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Potential Iran Nuclear Deal Could Further Lower Oil Prices

On April 2, Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) reached a framework agreement that could result in the lifting of oil-related sanctions against Iran. Lifting sanctions could substantially change the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) forecast for oil supply, demand and prices by allowing a significantly increased volume of Iranian barrels to enter the market. If and when sanctions are lifted, the baseline forecast for world crude oil prices in 2016 could be reduced $5-$15/barrel (bbl).

Iran is believed to hold at least 30 million barrels in storage, and EIA believes Iran has the technical capability to ramp up crude oil production by at least 700,000 bbl/day (bbl/d) by the end of 2016. The pace and magnitude at which those volumes would reach the market would depend on the terms of a final agreement.

Indian Petrochemical Industry Could Reach $100 Billion by 2020

Growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 14%, petrochemicals industry in India is likely to reach $100 billion by 2020 from the current size of about $40 billion, according to a recent study by ASSOCHAM.

“Petrochemicals currently contribute about 30% to India's $120 billion worth chemical industry which is likely to grow at a CAGR of 11% over next few years and touch $250 billion by 2020,” noted the study.

“Petrochemicals sector is one of the fastest growing segments with a growth rate of 13% which is more than twice of growth of India's GDP and also the global growth rate in petrochemical space which is stagnant at 6%,” noted the study.

“Huge investments made in the petrochemical space bode well for the growth of this segment, besides there is a steadfast growth in the production activity of the main petrochemicals,” said Mr D.S. Rawat, ASSOCHAM secretary general.

NRC Finds Major Safety Issues at NJ Nuclear Power Plant

The NRC will increase its level of oversight at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant following the finalization of one “yellow” and one “white” inspection finding for the Lacey Township (Ocean County), NJ facility. A “yellow” classification indicates substantial safety significance while a “white” connotes low to moderate safety significance.

The “yellow” finding involves design aspects of electromatic relief valves, or EMRVs, for the Exelon-owned and -operated plant. During refurbishment work in June 2014 on two EMRVs removed from the plant in 2012, the company found an alignment problem with the valve’s actuator. When the valves were tested, they did not open.

Texas Proceeds Against Shale Disposal Wells Linked to Quakes

The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) directed the Commission’s Hearings Division to initiate proceedings requiring the operators of two disposal wells in the area of Azle, TX to show cause why the injection permits for the wells should not be cancelled and the wells ordered shut-in due to an alleged connection raised by new seismic research between ongoing operation of the wells and seismic activity in the vicinity.

The two wells at issue are XTO Energy Inc.’s West Lake SWD No. 1, Newark, East (Barnett Shale) Field, Parker County and Enervest Operating L.L.C.’s Briar No. 1, Caughlin (Strawn) Field, Wise County.

“In light of SMU’s study linking disposal well activity to earthquakes in 2013, it is important to assess this new information in relation to the continued operational safety of the wells,” RRC chairman Christi Craddick said in a statement.

U.S. Shale Fracklog Triples as Drillers Keep Oil From Market

“Drillers in oil and gas fields from Texas to Pennsylvania have yet to turn on the spigots at 4,731 wells they’ve drilled, keeping 322,000 barrels a day underground, a Bloomberg Intelligence analysis shows.” For perspective, that’s nearly as much oil as Libya, a member of OPEC, has pumped this year.

“The number of wells waiting to be hydraulically fractured, known as the fracklog, has tripled in the past year as companies delay work in order to avoid pumping more oil while prices are low. It’s kept crude off the market with storage tanks the fullest since 1930. The fracklog may slow a recovery as firms quickly finish wells at the first sign of higher prices.”

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