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Personnel movements, week ending August 26




Friday, August 26, 2005

IVAN Freeman, John O'Neil, Imdex Ltd; Mitch Rubinstein, Brant Fish, Peter Wissel, Caltex Australia Ltd; Andrew Adams, EG Albers, Bass Strait Oil Company Ltd; Dr Igor Effimoff, First Australian Resources Ltd; Peter Cassidy, Queensland Gas Company Ltd; James Pullar, Dr Colin Adam, Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd; Robert Hupje, Ernst & Young.


IMDEX LTD: Ivan Freeman has been appointed as a director and John O'Neil has been appointed as Freeman's alternate.


The appointments follow the completion of the acquisition of the business, related assets and intellectual property from SA Mud Services and Iscosa, as approved by members in general meeting on 5 August 2005.


CALTEX AUSTRALIA LTD: Mitch Rubinstein has resigned as a director with effect from 23 August 2005. Rubinstein has relocated from Singapore to Houston, Texas, to take up a new position in the Chevron Group, and will be unable to continue his role as a director.


Brant Fish's appointment as an alternate director for Rubinstein automatically ceases from the time of Rubinstein's resignation. Fish's appointment as alternate director for Bill Hauschildt continues.


Peter Wissel has been appointed as a director to replace Rubinstein. Wissel brings significant oil and gas experience to Caltex Australia, particularly in finance, accounting and treasury.


BASS STRAIT OIL COMPANY LTD: Andrew Adams has been appointed as chief executive officer. In a transitional move to structure the company for its next phase of growth, EG Albers, the founder and current CEO, has vacated that position and becomes a non-executive director.


Adams has 25 years experience in the petroleum exploration industry ranging across both technical and commercial aspects of the business.


Since 2001 he has worked with Bass Strait Oil Company Ltd combining a wide ranging commercial role with responsibility for the conduct of joint venture operations.


He started his career as a geophysicist with Amoco Canada. In 1982 he moved to Australia with Santos where he became Team Leader for Timor Sea exploration, and later a Petroleum Development Team Leader. During this period his areas of responsibility included most major basins in Australia as well as areas of Southeast Asia. In conjunction with his MBA university studies in the early 1990s he transferred to Santos' planning department and became involved in budgeting, planning and commercial projects. Adams also has significant small company experience having worked on acquisitions and project finance as Commercial Manager with Cue Energy Resources.


FIRST AUSTRALIAN RESOURCES LTD: FAR has appointed a senior consultant to represent the company and has established an office in Houston, Texas.


Dr Igor Effimoff has been retained as a senior consultant to assist in its Gulf Coast and international activities.


Effimoff has studied virtually all of the major basins in the world. He has over 30 years of senior executive level upstream experience internationally and domestically, both onshore and offshore embracing exploration and production, as well as business development, experience in North America and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as many other regions.


QUEENSLAND GAS COMPANY LTD: Peter Cassidy has agreed to join the board as a non-executive director.


Cassidy is chairman of The Sentient Group Ltd, which is a private capital investor in the global resources sector. Under his stewardship, Sentient has taken an active interest in the resources sector and more recently the coal seam methane business and specifically in QGC. Sentient has recently acquired from QGC a 10% interest in ATP 632P (Berwyndale South), ATP 610P (Bellevue) and ATP 648P (Kenya East).


Cassidy has worked with the government on industry development, with the Ford Motor Company and has experience in the Synthetic Field industry. Prior to establishing Sentient he worked in the finance sector for a number of years.


CERAMIC FUEL CELLS LTD: James Pullar and Dr Colin Adam have resigned as directors. Pullar, who joined the board in November 2004, has resigned in order to focus on a range of personal and other business ventures. Adam has been a director since its inception in 1992.


ERNST & YOUNG: Senior oil and gas industry professional, Robert Hupje, has been appointed to head up the firm's Asia Pacific oil and gas advisory group, based out of Perth.


Hupje joins the firm from Petro-Canada UK Ltd in London where he worked as a director of business development for new ventures with primary responsibility for the development of large scale integrated gas projects (including LNG) in the Middle East and Russia.






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Fears over storms and unrest push oil prices to new highs



Neil Ritchie, New Zealand



Friday, August 26, 2005

OIL prices spiked again this week, briefly touching US$68 per barrel on Thursday before easing slightly, as edgy markets eyed further storms in the Gulf of Mexico, dwindling United States petrol stocks and production problems in Iraq, Ecuador and Nigeria.


