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U.S. shale producers get no relief from rising Brent

Reuters -- More than ever before, U.S. shale producers are becoming the victims of outdated restrictions on the export of crude oil from the United States.

Export controls have ensured the most oversupplied part of the global oil market is at home in the United States.

The main beneficiaries are rival producers in the Middle East and elsewhere able to obtain higher international prices thanks to the export ban.

U.S. shale producers have received almost no benefit from the improvement in international oil prices since the middle of January.

Benchmark Brent prices have risen around $16 per barrel since hitting their recent low on Jan 13. But prices for shale producers are tied to the domestic marker WTI which has risen by only $4 per barrel over the same period.

In the middle of January, posted pr  (go to article)

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CBO: Feds spent $96B on infrastructure in 2014

the Hill -- “Nominal public spending on that infrastructure increased by 44 percent between 2003 and 2014, but because prices of materials and other inputs rose more quickly than nominal spending, real (inflation-adjusted) public purchases decreased, falling by 9 percent from their peak in 2003 to their level in 2014,” the agency wrote.
“Although all levels of government have spent less, in real terms, on transportation and water infrastructure in recent years than in the past, the greatest reduction has occurred at the federal level,” the agency said. “Adjusted for inflation, federal purchases have fallen by about 19 percent since 2003, while purchases by states and localities have fallen by about 5 percent. The significant difference between those declines reflects the facts that a much larger por  (go to article)

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Shell unveils plan to replace USW refining workers

Bloomberg -- Two days before contract negotiations are scheduled to resume between Royal Dutch Shell and the United Steelworkers’ oil union, the company announced plans to run its second-largest US refinery without union labor.

Shell will have trained and deployed enough “relief workers” by mid-summer to keep the 327,000-bpd Deer Park refinery in Texas running at full operations, The Hague, Netherlands-based company said late Monday on its website. USW members went on strike at the complex on Feb. 1 after their contract expired and talks broke down.

The announcement comes amid a national strike that’s now widened to 12 refineries accounting for almost 20% of the capacity in the US. Shell is leading the negotiations with the 30,000-strong United Steelworkers on behalf of companies including ExxonMobil  (go to article)

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Tensions flare as picket lines crossed in U.S. refinery strike

Reuters -- HOUSTON – Personal friendships are turning sour as some workers cross picket lines in the lingering U.S. refinery strike, with companies pushing laborers to return to work by saying they could lose their bonuses.

A month into the biggest U.S. refinery walkout in 35 years, money is tight as strike pay from the United Steelworkers union is a fraction of normal wages.

About 6,550 workers are on strike at 15 plants, including 12 refineries with a fifth of U.S. capacity. Companies are relying on temporary replacements to keep plants open.
 (go to article)

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Gasoline prices rising at rapid clip

CNBC -- Gasoline prices have risen 20 percent in just a month and could see another sharp jump before returning to much cheaper prices during the summer driving season.

According to AAA, the 39-cent per-gallon gain in a 35-day period is the longest streak of rising gasoline prices since 2013. The national average price of gasoline Monday was $2.42 per gallon of unleaded gasoline, up from $2.05 just a month ago.
 (go to article)

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Apple Car Seen as Serious Competitor by Auto Executives

Bloomberg News -- Automotive executives are taking seriously the prospect that Apple Inc. and Google Inc. will emerge as competitors even as they consider partnering with the two.

“If these two companies intend to solely produce electric vehicles, it could go fast,” Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said at the Geneva International Motor Show. “We are also very interested in the technologies of Google and Apple, and I think that we, as the Volkswagen company, can bring together the digital and mobile world.”

Apple has been working on an electric auto and is pushing to begin production as early as 2020, people with knowledge of the matter said last month. Google said in January it aims to have a self-driving car on the road within five years.  (go to article)

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Automakers vow not to give up on weak-selling electrics

Yahoo Finance (AP) -- GENEVA (AP) -- Top automakers are vowing not to give up on weak-selling electric vehicles - even as they unveil an array of powerful luxury cars with conventional engines aimed at a growing global automarket.

BMW AG CEO Norbert Reithofer said Tuesday at the Geneva International Motor Show that his company cannot do without battery-powered vehicles such as its i3 urban compact.

