The 3 Week Diet System

Monday, March 31, 2014

Arabian American Development PT Raised to $18.50 at Singular Research (ARSD)

March 31:

Arabian American Development (NASDAQ:ARSD) had its price objective raised by Singular Research from $15.00 to $18.50 in a research report released on Friday morning, Analyst Ratings Network reports. Singular Research currently has a buy rating on the stock.
Shares of Arabian American Development (NASDAQ:ARSD) traded down 0.64% during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $10.85. The stock had a trading volume of 64,541 shares. Arabian American Development has a 52 week low of $7.07 and a 52 week high of $13.17. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $11.95 and a 200-day moving average of $10.72. The company has a market cap of $262.2 million and a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.82.
Arabian American Development (NASDAQ:ARSD) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, March 6th. The company reported $0.13 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.15 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $66.60 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $55.72 million. On average, analysts predict that Arabian American Development will post $0.75 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
Arabian American Development Company is engaged in manufacturing various specialty petrochemical products.

BP stopped from entering jet fuel market

April 1:

NEW DELHI: British energy major BP plc appears to be experiencing "bad karma", an expression hippies used in the sixties to philosophize on their run-ins with authorities in India. 

After much ado, BP recently had to join an arbitration process against the Centre on gas pricing, much against an unspoken corporate philosophy to never get into a fight against the government of the land. 

Now, its desire for a pie of the lucrative aviation fuel market has been blocked. The oil ministry has rejected its application for a licence, saying it did not fulfill conditions for retailing transportation fuel. 

The ministry had on March 8, 2002 said companies wishing to sell transportation fuel must own and operate a refinery with an investment of at least Rs 2,000 crore and such investments must be made, or proposed to be made, in the form of equity or similar instruments such as convertible debentures. 

But, BP described the development as an ongoing exercise. "BP has had positive discussions with the ministry regarding our application for obtaining license for ATF (aviation turbine fuel or jet kero) marketing in India. We are confident we meet the requirements and are working closely with the authorities to complete documentation," a company spokesperson said. 

BP submitted its application on December 9 through BP Explorer (Alpha) Ltd, the same subsidiary that has invested in the KG-D6 gas field operated by Reliance Industries Ltd off the Andhra coast that is in the eye of the gas pricing storm. 

After lengthy discussion with ministry officials, BP on January 24 clarified it would transfer the authorization to a proposed Indian entity, BP (Indian Co), that would be formed after the licence was granted. 

In its clarification to the ministry, BP said it has 30% stake in 21 oil and gas production sharing agreements in India worth an investment of Rs 43,258 crore. In addition, BP has invested some Rs 3,000 crore in exploration business in the last three years. 

BP has an MoU with state-run IndianOil Corporation for collaboration in jet fuel retailing. IndianOil has the largest ATF service network. The government is also in the process of opening up the aircraft refuelling infrastructure of public sector retailers for private players on tolling basis. 

Exxon dismisses an IPCC-prompted upsurge

March 31:

Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, said on Monday that risks related to climate change pose little risk to its oil and gas reserves because the resources will be needed to meet expected growth in energy demand.
Responding to queries from shareholder activists, the company also said it is "confident" that none of its oil and gas reserves will lose value or become "stranded" if governments act to slash carbon emissions.
"We believe producing these assets is essential to meeting growing energy demand worldwide, and in preventing consumers – especially those in the least developed and most vulnerable economies – from themselves becoming stranded in the global pursuit of higher living standards and greater economic opportunity," Exxon said in a report released in response to call from activist shareholders.
Earlier this month, the Irving, Texas-based company agreed to detail the risks climate change poses to its carbon assets in exchange for the withdrawal of a shareholder proposal on the issue.
The resolution, filed by investors from As You Sow and Arjuna Capital, cited studies suggesting that lower demand or prices for fossil fuels might emerge in coming years as a result of climate change or greater carbon regulation.
Based on its previously published long-term outlook, Exxon expects the world to require 35 per cent more energy by 2040 and greenhouse gas emissions are expected to plateau in that period.
While governments could take action that affects Exxon, the company said it is "highly unlikely" that governments would restrict greenhouse gas emissions 80 per cent over the next 30 years.
To mitigate risk from climate change, Exxon has a "constant focus on efficiency" and looks for ways to reduce emissions from its own operations, it said.
Also on Monday, the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in a report that global warming poses a growing threat to the health, economic prospects and food and water sources of billions of people.

