenzie Gas Project in Canada’s far north by about 40 percent because of rising prices for materials and labor, meaning the entire project would cost more than C$20 billion ($18.82 billion) if it goes ahead.
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 16:01:58 GMT* UN finds grave in Bentiu thought to hold 75 Dinka soldiers
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 15:49:17 GMT
(Refiles to correct typographical error in quote in third paragraph)
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 15:39:57 GMTTOKYO, Dec 24 (Reuters) – Cosmo Oil Co Ltd, Showa Shell Sekiyu KK, TonenGeneral Sekiyu KK, and Sumitomo Corp aim to integrate their liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) wholesale and import businesses to become Japan’s top LPG distributor, the four companies said on Tuesday.
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 12:42:30 GMT* Rosneft to ship extra 600,000 tonnes via ESPO to China in 2014
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 12:13:07 GMT(Corrects quote in paragraph 15 to show the embargos not imposed by India)
Posted:Tue, 24 Dec 2013 12:10:20 GMTTEL AVIV, Dec 24 (Reuters) – Israel plans to cut oil use in transportation by 60 percent by 2025, an aggressive target by world standards, and will tap into its newfound natural gas deposits to make it happen.
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 14:34:00 GMT
* Rosneft is the world’s top listed oil company by output
Posted:Mon, 23 Dec 2013 14:33:10 GMT
* Obasanjo wrote letter condemning his ex-protege’s record
Wednesday, 25 December 2013
We have a new post: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/12/25/radioactive-reindeer/ News had to be delayed as a post on reindeer could not be.
Tuesday, 24 December 2013
We have a new post: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/gulf-of-mexico-dolphins-illness-deaths-from-bp-oil-spill/ Today news is delayed though we did save it to the side, we must sort through it. No, we didn’t go to a party. We were trying to see if there was any info on the impacts of Fukushima on dolphins, the impact of radiation on dolphins, if they can get cancer, to add to our post about Dolphins and the BP oil spill. We found that they do get cancer and some interesting links about that and about weird marine happenings off the west coast of the US and Canada. These were actually reported in mainstream media! We want to do a post on radiation and reindeer in Norway. Hopefully we will get it out in a timely manner. The dolphins took more time than we though.
Update 1, Monday, 23 December, 2013
We were NOT dreaming. Toyota is not a “partner” of Bellona, BUT they were indeed advertising! Perhaps they did withdraw their advertisement when Bellona reposted their link criticizing the Japanese government. All the more, Bravo Bellona for putting the story back online criticizing the Japanese gov’s secrecy law! http://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2013-11-japan-tries-plug-leaks-leaks-donning-russias-mantle-nuclear-olympic-explosions See Toyota’s logo here: http://bellona.no/naeringsliv If it disappears we took a pic! Glad to know that we aren’t seeing things AND that Bellona will independently stand up against its sponsors.
Monday, 23 December, 2013
Our new post appears like it will be late today. But, we’ve some lovely pictures below of Mauritania, discussed in Reuters news feed, and lots of news.
Missing links found (no, not THE missing link, but rather the internet links):
The links which we worried were missing have been found. This puts to bed some lovely conspiracy theories, but we will thus sleep better. Either we figured out how the archives work, or Bellona updated their archives, so that we found the new, updated, link to their article about the Japanese secrecy law. http://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2013-11-japan-tries-plug-leaks-leaks-donning-russias-mantle-nuclear-olympic-explosions We no longer see the advertisement for Toyota either, on the Bellona site. So, we can’t say if we were dreaming or seeing things? Did they give Toyota their money back? Stupidly we didn’t take a screen shot. There is no more listing of “partners” on the English part of the site. Our apologies to Bellona, if we were wrong. It is good that the new web site has included Bellona’s partners (funding). There is a list of “cooperating partners”, presumably those providing funding for Bellona, on the bottom of the Norwegian part of the site. It is constantly scrolling and ranges from the French oil company Total; Shell oil, on one extreme, and on the opposite extreme is NOAH of Norway, animal rights: http://www.dyrsrettigheter.no/noah/noah-for-animal-rights/ A look through the companies suggests that Bellona’s partners are a reflection of the Norwegian economy, as should be expected from a Norwegian NGO.
Here’s what they say about their partners: http://bellona.org/partners
It is good that Bellona’s archives are (?back) on the new site, as they have a lot of information, which no one else has about the region, as does the Barentsobserver. Both of these have the misfortune of having French oil company Total, as partners, which is somewhat worrisome. For trivia, we remark that Total is 0.3% by Areva, which itself is partnered with Mitsubishi in the nuclear industry in Japan, the US and perhaps elsewhere. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_S.A.#Environmental_record
Also, the article about China is on the main US Reuters page (though it may be no longer by the time you read this). It is under a section called “Breakout-Inside China’s military buildup“. We have to say that this is WEIRD. What does the US helping China with its thorium research for energy have to do with military? Everyone needs to be worrying about Japan’s fascist gov and Fukushima, and asking for China’s help. The article should stay available at the India reuters link. Our attempts to save the US one only met with a crashed window. But, this problem is definitely due to the instability of our operating system.