"In the future, electric drive vehicles will be in demand," he said, adding that the Munich-based automaker could not meet its targets to reduce emissions without them.

Only about 75,000 of the 12.5 million vehicles sold last year in Europe were electrics or hybrids. Still, auto companies have sunk billions into developing alternative propulsion vehicles over the long term due to government requirements to limit v  (go to article)

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Lots of fuel for rising gas prices

cbs -- hat goes down must go up?

Analysts had been warning for some time that the recent historic drop in U.S. gasoline prices might end abruptly as the global oil market shakes itself out.

And sure enough, U.S. gas prices have been on the rise for over a month now -- for 35 consecutive days, according to the latest AAA Monthly Gas Price Report. AAA said the current climb is the longest streak of rising gas prices in over two years.

It noted that the nation's average gas price had reached a low of $2.03 per gallon on Jan. 26, after dropping for a record 123 straight days.  (go to article)

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California Beach Community to Decide if It’s ‘an Oil Town’

New York Times -- HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. — This quaint and quirky seaside community south of Los Angeles has had a conflicted relationship with the oil industry for close to a century. It has variously approved oil drilling, banned it, approved it and prohibited it again. During one yes-on-oil stretch, it contracted with an energy company to put 34 wells on a 1.3-acre city maintenance yard a few blocks from a stretch of beach that normally bustles with surfers and swimmers.

On Tuesday, the residents of Hermosa Beach are going to vote yet again on an oil and gas drilling initiative — whether to allow a contract with the energy company E&B Natural Resources Management to proceed despite a current drilling ban.

The contract, which could mean hundreds of millions of dollars for the local government, received f  (go to article)

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Oil prices steady along with global markets, but oversupply remains

Reuters --

Oil prices firmed on Tuesday in Asian trading, tracking stronger global equity markets and as the U.S. rig count continued to fall, but analysts warned the market remained oversupplied.

An index of Asian shares edged higher on Tuesday, bolstered by another record day on Wall Street, while a resurgent yen helped knock the U.S. dollar index off an 11-year high, making commodities priced in the greenback slightly cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Data showing China's January crude oil throughput climbed 0.6 percent on year to 39.35 million tonnes, or 9.27 million barrels per day, also supported the oil market.

Front-month Brent crude futures were trading up 53 cents at $60.07 a barrel by 0807 GMT, though significantly below the day's high of $60.74. U.S. WTI futures were up 41 cen  (go to article)

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Florida Governor applauds Wawa expansion in the Sunshine State

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..flgov.comFlorida Governor Rick Scott and Chris Gheysens, president and CEO of Wawa Inc., have announced that Wawa's continued growth across Florida and expansion plans for 2015 and 2016 are ahead of schedule. “We met with Wawa executives to discuss all of the great things Florida has to offer their company and to congratulate them on their expansion in the Sunshine State. We heard directly from company leadership that, compared to other states, they’re finding more and more opportunities in Florida because of our efficient permitting processes,” said Scott.   Wawa has 61 stores in Florida and will open its first store in southwest Florida, with the grand opening of three new stores in Fort Myers on April 23.Throughout 2015 and 2016, Wawa plans to open 25 stores per year spread throughout the Orlando, Tampa, Southwest Coast and Daytona markets. ...  (go to article)

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ExxonMobil, New Jersey reach surprise settlement in Bayway contamination suit

New York Business Journal -- ExxonMobil and the state of New Jersey have settled a long-running legal dispute over how much the energy giant would pay for environmental damage wrought on the state's wetlands.

New Jersey had argued that the damage to sites in Linden and Bayonne began in the 1870s and continued to the present day, setting the estimated costs of restoring those wetlands at about $2.6 billion and in addition asked for $6.3 billion in damages, the New York Times reported.

However, even though, as the Times put it, "Exxon's liability was no longer in dispute; the only issue was how much it would pay in damages," Gov. Chris Christie's administration has settled the matter for $250 million.  (go to article)

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Planned petroleum pipeline will cross entire Georgia coast

Savannahnow.com, Savannah Morning News -- Local residents interested in a proposed petroleum pipeline that will run through 210 miles of Georgia, crossing four of the state’s major rivers, can attend a meeting Wednesday to learn more.

The Georgia Department of Transportation and Palmetto Products Pipe Line LLC are hosting the public information open house at 5 p.m. Wednesday at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Savannah Airport, 50 Yvette J. Hagins Drive.

