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Energy and commodities highlights: Algerian politics, Brazilian autos and plastics-to-fuel tech

Summary:
Oil markets had their eyes trained on North African politics this week, and developments in Libya and Algeria in particular. Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation on April 2 threw the state’s long-delayed oil and gas reforms into doubt. Bouteflika had just a few days earlier appointed Algeria’s fourth energy minister in three years. In Libya, eastern military leader General Khalifa Haftar looked to be pushing for greater control over the country, adding to other supply-side concerns that have recently driven sentiment in crude oil markets. Further south in the continent, industry members gathered in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, for the APPO Cape VII conference. At the event, OPEC’s secretary general said the group and its allies would not ease recent

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Oil markets had their eyes trained on North African politics this week, and developments in Libya and Algeria in particular.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation on April 2 threw the state’s long-delayed oil and gas reforms into doubt. Bouteflika had just a few days earlier appointed Algeria’s fourth energy minister in three years.

In Libya, eastern military leader General Khalifa Haftar looked to be pushing for greater control over the country, adding to other supply-side concerns that have recently driven sentiment in crude oil markets.

Further south in the continent, industry members gathered in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, for the APPO Cape VII conference. At the event, OPEC’s secretary general said the group and its allies would not ease recent output cuts despite recent price increases.

GRAPHIC OF THE WEEK

The aging US coal fleet is being squeezed from all sides, with policy, cheap domestic gas supply and developments in clean energy generation all contributing to fast-paced closures. S&P Global Platts Analytics data show that since peaking at 317 GW at the end of 2011, US generating capacity with coal as the primary fuel fell by 73 GW, or 23%.

Energy and commodities highlights: Algerian politics, Brazilian autos and plastics-to-fuel tech

PODCAST: BIG THEMES IN AMERICAS CRUDE AND PRODUCTS

S&P Global Platts oil market editors Seth Clare, Laura Huchzermeyer, Maria Eugenia Garcia and Daron Jones discuss the most talked about topics at the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers’ Annual Meeting in San Antonio, one of the largest energy industry events in the US.

Topics include a new grade of US crude oil, challenges in Venezuela, the US-Mexico jet fuel relationship, and two fires that erupted near Houston during AFPM.

METALS

Auto sector could be main recovery driver for Brazilian steel demand: S&P Global Ratings

The automotive sector could be the main driver of any recovery in steel demand in Brazil if the construction sector does not pick up, said Diego Ocampo of S&P Global Ratings.

OIL AND PETCHEMS

Feature: New plastics-to-fuel plants tighten squeeze on oil demand outlook

A new breed of plastic recycling plants capable of recovering crude and fuels from plastic waste is piling more pressure on global oil demand forecasts. The growing backlash against single-use plastics has seen a number of companies looking to launch these new plants at commercial scale.

COAL

More mine safety checks in China stoking fears of coal supply disruption

China’s mine safety watchdog ordered inspections at “high risk” mines after recent industry accidents, stoking fears that thermal coal availability might be affected in the near term. The checks will start with immediate effect and run until June.

AGRICULTURE

US floods to delay corn planting; carryover stocks to ease market pressure: sources

Corn planting in some areas of the US is likely to be delayed after recent floods led to saturated fields, but the effect on the market will be limited because of plentiful carryover stocks, sources said.

THE LAST WORD

“No one has the right answer as to which fuel to use. Look for where you need fuels for your particular ships. Pick for individual vessels. Companies that pick the right fuel will win.”

John LaRese of ExxonMobil Marine Fuels, on the conundrum facing bunker buyers as IMO 2020 nears.

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