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Google, Fiat Chrysler to test self-driving minivans in Michigan

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL -- By Jeff Bennett
Published: May 25, 2016 9:39 p.m. ET

Alphabet Inc.’s GOOG, +0.72% GOOGL, +0.69% Google has begun work with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV FCAU, +3.03% on self-driving technology for testing in Pacifica minivans, and will open an engineering and development center in a Detroit suburb, Google’s autonomous vehicle chief said Wednesday.

A new office in Novi, Mich., will serve as the base for Google’s autonomous driving research in Michigan, according to a statement by John Krafcik, Google’s self-driving car project chief executive. Engineers will begin moving into the site this year.

The Google car team has been a leader in developing autonomous car technology, and signed a deal earlier this month to begin collaborating with Fiat Chrysler as its first automotive partner. Go  (go to article)

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Snyder declares energy emergency over gas supply woes

Detroit Free Press -- Gov. Rick Snyder has declared an energy emergency in Michigan, citing concerns about gasoline supplies as one of the biggest driving weekends of the year approaches.

Executive Order 2016-10 suspends state and federal regulations for the number of hours and consecutive days for fuel truck drivers, so they'll be able to drive longer — and therefore farther — to load up on gas.

Driving this is the West Shore petroleum pipeline shutdown in Wisconsin, which supplies six Green Bay terminals. Trucks leave from six terminals there to service gas stations in the Upper Peninsula.

...Declaring an energy emergency is "pretty uncommon," according to GasBuddy.com senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan.  (go to article)

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$65 oil is 'badly needed'

BUSINESS INSIDER-OilPrice.com -- A minimum price of $65 a barrel for oil is “badly needed at the moment” according to Qatari energy minister Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada.

On Tuesday, the Qatari minister told the Associated Press that crude has not been trading at a “fair price."

The two-year steep drop in oil prices sets the stage for the next meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna on June 2nd.

The minister, who also serves as the head of OPEC, did not rule out the possibility of, once again, suggesting that member countries halt production to force the price of oil up.

The 13-member bloc’s last meeting in April failed to result in a production freeze after Saudi Arabia backed out of a negotiated deal at the last moment.

Iran has also said it would not participate in proposed freezes...  (go to article)

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Brent oil pushes above $50 for first time in nearly seven months

Yahoo News - Reuters -- SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Brent oil futures climbed above $50 a barrel on Thursday for the first time in nearly seven months, boosted after U.S. government figures showed a sharper-than-expected drawdown in crude stocks last week.

Buoyant stock markets also supported prices, with the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite all climbing overnight.

Brent had climbed 31 cents to $50.05 a barrel by 0225 GMT, its highest since Nov. 4. It ended the previous session up $1.13, or 2.3 percent.

U.S. crude futures rose 23 cents to their strongest since Oct. 12 at $49.79 a barrel, after settling the last session 94 cents higher.

"Certainly ($50) is a psychological barrier. There is a momentum, people will try and push it up over that," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst  (go to article)

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Two Ex-Senators Want Donald Trump to Keep Backing Ethanol Subsidies

New York Times -- On the eve of a major energy policy speech by Donald J. Trump, two former United States senators are urging him to hold the ground that he carved out during the Iowa caucuses in support of the ethanol industry.

While campaigning in January in Iowa, a major source of the corn-based ethanol, Mr. Trump supported an ethanol mandate, which is set to expire in 2022, and he criticized Senator Ted Cruz, one of his main rivals, for opposing it.

But Mr. Trump is now being advised by Representative Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, who does not favor extending the Renewable Fuel Standard, the act that provides for the mandate, and believes in letting market forces determine it.

Mr. Trump is set to give a speech on energy on Thursday at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, N.D.  (go to article)

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Los Angeles gasoline tumbles on supply build

Reuters -- Los Angeles gasoline differentials dropped 4 cents a gallon on Wednesday as regional gasoline inventories rose by 1 million barrels last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported.

Gains in West Coast supply have been expected since last week when Exxon Mobil's 149,500-barrel-per-day Torrance refinery near Los Angeles restarted the fluid catalytic cracking unit at the facility, which went out of service in February 2015 following an explosion.

The FCCU is running at roughly 75 percent capacity due to repairs on one of its compressors, which could take anywhere from 30 to 60 days, according to a West Coast market source.  (go to article)

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US corn used for ethanol slightly down week on week

Platts -- US corn used for domestic ethanol production in the week ended May 20 was 99.330 million bushels, down just 0.21% week on week, according to S&P Global Platts estimates based on EIA data released Wednesday.

The EIA earlier Wednesday reported US fuel ethanol plant production of 946,000 b/d in the week, a decrease of 2,000 b/d from the prior week. The estimate of corn use was based on an ethanol yield of 2.8 gal/bushel of corn processed.

In the 37 weeks since the current corn marketing year began on September 1, Platts estimates the cumulative amount of corn used for ethanol production to be 3.863 billion bushels, or 73.6% of the Department of Agriculture's 5.25 billion bushel projection for the year.

In the current marketing year, corn use for ethanol production represents the largest si  (go to article)

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America’s Heinous Commutes, Mapped in Pretty GIFs

Wired -- IF YOU’RE ONE OF the 128.3 million Americans who travel to work every day, chances are that your commute sucks. Dragging yourself out of bed is horrible enough, but couple that with traffic, construction, delays, ill-mannered drivers, poorly-constructed bike lanes, and the fact that your favorite podcast is slowly going downhill—slumping into your office chair is a relief.