U.S. Regulators Say Oil Industry Withholding Data on Rail Crashes

March 31:

Federal regulators said on March 28 that the oil industry was withholding key information related to the series of train derailments and explosions involving transporting crude oil. The Department of Transportation said that trade groups like the American Petroleum Institute vowed to share the results of tests on crude from the Bakken, but have thus far failed to do so.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) said in January that oil from the Bakken could be more volatile and dangerous than conventional crude oil found elsewhere. However, they said that they needed more data and the industry agreed to make the results of tests available. But, as of March 28, according to Reuters, Transportation officials are unhappy with the industry’s cooperation.
"Despite the energy industry making assurances to DOT more than two months ago, we still lack data we requested and that energy stakeholders agreed to produce," the agency said in a statement to Reuters on Friday. “The overall and ongoing lack of cooperation is disappointing, slows progress, and certainly raises concerns.” A spokesperson from the industry disagreed that oil and gas companies are dragging their feet.
According to Reuters, it appears that individual oil companies are not on the same page as their trade associations. “I told them that they have a choice to provide DOT the information directly or to work through the association that is in the process of providing a consolidated response,” said Richard Moskowitz, chief counsel for the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers. That mixed message has apparently led to some confusion among certain companies. Without all the data available, safety officials are not able to reach conclusions about how to treat crude oil being shipped by rail.

Voice of Russia: Obama can't supply Europe with natural gas

March 31:

Obama can't supply Europe with natural gas

The American President promised his European allies that America will save Europe from its dependency on Russian natural gas imports. He promised to issue an order that will allow energy companies to export LNG from the US in unlimited quantities. But do those “unlimited quantities” really exist?

Rumors say that upon hearing the news about Obama's order to supply Europe with American natural gas, energy traders joked that the President will have more chances to succeed with an executive order canceling the law of gravity. The facts don't jive with the promises made by the US President.
The only existing project for LNG export is Freeport LNG that awaits the final approval by mid-2014 in order to start building the facilities required. The first operational unit of Freeport LNG will be on-line in 2020 and that is the best-case scenario. Moreover, most of the gas that is supposed to be liquefied and exported through this facility has already been bought by consumers in Asia where prices are 30-50 percent higher than in Europe. There four other projects in very early stages of development. According to a CNBC report, approximately 80 percent of the LNG exports coming on-line in the next few years are committed to Asia, currently the largest market for U.S. natural gas producers. Of course, the next US President can try to coerce the owners of Freeport into redirecting their flows to Europe but someone will have to compensate the resulting losses and it is a safe bet that America's budget is too stretched to handle such a massive blow.
Creation of new export facilities will not help because the US would have to sacrifice all the benefits of the “shale gas revolution” and give up all hope of wooing production back from China with lower energy costs in the US, because in order to put a dent in Gazprom revenue a huge amount of gas will have to be shipped to Europe. Moreover, the federal budget will have to subsidize natural gas trading with Europe in order not to allow the private companies that operate LNG terminals to ship the gas to customers in Asia. Such sacrifices, including the obvious risk of plunging the US into a deep recession, are a steep price to pay just to spite Russia and it is quite unlikely that an American president trying to implement such a plan would remain in office for long. In the improbable scenario that the US agrees to sacrifice its economy in order to supply the EU with natural gas, the refurbishment of the European natural gas transportation system to allow massive LNG imports will require 5 to 7 years of cooperative work with the involvement of all European countries, with the costs ranging from 85 to 185 billion dollars, depending on the source of estimation.
The facts show that the US will not be able to replace Russia or even dent Russia's influence on the European energy market, regardless of the promises made by Barack Obama.
Read more:

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners Price Target Cut to $78.50 by Analysts at Citigroup Inc. (KMP)

March 31:

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE:KMP) had its price objective decreased by Citigroup Inc. from $86.00 to $78.50 in a research report released on Friday morning, reports.
Citigroup Inc. has also updated their ratings on a number of other basic materials stocks in the last week. The firm initiated coverage on shares of MercadoLibre. They issued a sell rating on that stock. Also, Citigroup Inc. upgraded shares of TC PipeLines to a neutral rating. Finally, Citigroup Inc. lowered its price target on shares of Lululemon Athletica inc. from $65.00 to $61.00.
Shares of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE:KMP) traded up 0.41% during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $73.95. The stock had a trading volume of 1,318,215 shares. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners has a one year low of $71.32 and a one year high of $92.99. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $75.60 and its 200-day moving average is $79.28. The company has a market cap of $32.812 billion and a P/E ratio of 19.58.
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE:KMP) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, January 15th. The company reported $0.77 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.73 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $3.47 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.39 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.61 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 29.5% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts predict that Kinder Morgan Energy Partners will post $2.79 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut their price target on shares of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners from $81.00 to $79.00 in a research note on Thursday. Separately, analysts at Zacks reiterated a neutral rating on shares of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners in a research note on Friday, January 24th. They now have a $87.00 price target on the stock. Finally, analysts at Credit Suisse reiterated an outperform rating on shares of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners in a research note on Thursday, January 16th. They now have a $90.00 price target on the stock. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $74.05.
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE:KMP) is a pipeline transportation and energy storage company in North America.

