REUTERS - If the vessel is carrying Russian LNG and ends up in the United States despite the U.S. sanctions against Novatek, it would be the first ever Russian LNG to go to the United States, according to U.S. energy data.
BAKER HUGHES A GE - The worldwide rig count for December 2017 was 2,089, up 32 from the 2,057 counted in November 2017, and up 317 from the 1,772 counted in December 2016.
U.S.DT - "These sanctions target key entities involved in Iran's ballistic missile program, which the Iranian regime prioritizes over the economic well-being of the Iranian people. As the Iranian people suffer, their government and the IRGC fund foreign militants, terrorist groups, and human rights abuses," said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. "The United States will continue to decisively counter the Iranian regime's malign activity, including additional sanctions targeting human rights abuses. We will not hesitate to call out the regime's economic mismanagement, and diversion of significant resources to fund threatening missile systems at the expense of its citizenry."
U.S.DT - “President Maduro and his inner circle continue to put their own interests above those of the Venezuelan people,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “This action underscores the United States’ resolve to hold Maduro and others engaged in corruption in Venezuela accountable. We call on concerned parties and international partners around the world to join us as we stand with the Venezuelan people to further isolate this oppressive regime.”
BEA - The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce, announced that the goods and services deficit was $50.5 billion in November, up $1.6 billion from $48.9 billion in October, revised. November exports were $200.2 billion, $4.4 billion more than October exports. November imports were $250.7 billion, $6.0 billion more than October imports.
BLOOMBERG - A bigger problem is that Nigeria caps gasoline prices, often at levels below retailers’ costs. The cap today is set at 145 naira, or $0.40, a liter, which would translate to $1.52 per gallon.
FT - The growth of Royal Dutch Shell’s oil and gas operations in the next decade will depend on shale production, its chief executive has said, in the latest sign of western energy groups pinning their hopes for expansion on those “unconventional” resources.
U.S. Rig Count is down 5 rigs from last week to 924, with oil rigs down 5 to 742, gas rigs unchanged at 182, and miscellaneous rigs unchanged. Canada Rig Count is up 38 rigs from last week to 174, with oil rigs up 36 to 98 and gas rigs up 2 to 76.
REUTERS - U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $61.81 a barrel at 0750 GMT. That was 20 cents, or 0.3 percent, below their last close. WTI hit a $62.21 the previous day, which was its strongest since May, 2015. Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $67.88 a barrel, 19 cents, or 0.3 percent, below their last settlement. Brent hit $68.27 the day before, also the highest since May, 2015.
BLOOMBERG - Russia needs to strengthen its position in the global gas market as it’s considered a leading global energy power, President Vladimir Putin said last month. Already the world’s largest exporter of the fuel, the nation is working to boost output with new LNG plants stretching from the Baltic region to the Pacific coast. That will pit the country against the biggest producers of the super-chilled fuel, including Qatar and Australia.