Our apologies to any who, like us, lost sleep over these disappearing links. We hope we were the only ones worried. We would apologize to Reuters but they are too big to care.
And, speaking of which, we’ve a brilliant idea. UN Troops should leave Haiti and occupy Japan in order to supervise Fukushima!
One of the interesting Reuters news is:
“UPDATE 1-Qatar plans first IPO since 2010, for unit of Qatar Petroleum
Posted:Sun, 22 Dec 2013 12:45:11 GMT
* Government projects 50 bln riyals of IPOs over 10 years” http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/USenergyNews/~3/HwiW2Hc9JEM/story01.htm
Within the Reuters article we find: “The government will buy 750 of the company’s shares as a gift for each disadvantaged Qatari citizen – those receiving social insurance payments and people with special needs. Qatari citizens will be entitled to allocations of additional free shares in coming years if they keep the bulk of the Mesaieed Petrochemical shares that they buy in the IPO.”
One of the countries mentioned in today’s news is Mauritania. We include the following info and pics for those who forgot where Mauritania is, or never knew. There are some gorgeous pictures on Wikipedia:
“Mauritania… is a country in western North Africa.  It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest. It is named after the ancient Berber Kingdom of Mauretania, which existed long ago in the far north of modern-day Morocco. The capital and largest city of Mauritania is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast….” The population is estimated as 3,281,635 (2011), with 30% Berber; Beidane/Moors and 30% Black and 40% mixed, as would be expected for a country lying in the Saharan crossroads between North African and Subsaharan Africa. Sadly,
“Slavery still persists in Mauritania. Though slavery was abolished in 1981, it was not illegal to own slaves until 2007…It is difficult to end slavery in Mauritania for the following reasons:
The difficulty of enforcing any laws in the country’s vast desert
Poverty that limits opportunities for slaves to support themselves if freed 
Belief that slavery is part of the natural order of this society.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauritania (Much more and references at link). The slavery issue is especially worrisome in the context of resource extraction. Note that the Berbers are the indigenous people of North Africa, and share some commonalities with indigenous people of Europe, such as the Basques (rh negative blood type), sometimes red hair, and an ancient link with the Sami people. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berber_people
Graphical depiction of Mauritania’s product exports by R. Haussmann, Cesar Hidalgo, et. al. via wikimedia
Mountains in the Adrar region. Desert scenes are characteristic of the Mauritanian landscape, via wikimedia.
Bareina, a village in southwestern Mauritania. Photo by Ferdinand Reus. This picture shows clearly how Saharan Mauritania is a crossroads between North Africa and Subsaharan Africa. Zoom and see that one person is light skinned and one is dark skinned.
Reuters News Feeds
Posted:Sun, 22 Dec 2013 20:17:46 -0500SHANGHAI, Dec 23 (Reuters) – China will impose tiered power pricing on all aluminium smelters starting from January to help eliminate inefficient plants and tackle severe overcapacity in the sector, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Monday.
Posted:Sun, 22 Dec 2013 19:54:27 -0500SYDNEY, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Australian shares added 0.5 percent on Monday to touch three-week highs after Wall Street edged higher, but trading was subdued ahead of the Christmas holiday.
Posted:Sun, 22 Dec 2013 18:11:52 -0500NOUAKCHOTT, Dec 22 (Reuters) – Mauritania’s ruling party secured a majority in parliament after a second round of legislative elections at the weekend boycotted by several opposition parties, the West African country’s electoral commission said on Sunday.
Posted:Sun, 22 Dec 2013 17:38:09 -0500COTUI, Dominican Republic, Dec 22 (Reuters) – Little more than a decade ago, one of the world’s largest known gold deposits sat abandoned in the foothills of the Dominican Republic’s Central Cordillera mountain range. Car-sized boulders leached heavy metals into what locals called the “blood river,” its waters ran so red from contaminants.
Posted:Sat, 21 Dec 2013 23:25:58 -0500BEIJING, Dec 22 (Reuters) – China’s total crude steel output is likely to increase to 800 million tonnes in 2014 but growth will slow to 2 to 3 percent on the year, the head of its steel association said, with the government trying to tackle over capacity.
POSTED:SUN, 22 DEC 2013 22:25:26 GMTWASHINGTON, Dec 22 (Reuters) – U.S. citizens were safely evacuated on Sunday from Bor to Juba in South Sudan, the State Department said as fears grew of an all-out ethnic civil war in the landlocked African country.
POSTED:SUN, 22 DEC 2013 20:30:29 GMT* Government loses control of capital of oil-producing state
POSTED:SUN, 22 DEC 2013 19:59:37 GMT* Army blames Ansar al-Sharia for attack (Adds death toll rises to 13, state mourning, details)
POSTED:SUN, 22 DEC 2013 18:34:08 GMTNEW YORK, Dec 22 (Reuters) – The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States fell modestly over the past two weeks, ending a four-week advance, according to the Lundberg survey released on Sunday.