Edison International Receives Overweight Rating from Morgan Stanley (EIX)

March 31:

Morgan Stanley restated their overweight rating on shares ofEdison International (NYSE:EIX) in a report released on Friday,AnalystRatings.NET reports. Morgan Stanley currently has a $58.00 price objective on the stock.
“After the close yesterday EIX announced a settlement related to its retired nuclear facility (SONGS), a key overhang for shares and impediment to reaching a premium valuation, in our view. We view the agreement as balanced since it provides certainty, a slight uplift in EPS, modest additional write-offs, and recovery of a majority of its investment. “In addition, there is upside for shareholders in the event the company receives funds from insurance and/or Mitsubishi. We expect an ultimate Commission approval in the coming months and do not foresee an onerous process given supportive commentary following settlement announcement.,” the firm’s analyst commented.
Edison International (NYSE:EIX) traded up 2.39% on Friday, hitting $56.61. 4,097,004 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Edison International has a 1-year low of $44.26 and a 1-year high of $55.44. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $51.82 and its 200-day moving average is $48.22. The company has a market cap of $18.444 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.86.
Edison International (NYSE:EIX) last released its earnings data on Tuesday, February 25th. The company reported $0.81 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.67 by $0.14. The company had revenue of $2.94 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.59 billion. Analysts expect that Edison International will post $3.68 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Wednesday, April 30th. Investors of record on Monday, March 31st will be paid a dividend of $0.355 per share. This represents a $1.42 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.57%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 27th.
Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Analysts at Barclays raised their price target on shares of Edison International from $54.00 to $58.00 in a research note on Friday. They now have an overweight rating on the stock. Separately, analysts at ISI Group raised their price target on shares of Edison International from $54.00 to $58.00 in a research note on Friday, March 21st. Finally, analysts at BMO Capital Markets raised their price target on shares of Edison International from $50.00 to $53.00 in a research note on Thursday, February 27th. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company. Edison International currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $55.79.
Edison International, is a holding company of Southern California Edison Company (NYSE:EIX).
To view Morgan Stanley’s full report, visit Morgan Stanley’s official website.

Libya: Men arrested aboard rogue oil tanker released

April 1:

A North Korean-flagged tanker, the Morning Glory, is seen docked at the Es Sider export terminal in Ras Lanuf in this March 8, 2014 file photo. What began late in 2013 as a routine new assignment for Pakistani sea captain Mirza Noman Baig ended in a dramatic night-time rescue as U.S. special forces seized the ship his family said he was forced to operate by Libyan rebels. Picture taken March 8, 2014. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Files
A North Korean-flagged tanker, the Morning Glory, is seen docked at the Sidra export terminal in Ras Lanuf in this March 8, 2014 file photo. (Reuters/Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Files)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Libyan authorities released three men on Monday who were arrested aboard the rogue Morning Glory oil tanker.
The men were detained aboard the tanker when it was seized by US Navy SEALs two weeks ago at the request of the Libyan government, after it had taken on oil from the rebel-controlled port of Sidra.
They are reported to be members of the rebel militia that has blocked three key oil terminals in the eastern half of the country, demanding more autonomy and a greater share of oil revenue.
A source in the Libyan attorney-general’s office told the Reuters news agency that the three men were released as a goodwill gesture, in the hopes of improving chances for a negotiated end to the standoff between Tripoli and the rebels occupying the eastern ports.
Sadiq Al-Sour, head of investigations at the attorney-general’s office, told Reuters he disagreed with the decision.
“These are people who committed crimes . . . Now justice is entering political conflicts,” he said.
The North Korean-flagged tanker found itself at the center of a dispute between Libya’s central government in Tripoli and the rebels after the latter attempted to use it to ship oil abroad, outside of the control of Tripoli and Libya’s National Oil Corporation.
After attempts by forces loyal to the central government to prevent it departing failed, the ship was seized in waters south of Cyprus. The affair led to the downfall of then-interim Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, who was dismissed by the Libyan parliament.
The tanker and its cargo were turned over to the Libyan government by the US Navy last week.
The rebels blocking the oil have hindered the Libyan government’s attempts to end the security vacuum in the country. The government remains unable to impose its authority on the various militia units that it relies on in the absence of professional security forces, which are in the process of being trained with foreign assistance.
Although Libya’s oil revenues account for more than 90 percent of the government’s funding, the country’s oil exports have at times fallen to less than 100,000 barrels a day (bpd) as rebel action shut down exports across the country in 2013, down from over 1 million bpd in 2012.

