OIL PRICES: ABOVE $56 AGAIN
REUTERS- Oil prices edged down on Wednesday as the market waits to see how OPEC and non-OPEC members carry through on planned supply cuts in the new year.
International Brent LCOc1 crude futures were trading down 7 cents, or 0.12 percent, at $56.02 a barrel at 0722 GMT (2.22 a.m. ET) after closing the previous session up 93 cents.
U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices CLc1 were down 8 cents at $53.82 per barrel after settling up 88 cents at $53.90 a barrel in the previous session.
Trading is expected to remain thin this week ahead of the New Year holiday.
The market is taking a wait-and-see approach on the official start of the landmark deal reached by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and several non-OPEC members to reduce their output. The deal is set to kick in from Jan. 1.
OPEC and non-OPEC producers are expected to lower production by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd), with Saudi Arabia, OPEC's largest producer, agreeing to bear the lion's share of the cuts.
"There are mixed expectations of the cuts, trading is thin so the first two weeks of January would be critical to watch," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at Sydney's CMC Markets.
"If there's any misstep or any indication of disagreement to (the deal), we would see crude prices dropping," he said.
In a sign that the world's oil major producers may abide by their agreement, OPEC member Venezuela said it will cut 95,000 bpd of oil production in the New Year.
Russian oil producer Gazprom Neft (SIBN.MM) said it planned to boost oil output by 4.5 percent to 5 percent next year, less than it had intended before Russia, one of the non-OPEC member countries, joined a deal to reduce a global supply overhang.
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WNA - Apart from adding capacity, utilisation of existing plants has improved markedly since 2000. In the 1990s capacity factors averaged around 60%, but they have steadily improved since and in 2010, 2011 and 2014 were above 81%. Balakovo was the best plant in 2011 with 92.5%, and again in 2014 with 85.1%.
WNA - India has a flourishing and largely indigenous nuclear power programme and expects to have 14.6 GWe nuclear capacity on line by 2024 and 63 GWe by 2032. It aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050.
WNA - Mainland China has 38 nuclear power reactors in operation, about 20 under construction, and more about to start construction. The reactors under construction include some of the world's most advanced, to give a 70% increase of nuclear capacity to 58 GWe by 2020-21. Plans are for up to 150 GWe by 2030, and much more by 2050.
PLATTS - "The domestic uranium mining industry needs US government assistance to survive the foreign onslaught -- particularly from Russia and Kazakhstan -- that has undermined the US uranium industry while new players -- particularly China -- will soon make the situation worse," Energy Fuels and Ur-Energy said in a petition they jointly filed with the department.