POSTED:SUN, 22 DEC 2013 17:18:03 GMT* Former Russian tycoon sought release for family reasons
POSTED:SUN, 22 DEC 2013 17:05:39 GMTCAIRO, Dec 22 (Reuters) – Egypt’s central bank has delivered $1 billion to the Ministry of Petroleum to repay on Monday part of the state’s debt to foreign oil companies, the central bank governor said on Sunday.
POSTED:SUN, 22 DEC 2013 14:03:04 GMTJUBA, Dec 22 (Reuters) – South Sudan said it had sent more soldiers to retake the flashpoint town of Bor from rebels and kept control of oilfields as fighting spread to a neighbouring state in a conflict that has raised fears of a collapse into ethnic civil war.
POSTED:SUN, 22 DEC 2013 13:04:40 GMT
MOSCOW, Dec 22 (Reuters) – Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky said on Sunday that he will not shy away from public activity but would not get directly involved in Russian politics.
POSTED:SUN, 22 DEC 2013 12:45:11 GMT* Government projects 50 bln riyals of IPOs over 10 years
POSTED:SUN, 22 DEC 2013 12:00:00 GMTWASHINGTON, Dec 22 (Reuters) – As debate rises in Washington over the first thaw in relations between Iran and the United States in decades, powerful oil companies are opting for an unusual tactic: silence.
POSTED:SUN, 22 DEC 2013 11:16:54 GMT
PARIS, Dec 22 (Reuters) – Workers voted to end a strike over pay at Total’s Donges refinery in western France on Sunday, the oil company said, though industrial action continued at three other plants.
POSTED:SUN, 22 DEC 2013 08:05:27 GMTMOSCOW, Dec 22 (Reuters) – Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, freed by a pardon from Russian President Vladimir Putin after 10 years in jail, said in remarks published on Sunday that he would not go into politics or seek to regain assets of his former oil company, Yukos.
POSTED:SUN, 22 DEC 2013 03:48:19 GMT
* African Union calls for truce, condemns killings (Updates with comment from U.N. secretary-general)
Sunday, 22 December 2013
“The Amish Are Getting Fracked
Their religion prohibits lawsuits—and the energy companies know it
Religion June 6, 2013
By Molly Redden” http://www.newrepublic.com/article/113354/energy-companies-take-advantage-amish-prohibition-lawsuits According to this article the Amish generally do not involve themselves in lawsuits and hence are unable to fight the oil companies when there is breach of contract, and the oil and gas companies take advantage of this.
Much of the last couple of days’ news shows the cost of oil and gas:
“South Sudan: UN peacekeepers from India killed
Deaths blamed on gang who invaded base where civilians were sheltering, while Obama calls for end to violence
By Daniel Howden in Nairobi The Guardian, Friday 20 December 2013” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/19/south-sudan-rebel-militia-seizes-strategic-town-bor
Notice the fighting over oil in South Sudan reported by Reuters below. Then, according to Reuters, much of Libya’s oil is in the east where there is a wish for autonomy.
It is important to note Russia’s, mostly state-owned, Rosneft trying to buy Morgan Stanley’s global physical oil ops. This would be subject to US (U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS), EU, and some other regulatory approvals. Strangely, the US blocked a Chinese company from building wind turbines, considering that Russia state-owned Rosatom was allowed to buy a large US Uranium Mine (Uranium one). The Morgan Stanley deal includes 49% of the Heidmar Tanker co, over 100 traders and shipping schedulers, and over a billion $ worth of oil.
“Morgan Stanley sells oil trading business to Russia’s Rosneft
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 23:45:43 GMT
London/Moscow (Reuters) – Morgan Stanley has sold the majority of its global physical oil trading operations to Russian state-run oil major Rosneft , becoming the latest Wall Street firm to dispose of a major part of its commodity business.” http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/INbusinessNews/~3/KzASHgQKBk8/story01.htm
The EU is thinking of having tar sands labeled because they are more polluting (as we discussed on Friday). Many scientists have written in support of the labeling.
Where are the letters in support of making Japan filter their radioactive water from Fukushima, especially the tritium which they want to throw in the Pacific? The Pacific, at some unknown point, has its limits. Tritium is, essentially, radioactive water.
In 2010, tritium was still found in trees at ground zero of the 1964 Mississippi nuclear test, which gives you an idea of how long tritium, with a half life of 12.3 years hangs out.
Once phytoplankton are killed from too much radiation the earth will lose its primary source of oxygen. Then what happens? Is there someone monitoring world oxygen levels? Is someone modeling how much tritium the oceans can absorb, from all sources?
Minera Panama, subsidiary of First Quantum Minerals of Canada is developing what is supposed to be “one of the world’s biggest open-pit copper developments”, according to Reuters (below). Why are all new open-pit copper mines the biggest? Are they getting bigger or is it marketing? It could be either as copper is lower and lower grade and the pits are larger, meaning more trees and environment destroyed, in order to get economies of scale for tiny specks of copper, amidst almost all waste.