Palmetto has filed an application with the Georgia DOT for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. If granted, the certificate allows Palmetto to use the right of eminent domain to construct a pipeline to run from the South Carolina-Georgia state line to the Georgia-Florida state line.

The plan already has some vocal opposition. Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus has  (go to article)

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Reality hits North Dakota's pricey apartment market; rents drop

Reuters -- It is getting cheaper to rent an apartment in North Dakota's oil patch.

Prices, which only last year rivaled levels in New York City and Geneva, have slipped about 15 to 20 percent in the past two months as dozens of new apartment buildings opened in Williston, Watford City and other oil hub cities.

Growth in demand has slipped because the plunge in crude oil prices has led to cuts in capital spending by energy producers.

There are still about 1,800 energy-related jobs unfilled in the No. 2 U.S. oil-producing state, and there is still demand for apartments. But the accommodation shortage is nothing like it was when the state's oil boom began six years ago. As new developments start leasing, tenants are able to negotiate lower rents.

"You're starting to see prices fall  (go to article)

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Consumers save on energy, yet retail spending stalls

Star Tribune -- Sometimes, even the supposed experts can lose track of a billion dollars or two. Or, in this case, $100 billion.

While few outside of Texas and North Dakota are complaining about this huge savings that consumers have enjoyed since energy prices began falling last summer, economists have been stumped recently trying to figure out exactly what consumers are doing with the windfall.

They have not gone on a shopping spree at the mall or online. Results at many retail chains have been mixed, and some stores that are middle-class fixtures, like Sears and J.C. Penney, struggle.

One hint at what consumers might be thinking came Monday when new government data on the economy showed a healthy gain for wages and salaries in January even as spending by consumers inched lower for the second month...  (go to article)

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U.S. West Coast gasoline prices rise at record pace: EIA

Reuters -- SAN FRANCISCO, March 2 (Reuters) - Retail prices for regular gasoline in West Coast states rose a record 37.2 cents a gallon since last week to $3.12 a gallon on Monday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.

The increase marks the largest week-to-week increase in the region since the EIA's weekly survey of West Coast prices began in 1992, the government agency said.

Prices were lowest in the Rocky Mountain states at $2.12 a gallon, up 8.2 cents, the EIA said.

California, which relies heavily on in-state production to meet its large demand for fuels, has seen its output hampered by an explosion and fire at Exxon Mobil Corp's 155,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery in Torrance, California, on Feb. 18. Units unaffected by the blast are operating.

In the San Francisco area,  (go to article)

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Pennsylvania governor asks Obama for stronger crude-by-rail rules

Oil & Gas Journal -- Noting that 60-70 trains/week carry Bakken crude oil across Pennsylvania to the Philadelphia area or other East Coast refineries, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) asked US President Barack Obama for stronger federal regulations to prevent derailments and improve safety.

“I have already taken actions to address this issue including holding emergency trainings, participating in meetings with executives, and tasking my administration to put plans in place to both prevent accidents and mitigate impacts,” Wolf separately said on Feb. 27.

“We also need expedited federal regulatory action in several areas along with a greater commitment to funding inspection and enforcement,” Wolf said. “We cannot afford to wait for a major incident before taking action.”

In his Feb. 26 letter to Obama, Wolf called for  (go to article)

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Paying more at the pump; gas prices up 34 cents in last 31 days

WBDJ -- ROANOKE, Va. -
So long sub $2.00/gallon gas. AAA said prices have increased on average 34 cents over the past 31 days bringing the national average for a gallon of gas to $2.41.

Gas costs more than $2.00/gallon in every single state now, as compared to the start of February 2015 when drivers in 25 states filled up for less than $2.00/gallon.

The price jump is making some people budget a little more closely.

"I prepay, I prepay at the pump, gas prices are too high just to let it run like that, I have to prepay," driver Alex Jones said as he filled up his tank Monday night.

In Roanoke the average price for a gallon of regular is $2.18. The price of a gallon of gas is still down $1.07 as compared to this time last year.  (go to article)

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Senators unveil bill to require recall fixes

The Detroit News -- Two senators on Monday introduced legislation Monday modeled after laws in Germany that would seek to require vehicle owners to get recalls completed before they could renew their license plates.