Winning the War against Corruption: Let Us Reform Not Deform Our Institutions

April 1:

b17082011--Sam-Ohuabunwa.jpg - b17082011--Sam-Ohuabunwa.jpg
Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa
The other day I heard the NNPC Group Managing Director, lamenting that the image of NNPC was being tainted so much by constant accusations and negative press,that the group was losing credibility in the International Market and this was affecting their ability to attract foreign investments to the oil and gas industry where NNPC is the face of Nigeria. This got me thinking and I felt empathy for him and the organisation he leads.
When the National oil company was just called National Oil Company( NOC),it was a small organisation that Nigerians respected. Then we expanded its scope and mandate and changed its name to Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC).
It holds Nigeria's equity in all the joint ventures  with International Oil companies(IOC), it has it's own independent upstream operations, it is the sole participant in the midstream refining and piping operations and it is involved in the downstream operations of importing refined petroleum products and distributing them through its pipelines and own filling stations.
From asset capitalisation, it is the biggest Corporate organisation in Nigeria and I believe that it is also the largest employer and for all intents and purposes,it is the most significant contributor to our National economy.
Nigeria has assigned so much to NNPC and has made it a behemoth, that is at the centre of virtually everything in Nigeria- revenues, petroleum products provision, pipelines integrity, provision of gas- natural, domestic and liquified, electricity power, petrochemicals. With such concentration of power and relevance,it is little wonder that NNPC is on the news everyday, most times for the wrong reasons.
Because when petrol and other refined products are flowing normally from the filling stations, nobody really remembers NNPC. But when there is revenue shortfall, or there is fuel scarcity, then NNPC will be in everybody's mouth. In all of this,it is important to remember that those who work in NNPC did not create the problem.
They did not write the NNPC law. It looks to me that sometimes we take out our frustration with this behemoth with tentacles every where on those who run or manage the company including the political supervisors of the company.
Recently we have had the name of NNPC mentioned with missing monies. The outgoing 'governor- general' of CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi opened with a written accusation that NNPC was withholding money belonging to the Federation account worth 49.5 Billion dollars. He later changed his mind that it was 12 Billion dollars and soon after changed the figure to 20 Billion dollars before, he went on suspension.
I had written in this column a few weeks ago, that this would not be the first time such allegations had been made. Similar accusations against NNPC and it's officials we're made when Chief( now HRH) Edmund Dakoru was GMD, so was it when Aret Adams and Jackson Obaseki were GMDs.
Even when Kupolokun, Oniwon and Yardua  were GMDs,accusations against NNPC and it's leadership we're rife. Yet no one has proven any case of corruption against these men even after leaving office, but their image and reputation were tarnished while in office. Some times, it may have been the problem of reconciliation of records or accounts, especially given the complex way Revenue from oil is warehoused and accounted for between NNPC, DPR, IFRS,AGF and CBN.
The same fate seems to affect Supervising ministers of NNPC and the oil industry, Don Etiebet, Prof Tam David West, Prof Rilwanu Luqman,and Senator Jubril Aminu Were all smeared when they were ministers. Even our 'incorruptible' Muhammed Buhari was accused of vanishing with the oil windfall when he was minister of Petroleum.
Because of the power the ministers wield or are presumed to have,they stand condemned even before they commit any crime. May be out of Jealousy of those enormous powers and the accruing benefits, they come under undue scrutiny and any matter can be held against them. In the last few weeks the issue of the current Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke using chartered aircrafts or private jets has filled the air waves, attracting the attention of the National Assembly.I am personally taken aback by the interest this has generated.
Many Petroleum Ministers before her flew private Jets or chartered aircrafts and so do many of  the current Ministers. Governors( past and Present),Senators, Hon members of the House Reps ,most fly on private jets or chartered aircrafts both on official and private trips within and outside the Country.Governor of Central Bank and some times the deputy governors fly private jets or chartered aircraft.
Even Chief executives of Government  parastatals like Customs NNPC and senior advisers to the government( federal and State) fly in chartered jets and some of these government owned institutions even own their own aircrafts. Of course many senior private sector CEOs and Business leaders in Oil & Gas, Telecoms, Banking and Industry,now travel in private jets or chartered aircrafts.
From a business man's point of view, and with the situation of our local airlines( infrequent flights, limited routes, undue delays and safety records),it makes sense to own your own aircraft , if you can afford it or fly chartered aircrafts. For me it's no big deal for top private and Public sector leaders to travel in Chartered aircrafts, thats the trend globally and should really not be a justifiable reason to malign a senior public servant like a minister who superintends a global business- Oil & Gas, except there is abuse.
Having said this, we must return to the issue of corruption in our Country. It is a big issue and we must deal with it holistically. Blackmailing Public Servants or seeking escape goats can cause drama but it will not touch the root of our problem. One minister goes and another comes and we begin to attack or accuse him or her for the same 'offences'.
My candid opinion is that we must continue to reform our institutions, instead of deforming them or demonising their managers as we have done over several years with little result. When Nzeogwu came in Jan 1966, he came to fight corruption. When, Mutala Mohammed came in 1975, he came to fight corruption, and when Muhammad Buhari came in 1983, he also came to fight corruption. Even when Baba Olusegun Obasanjo came back in 1999, he tried to fight corruption. Yet we are still  139 out of 174 Countries in the 2013 corruption perception index (CPI) published by Transparency international.
As long as Ants have access to sugar, they must climb in to lick. Flush them out with Shelltox, new ones will arrive next moment. As long as 'pupu' is exposed any where, flies must aggregate. Kill them with Raid, new ones will arrive soon. As long as there is meat with blood in the open,vultures must hover around, even if you shoot them, they will fly away and return the next minute. The only sustainable way to keep these animals away is to separate them from the 'attraction'. So is the animal called Man.
Our only hope of dealing corruption a deadly blow especially in the Public Sector is to REFORM.Time was when we talked of corruption in Nitel and the Telecoms business. As soon as we deregulated the sector, corruption in that sector died,and Nitel followed suit. Now that we have fully deregulated the power sector, who is talking of bribery and corruption again in NEPA or PHCN. I am certain that if the Petroleum industry bill (PIB ) is passed, NNPC restructured,and the deregulation of the down stream oil sector is completed, corruption or the perception of corruption in the oil sector will diminish significantly and over time will die.
Additionally, Nigerians will have to make effort to reform or transform themselves. There is too much hypocrisy. Many are steeped in corruptive activities and yet they are so oblivious or pretend they are not, but will readily join the chorus 'crucify him, crucify him' the moment somebody is accused,even without proof. Every Nigerian I meet, condemns corruption and claims, he is not corrupt.
Then who is making Nigeria occupy the bottom place on Transparency International index year after year? Aliens or ghosts? . Let us humble ourselves and decide to abhor corruption in all it's ramifications and at all levels. I am for waging total war against corruption and profligacy in our Nation because they are stiffling development.But we must stop being hypocritical and just looking for escape goats or whom to blackmail.May God help us!
*Ohuabunwa served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals PLC until August 31, 2011.