The US Reuters link, (below), about China using US Oak Ridge Labs research-documents to get their own thorium projects going, went dead almost immediately for US Reuters. It is also dead for the UK Reuters. Conspiracy theorists can have a field day with that! As they can with the fact that most of Bellona’s archives disappeared, including the one criticizing the Japanese gov about its new secrecy law, only to be replaced by advertisements for Toyota and other companies funding them! Bellona has a new web site and hopefully the old archives will be restored, since they have one article critical of Japan still. But, it is weird to see the criticism of Japan’s secrecy law replaced by a Toyota ad on an anti-nuclear web site! The missing Reuters article is still at India Reuters: “SPECIAL REPORT-The U.S. government lab behind China’s nuclear power push” By David Lague and Charlie Zhu. Hong Kong. Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:33pm IST http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/12/20/breakout-thorium-idINL4N0FE21U20131220 This is actually not new news, but rather from 2010. However, the topic gets trotted out every few months to a year, just long enough for everyone to forget the details of the problems with thorium. Problems with thorium and with the proposed thorium reactor are pretty much as bad, or worse, than current uranium based ones and require uranium anyway. Thorium is NO panacea. The proposed salt solution is very corrosive to metals, for instance, causing cracks, among other problems, which researchers would need to sort out (meaning trying to develop more resistant materials, and different fuel combos). The US continues to dump tax payer money in thorium research at Oak Ridge, while they should be investing in renewables or cutting back to balance the budget. China and the US will share their technology. China has more thorium than uranium, and mines it as a byproduct of rare earths. This is why they are interested.
There is information on Canadian Silvercorp, biggest miner of silver in China, mentioned in the Reuters news articles, below the Reuters Feeds. Sorry we continue to have problems with formatting and will probably continue to do so.
Reuters News Feeds (click at title for full article):
Posted:Sat, 21 Dec 2013 18:47:55 GMT
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 15:28:15 GMT
Posted:Sat, 21 Dec 2013 12:44:11 -0500MADRID, Dec 21 (Reuters) – There were clear signs of manipulation at a Spanish wholesale power auction used to set household bills that was later annulled by the competition authorities, the Industry Minister said in an interview published on Saturday.
Posted:Sat, 21 Dec 2013 08:48:57 -0500NIAMEY, Dec 21 (Reuters) – More than 1,000 protesters marched to the offices of Areva in Niger’s capital Niamey on Saturday to demand that the French nuclear firm pay more taxes in the West African country, police said.
Posted:Sun, 22 Dec 2013 01:40:32 GMTBENGHAZI, Libya, Dec 22 (Reuters) – A suicide bomb attack at an army base outside Benghazi in eastern Libya killed at least six people and wounded up to 15 on Sunday, medical and security sources said.
Posted:Sat, 21 Dec 2013 22:25:44 GMT
BERLIN/MOSCOW, Dec 21 (Reuters) – Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was reunited with family members in Berlin on Saturday, a day after he was released from a decade-long jail term during which he became one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critics.
Posted:Sat, 21 Dec 2013 22:24:41 GMT* African Union calls for truce, condemns killings (Adds Ethiopian foreign minister, U.S. President Obama)
Posted:Sat, 21 Dec 2013 17:00:08 GMT
ADDIS ABABA, Dec 21 (Reuters) – The African Union called on Saturday for an immediate ceasefire in South Sudan, where U.N. staff say hundreds of people have been killed in nearly a week of fighting.
Posted:Sat, 21 Dec 2013 12:59:59 GMTKAMPALA, Dec 21 (Reuters) – Gunfire hit U.S. military aircraft flying in to rescue people from fighting in South Sudan, wounding two U.S. soldiers on Saturday, a Ugandan government official said.
Posted:Sat, 21 Dec 2013 11:13:17 GMT
ANTANANARIVO, Dec 21 (Reuters) – The two candidates in Madagascar’s presidential run-off election were neck and neck in early vote counting on Saturday, in a poll meant to end a deep-rooted political rift that has driven away investors and contributed to a shrinking economy.
Posted:Sat, 21 Dec 2013 10:38:44 GMT
Posted:Sat, 21 Dec 2013 02:52:26 GMT
* Kiir says he’s ready to talk; rival demands that he quit
Posted:Sat, 21 Dec 2013 02:18:14 GMTMOSCOW/BERLIN, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oil tycoon jailed for a decade after posing a challenge to Vladimir Putin, was freed by a presidential pardon on Friday and immediately flew to Berlin where he hoped to be reunited with his family.
Posted:Sat, 21 Dec 2013 01:40:53 GMT
HOUSTON, Dec 20 (Reuters) – California gasoline’s differential climbed in the Los Angeles wholesale market on Friday after a refinery in the area reported a malfunction, traders said.
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 23:38:47 GMT
LONDON/MOSCOW, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Morgan Stanley has sold the majority of its global physical oil trading operations to Russian state-run oil major Rosneft, becoming the latest Wall Street firm to dispose of a major part of its commodity business.
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 21:38:21 GMT
CARACAS, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Venezuela and India have agreed to build a naphtha production unit in the South American OPEC nation in the latest sign of widening energy ties between the two countries, Venezuela’s foreign minister said on Friday.
