Oil prices at five-month high on big drop in U.S. crude stocks
Oil & Gas 360, August 5, 2020
Oil prices rose to their highest since early March on Wednesday on a drop in U.S. crude inventories and the weak dollar, but mounting coronavirus infections weighed on the demand outlook. U.S. crude inventories fell by 8.6 million barrels in the week to Aug. 1 to 520 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 3-million-barrel drop, the American Petroleum Institute found. Official figures are due on Wednesday. A weaker dollar, which makes oil cheaper for holders of foreign currencies, also supported prices.
“There’s no escaping the benefits of a weaker dollar in the commodity space and oil is certainly basking in its decline,” senior OANDA analyst Craig Erlam said. Sentiment also drew support from signs that talks between Democrats in Congress and the White House on a new coronavirus relief package are making progress, although the sides remain far apart. U.S. factory data this week also showed an improvement in orders, which some analysts took as a hint of economic recovery.
US senators aim to ease pipeline permitting after latest Keystone XL setback
S & P Global, August 4, 2020
US Senate Republicans from energy-producing states are pushing for infrastructure permitting reforms after a fast-track program came under court challenge this year and became the latest roadblock for the Keystone XL heavy crude pipeline. Senator John Cornyn of Texas introduced Aug. 4 a bill to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act “to clarify certain activities that would have been authorized under Nationwide Permit 12 and other Nationwide Permits,” according to the preliminary text of the bill.
Graphene enables rapid COVID-19 testing
Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News, August 5, 2020
An easily administered COVID-19 test that delivers accurate results nearly instantaneously would be a game-changing technology that could slow the spread of the virus as governments look to re-open economies. One Canada-based technology company says it has developed such a test, thanks to the special properties of graphene.
Graphene Leaders Canada Inc. says it has developed a sensor enhanced with this 2D material that can reliably detect the presence of COVID-19 in seconds by testing saliva, eliminating the need for the notoriously uncomfortable nasal swab or oversight by a medical practitioner.
Keystone XL puts Biden on hot seat by striking deal with four labor unions
Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, August 5, 2020
Keystone XL has struck a deal with four leading unions to build the Alberta-to-Nebraska oil pipeline, creating a potential headache for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who has vowed to kill the project even as he woos the labor vote. In a Wednesday announcement, TC Energy said a project labor agreement has been reached with the Laborers International Union of North America, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Union of Operating Engineers, and the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters. “We’re proud to reach today’s agreement with TC Energy that will put UA members to work on this project, bringing safe and efficient energy to American families,” said Mark McManus, general president of the pipefitters’ union. “This project will bring good paying jobs to our members, all while keeping energy costs low and delivering a boost to local communities and their economies. We’re ready to get to work.”