PG&E Co. Stock Rating Lowered by Citigroup Inc. (PCG)

March 31:

Citigroup Inc. downgraded shares of PG&E Co. (NYSE:PCG) from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a research note released on Friday morning, reports. They currently have $46.00 target price on the stock, down from their previous target price of $52.00.
PG&E Co. (NYSE:PCG) traded up 3.13% during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $43.20. 7,109,556 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. PG&E Co. has a 52-week low of $39.42 and a 52-week high of $48.50. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $43.64 and its 200-day moving average is $41.65. The company has a market cap of $19.771 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.89.
PG&E Co. (NYSE:PCG) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, February 11th. The company reported $0.42 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.75 by $0.33. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.59 earnings per share. Analysts expect that PG&E Co. will post $3.02 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Tuesday, April 15th. Investors of record on Monday, March 31st will be paid a dividend of $0.455 per share. This represents a $1.82 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.34%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 27th.
Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Analysts at Deutsche Bank downgraded shares of PG&E Co. from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Friday. They now have a $45.00 price target on the stock. Separately, analysts at Zacks reiterated a neutral rating on shares of PG&E Co. in a research note on Wednesday, March 12th. They now have a $45.00 price target on the stock. Finally, analysts at Wolfe Research upgraded shares of PG&E Co. from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a research note on Tuesday, March 11th. Ten research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company. PG&E Co. presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $45.33.
PG&E Corporation is a holding company that conducts its business through Pacific Gas and Electric Company (NYSE:PCG).
To view Citigroup’s full report, visit Citigroup’s official website.


March 31:

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) -- The Department of Energy says tests show four more workers were contaminated with low levels of radiation during a leak at federal government's underground nuclear waste dump.
Officials also said Monday that they're planning to get a crew underground Tuesday for the first time since the Valentine's Day accident at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico.
The DOE says a total of 21 workers received low doses of radiation, all well below levels deemed unsafe.
On Tuesday, the DOE said it plans to send a team of team of eight experts into the half-mile deep mine to begin setting up bases from which they can start investigating what caused the leak.
The dump is the nation's only permanent underground repository for low-level radioactive waste from nuclear weapons facilities.