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 21:10:35 GMT* Brent, U.S. oil post weekly increases * Fed taper affirms improved U.S. economic outlook * U.S. economy in Q3 grew at fastest pace in nearly 2 years (Adds CFTC oil data in ninth paragraph) By Anna Louie Sussman NEW YORK, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Oil prices rose and gasoline futures hit a three-month high on Friday, fueled by spread trading and supply concerns. A string of glitches at U.S. refineries and strikes at four Total refineries in France lifted U.S. RBOB gasoline futur
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 20:43:34 GMT* Kiir says he’s ready to talk; rival demands that he quit
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 20:21:35 GMT
WASHINGTON, Dec 20 (Reuters) – The U.S. oil industry’s powerful lobbying arm said Friday it will push Congress and the Obama administration to consider lifting a ban on crude oil exports in the new year as domestic production is due to hit a record in 2016.
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 19:54:49 GMT
(Adds revised death toll from U.N., French U.N. ambassador, U.N. spokesman)
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 19:46:08 GMTMEXICO CITY, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Friday signed into law a radical reform of the country’s energy market, ending a 75-year oil and gas monopoly in the hope of attracting major investments to increase production.
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 18:00:54 GMT
NEW YORK, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Stronger-than-expected U.S. economic growth took commodity markets broadly higher on Friday, including gold which is up after a two-day decline and is still headed for its biggest yearly loss in three decades.
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 17:54:46 GMTST CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Farmers in the close-knit Amish community who eschew electricity and most technology, are among landowners capitalizing on a new financial trend in the United States energy boom – selling decades of future oil and natural gas royalties for an immediate pile of cash.
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 16:46:49 GMT
LONDON, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Traders in the European Union caught rigging market benchmarks like Libor, oil or currencies could be jailed for four years under a deal agreed on Friday.
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 16:14:31 GMT
* Russia detained Greenpeace activists over protests against Arctic oil production
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 15:51:45 GMTMOSCOW, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky said in a statement after his release from prison on Friday that he had sought a pardon from Russian President Vladimir Putin for family reasons and did not admit guilt. (Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:03:40 GMT
HONG KONG, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Scientists in Shanghai are attempting a breakthrough in nuclear energy: reactors powered by thorium, an alternative to uranium.
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:02:02 GMT* No supply shortage risks for motorists over Christmas -oil lobby
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 13:59:35 GMT
LONDON, Dec 20 (Reuters) – One of Europe’s most successful oil entrepreneurs, Marcel van Poecke, is back with a plan.
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 13:50:30 GMT
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 15:26:35 -0500
Dec 20 (Reuters) – A website associated with Jon Carnes, a short seller who targeted miner Silvercorp Metals Inc, said on Friday that a Canadian securities regulator that accused him of fraud was wrong.
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:21:08 -0500LIMA, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Peru’s central bank slashed its official forecast on Friday for economic growth this year to 5.1 percent from its September forecast of 5.5 percent.
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 13:08:22 -0500BARI, Italy, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Italy’s top appeals court on Friday reversed a seizure order for assets worth 8.1 billion euros ($11 billion) from the Riva family that owns steel group ILVA, a judicial source said.
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 13:00:39 -0500
(Adds details on infrastructure, mining and transportation sectors)
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 11:34:27 -0500
MOSCOW, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Business tycoon Suleiman Kerimov has sold his 36 percent stake in Russia’s biggest homebuilder PIK, further reducing his investments in the country, according to statements by the company and its financial adviser Otkritie Financial Corp.
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 11:08:43 -0500
* Uralkali CEO to be replaced by Uralchem director-source
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 15:02:19 GMT
Posted:Fri, 20 Dec 2013 05:48:03 GMTTOKYO (Reuters) – Japan will chip in more taxpayer money and other financial support to help Fukushima plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co clean up the world’s worst nuclear disaster in a quarter century, officials said on Friday, the latest government lifeline for the embattled utility.
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 21:43:36 GMT(Reuters) – U.S. federal regulators on Thursday said oil and gas company Chesapeake Energy Corp will pay a civil penalty of $3.2 million to settle Clean Water Act violations in West Virginia where it drills in the Marcellus Shale.
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 20:11:32 GMTSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Firefighters have turned a corner against a wildfire that has destroyed 22 homes and forced the evacuation of dozens more along a picturesque stretch of central California coastline, officials said on Thursday.
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 19:27:26 GMTBEIJING (Reuters) – China will expand its presence in Antarctica by building a fourth research base and finding a site for a fifth, a state-run newspaper said on Thursday, as the country steps up its increasingly far-flung scientific efforts.
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 10:37:39 GMTMOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Russia’s response to a Greenpeace protest over Arctic oil drilling should serve as a lesson and Moscow would toughen steps to guard against interference in its development of the region.
“Silvercorp Metals Inc. (Silvercorp) is a Canadian based, China focused precious metals company engaged in the acquisition, exploration, and development of silver containing properties.
It is China’s largest primary silver producer. The company is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange in Canada and the NYSE Amex in the U.S. and is a component of the S&P/TSX Composite Index and Global Mining Indexes.
As of 2009, Silvercorp Metals was operating and developing four silver/lead/zinc mines in an area encompassing the Ying silver/lead/zinc project, Hou Ping Gou project, the TLP silver/lead project and the Long Men project (the Ying Mining District), owned through its 77.5% and 70% Chinese subsidiary companies, respectively.