Owners would have some narrow exemptions: If an owner wasn’t notified of the recall when the registration renewal reminder came out or the manufacturer lacks the parts or labor to complete the recall, or the vehicle owner demonstrates there was no reasonable opportunity to fulfill the recall then the state agency could grant a temporary registration of up to 60 days.  (go to article)

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$2 gas is gone -- for now

CNN-Money -- Gone are the days of $2 gas -- at least for now. Prices at the pump have climbed steadily for five weeks in a row.

The national average for a gallon of regular gas jumped nearly 40 cents a gallon in that period, to $2.43 a gallon, according to AAA.

That's the longest streak of increases in about two years, pushing average price back above $2 a gallon in all 50 states. In January, more than half of U.S. gas stations were selling gas for less than $2, and the national average stood at $2.03 a gallon.

Despite the price increase, drivers are still saving money at the pump. Prices are currently 90 cents a gallon below where they were in September 2014, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that the typical American household will save $750 on gas this year.

In J  (go to article)

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Delta challenges Obama administration on oil exports

Fuel Fix -- Delta Air Lines is formally challenging the Obama administration’s decision to bless the export of a processed ultralight oil known as condensate.

Monroe Energy, Delta’s refining subsidiary, made the move in a formal petition filed with the Commerce Department nearly a year after its Bureau of Industry and Security first told two companies they were allowed to export the substance.

Since those initial rulings for Texas-based Pioneer Energy and Enterprise Products Partners last spring, the bureau has affirmed its stance, issuing a guidance document in December to clarify that condensate qualifies as an exportable petroleum product once it is processed in distillation towers. The agency said it would make judgments on the exportability of other oil based on at least six factors, including  (go to article)

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Ohio sues BP for more than $33M in cleanup of storage tanks

AP via Fuel Fix -- Ohio is suing oil and gas company BP for more than $33 million, alleging it double dipped by taking state funds and money from insurers to clean up accidental leaks from underground storage tanks at hundreds of gas stations around the state.

The state’s attorney general and the Ohio Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Release Compensation Board filed the lawsuit Monday. The board administers a fund used as a last resort when tank owners lack coverage or don’t accept insurance money.

The lawsuit alleges London-based BP wrongfully obtained $33.3 million in reimbursements from the fund, saying it had no insurance for the leaks when it often accepted insurance money for the same releases.

BP PLC spokesman Jason Ry  (go to article)

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Warren Buffett criticizes Keystone XL delay, says U.S. 'thumbing nose' at Canada

Canadian Press -- The Keystone XL got an emphatic endorsement Mon from a powerful backer of Obama who questioned the handling of the file
To billionaire investor, the delay is a thumbing of the nose at Canada
"I would have passed Keystone," Buffett said in an interview with CNBC
"I think that we have an enormous interest in working with Canada, as they have in working with us. That oil is going to get sold. If we make it more difficult for them, who knows how they'll feel about making things more difficult for us someday
Because Buffett owns interests in the rail industry, in addition to oilsands holdings, there had been some speculation that he might have stood to benefit from a Keystone rejection
But he has expressed support for it in the past
"That is a valuable resource of N Am, and Canada has been a te  (go to article)

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Billionaire Warren Buffett criticizes Keystone XL delay

CTV -- "I think that we have an enormous interest in working with Canada, as they have in working with us. That oil is going to get sold. If we make it more difficult for them, who knows how they'll feel about making things more difficult for us someday."  (go to article)

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Gas prices are rising despite ample supply, and here's why

NJ.com -- Looking for scapegoat for the continuing rise of gas prices? Look no further than the letter R - for refinery.

Refineries are the reason for the continuing climb in prices, even though there is plenty of crude oil available, said Sue Madden, a AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman. She predicts that the price will continue to shuffle higher due to a number of refinery-related issues.  (go to article)

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Gas prices in Sacramento, throughout California are in full flight

Sacramento Bee -- Gas prices in the Sacramento area and throughout California are in full launch mode.

The average retail price of gasoline in the Sacramento area spiked 40.5 cents over the past week to $3.18 a gallon, according to the weekly report issued Monday by national gas price tracker GasBuddy.com, which does a daily survey of more than 700 gas outlets in the area.