Some analysts are wondering when prices will break through the US$70 per barrel level if the markets' longstanding jitters over increasing demand and tight global supplies last.


But others are a little bewildered by the continuing upward momentum, given the easing of concerns over US crude stocks and the imminent end to the peak northern summer driving season in the world's largest energy consumer.


On Thursday US crude settled US17c higher on the New York Mercantile Exchange, at US$67.49 per barrel, after briefly hitting US$68 in overnight electronic trading, the highest since US crude futures started in 1983. London Brent crude was up US26c on the International Petroleum Exchange to US$66.27, off its US$66.56 high.


Despite an easing of concern over Tropical Storm Katrina, some US oil companies started evacuating workers from GOM platforms.


The US National Hurricane Center on Thursday said it expected Katrina to miss rigs and platforms as it followed a path across southern Florida. But BP and Shell announced they were flying non-essential workers off ahead of the storm, while other companies said they were closely watching any weather developments.


Forecasters believe an unusually active North Atlantic hurricane season, which has so far produced 11 named tropical storms, could produce as many as 21 storms and hurricanes this year. So far this year, storms have shut-in over 6 million barrels of production in the Gulf, which is home to a quarter of all US oil production.


Oil prices surged by more than 2% on Wednesday to a new record of over US$67 per barrel on news of an unexpected drop in US petrol stocks and early worries that Katrina could damage production platforms.


US crude hit US$67.40 per barrel on the NYME before closing at US$67.35, which was still US$1.64 up on the previous day's trading close. London Brent crude was up US$1.33 to US$65.98.


US petrol stocks contracted for the eighth straight week, with the latest weekly report from the US government Energy Information Administration showing an unexpected 3.2 million barrel tumble. Analysts had been forecasting a drop of 1.1 million barrels. But US crude stocks rose 1.8 million barrels, contrary to analysts' forecasts of a fall.


Tuesday's brief Iraqi power glitch, which temporarily halted oil exports out of the Basra terminal, also reminded the markets about the vulnerability of global crude production. Prices inched up as a result, with US light crude settling up US6c to US$65.71, after falling as low as US$64.65, while London Brent crude rose US15c to US$64.65.


Earlier this week, oil production in Ecuador was still down to around 80% of its normal 530,000-bopd level after last week's attacks on oil facilities. Protesters, who want private energy companies to invest more in the poor Amazon communities where they operate, on Wednesday said they would not sign a settlement unless it guaranteed them immunity from prosecution, a condition the government refused.


Ecuador is South America's second largest oil supplier to the US after Venezuela.


Traders were also watching for any disruptions in Nigeria, the world's eighth-largest crude exporter, after the government pricing agency told the national oil company to recover all costs on sales, setting the scene for further consumer price hikes. Previous fuel increases have led to general strikes.


Last week French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said the oil "crisis" looked likely to last, with contributing factors combining to set the stage for high-priced oil for possibly decades to come.


This week International Monetary Fund chief Rodrigo de Rato said high-priced oil posed serious risks to Asia's economic boom. Asian economies, excluding Japan, grew an average 7.4% during 2004. This "remarkable" growth looked likely to continue this year and next, but the most important risk was oil, according to de Rato.



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ItÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¾Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢s interesting with oil falling back a little (after the Katrina spike) and recent talk of oil prices falling back to the US $35 level (Forbes Magazine) that US oil/gas stocks soared across the board, averaging over 3% increase this morning.


Frequently US oil stocks point the way for future oil price trends, so if the latest US oil/gas stocks increases are anything to go by, the oil price will probably head higher from current levels, rather than lower.


Similarly ASX oil/gas stocks usually follow the US trend, so after a quiet few days in the energy sector, Aussie oilers may be heading higher also.



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Gasoline, Oil Fall; Pipes Open, EU Is Ready to Provide Reserves

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) --

Gasoline and crude oil fell as some fuel pipelines shut by Hurricane Katrina were opened, refiners prepared to start plants along the Gulf of Mexico and the European Union said it's ready to provide the U.S. with reserves.

Colonial Pipeline Co. yesterday said shipments through its 5,519-mile (8,880-kilometer) pipeline to the U.S. Northeast may rise to 61 percent of the normal rate. EU governments are prepared to provide oil reserves to the U.S. to plug shortages, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said today.

