Sanctions, Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

– Washington is preparing another sanctions package that, if passed, would put major restrictions on anyone involved in Russia’s $10.5-billion Nord Stream 2 project. Energy secretary Rick Perry said the US Senate will pass the sanctions bill soon, the House will approve it, and Trump will sign it into law. In part, this was meant to appease Ukraine during Perry’s visit to Kiev for the inauguration of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Deals, Mergers & Acquisitions

– Sempra Energy – gunning for the top slot on the US LNG scene, with help from the Saudis – signed a deal this week for the delivery of 5 million tons of LNG annually to Aramco. The Saudi state giant will also buy a 25% stake in the plant that will supply this LNG: in Port Arthur, Texas. Sempra and Aramco said the Port Arthur LNG plant could have a capacity of 45 million tons of LNG annually, produced in 8 liquefaction trains. Port Arthur has not been built yet, but Sempra is at around a 50% completion on another LNG plant in Louisiana, for which it requested a completion deadline extension recently.

– Venezuela’s PDVSA has offered 6.4 million barrels of crude oil on the spot market at discount prices. The company is looking for buyers from China, India, and Russia and the reason for the discount is that PDVSA is facing rising inventories as exports to the U.S.—its biggest market—have all but dried up after the latest round of U.S. sanctions on Caracas.

– Carlyle Group is negotiating with three possible suitors for a 25% stake in its oil export terminal in Corpus Christi, Texas. The stake has a price tag of $625 million. The company needs funds for more oil export terminals as local production continues to rise and so do exports: these hit 3.4 million bpd last week, close to a record high.

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– Whiting Petroleum has joined potential suitors for QEP Resources. Callon Petroleum—another energy independent—and Blackstone Group are also in the race for the Colorado-based company, which was first initiated by Elliot Management, which offered $2 billion for QEP earlier this year.

– Aramco has opened a fuel trading office in the UAE and has hired former BP, Trafigura, and Pemex employees to run it. The move is part of Aramco’s expansion into industry segments different from the production and sales of crude oil.

– Brazil’s state-run Petrobras has approved a…