OIL PRICES: ABOVE $66
BLOOMBERG - Oil traded near the highest close in more than two years after an explosion at a pipeline carrying crude to Libya's biggest export terminal curbed the OPEC nation's production.
Futures were little changed in New York after rising 2.6 percent on Tuesday and breaching $60 a barrel for the first time since June 2015. A pipeline run by Waha Oil Company that carries crude to Libya's Es Sider terminal exploded Tuesday, reducing output by 70,000-100,000 barrels a day. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is said to expect oil revenue to jump about 80 percent by 2023 to help the kingdom record its first budget surplus in a decade.
Oil is heading for a second yearly advance as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russia prolong supply curbs through the end of 2018. Prices gained this month after a separate pipe in the U.K. -- one of the most important conduits in the world -- was shut because of a crack. Partial flows have now restarted at the Forties Pipeline System's Kinneil facility, operator Ineos Group said.
"The pipeline explosion in Libya is a lot more serious as it may take a long time to restore, which can be a long-term driver of oil prices," Kim Kwangrae, a commodities analyst at Samsung Futures Inc. in Seoul, said by phone. "The disruption is considered detrimental enough to dry up some of the global glut."
West Texas Intermediate for February delivery was at $59.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 10 cents, at 7:54 a.m. in London. Total volume traded was about 39 percent below the 100-day average. Futures rose to as high as $60.01 a barrel in the previous session. At the settlement on Tuesday, they gained $1.50 to $59.97.
Brent for February settlement lost 20 cents to $66.82 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices climbed $1.77, or 2.7 percent, to $67.02 a barrel Tuesday, the highest close since May 2015. The global benchmark crude traded at a premium of $6.95 to WTI.
Output in Libya, where oil fields have endured sporadic shutdowns and disruptions due to protests, power blackouts and fighting, rose to about 1 million barrels a day this year, the highest level in four years. Any drop in production due to the blast that occurred 130 kilometers (81 miles) south of Sidra will ease pressure on OPEC-led efforts to drain a glut.
Under a six-year program to balance the budget, officials predict rising prices and expanded output will push Saudi Arabia's income from oil sales to 801.4 billion riyals ($214 billion) from 440 billion riyals this year, said people with knowledge of the matter.
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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.