As the lunch hour approached on Monday, the Sacramento average was up to $3.22 a gallon. That’s up a whopping 89 cents from one month ago, but the current price is 43 cents less than it was at this time last year.

The good news for local motorists: they’re not filling up in Los Angeles.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article11937344.html#storylink=cpy  (go to article)

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Natural Gas Declines on Outlook for March Thaw After Cold Blast

Bloomberg Business -- Bloomberg) -- Natural gas futures dropped in New York for the third time in four days as meteorologists predicted mild weather that would limit heating demand after a cold blast.

Temperatures may be mostly higher than average in the contiguous U.S. from March 12 through March 16, according to Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.
 (go to article)

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Risk of US$32 oil price as U.S. heating demand fades

Bloomberg -- The crude price may fall as low as US$32 a barrel in the U.S. because support from soaring heating-oil demand will fade as winter ends, according to Bank of America Corp.

The price of ultra-low-sulfur diesel, which is traded as a proxy for heating oil, surged to US$2.30 a gallon on Friday, the highest premium in 14 months to West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, according to New York Mercantile Exchange data.
 (go to article)

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Brent tumbles on Iran, Libya; U.S. crude up on spread play

Yahoo -- NEW YORK (Reuters) - Brent crude tumbled more than 3 percent on Monday on speculation of a nuclear deal that could boost Iran's oil exports, and U.S. crude rose by around 1 percent as traders bet the gap between the two would narrow.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said a deal on Iran's nuclear program could be concluded this week if the United States and other Western countries had sufficient political will and agreed to remove sanctions on Tehran.

Iranian oil exports have been restricted by sanctions for several years as the United States and Europe responded to Tehran's nuclear program, although Iran says its nuclear plans are peaceful.

Analysts say Iran could increase its oil sales fairly quickly if sanctions were lifted and may eventually be able to raise exports by u  (go to article)

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As New England Freezes, Natural Gas Stays Cheap

Reuters -- Twelve months ago, tumultuous weather in the U.S. Northeast caused record natural gas price spikes and forced some power plants to shut for lack of fuel as power producers scrambled to outbid each other for scarce supplies.

This February, the region has shivered through the coldest weather in 81 years, yet gas prices are a fifth lower than a year ago after power generators, learning lessons from last winter, stocked up on extra oil and gas from domestic and overseas sources before the weather turned cold.

New England's power grid operator, ISO New England, provided incentives to encourage generators to lock in oil and gas supplies early, offering an end-of-season cash payout to cover any excess costs from unused fuel supplies, among other things. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) was also incl  (go to article)

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Cleanup crews respond to Hilcorp pipeline spill in Alaska

AP via Fuel Fix -- Responders have recovered nearly 4,000 gallons of crude oil, water and other fluids from a pipeline leak at production site on the North Slope owned by Houston-based Hilcorp.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation says responders were able to reach the site at about 6 a.m. Sunday after severe blizzard conditions overnight Saturday halted response efforts.

KTUU reports the leak from a 10-inch production line at Milne Point was first spotted shortly before 8 a.m. Saturday.

DEC officials say the cause of the rupture remains under investigation. The crude escaped from a hole in the line.

Responders say an estimated 3,800-square-foot area around the leak was heavily to lightly misted by fluids.  (go to article)

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Pipeline developer warns West Virginia landowners of possible legal action

Roanoke Times -- Provide access for surveying or face legal action.

That was the message conveyed by Mountain Valley Pipeline this week to landowners in West Virginia who have thus far refused to allow surveying of their property for a natural gas pipeline route.

Mountain Valley Pipeline, a joint venture of EQT Corp. and NextEra Energy, wants to build a 300-mile interstate natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to connect with a pipeline near Chatham. The 42-inch diameter, buried pipeline would transport natural gas at high pressure.

Laurie Ardison, a resident of Monroe County, West Virginia, has been involved in helping to organize opposition there to the pipeline. She reacted Friday to the letter, describing the correspondence as bullying. The tactic might backfire, she said. Seems to me that landow  (go to article)

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North Dakota lawmaker wants train derailment training

The Associated Press -- MINOT, N.D. — U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is urging the federal government to offer training for train derailments to first responders.