Silvercorp Metals’ other material property, the Gaocheng project in Guangdong Province, owned through a 95% Chinese subsidiary company, has not reached commercial production and is in the exploration stage.
During the month of December in 2009, Shehzad inc. acquired 12% of SIlvercorp Metals over a period of a week. Shehzad inc. manages the equities and investing on behalf of Silvercorp.
Yangtze Mining Ltd. holds a 95% interest in Anhui Yangtze Mining Co. Ltd., the Chinese company holding silver, lead and zinc exploration permits on the Gaocheng project and Shimentou project in the Guangdong Province. In June 2008, Silvercorp Metals acquired Yangtze Gold Ltd.
The company started out as a minor explorer trading on the TSX venture exchange from November 1991 to October 2005 (was incorporated under the British Columbia Company Act in 1991). At first it was known as Spokane Resources Ltd until 2001 when it was renamed SKN Resources Ltd. In 2005, the same year it graduated from the TSX Venture Exchange to the larger Toronto exchange, it adopted its current name. In 2006, Silvercorp donated RMB1.25 million towards the construction of a youth center in Luoning County, Henan Province, China.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silvercorp_Metals
Saturday, 21 December 2013
News updates delayed, but will appear later, today-early tomorrow UTC. Meanwhile, we have two reblogs and a new post:
A cartoon about understanding the proposed nuclear waste dump near Sellafield, UK (from Cumbria Trust): https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/they-think-its-all-over-it-is-now/
From Radiation Free Lakeland: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/unicorn-tears-saved-keekle-head-radioactive-waste-ban-is-good-news-for-fresh-water-pearl-mussels/
Our new post: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/pennsylvania-supreme-court-restores-local-control-over-fracking-amish-flee-ohio-oil-boom-return-to-pennsylvania/
Friday, 19 December 2013
Double Risk for Spirit Bear and More News
Spirit Bear by Jackmont via wikimedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kermode_bear
NOAA Fukushima debris map shows that currents run from Fukushima to Pacific Northwest-British Columbia and Alaska: http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/June_erma.pdf
Rare “Spirit Bear” of the Great Bear Rainforest, on the western Canadian coast, is not only in probable danger from Fukushima, but today a committee recommended that the Canadian government approve an oil tar sands and condensate double pipeline to the British Columbia coast, endangering this bear, rainforest, and other plants and animals with almost certain oil spills and certain leaks (the question is only how big the leaks will be).
The Canadian government is so lock-step with the mining and oil industry that it’s hard to tell them apart so they will certainly approve it.
The government of British Columbia opposes this pipeline known as “Northern Gateway”, as do the indigenous First Nations, and environmentalists. They apparently don’t matter. Just where is the Gateway to? Asia. Almost certainly Japan, China, and perhaps other countries. The bitumen oil tar sands are a dirty, dirty mixture. People in Alberta, Canada are nice and friendly, but the tar sands are sour. Tar sands are classified as the heaviest of heavy crude and high sulfur(sour). Hence, the cost of getting it out of the ground is high and refining it to be of a low sulfur grade fuel is high. We suspect that, upon export, much of the sulfur will left in during the refining process, so as to pollute the air in countries with less strict air regulations. There is also the Pet Coke byproduct which is very polluting. Compare to Light Louisiana Sweet (LLS) Crude and Texas Light Sweet Crude (West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for the opposite extreme of low sulfur and fluidity. See more on this after news summaries. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_sands http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy_crude_oil http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/10/15/2778921/koch-brothers-tar-sands-chicago/#
The Northern Gateway project runs from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia and “would cross 1,000 streams and rivers, many of which are key habitat for salmon and other species. It would pass through the unceded traditional territory of dozens of BC First Nations and the Great Bear Rainforest – the last intact temperate rainforest in the world. Enbridge has, on average, a record of one spill every week from its pipelines between 1999-2008.” Petition http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/campaigns/Energy/tarsands/Get-involved/stop-the-pipeline/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Bear_Rainforest
“B.C. First Nations leader dismisses conditions attached to Enbridge pipeline decision”
by YOLANDE COLE on DEC 19, 2013 at 3:48 PM http://www.straight.com/news/553286/bc-first-nations-leader-dismisses-conditions-attached-enbridge-pipeline-decision
Of related interest:
“Japan Canada Oil Sands Limited (JACOS) is an oil sands extraction company“. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JACOS
The Imperial (majority Exxon owned), Aspen project, mentioned in the Reuters news headlines, will be a Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage Tar Sands Project. It uses a lot of water for the steam and a lot of energy. Although natural gas is often used to get the bitumen tar sands out of the ground, they have even thought of using nuclear power plants, so energy intensive are these projects, to get this bitumen “crude”, which is so heavy that it will not flow on its own, and sour (high sulfur), out of the ground. Really freakish stuff. See more info below the news titles.
French “Total” strikers have shut down a 4th refinery. This in conjunction with Libya and South Sudan has contributed to an increase in the price of oil. 200 oil workers have taken refuge with the UN in South Sudan. Those involved in South Sudan oil fields include China National Petroleum Corp, Indian ONGC Videsh, Malaysia Petronas.