Dollar Holds Retreat as Yellen Lifts Stocks; Crude Drops

March 31:
The dollar held declines versus most of its major peers while futures on indexes in Australia and Hong Kong climbed as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the U.S. economy still needs support. Crude oil dropped with China to kick off a swathe of manufacturing data today.
The greenback lost 0.2 percent versus New Zealand’s dollar by 7:36 a.m. in Tokyo and held yesterday’s 0.1 percent retreats versus the euro and the pound. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) and gauges in Hong Kong added at least 0.1 percent with Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures little changed following a 0.8 percent jump in the benchmark U.S. measure. Platinum rose 0.2 percent as oil in New York fell a second day.
Gauges of Chinese manufacturing today are projected to confirm a picture of slowing growth in Asia’s largest economy. Private data on factory output from India to Vietnam is also due, along with the quarterly Tankan index of sentiment among large manufacturers in Japan, where a sales-tax increase comes into effect today. Australia and India review interest rates. Yellen said in a speech that the U.S. economy will need support for “some time” as there is still slack in the job market.
“Fed policy will remain as record-low levels to sustain the current trajectory are unlikely to change even if data-dependent mantras are impacted to the upside,” Evan Lucas, a markets strategist in Melbourne at IG Ltd., wrote in an e-mail to clients today. China’s manufacturing data “is going to be seen one way, despite an expansion or contraction read. The expectation of stimulus is building.”

Kiwi Gains

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the currency against 10 major peers, lost 0.1 percent in New York after Yellen’s speech, which came after her previous comments ignited speculation U.S. interest rates could be increased as soon as the middle of next year. Aiding declines, the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc.’s business barometer unexpectedly dropped to 55.9 for last month from 59.8 in February. March payrolls data will be released April 4.
New Zealand’s currency, known as the kiwi, strengthened to 86.80 U.S. cents after rising 5.5 percent in the first quarter, the best performance against the dollar of 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg.
The Australian dollar was little changed at 92.71 U.S. cents after gaining 0.2 percent to the highest close since Nov. 20 in the last session. The Reserve Bank of Australia is projected to keep its overnight cash rate target at a record-low 2.5 percent today. The central bank in India, where markets are closed a second day for holidays, will probably keep its repurchase rate at 8 percent, according to the median of 39 economists’ estimates collated by Bloomberg.

Tankan Survey

The yen was little changed at 103.26 per dollar after falling a third trading day yesterday, down 0.4 percent. Japan’s currency gained 2 percent in the first quarter as concern over the outlook for China’s economy and Russia’s incursion into Ukraine fueled demand for safe-haven assets.
The Tankan index of business confidence among large manufacturers will probably rise to 19 for the first quarter from 16 in the previous period, according to the median of 23 economists’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The Tankan gauge of how the biggest manufacturers view the outlook for business conditions, however, is forecast to drop to 13 from 14 in the last three months of 2013.
Futures on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.1 percent to 14,835 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, from 14,815 in the previous session. Contracts on the gauge in Osaka lost 0.1 percent to 14,810 by 3 a.m. local time, after the Nikkei 225 closed up 0.9 percent at 14,827.83. Japan’s consumption tax rises to 8 percent from 5 percent today, part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to rein in the nation’s debt.

EPCOR Water recognized for safe drinking water efforts

March 31:

PHOENIX, AZ, March 31, 2014 -- The Partnership for Safe Water, an alliance of the six largest drinking water organizations, has honored EPCOR Water (USA) Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of EPCOR Utilities Inc., with the Director's Award of Recognition for the Anthem Water Treatment Facility's successful completion of Phase III of the Self-Assessment and Peer Review portion of the Partnership's Treatment Optimization program.
EPCOR Water USA's Anthem plant, located in Anthem, Ariz., is one of the first membrane treatment facilities in the United States and only the third facility in the state to achieve the Director's Award. Accordingly, fewer than two percent of water utilities in the country have achieved this recognition. Phase III includes comprehensive evaluation of treatment plant operations and performance, identification of performance limiting factors, and the development of action plans to achieve optimization.
The Partnership for Safe Water is a program developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Water Works Association (AWWA) along with other partner organizations to guide water suppliers towards improving water quality by optimizing system operations without increasing operating costs. EPCOR Water USA will be one of a select group of utilities honored by the Partnership for Safe Water at the Annual Conference of the American Water Works Association held in Boston, Mass., on June 8-12, 2014.

Energy realism

April 1:

When Lindsay Leask from Scottish Renewables talks about building more offshore wind farms to tackle climate change (your report, 25 March), I would ask if she has calculated the accurate CO2 footprint of doing so.
Not the one peddled by the Scottish Government or the Department of Energy and Climate Change but the real one – the one that includes turbines manufactured abroad and transported here.
The multitudes of foreign workers and machinery that will inevitably be needed. The filthy process of mining and producing the tonnes of rare earth minerals required in every turbine. The grid connection required and the decommissioning.
A Freedom of Information request confirms that none of these are factored into calculations. The reason?
Because they are not factored into fossil fuel generation calculations either.
Well, that’s all fine and dandy but fossil fuels are not sold to us as being green and clean, as wind power is.
Climate change is happening. If it hadn’t we would be dodging dinosaurs. I hate this scaremongering we have now that is a deliberate ploy to make us all feel guilty and make us accept expensive wind energy.
Changing our behaviour and reducing our energy consumption would probably do more good (and save us money on our energy bills) than Alex Salmond’s dream of blighting Scotland with thousands of turbines.