Heitkamp has reintroduced the RESPONSE Act, which would work to ensure local firefighters and other emergency crews know how to handle an emergency caused by a train derailment. Heitkamp says first responders should have the necessary skills and training to control the situation and respond as effectively as possible.
 (go to article)

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UAE chiefs play down IMF downgrade on oil weakness

CNBC -- Leaders of some of the Gulf region's largest companies have dismissed the International Monetary Fund's recent concerns for the region after oil price weakness, claiming the "belt tightening" has actually been a positive for the region's economy.  (go to article)

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Iraq predicts oil will rise to $64-65 per barre

Yahoo -- Baghdad (AFP) - Iraqi Oil Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi said Sunday he expects the price of crude oil, which dropped to a six-year low in January, to continue recovering to reach $64 or $65 per barrel.

"I don't think they (prices) will return to their former levels immediately... We expect them to rise more, probably to $64 or $65," he told reporters.

Brent North Sea crude, the global benchmark, had tumbled to $45 per barrel at the beginning of the year, less than half the level reached six months earlier. It surged to $62 on Friday.

Iraq, which is hugely dependent on oil exports for revenue and is fighting a costly war against the Islamic State jihadist group, also owes more than $20 billion to the oil companies operating in the south, Abdel Mahdi said.  (go to article)

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National average sprints forward in U.S., Canada

GasBuddy Blog -- It's been an ugly week for motorists, watching gasoline prices climb at their fastest pace in many months. The national average jumped 13.2c/gal in the last week, to $2.437/gal this morning, the highest number since December 19, 2014. Canadians have seen a similar fling higher, rising 4.5c/L in the last week to 104.6c/L.

"The spring spike has hit pumps across the nation, and it certainly has motorists wonder what in the heck is going on," said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst.

New records were broken last week in California as prices spiked at their fastest pace ever, even faster than when Chevron's sprawling Richmond, CA refinery caught fire. Meanwhile every single state- all 50 of them- saw a price increase in the last week, with a common theme behind the increases: refinery this, refinery that....  (go to article)

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The brains inside your car just got smarter

USA Today -- With all this talk of co-piloted and autonomous vehicles, one question stands out. If cars gradually are taking over more of our driving chores, can they do so safely and error-free? After all, the dark side of this rise-of-the-machines scenario is a rogue vehicle that catastrophically misreads the data flooding its sensors.

Freescale Semiconductor aims to raise the bar on the quality of chips used in increasingly sentient vehicles. On Monday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Austin-based company, which spun out of Motorola in 2004 and is focusing on the booming Internet of Things space, announced a new S32V vision microprocessor. The company describes it as “the first automotive vision system-on-chip with the requisite reliability, safety and security measures to automate ...  (go to article)

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2 Train Cars Carrying Crude Derail in New Orleans; No Spill

ABC News -- The New Orleans Fire Department says two train cars carrying crude oil have derailed in the city but no oil has spilled.

The department said in a statement Sunday night that it received a report of the derailment around 6:15 p.m.

The statement says two New Orleans Public Belt Railway cars each carrying 30,000 gallons of crude went off the tracks. Fire officials found no leakage and say there's no immediate threat to the public.

The department said a re-railing company was en route Sunday night.

The cause is under investigation. Representatives for Public Belt couldn't immediately be reached.

Recent fiery wrecks of trains hauling crude oil, including one last month in West Virginia, have intensified pressure on the Obama administration to approve tougher safety standards for railroads  (go to article)

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Oil falls more than 1 percent on dollar, supply concerns

Reuters -- (Reuters) - Oil dropped more than 1 percent on Monday, with Brent slipping to around $62 a barrel, depressed by a stronger dollar and a rise in Libyan crude output.

The U.S. dollar hit an 11-year high against a basket of currencies after a rate cut in China dented the Chinese yuan and also hit emerging Asian currencies. [FRX/]

Brent crude hit a low of $61.78 a barrel and was at $62.08 by 0910 GMT (4.10 a.m. EST), down 50 cents.

Front-month Brent jumped 18 percent in February, the largest monthly rise since May 2009. U.S. crude was down 55 cents to $49.21 a barrel.

Disruption to oil supplies from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has helped support crude with lower output from Libya and Iraq in the first couple of months of this year.

But output fr  (go to article)

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Minneapolis will soon have more cabs for disabled customers

Star Tribune -- Disabled residents in Minneapolis who need ramp-equipped taxicabs will have an easier time ­finding a ride.

