Oil dips on demand worries as COVID-19 lockdowns tighten

FILE PHOTO: The sun sets behind an oil pump outside Saint-Fiacre, near Paris, France September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo

MELBOURNE/SINGAPORE (Reuters) -Oil prices edged down on Tuesday as tighter lockdowns in Europe and an OPEC forecast for a slower recovery in demand next year outweighed relief from the roll-out of coronavirus vaccines.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 18 cents, or 0.38%, to $46.81 a barrel by 0737 GMT. Brent crude futures fell 20 cents, or 0.4%, to $50.09 a barrel.

London stepped up restrictions requiring bars and restaurants to close, as COVID-19 infection rates continued to rise sharply, which will dent fuel demand in the near term.

Further marring the demand outlook, Italy said it was considering more stringent restrictions over the Christmas holidays, while most stores in Germany have been ordered to shut until Jan. 10.

“While the market has

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Singapore oil tanker hit by explosion caused by ‘external source’ off Saudi Arabia

The incident, which occurred at approximately 00:40 local time, caused “an explosion and subsequent fire onboard,” the company said, as well as hull damage. It remains unclear at this time what the “external source” was.

“The Master immediately ceased all discharge operations and enacted emergency procedures onboard,” the statement added.

The crew has extinguished the fire with assistance from the shore fire brigade and tug boats, and all 22 seafarers have been accounted for with no injuries. Hafnia said “it is possible that some oil has escaped from the vessel, but this has not been confirmed and instrumentation currently indicates that oil levels on board are at the same level as before the incident.”

Cooling procedures and inerting of cargo space have been started to avoid any more potential fires, while ship stability is being assessed before continuing with any further operations, the company added.

Inerting is the introduction of

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Oil Climbs Toward $47 on U.S. Vaccine Rollout, Tanker Explosion

(Bloomberg) — Oil advanced toward $47 a barrel before the rollout of the first Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S. and as news of another tanker explosion in the Middle East raised concerns over the region’s stability.

Futures rose 0.6% in New York after losing 0.5% on Friday. First deliveries of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE vaccine will be made Monday after the drug gained emergency authorization last week, with President Donald Trump and other officials offered the shot as part of a plan to ensure continuity of government.

A ship was hit by an explosion near the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah on Sunday, according to the United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations. The incident highlights the potential for supply to be disrupted in the region and comes three weeks after an oil tanker was damaged in a possible attack at the Saudi terminal of Shuqaiq.

chart: Oil has climbed amid vaccine breakthroughs

© Bloomberg
Oil has climbed

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Oil prices edge up on hope vaccines will improve fuel demand

By Florence Tan

SINGAPORE, Dec 14 (Reuters)Oil prices rose on Monday, pushing Brent back above $50 a barrel, buoyed by hopes that a rollout of coronavirus vaccines will lift global fuel demand, while an extension of Brexit talks eased jitters on that front for now.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 for February rose 8 cents, or 0.2%, to $50.05 a barrel by 0137 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures CLc1 for January were up 4 cents, or 0.1%, at $46.61 a barrel.

Oil prices have rallied for six consecutive weeks, their longest stretch of gains since June.

The United States kicked off its vaccination campaign against COVID-19, buoying hopes that pandemic restrictions could end soon and lift demand at the world’s largest oil consumer.

An extension of Brexit talks among European powers also buoyed financial markets on Monday.

CMC Markets’ chief markets strategist Michael McCarthy asked:

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US agency looks to open rare lizard’s habitat to oil and gas

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Federal wildlife managers are considering offering permits to landowners in the Permian Basin that environmentalists say could further compromise habitat for a rare lizard found only in parts of southeastern New Mexico and West Texas.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be accepting comments on the proposal through Dec. 21.

The permits would be available to landowners who are participating in candidate conservation agreements with the federal government. The permits would cover situations when dunes sagebrush lizards are harmed or killed during oil and gas operations, sand mining, renewable energy development, agriculture or construction activities.

A candidate for federal protection for nearly two decades, the lizard has yet to be added to the list of threatened and endangered species.

It dwells in sand dunes and among shinnery oak. It’s active between April and October.

Federal biologists have said the primary threat to the lizard is

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Japanese Owner Of Wakashio Oil Spill Ship Continues To Hide Behind Corporate Secrecy

More than four months since the major oil spill event on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, many questions still swirl around how the Japanese vessel, the Wakashio ended up grounded on Mauritius’ coral reefs in July.

Now the Japanese shipowner behind the Wakashio, Nagashiki Shipping, is attempting to hide behind a screen of corporate secrecy to not disclose material information to the shipwreck inquiry, following an investigation published in Forbes.

Following two stories on Forbes on November 25 and November 26 that highlighted the nearly 100 safety flaws with the

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Emerging Global Offshore Oil And OPEC+

Prior to OPEC+, a coalition of 23 countries, agreeing to continue with production cuts on December 3, 2020—Libya’s oil production shifted market dynamics in 2020—as the OPEC member swiftly ramped its oil output above 1 million barrels per day (MBPD). In parallel with Libya’s output, global offshore production is emerging with an accumulated sum of more than 1.1 MPBD—from relatively new fields in Europe via Norway, and in South America by way of Guyana and Brazil.

Moreover, OPEC+ will increase production by 500,000 barrels per day (KBPD) in January 2021 from the previously set production cuts of 2020 made by OPEC+: Libya will remain exempt. However, Norway—who is not part of the OPEC+ coalition—will resume producing without curtailment in 2021, as they initially joined in 2020 to assist in balancing the oil market. What impact can global

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