OIL PRICE UP TO $50.21
Oil markets opened the week trading up on Monday, supported by global supply outages which were helping to curb physical supply.
The global benchmark, Brent, gained 1.15% to reach $50.21 a barrel. Its U.S. counterpart, West Texas Intermediate, was trading up 1.13% at $49.17 a barrel.
Oil supply in Nigeria continued to be affected by attacks from Nigerian militants, despite Exxon Mobil Corp. lifting a force majeure—a suspension of service because of events that it couldn't control—at Que Iboe last Friday.
Last week, during a media scrum at a meeting between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Nigerian oil minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said that he had met with militants to try to prevent future attacks and thereby reduce production outages.
Full production at the Forcados export terminal will be restored by the end of August, Mr. Kachikwu said. Supply across the country has been cut to multiyear lows because of the continuing instability.
In recent weeks, outages in Nigeria and Canada have removed more than three million barrels of crude from the market a day.
But price gains are limited by U.S. production figures, which show that output is recovering. Higher oil prices are likely enticing U.S. producers back to the market, as oil becomes more cost-effective to produce, analysts said.
A survey from Baker Hughes Inc. on Friday showed that active rig counts in the U.S. rose by nine last week, the first increase in 11 weeks.
Morgan Stanley said that, while the rig count increase was "not enough to materially change the outlook for U.S. production," the figures suggest "rigs may be returning in the best acreage, namely the Permian Basin."
If the trend continues, it could cause prices to tumble again as supply outstrips demand, analysts said.
"50 is the new norm," said OCBC economist Barnabas Gan, saying many shale producers whose production costs on average vary from $30 to $50 a barrel are likely to be lured back to the oil fields, further drenching the still-oversupplied market.
Last week, a meeting between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries finished without any agreement on curbing or halting supply. The current strategy—a hands-off approach which lets the market decide the price—is working, several OPEC ministers said.
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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.