Five Minneapolis taxi companies have agreed to provide wheelchair-accessible service as part of a new program that is one of the country’s first.

“This new program is a great step in the right direction to increasing accessibility for our residents,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges in a statement: “It’s important that all residents know they can rely on services when they need them, and I thank these participating taxicab companies for recognizing the importance of serving the entire community.”

The arrangement follows last year’s contentious debate over the regulation of new transportation companies UberX and Lyft, which spurred sweeping updates to the city’s rules on taxi services.

Twe  (go to article)

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Dodge Durangos, Jeep Grand Cherokees recalled for fuel pump fix

GasBuddy Blog -- FCA US, the company previously known as Chrysler, is recalling 467,480 Dodge Durangos and Jeep Grand Cherokees worldwide to install new a relay circuit to fix a fuel pump.The automaker said the fuel pumps might be susceptible to deformation that prevents a vehicle from starting, or lead to an engine stall.Of the two issues, the failure to start is the more common. FCA US said it is unaware of any injuries or accidents caused by the defect. ...  (go to article)

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Wichita gas prices predicted to climb in next few weeks

The Wichita Eagle -- Take all of your pending road trips now, because the fuel price honeymoon is over.

Gas prices dropped significantly in mid-Oct. – to a low of $1.72 per gallon in Wichita on Jan. 11 – are expected to peak around $2.70 per gallon soon, according to predictions from GasBuddy.

Throughout February, wholesale gasoline prices across the country increased, on average, 54 cents per gallon, according to GasBuddy.
In Wichita on Friday, gas was averaging about $2.28 per gallon, said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.

Gas increases from cheaper “winter blend” to “summer blend”, which is more costly to produce.

Thornbrugh said, “They’re going to have to get (oil) from somebody.”

Gas prices first fell to “bargain basement prices” last autumn DeHaan said.  (go to article)

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Iraq minister sees oil at $64 to $65 per barrel

REUTERS -- Iraq's Oil Minister Adel Abdel Mehdi said on Sunday world oil prices were gradually rebounding and he expected to see a barrel of crude selling at around $65.

"I don't think they will return to their previous levels. I can see that oil will be sold at $64 to $65 a barrel," he told a news conference in Baghdad.

Global benchmark Brent crude closed on Friday at $62.58 a barrel after falling as low as $45.19 in January, less than half its price in the middle of last year.

OPEC producer Iraq has been hit by the slump, with revenues falling sharply just as it faces a costly military campaign against Islamic State militants who have seized large parts of the north and west of the country.

Iraq's oil revenues for February were just a fraction under $3.5 billion, on exports of 2.535 million...  (go to article)

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Oil, gas wastewater may be sent to Neb.

The Durango Hearld -- A Colorado oil company’s plan to dispose of gas and oil wastewater by injecting it into a deep well in western Nebraska is drawing strong objections from residents who live near the proposed site. Wastewater disposal certainly is not the most glamorous oilfield job, but it’s essential to keeping things running smoothly, especially in Colorado and Wyoming, where oil wells pump up significantly more water than oil.The energy company, T-Rex Oil of Broomfield, is proposing what would be the largest operation of its type in Nebraska, accepting upward of 80 truckloads and 10,000 barrels of wastewater a day at the Sioux County site, Inside Energy and NET News in Nebraska have learned. The wastewater would come from Colorado, Wyoming and possibly some from Nebraska.The brine then would be  (go to article)

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Experts: Prepare for a Gas Price Increase

ABC -- Minnesota’s average gallon of gas is $2.38, which is up about forty cents from a month ago. Nationwide in one month, the average gallon of gas has increase 54 cents. Oil refineries are starting to prepare for the warmer weather which is one of the causes for this increase.

“This is the time of year when we just started to transition to more expensive blends of gasoline’s. With that ultimate destination being that very stringent and expensive summer gasoline that will eventually show up when temperatures warm. I know it’s crazy with the snow and cold outside to be talking anything summer related but the transition has begun,” said Senior Petroleum Analyst for Gas Buddy Patrick DeHaan.