``We've been hearing about restarts and the system will be slowly getting back on its feet,'' said Craig Pennington, head energy analyst at Schroders Plc in London. ``There is a deficit of supply so anything that comes from outside the U.S. is going to be required and will help the situation.''

Gasoline for October delivery fell as much as 6.96 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $2.3394 a gallon during after-hours electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract traded at $2.3485 at 11:31 a.m. London time. Gasoline pump prices yesterday averaged a record $2.707 a gallon, according to the AAA.

Yesterday, the gasoline futures contract surged as much as 9.3 percent to $2.4650, before closing 6.8 percent higher at $2.409 a gallon. Prices have surged 27 percent this week and have almost doubled from a year ago. The September contract reached a record $2.92 before expiring two days ago

The Gulf of Mexico receives more than half of U.S. oil imports and is home to about 50 percent of the nation's refining capacity. Power cuts, flooding and a lack of workers are hampering refiners' efforts to inspect plants and restore output.

Crude Oil May Rise

Crude oil for October delivery was at $68.98 a barrel, down 49 cents, in after-hours trading. The contract rose 53 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $69.47 a barrel yesterday, having touched $70.85 on Aug. 30, the highest since futures trading began in 1983. Prices are up 4.3 percent this week and are 57 percent higher than a year ago.

Next week, crude oil may rise above this week's record on concern damage to oil rigs and refineries from Hurricane Katrina will take months to repair, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Thirty-one of 61 analysts and strategists surveyed, or 51 percent, said oil will rise next week. Eighteen, or 30 percent, said prices will decline and 12 forecast little change.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc said it may restart the Motiva refinery at Convent, Louisiana next week. At least eight refineries were shut by Katrina, boosting October gasoline 25 percent this week.

$3 a Gallon

U.S. consumers are likely to pay $3 a gallon or more for gasoline for at least ``the next six to eight weeks'' because of refinery damage, Ben Bernanke, President George W. Bush's chief economic adviser, said yesterday. Motorists formed lines as long as a mile at stations in Georgia on Aug. 31, draining pumps before the Labor Day weekend.

Bush temporarily waived the Jones Act, allowing foreign-owned tankers to transport gasoline between U.S. ports. The government also eased restrictions on the blends of gasoline and diesel, which vary with the season and from state to state for environmental reasons, allowing supplies to be allocated more easily where they are needed.

Hurricane Katrina, which swept over Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and western Florida Aug. 29 caused an estimated $25 billion damage. Reports of at least 185 dead in Mississippi alone are ``credible and we worry that we may go up,'' State Governor Haley Barbour said on CNN yesterday.

Another Storm?

The storm shut 1.36 million barrels, or 90 percent, of the region's daily crude-oil output, according to the U.S. Minerals Management Service, which manages offshore resources. About 30 percent of U.S. oil production comes from platforms in the Gulf.

The Atlantic Basin hurricane season lasts from June to November.

``September is one of the peak months,'' said Tony Nunan, assistant general manager of international petroleum business at Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Corp. ``If we get another hurricane on top in the same area it will make things worse.''

Shell, Europe's second-biggest oil company, said repairs are under way at the 225,000-barrel Motiva Convent refinery in Louisiana.

The company's Capline pipelines are running at 75 percent of capacity and should be fully operational once power is restored to pumping stations in Mississippi, Shell said on its Web site.

Homes Destroyed

Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. oil company, is building a tent city for 1,500 workers and their families near its Pascagoula refinery in Mississippi. The company estimates as many as a quarter of the refinery's workers may have lost everything, the company said on its Web site.

U.S. average pump prices surged 36 cents overnight to a record $2.99 a gallon today, said Brad Proctor, founder of GasPriceWatch.com, which calculates the price for regular gasoline based on reports by volunteer price-spotters.

U.S. gasoline inventories declined 508,000 barrels to 194.4 million last week, according to an Energy Department report Aug. 31. Stockpiles have fallen for nine straight weeks and are at their lowest since November 2003.

BP Plc and Morgan Stanley are among companies planning to ship European gasoline to the U.S. As many as 10 tankers were booked this week to transport 363,000 metric tons from Europe to the U.S., according to five shipbrokers. The total would equal about 130 million gallons, enough to fill 5 million Chevrolet Tahoe trucks. Other companies hiring ships include Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips, the brokers said.

