Libya lifts force majeure at Zueitina
The Libyan National Oil Corp. announced it lifted a legal clause that absolved it from meeting contractual obligations at the eastern oil terminal because of what it said was an "improvement of the circumstances" in the country. NOC said the first barrels from the 70,000 bpd facility could leave the eastern port at some point this week. The port's re-opening is a response to a deal brokered with eastern rebel leaders last month and Libyan Justice Minister Salah al-Merghani said protracted conflict could drag the country into war. Libya's oil output, however, remains a shadow of its peak post-war capacity of 1.4 million bpd.
U.S. crude oil imports continue steady decline
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said crude oil imports averaged 7.5 million barrels per day for the week ending April 25. That's down 313,000 bpd from the previous week and establishes a steady trend that reflects accelerated domestic crude oil production. Domestic production for the week averaged 8.5 million bpd, which marks a 14.2 percent increase from the same time last year. U.S. crude oil inventories, meanwhile, increased by 1.7 million barrels, not counting the barrels stored in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Nevertheless, the level of import decline was slow. EIA said the average level reported during the last four-week period was only 0.1 percent lower year-on-year.
Discoveries & Exploration Results
Igor Sechin, president of Russian oil giant Rosneft, said his company was looking to capitalize on what he said was the "enormous resource potential in the offshore arctic." Drilling the first well in the far north Kara Sea, he added, was without question one of main priorities of future exploration and production. A seismic campaign began in 2012 in the region and the company expects to install meteorological stations and monitoring units this summer to determine best how to develop Rosneft's Eastern Prinovozemelsky license areas.
The troubles continue for developers looking to take advantage of the 13 billion barrels of crude oil thought to sit in the Kashagan oil field offshore Kazakhstan. The field's entire network of pipelines may have to be replaced with an alloy resistant to the corrosive hydrogen sulfide present in the field. Consortium member Eni said this week the pipeline problems may be "worse than we considered." Kashagan began operations very briefly in late 2013 and production…