1. OPEC meeting in Algeria this week.
OPEC has plans to hold an informal meeting in Algeria this week to discuss what actions should be taken to stabilize oil prices following our recent two year decline. 14 OPEC nations met earlier year with Russia and Qatar to consider the prospect of a freeze in oil output, but that ultimately failed because both Saudi Arabia and Iran refused to cut back their production, stating they feel it would decrease their market share. Most think a similar solution will be considered in this week’s meetings, but the thought is that similar inaction will result. It will be interesting to see if anyone’s stances have changed in the last couple months.
2. Japan looking to buy global energy assets.
Japanese lawmaker look to issue a bill soon that will provide more financial muscle for Japanese companies to compete for global energy assets. Similar to other resource-hungry Asian economies such as China and India Japan hopes to benefit from the sale of depressed oil assets. Previously the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) has been restricted in their ability to purchase foreign energy resources, but now Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet is hoping to revise a law governing JOGMEC that will allow the state-run agency to partake in purchases of foreign oil and gas companies.
This bill come at a time when oil-producing countries are being forced to recover funds by selling stakes to offset falling revenue due to sinking oil prices. However, it is uncertain how much appetite Japanese trading houses and oil companies will have for new investments in energy projects given the amount of write-downs on their resource assets last year.
3. Duke Energy agrees to $6M fine.
Settling and incident that occurred back in 2014, Duke Energy Corp. has agreed to pay a $6 million fine for a large spill that coated the Dan River with liquefied coal ash. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is holding Duke Energy accountable for violating federal water protection laws in the spill that coated 70 miles of the river on the North Carolina-Virginia border after a pipe burst at a holding pit at Duke Energy’s power plant in Eden.
Duke Energy is glad to have the incident behind them, and stated, “We are accountable for what happened at our retired Dan River facility. This agreement is another important step in bringing the accident and its aftermath to a close.”