Exxon Mobil Corp. will receive 6 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to counter supply disruptions, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said in a statement. Deliveries can begin as soon as today, and the oil must be returned ``once supply conditions return to normal.''

Valero Energy Corp., the largest U.S. oil refiner, said the department approved a 1.5 million-barrel loan from the reserve.

The reserve holds about 700 million barrels of crude oil in salt caverns along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. The government also has a 2-million-barrel heating-oil stockpile in the Northeast.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Alejandro Barbajosa in London at  abarbajosa@bloomberg.net;
Will Kennedy in Singapore at  wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: September 2, 2005 06:44 EDT
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QUOTE (Brantley @ Friday 02/09/05 01:13pm)

i'm not surprised that they are shipping gasoline to the US with the current prices!


The funny thing is that in the short term crude oil stocks will probably rise as there is nothing to refine it. However, crude stocks in the medium term will be affected unless fields are brought back online quickly.


It seems to me that if the Saudis take up the slack for the lost GOM production then there is no spare production capacity left in the world. That assumes that the Saudis are telling the truth about their production. Also their crude is sour which is not really capable of being refined in the US so it is a token gesture really. Another supply shock could send the oil price even higher. Word is that the Nigerians are talking about striking yet again....

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QUOTE (theflasherman @ Friday 02/09/05 11:46pm)

    IEA states to release 2 million barrels a day
    4 September 2005

    PARIS - The governments of 26 countries have agreed to release the equivalent of 2 million barrels of oil per day from strategic reserves to cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the International Energy Agency said.

    The Paris-based IEA said its member countries "unanimously support" the measures, which will take effect for an initial period of 30 days. The IEA board said on Friday it would meet in two weeks to review the situation.

    "This coordinated response will free up extra supplies to help the market deal more effectively with the disruption caused by Katrina," British Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said. "This is a global oil market and so a multilateral response is the right way forward.�

    France said it had agreed to contribute the equivalent of 92,000 barrels of oil per day in refined products mainly petrol  and Spain said it will release 70,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

    The German Economy Ministry said the country would contribute about 6 per cent of the total. That would be about 120,000 barrels a day. Britain said it plans to release 73,000 barrels of oil a day for the next 30 days. Portugal also said it would support the IEA plan.

    "This request is part of the solidarity effort towards the American people, severely affected by this meteorological cataclysm, the French Industry Ministry said.

    Katrina ravaged the Gulf of Mexico coast, shutting down 1.5 million barrels per day of oil production and 2 million barrels a day of refining capacity, according to the IEA.

    Under the terms of the international agreements underpinning the IEA, almost half of the emergency stocks released will come from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That unlike many European states stockpiles is almost entirely made up of crude oil rather than refined products including petrol.

    The IEAs American deputy head, William Ramsay, said Washington might have to review its stocks policy as a result of Katrina.

    Until now, said Ramsay, a former U.S. ambassador to Congo, "it's always made more sense economically to have the crude on hand and then refineries can turn it into products depending on the requirements of the market at that time.�

    "But this particular incident is probably going to raise questions that maybe some product stocks would be in order," he said.

    The IEA urged members on Friday to prioritise petrol, and France indicated its contribution would be in refined products, mainly petrol.

    The United States has already begun lending crude from its strategic reserves to refineries, but needed an IEA agreement to approve a general release of emergency stocks. As part of the agreement, the Bush administration will release 30 million barrels of crude oil.

    But US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman acknowledged that plugging the shortfall of petrol was the main priority.

    The additional supply should help relieve high petrol prices, he said.

    Some analysts disagreed. "Don't think that this is going to mean your pump prices are going to go down," said Tom Kloza of the U.S.-based Oil Price Information Service.

  "What we're dealing with is not a crude-oil crisis, it's a petrol crisis, Kloza said.

    It's too soon to tell how helpful these crude shipments will be, he said, as questions remain about how many refineries will remain down due to damage and for how long. Fears of escalating fuel prices spread across the United States this week as damaged Gulf Coast refineries and fuel lines shut down. Nine Gulf Coast refineries have been shut down by electrical problems, flooding and other damage caused by Katrina. Two major pipelines carrying gas to the Midwest and East also have been partially disrupted. 

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In reply to: Brantley on Sunday 04/09/05 07:06pm

Japan to Provide 12 Percent of IEA's Emergency Fuel for Katrina

Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Japan, the third biggest-consumer of crude oil, will provide about 12 percent of the 60 million barrels of emergency oil that the International Energy Agency will release to ease shortages caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Japan will provide about 240,000 barrel a day for 30 days from its emergency stockpiles, Hidekazu Takakura, deputy director of the Policy Planning Division at the government's Natural Resources and Fuel Department, said by phone today.

