Last update: Sat, 30 Apr 2016 11pm

Fuel and Energy: World


Oil prices ended steady on Friday after hitting 2016 highs but finished April trading about 20 percent higher, with Brent crude having its best monthly gain in seven years. A weaker dollar and optimism that a global oil glut will ease have lifted crude futures by more than $20 a barrel since they plumbed 12-year lows below $30 in the first quarter.
US energy firm Chevron reported Friday a loss of $725 million in the first quarter, joining the growing list of petroleum giants that finished the period in the red. Chevron reported $2.6 billion in earnings in the year-ago period. Revenues dropped 31.8 percent to $23.6 billion. Losses were centered in Chevron's normally lucrative upstream oil and natural gas production operations. That was due to a nearly 40 percent drop in oil prices compared with the 2015 period.
Italy's Eni is well on track to sell assets worth 5 billion euros in the next two years as the oil major looks for resources to fund high-profile projects in Egypt and Mozambique and offset the impact of lower oil prices. The state-controlled company, which has one of the best success rates in the industry in finding new reserves at one of the lowest cost bases, has tabled disposals of 7 billion euros ($8.01 bln) to 2019.
ConocoPhillips, the largest US independent oil company, on Thursday reported a quarterly loss after a year-earlier profit and slashed its 2016 budget for the second time this year, its latest response to the slump in crude prices. The company, like many of its peers, has had to grapple with shrinking margins resulting from low oil prices. It has slashed its dividend, cut staff and curbed the drilling of new wells, all while trying to preserve growth options should crude prices recover.
US natural gas futures fell nearly 2 percent on Wednesday, losing ground for a third straight session on expectations of lower heating and cooling demand due to forecasts for near-normal temperatures over the next two weeks. On its last day of trading, May gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled down 3.7 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $2 per million British thermal units. It has fallen nearly 6.8 percent so far this week.
Oil markets jumped 2 percent on Thursday, hitting 2016 highs for a third straight day as a weaker dollar had investors shrugging off record high US crude inventories and relentless pumping by major producers. Oil prices have surged nearly 80 percent since hitting 12-year lows of around $27 a barrel for Brent in late January and about $26 for US crude in mid-February. For April, the two benchmarks are up about 20 percent, on track for their largest monthly gain in a year.
Libya's National Oil Corporation has ambitious plans to restore output to pre-2011 levels after years of violence and disruption, officials said. Oil output is now less than a quarter of the 1.6 million barrels per day Libya pumped before Muammar Gaddafi fell in 2011, and the National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Tripoli hopes to ramp it up swiftly with the backing of a new unity government. Full recovery could take years because of shutdowns by disgruntled workers, political rivalry and attacks by Islamic State militants.