ISIS NEEDS OIL
Islamic State is looking at potentially vulnerable oil assets in Libya and elsewhere outside its Syria stronghold, where the militant group controls about roughly 80 percent of the oil and gas fields, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday.
The official, who briefed reporters in Washington on condition of anonymity, said the United States was carefully examining who controlled oil fields, pipelines, trucking routes and other infrastructure in places that could be vulnerable to attack.
Those include in Libya and the Sinai Peninsula, the official added.
"They are looking at the oil assets in Libya and elsewhere. We'll be prepared," the official said.
The United States has estimated Islamic State was selling as much as $40 million a month of oil, which was then spirited on trucks across the battle lines of the Syrian civil war and sometimes farther.
The United States recently targeted fuel trucks, part of a broadening of its strikes on Islamic State's oil wealth that the U.S. official said had showed anecdotal signs of raising the costs of Islamic State's oil operations.
"The costs of the operation have gone up and the ability to move it around has gone down," the official said.
Crude oil prices are barely above recent lows set during the depths of the 2008-2009 financial crisis. Worldwide, oil prices have declined over 50 percent since they began dropping in June 2014.
Low oil prices could be a double-edged sword in the fight against Islamic State, helping reduce revenue the group gets in Syria but potentially accentuating vulnerabilities as companies elsewhere lay off workers.
Some of the oil workers in Islamic State-held territory were foreigners, the official said.
"The reduction in oil prices actually adds another element of insecurity because companies have less money to spend on a variety of things," the official added.
"There are more oil and gas employees ... who are out of work ... so they're easier targets to recruit around the world."
|June, 22, 13:40:00|
|June, 22, 13:35:00|
|June, 22, 13:30:00|
|June, 22, 13:25:00|
|June, 22, 13:20:00|
|June, 22, 13:15:00|
U.S. EIA - Venezuela holds the largest oil reserves in the world, in large part because of the heavy oil reserves in the Orinoco Oil Basin. In addition to oil reserves, Venezuela has sizeable natural gas reserves, although the development of natural gas lags significantly behind that of oil. However, in the wake of political and economic instability in the country, crude oil production has dramatically decreased, reaching a multi-decades low in mid-2018.
U.S. BEA - The U.S. current-account deficit increased to $124.1 billion (preliminary) in the first quarter of 2018 from $116.1 billion (revised) in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The deficit was 2.5 percent of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter, up from 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter.
WNN - There are 126 operational power reactors in 14 EU Member States, providing more than one-quarter of the bloc's total electricity production. In its Communication on the Nuclear Illustrative Program (PINC) published last year, the European Commission expects nuclear to maintain its significant role in Europe's energy mix up to 2050. This would require investment of some EUR40-50 billion (USD46-58 billion) in nuclear LTO by 2050.
REUTERS - Benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 was up 50 cents at $75.58 a barrel by 0835 GMT. U.S. light crude CLc1 was 50 cents higher at $65.57.