For more info on crude prices and the important distinction between sweet crude at one extreme and the dirty nasty tar sands at the other extreme, see below the Reuters news titles.
Siemens, Mitsubishi, Toshiba, Alstom, and Areva have all been found guilty of forming a “gas insulated switchgear” cartel.
Mitsubishi and Toshiba will fight to get the fine reduced. Siemens is accepting the fine (after one appeal). Ah…just like the fascist years. Siemens finally issued an apology to slave laborers and some reparations, over half a century later. The Japanese companies still refuse to give reparations or even an apology for slave labour, just as they are appealing again to get their fine reduced for the cartel. Siemens, Mitsubishi, and Toshiba played important roles in bringing in militaristic fascist regimes and then benefitted handsomely. Where are Toshiba’s reparations for Fukushima? Along with BP these companies appear like spoiled brats — they will not take responsibility for their actions, only the profits. Alstom officials have recently (and in the past) been accused of bribery. Areva likes to sue for defamation, and is in court on Friday with a small NGO web site, which they are suing, and having already sued Greenpeace. They tried to sue the newspaper Liberation, but we don’t know how far that went. They are a state owned company too, suing their own citizens. Salopards! They are really out of control! The man running the NGO makes minimum wage (SMIC) and is middle aged.
Siemens apology, reparations for slave labour: http://www.siemens.com/sustainability/pool/en/reports/corp_cit_report_2000_en.pdf
“Three directors of rail engineering firm Alstom held in bribery investigation, Directors arrested in dawn raids over allegations concerning substantial bribes being paid to secure contracts abroad“By Sandra Laville and Rob Evans, The Guardian, Wednesday 24 March 2010 18.12 GMT http://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/mar/24/alstom-directors-bribery-dawn-raids
“Fourth exec charged in Indonesia Alstom bribery case http://www.alternet.org/progressive-wire/fourth-exec-charged-indonesia-alstom-bribery-case
Transparency International, 2013, Exporting Corruption: http://www.transparency.de/fileadmin/pdfs/Themen/Internationales/2013_ExportingCorruption_OECDProgressReport_EN.pdf
A Siemens bribery case: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siemens#Bribery_case
Toshiba, Mitsui Zaibatsu http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/toshiba.htm
Mitsui, Mitsobishi Zaibatsu http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/zaibatsu.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaibatsu
Please click on the titles to get the full Reuters article. Hopefully this is our new format for Reuters news feeds, though it’s not working perfectly. Besides that above, more information, which can help with understanding some of the articles, is below the feeds:
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 21:56:48 GMT
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 20:48:48 GMT* U.S. gasoline up 1.6 pct, rises in tandem with U.S. crude
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 19:41:52 GMT(New throughout, updates prices, market activity, new byline, changes deateline, previously SINGAPORE)
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 19:07:21 GMT* President and rival vice president from rival clans (Adds U.N. comments about base being breached, possible deaths)
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 19:00:04 GMT
* Some 700,000 bpd of Total’s French output capacity removed
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 18:25:01 GMT
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 18:17:48 GMT
* Khodorkovsky release marks Putin confidence, Olympic gesture
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 16:02:19 GMT* Case fuels EU-wide debate on energy subsidies (Adds European Commission reaction)
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 13:16:40 GMT(Corrects paragraph 4 to show the Commission, not the ECJ, has recalculated the fine for Mitsubishi and Toshiba)
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 13:14:15 GMTJUBA, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Fighting between workers in two oil fields in South Sudan has killed at least 16 people but the government is now in control and oil production has not been affected, a senior official in a major oil producing area in the country said on Thursday.
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 13:06:38 GMT
MOSCOW, Dec 19 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he would soon pardon jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who still has eight months left to serve of a more than 10-year jail sentence and is see by Kremlin opponents as a political prisoner.
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 13:25:01 -0500
BISHKEK, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Kyrgyzstan is targeting strong growth in 2014 on the back of output from its gold mining venture with Centerra Gold but a row between the state and the Canadian firm threatens to undermine the growth plan.
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 11:08:14 -0500
MOSCOW, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Russia’s Uralkali, the world’s biggest potash producer, would consider new trading joint ventures to replace a partnership it broke off with Belarus, and does not rule out a revival of the venture with Minsk, it said on Thursday.
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 08:16:40 -0500
(Corrects paragraph 4 to show the Commission, not the ECJ, has recalculated the fine for Mitsubishi and Toshiba)
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 06:42:43 -0500
* Premiums up from $245-247 in Q4, match 2012 record high
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 05:52:05 -0500
NEW DELHI, Dec 19 (Reuters) – India has added Italy’s ENI to a list of foreign firms that can sell crude oil at official prices to state refiners, sources said, in the first such revision to the list since 2001.
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 02:24:22 -0500
* Dollar gains vs yen and euro, Asian shares rally (Adds U.S. wheat, updates prices)
Posted:Thu, 19 Dec 2013 12:47:36 GMTMOSCOW, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Workers at Russian oil firm Surgutneftegas own a large stake in the business, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, lifting some of the uncertainty over who controls the country’s No.3 oil producer and its huge cash pile.
