India

Pakistan on verge of discovering big oil and gas reserve: Imran Khan

Hindustan Times | Mar 22, 2019 at 8:48 PM
  • And there has been no official word from ExxonMobil and the international oil exploration company ENI which have been involved since January in drilling an ultra-deep well (230km inside the sea) for oil in what is known as Kekra-1 area.
  • Italy’s ENI and US oil major Exxon Mobil are jointly drilling for gas offshore in Pakistan’s Arabian Sea.
  • The prime minister believes that if big oil reserves are discovered, most of Pakistan’s economic problems will be addressed and then there will be no stopping the country’s progress.

China

Contamination Fears After East China Chemical Blast Kills 47

Caixin Global | Mar 22, 2019 at 8:18 PM
  • An explosion at a chemical plant in eastern China has killed at least 47 people and seriously injured 90.
  • There were further concerns about high concentrations of sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide in the air, and pollution of the nearby river.
  • After the blast the concentration of sulfur dioxide in the air was 57 times higher than the Chinese safe standard, and the concentration of nitrogen oxide was 348 times higher.

United States

Oil dips further from 2019 highs on demand worries

CNBC | Mar 22, 2019 at 7:18 PM
  • Brent crude futures settled at $67.30 per barrel, 83 cents, or 1.2 percent below their last close and down about 0.2 percent on the week.
  • U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures fell 94 cents, or 1.6 percent, to settle at $59.04 per barrel.
  • As economic growth has slowed across Asia, Europe and North America, potentially denting fuel consumption, no breakthrough has emerged in the trade stand-off between Washington and Beijing, at least before meetings scheduled on March 28-29.

United States

Chemicals Leak at Houston-Area Petrochem Fire Prompts New Travel Restrictions

New York Times | Mar 22, 2019 at 7:13 PM
  • An earthen barrier holding chemicals that leaked from a massive petrochemical fire outside Houston breached on Friday, prompting restrictions on travel around the site, part of the busiest U.S. oil export port.
  • Intercontinental Terminals Co., a unit of Japan’s Mitsui & Co, called for a shelter-in-place around the Deer Park, Texas, fuels storage facility as chemicals were being pumped from damaged tanks holding thousands of gallons of fuel.

Switzerland

U.S. cautions Venezuela’s Maduro over detained Citgo workers, others

Swissinfo | Mar 22, 2019 at 7:06 PM
  • The Trump administration on Friday warned the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro over the detention of Americans, including six executives from Houston-based oil company Citgo Petroleum who have been jailed since 2017.
  • The State Department statement came a day after U.S. Republican Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn called on Maduro to release the six Citgo executives.
  • The former top employees of Venezuelan PDVSA’s refining subsidiary were arrested in late 2017 and accused of embezzlement and money laundering linked to talks to refinance Citgo’s debt.

United States

U.S. imposes sanctions on Venezuela bank Bandes after Guaido aide’s arrest

CNBC | Mar 22, 2019 at 7:05 PM
  • The United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s development bank Bandes, a day after the Trump administration warned there would be consequences for the arrest of opposition leader Juan Guaido’s top aide.
  • Guaido, who invoked the constitution to assume the interim presidency in January, has accused Bandes of being used by officials of Maduro’s government to steal funds.
  • Bandes has received billions of dollars over the past decade from the China Development Bank.

India

13.5 kg of hashish oil seized

The Hindu | Mar 22, 2019 at 6:59 PM
  • In a major crackdown on drug racketeering, excise officials have confiscated 13.5 kg of hashish oil, valued around ₹13 crore in the international market, and arrested five persons in the city.
  • Besides the contraband, officials also confiscated ₹8.40 lakh in cash and eight mobile phones from the gang.
  • The smuggled items were concealed within a panel of the car door.

United States

Planned U.S. oil storage boom faces new scrutiny after tank-farm fire

CNBC | Mar 22, 2019 at 6:52 PM
  • A three-day petrochemical fire that spread a cancer-causing chemical and thick smoke over Houston suburbs this week has spurred calls for tougher safety regulations that could affect a nearly dozen crude-export terminals proposed for the U.S. Gulf Coast.
  • Federal, state and local officials have begun investigating whether Mitsui & Co’s Intercontinental Terminals Co (ITC) met safety and environmental regulations after the fire in Deer Park, Texas, spread quickly among rows of giant tanks that hold up to 3.3 million gallons of fuel each.
  • A state lawmaker recently filed a bill that would speed air-quality permit reviews for energy projects before environmental regulator Texas Commission on Environment Quality, one of the groups now investigating ITC.

United States

Brazilian graft probe puts Swedish firm AF under microscope

CNBC | Mar 22, 2019 at 6:38 PM
  • The arrest of a former Brazilian president on corruption charges is raising questions about how a Swedish consulting company won a contract to help build a nuclear power plant at the center of what prosecutors say was a massive bribery and kickback scheme.
  • Pinheiro da Silva, according to a charging document filed by prosecutors, was a political appointee of Temer.
  • A law firm representing Pinheiro da Silva did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.