Haze engulfs gas contracts

March 31:

New Delhi, March 31: Reliance Industries and its customers today failed to agree on the key terms of the sale of natural gas that was to be effective from tomorrow. The government asked the Mukesh Ambani-run company to continue supplies on existing terms in the interim.
After an almost five-hour meeting between RIL and the urea companies, the two sides failed to arrive at a consensus on the rate at which gas should be sold.
The options were the rate of $4.2 per million British thermal unit (mBtu), which expires today, or $8.34 per mBtu, the price that would have been applicable had the Election Commission not postponed the implementation of the Rangarajan committee’s formula till the completion of the general elections.
RIL wanted the 16 fertiliser companies to pay $8.34 per mBtu for about 13 million standard cubic meters per day of gas they bought from its eastern offshore KG-D6 field.
But the fertiliser units said since the new rate was not applicable and the oil ministry had ordered the supply of gas at the existing rate till the model code of conduct was in place, they would provide letters of credit at $4.2 per mBtu.
Fertiliser secretary Shaktikanta Das, who chaired the meeting, said RIL would supply gas on the existing terms in the interim and a new gas sale and purchase agreement (GSPA) would be negotiated.
“We had discussions today with the Fertilizer Association of India (FAI) and RIL on GSPA. Reliance has agreed to supply gas at $4.2 mBtu. In the meantime, Reliance and FAI will sit together to come up with a new agreement,” Das said.
Ire at oil ministry
Finance ministry P. Chidambaram today criticised the petroleum ministry for referring the decision to hike gas prices to the poll panel.
“There was no case to refer the gas price hike to the poll panel,” Chidambaram said, adding that the ministry did it out of “abundant caution about not violating the poll code of conduct”.
Chidambaram pointed out that the gas price issue was taken up by the cabinet twice. “It (cabinet) had taken into account all the pros and cons, including the reservations expressed by different ministries. The cabinet decision is the right decision.”
He warned of the consequences of not implementing the revised gas prices. “For every unit of gas that we do not produce, it does not mean we can live without gas. Today, we’re importing one unit of gas at a much higher price than the approximately $8 (per mBtu) we have indicated from April 1, 2014.”
The government had come under fire for raising gas prices. AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal had complained to the EC against the decision, arguing that the move is against the model code of conduct for political parties.
KG dispute panel
The Supreme Court today appointed an international arbitrator as the chairman for adjudicating the dispute between RIL and the government over the recovery of cost for developing the KG basin gasfield.
James Spigelman, former Chief Justice and Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales, Australia, will be the third arbitrator and the chairman of the arbitral tribunal. The other two members of the tribunal are former chief justices of India — S. P. Bharucha and V. N. Khare. RIL nominated Justice Bharucha as its arbitrator, while Justice Khare was the Centre’s nominee.


Zijin studies shale

April 1:

Zijin Mining Group (2899), China's biggest gold miner by market value, is studying a move into shale gas and will target buying super mines after falling bullion prices and rising costs cut profit.
Net profit fell 59 percent to 2.13 billion yuan (HK$2.66 billion) last year from 2012, the Shanghang, Fujian-based firm said.
Zijin will spend about 8 billion yuan to buy large gold and copper mines.
"Given what has happened in the US, shale gas has a bright future in China and we are willing to give it a try and see what may happen," chairman Chen Jinghe said in Hong Kong yesterday. "Zijin would seek partnerships with firms already holding shale assets and it would take at least three to five years before we can see any meaningful results from shale gas business."

Zijin shares eased 0.6 percent to HK$1.65 yesterday. BLOOMBERG


Husky Energy turns on Liwan gas

April 1:

Husky Energy, controlled by Hutchison Whampoa (0013), and CNOOC (0883) said their first China deepwater natural gas project in Liwan has started production.
"Liwan is Husky's largest project to date and places us inside the door of one of the fastest-growing energy markets in the world," said Asim Ghosh, chief executive of the Canada-listed energy firm yesterday. "It was a massive undertaking and is a great achievement for deepwater gas production in the Asia- Pacific region."
Husky has a 49 percent stake in the US$6.5 billion (HK$50.7 billion) Liwan gas project while the rest is held by CNOOC.