(Reuters feeds end)
“Steam-assisted gravity drainage
Oil and water nexus
SAGD, a thermal recovery process, consumes large quantities of water(Glassman & 2011 4) and natural gas. “Petroleum from the Canadian oil sands extracted via surface mining techniques can consume 20 times more water than conventional oil drilling.” However, by 2011 there was inadequate data on the amount of water used in the increasingly important steam-assisted gravity drainage technique (SAGD) method.(Glassman & 2011 4)
Use of natural gas for steam generation
As in all thermal recovery processes, cost of steam generation is a major part of the cost of oil production. Historically, natural gas has been used as a fuel for Canadian oil sands projects, due to the presence of large stranded gas reserves in the oil sands area. However, with the building of natural gas pipelines to outside markets in Canada and the United States, the price of gas has become an important consideration. The fact that natural gas production in Canada has peaked and is now declining is also a problem. Other sources of generating heat are under consideration, notably gasification of the heavy fractions of the produced bitumen to produce syngas, using the nearby (and massive) deposits of coal, or even building nuclear reactors to produce the heat.
Use of water for steam generation
A source of large amounts of fresh and brackish water and large water re-cycling facilities are required in order to create the steam for the SAGD process. Water is a popular topic for debate in regards to water use and management. As of 2008, American petroleum production (not limited to SAGD) generates over 5 billion gallons of produced water every day. The concern of using large amounts of water has little to do with proportion of water used, rather the quality of the water. Traditionally close to 70 million meters cubed of the water volume that was used in the SAGD process was fresh, surface, water. There has been a significant reduction in fresh water use as of 2010, when approximately 18 million cubic meters were used. Though to offset the drastic reduction in fresh water use, industry has began to significantly increase the volume of saline groundwater involved. This, as well as other, more general water saving techniques have allowed surface water usage by oil sands operations to decrease by more than threefold since production first began. Relying upon gravity drainage, SAGD also requires comparatively thick and homogeneous reservoirs, and so is not suitable for all heavy-oil production areas.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam-assisted_gravity_drainage (references and more info at link)
“Oil markets explained
Big movements in the oil price have significant ramifications around the world. But just what makes the price move and how do the oil markets work? BBC News takes a closer look.
Page last updated at 11:21 GMT, Thursday, 18 October 2007 12:21 UK” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/904748.stm
Photo by Javier Blas via wikimedia
“Weekly reports on crude oil inventories or total stockpiles in storage facilities like these tanks have a strong bearing on oil prices” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_of_petroleum
“Sweet crude oil is a type of petroleum. The New York Mercantile Exchange designates petroleum with less than 0.42% sulfur as “sweet”. Petroleum containing higher levels of sulfur is called sour crude oil.
Sweet crude oil contains small amounts of hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide. High-quality, low-sulfur crude oil is commonly used for processing into gasoline and is in high demand, particularly in the industrialized nations. “Light sweet crude oil” is the most sought-after version of crude oil as it contains a disproportionately large fraction that is directly processed (fractionation) into gasoline (naphtha), kerosene, and high-quality diesel (gas oil). The term “sweet” originates from the fact that a low level of sulfur provides the oil with a mildly sweet taste and pleasant smell. Nineteenth century prospectors would taste and smell small quantities of oil to determine its quality.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_crude_oil (references and more info at link)
“The geographic location is important because it affects transportation costs to the refinery. Light crude oil is more desirable than heavy oil since it produces a higher yield of petrol, while sweet oil commands a higher price than sour oil because it has fewer environmental problems and requires less refining to meet sulfur standards imposed on fuels in consuming countries. Each crude oil has unique molecular characteristics which are understood by the use of crude oil assay analysis in petroleum laboratories.
Barrels from an area in which the crude oil’s molecular characteristics have been determined and the oil has been classified are used as pricing references throughout the world.
Some of the common reference crudes are:
West Texas Intermediate (WTI), a very high-quality, sweet, light oil delivered at Cushing, Oklahoma for North American oil
Brent Blend, comprising 15 oils from fields in the Brent and Ninian systems in the East Shetland Basin of the North Sea. The oil is landed at Sullom Voe terminal in Shetland. Oil production from Europe, Africa and Middle Eastern oil flowing West tends to be priced off this oil, which forms a benchmark
Dubai-Oman, used as benchmark for Middle East sour crude oil flowing to the Asia-Pacific region
Tapis (from Malaysia, used as a reference for light Far East oil)
Minas (from Indonesia, used as a reference for heavy Far East oil)
The OPEC Reference Basket, a weighted average of oil blends from various OPEC (The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) countries
Midway Sunset Heavy, by which heavy oil in California is priced
There are declining amounts of these benchmark oils being produced each year, so other oils are more commonly what is actually delivered. While the reference price may be for West Texas Intermediate delivered at Cushing, the actual oil being traded may be a discounted Canadian heavy oil delivered at Hardisty, Alberta, and for a Brent Blend delivered at Shetland, it may be a Russian Export Blend delivered at the port of Primorsk.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum#Classification (references and additional info at link)