The summer blend of gasoline is a cleaner burning fuel. Because of this oil refineries have to do mainte  (go to article)

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Oil Drops as Gain in Saudi Arabian Output Boosts OPEC Production

Bloomberg -- (Bloomberg) -- Oil fell after the first monthly gain since June as Saudi Arabia stepped up production, lifting OPEC’s output beyond its collective quota for a ninth month.
Futures decreased as much as 1.1 percent in New York. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped 30.6 million barrels a day in February, according to a Bloomberg survey. Oil sank almost 50 percent in 2014 as Saudi Arabia led the group’s decision in November to maintain its output target at 30 million a day, exacerbating a global glut.
West Texas Intermediate’s discount to European prices settled at the widest in more than a year on Feb. 27 as U.S. crude stockpiles expanded to the highest level in weekly data that started August 1982. The oversupply has driven U.S. drillers to cut the number of rigs in servi  (go to article)

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US oil falls toward $49 after 1st monthly gain since June

CNBC -- U.S. crude futures fell towards $49 a barrel on Monday after rising more than $1 in the previous session to close February with the first monthly gain since June last year.

Economic data from manufacturing activity in China to jobs in the United States will dominate investors' radar this week.

U.S. crude futures dropped 41 cents to $49.35 a barrel by 2351 GMT after a 3 percent gain in February.

Brent crude was down 34 cents at $62.24 a barrel after posting an 18 percent gain in February, the largest monthly rise since May 2009.
Brent's premium over U.S. crude stretched to its widest since January 2014 on Friday at $13 a barrel.

Oil prices have probably touched bottom and should recover in the second half of 2015 as the collapse in the market over the last year begins to curb production  (go to article)

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As Wawa, Thorntons multiply cheaper gas prices follow

The Tampa Tribune -- The land war between gas station chains Wawa Inc. and Thorntons Inc. continues apace around Tampa Bay, as Wawa just posted a flag in the Wellswood neighborhood of central Tampa — only a few hundred yards from a Thorntons that opened a few months ago. That’s all good news for gas prices: The two brands will compete and offer lower-priced gas overall, making up for lost profit with their convenience store sales, analysts said.  (go to article)

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North Dakota counters plunging oil prices with $1.1 billion infrastructure ‘surge’

The Washington Times -- No state among the lower 48 has been hit harder by the drop in oil prices than North Dakota, which is why Gov. Jack Dalrymple, a Republican, has taken a page from U.S. military tactics in Iraq and signed off last week on a $1.1 billion “surge” designed to buck up the state’s infrastructure needs as it adjusts to changing times.

The state’s two-year budget has been adjusted downward by $4 billion as oil and gas companies scale back extraction projects and lay off workers. But eight years of trying to keep pace with the breakneck energy boom has left western North Dakota desperate for improvements to its strained roads, schools, water treatment plants and other facilities.  (go to article)

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Pipeline company didn’t use remote sensors before 3 million gallon leak near Williston

Forum News Service via WDAZ -- The pipeline that ruptured and spilled nearly 3 million gallons of saltwater, contaminating a nearby creek and two rivers near Williston, could have been monitored remotely but the system wasn’t turned on, a regulator said last week.

Meadowlark Midstream, a subsidiary of Summit Midstream, relied on checking meters by hand rather than a more sophisticated system that had been installed, said Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources.

The investigation into the spill is still ongoing, but Helms estimates the pipeline was leaking for more than 12 days before the rupture was discovered Jan. 6.

By being allowed to leak for so long, the spill significantly contaminated groundwater near Blacktail Creek, and a North Dakota Department of Health official says the cleanup will ta  (go to article)

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Potholes in Toronto, Montreal, New York & LA. turned into art by a Montreal pair

MSN Autos -- What happens when a fine-art photographer and a food stylist fuse their creativity? The result is 'Potholes', a series of photos showcasing the street cracks and holes that were turned into artwork by Davide Luciano and Claudia Ficca. The pair from Montreal took these pictures within and around NYC, LA, Toronto and Montreal, to explore the "urban ?aws as a playground creating a multitude of uses out of the potholes
"We started imagining different scenes that take place in a pothole. For our first scene we thought: “wouldn’t it be funny if we saw a woman washing clothes in a pothole?” so filled up our car with gallons of water, soap, laundry and a clothes rack, drove around in search of a nice pothole, unloaded the car and shot the 'Laundry' scene. We then began scouting potholes and develo  (go to article)

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