It said the initial sales of condensates and natural gas liquids from its first field are expected to amount to about 10,000 to 14,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The first production of Liwan has taken about seven years from discovery.
Liwan is located about 300 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong. It has a subsea production system, subsea pipeline transportation and onshore gas processing infrastructure.
Husky is responsible for the deepwater segment of the Liwan project, which is located more than 1,200 meters under water, while CNOOC operates the shallow-water facilities. IMOGENE WONG


Italy energy giant says nation will survive next winter without Russian gas

March 31:

Reuters / Stefano Rellandini
Reuters / Stefano Rellandini

Italy will be able to get by next winter without Russia gas supplies, according to the head of Italian oil and gas giant Eni.
"We are concerned for next winter but are confident that even in the unfortunate case there are no supplies through Ukraine we can manage just the same," Paolo Scaroni said Monday.
Italy is reliant on imports for 90 percent of its gas needs, Reuters reported. Supplies come from Russia, Libya, Algeria, and Holland.
Russia’s energy exports loom large in the wake of increased pressure from the European Union and the United States against Russia for developments in Ukraine and Crimea. The EU as a whole accounts for about one-third of Russia’s exports, 40 percent of which pass through Ukraine.
Last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron called for more energy independence from Russia, touting the possibility of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in southeastern Europe, as well as Poland and the UK itself.
"Some countries are almost 100 percent reliant on Russian gas, so I think it is something of a wake-up call," Cameron said Tuesday at the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague.
The UK, though, imports only a small amount of gas from Russia.
Britain has bought gas straight from Russia, after a 2012 deal that promised direct purchasing through October 2014. The deal is still alive, despite UK’s calls for a move away from dependence on Russia, whose exports provide up to 15 percent of the country’s gas needs. The UK’s own gas production is falling by 7 percent annually, as the country looks for alternate sources.
EU leaders have also urged the US to free more of its gas reserves for export across the Atlantic.
"What we are asking for is a willingness of the US side to be more pro-active on licences," said João Vale de Almeida, the EU ambassador in Washington, at an EU-US summit last week. "What has changed in the last few weeks is the realization in America that energy is used as a political tool by Russia."
US President Barack Obama, while not ruling out the possibility, countered that Europe should consider fracking on more of its own territory.
Fracking, highly controversial among the public in the UK and US, is the process of injecting water, sand, and various chemicals into layers of rock in hopes of releasing oil and gas deep underground.
The practice has been linked to host of human and environmental health risks. Recent studies have detailed fracking’s links to cancer, fetal health defects, damage to the endocrine system, and other chronic health threats. Reports have also shown the practice leads to increased carcinogenic air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Magellan plans $250m condensate splitter

March 31:

Project: Magellan to build condensate splitter

Oklahoma-based Magellan Midstream Partners said on Monday that it plans to build a $250 million condensate splitter at its terminal in Corpus Christi, Texas, alongside international commodity trader Trafigura.
The facility will be built under a fee-based, take-or-pay agreement with Trafigura, Magellan said.
Included in the project design is more than 1 million barrels of storage, dock improvements and two additional truck rack bays at Magellan's terminal, as well as pipeline connectivity between the terminal and Trafigura's nearby facility.
The splitter will be capable of processing 50,000 barrels per day of condensate, "fully supported by a long-term commitment from Trafigura". Magellan could build a second 50,000-bpd splitter at the same site "if warranted by additional demand".
Magellan chief executive Michael Mears said the splitter is a response to increased domestic condensate production in the US.
"Our Corpus Christi terminal is ideally situated to receive condensate from the Eagle Ford shale, including shipments via our Double Eagle pipeline joint venture, and to offer flexible services and a variety of market options for our customer," Mears said in a statement.
Condensate comprises about half of the Eagle Ford's increasing output. The US Energy Information Administration expects Eagle Ford output to reach 1.36 million bpd in April.
Magellan expects the splitter to be operational during the second half of 2016, pending permit approvals.
Magellan said last year that it was looking for a partner to build a condensate splitter at its Corpus Christi marine terminal.
Separately, Targa Resources Partners announced plans to build a $115 million, 35,000-bpd condensate splitter at its Channelview Terminal on the Houston Ship Channel.
Targa said it was working with Noble Group to support the project with a long-term, fee-based contract, and that the project was expected to start up about 18 months after permits were secured.

TEPCO to cut costs, investments

April 1:

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, said on Monday it plans to cut 576.1 billion yen of costs over a 1-year period and 1.3 trillion yen over three years.
The cuts are more than the reductions TEPCO would have made before the meltdowns at the Fukushima plant three years ago, the utility said in a statement.
TEPCO also plans to cut its investments by a further 410 billion yen over three years - above the targets outlined in a business turnaround plan that was approved this year by the government, which took over TEPCO after the March 2011 disaster.
The company aims to generate recurring profit of 130 billion yen by the year starting April 2016.
It laid out the costs and profit targets in what it called an “action plan.”