``We haven't decided whether we will release them in oil or oil products, or both,'' Takakura said. ``We are seeking the best way to alleviate tightness in the international market.''

IEA, founded in November 1974 in response to Arab oil embargo, coordinates energy policies of its 26-member nations, including the release of stocks during emergencies. The group said it will release 2 million barrels a day of oil and fuel for 30 days to ease shortage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The U.S. will provide about half the total, with Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan also tapping stockpiles. While the U.S. has only crude oil in its reserves, the release will include refined products such as gasoline held by other IEA members.

Japan's government held 50.99 million kiloliters (320.7 million barrels) in the national stockpile as of the end of June, according to the Trade ministry.

The nation's oil refiners, wholesalers and importers held 22.41 kiloliters of oil and 20.59 kiloliters of fuel products in their stockpiles as of the end of June. Japanese refiners, wholesalers and importers are required by law to keep a minimum 70 days worth of consumption in private stockpiles.

Japan, which imports 99 percent of its oil, released oil stockpiles during January to March 1991, because Iraq's invasion of Kuwait raised supply concerns. It drew down a total 2.5 million kiloliters from the inventories held by oil refiners, wholesalers and importers.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Megumi Yamanaka in Tokyo at  myamanaka@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: September 3, 2005 04:57 EDT

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QUOTE (albion @ Sunday 04/09/05 10:09pm)

There are some preliminary reports that oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico is already resuming in some areas. Charles Goodson of Petro Quest operates 11 production platforms in the Gulf. He spoke by phone with Bloomberg Television.

"We've really had no major damage - [just] hand-rails, things like that," he said. "Because most of these platforms are built to withstand direct hits from some of these hurricanes. Certainly, Katrina was a much larger hurricane, much higher winds, but for the most part, we came through this thing very well."

Mr. Goodson says he expects his company's production will reach 85 percent of capacity within the next few hours. Opinion continues to be divided on the longer-term economic impact of the disaster.


Emergency Oil and Gas Supplies Released, Prices Ease
By Barry Wood
02 September 2005

Oil fuel Nozzle
Crude oil and gasoline prices fell on major markets Friday on the news that emergency supplies are being released from European and U.S. stockpiles.

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said the Paris-based International Energy Agency is allowing member governments to release 60 million barrels of oil and refined products onto the market over the next month. About half of that will be released from U.S. emergency reserves.

Mr. Bodman praised the decision by the 26-member IEA and the help being provided by America's European allies.

"This is a demonstration of the kind of solidarity and support [we are getting]," he said. "And I believe it is an appropriate response to the disruption that is currently occurring as a result of the hurricane that we are dealing with."

Prices for a gallon of gasoline top $3 in Downtown Denver
Prices for a gallon of gasoline top $3 in Downtown Denver
The additional supplies will help compensate for the loss of production from the hurricane-devastated U.S. Gulf Coast, where about one-third of the U.S. refining capacity is located. Mr. Bodman is hopeful that U.S. retail gasoline prices, which have soared this week, will soon turn downward.

"There will be additional supply available of both crude oil and refined product because of this decision of the IEA," he said. "And with additional supply, I would expect that there will be some decline in price, but that will be a function of the marketplace."

After rising all week to top $70 a barrel, crude oil prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell back Friday to about $68 per barrel. Gasoline futures prices were also down, for the first time this week.

Even though gasoline prices in some parts of the United States have risen by as much as 40 percent in recent days, there were relatively few cases of panic buying on Friday, although there were reports of long lines at gas station ahead of a three-day, holiday weekend.

There are some preliminary reports that oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico is already resuming in some areas. Charles Goodson of Petro Quest operates 11 production platforms in the Gulf. He spoke by phone with Bloomberg Television.

"We've really had no major damage - [just] hand-rails, things like that," he said. "Because most of these platforms are built to withstand direct hits from some of these hurricanes. Certainly, Katrina was a much larger hurricane, much higher winds, but for the most part, we came through this thing very well."

Mr. Goodson says he expects his company's production will reach 85 percent of capacity within the next few hours. Opinion continues to be divided on the longer-term economic impact of the disaster.

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