And yet, Mark Evans has managed to make that collective experience bewitching—beautiful, even. Using data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey covering 2006 through 2010, Evans built an interactive map that charts the daily work-related travels of every person in the United States.

The map, which currently lives on Evans’s personal blog, allows anyone to look at commutes to or from the county of their  (go to article)

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Google is building a self-driving car R&D center near Detroit

The Verge -- Google's Self-Driving Car Project just announced on Google+ that it's building what it calls a "self-driving technology development center" in Novi, Michigan, about 30 miles northwest of Detroit. The 53,000-square-foot facility will be used for research and development in concert with the company's Michigan-based partners — this is still the home of the American auto industry, after all — and will be where Google works alongside Fiat Chrysler (based another 30 miles north in Auburn Hills) to build its self-driving minivans starting later this year. "Many of our current partners are based here, so having a local facility will help us collaborate more easily and access Michigan's top talent in vehicle development and engineering," the post reads.

The Novi facility is expected to open later  (go to article)

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Keystone denial affected Bakken pipeline strategy, executive says

The Gazette -- The denial of the Keystone XL pipeline affected how the company building the Dakota Access pipeline executed its strategy, one of its engineering executives said this week at an oil conference.

Joey Mahmoud, senior vice president of engineering for parent company Energy Transfer Partners, said the $3.78 billion interstate pipeline project now in the early stages of construction emphasized using labor unions and avoiding federal lands as the company watched the Keystone XL fail to get built.

Mahmoud said 96 percent of the 1,168-mile, 450,000-barrel-a-day crude oil pipeline’s route from Stanley, N.D., to Patoka, Ill., is set and the project should be completed by the end of the year. But about 50 miles of the route in Iowa are still in limbo and the Army Corps of Engineers still needs to a  (go to article)

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Crude oil inventories slump the most since April as imports fall

Reuters -- U.S. crude inventories slumped last week, the biggest weekly drop in seven weeks, as imports dropped and refiners cut output, while gasoline stocks soared ahead of the start of the U.S. driving season, the government said on Wednesday.

The report showed a surprising rebound in supplies from Canada, as weekly imports rose to 3.09 million bpd, from the previous week's 2.59 million bpd, despite Canadian oil sands shutdowns at the start of the month amid a massive wildfire.

However, traders said they expect further declines in Canadian imports in the coming weeks, as it takes about a month to move crude from Canada to the Midwest.

"Gasoline looks to be the weakest horse right now and the momentum of the recent rally that started on May 10 now looks to be breaking down," said David Thompson  (go to article)

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'White gasoline' soars as demand for electric vehicles surges

MSN - Money - CNBC -- Iron ore and gold have been the traditional staples underpinning Australia's commodities industry but lesser-known lithium could soon take over the mantle.

Atlas Iron (AGO-AU), an iron ore explorer, is one miner gradually gravitating towards the commodity dubbed the "white petroleum" for its silver-white appearance.

Speaking to CNBC on the sidelines of the Resources' Rising Stars Conference on Wednesday, Atlas Iron's managing director David Flanagan hinted that a tie-up with a lithium producer may be in the cards.

"We're not going to become a lithium player but if there's an opportunity to get value from that for shareholders, we'll do the right sort of deal."

Fresh from a major restructuring operation that involved halving its debt, Atlas announced in its May investor presentation - -  (go to article)

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Oil-rich Alberta proposes new carbon tax

SeeKing Alpha -- Alberta's government introduced legislation yesterday to implement an economy-wide carbon tax starting next year, part of a broader environmental policy package expected to phase out coal-fired plants in the province and cap emissions from oil sands production.

The new tax targets all fossil fuel consumption, including gasoline sales and natural gas for home heating; the government says it will levy a tax of C$20/metric ton from next January, which will be increased to C$30 from Jan. 1, 2018.

Two major oil sands producers, Cenovus Energy (CVE +2.8%) and Suncor Energy (SU +1.9%), have welcomed the move to position the oil-rich province as a leader in environmental stewardship.
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SEPTA, Uber to Announce Suburban Pilot Program

Philadelphia --
As part of an effort to improve access to mass transit regionwide, SEPTA will launch a pilot project this summer in partnership with the Uber ride-sharing service.

The pilot project is part of research SEPTA is conducting on the effect ride-sharing services may have on mass transit. A recent American Public Transportation Association study found that riders are already using such services for first and last mile connections to public transit, with 20 percent of study respondents saying they did so.

Details on how the SEPTA-Uber partnership will work and the benefits it will offer to riders will be released at a news conference at noon tomorrow in Jenkintown.

Read more at http://www.phillymag.com/news/2016/05/24/septa-uber-partnership/#Gmr7iexOq6XLPUEq.99  (go to article)

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SoCal Toll Roads Called Deceptive and Unfair

Courthouse News Service -- Toll roads, which make up 20 percent of the highways in Orange County, Calif., collect millions of dollars in illegal fines by failing to warn when a transponder is needed, a frustrated driver says in a class action.

Ebrahim E. Mahda sued the Transportation Corridor Agencies dba The Toll Roads on Tuesday in Federal Court. The agency is a joint powers authority legislatively created to build and operate Orange County's toll roads.
 (go to article)

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FenSens smart number plate frame helps avoid parking scrapes

Gizmag -- Parking sensors and reversing cameras have done a lot to prevent parking scrapes and reversing accidents in recent years, but they're generally the preserve of new cars. FenSens is aiming to change that with its new license plate frame, which wirelessly connects to your smartphone and gives you parking sensors regardless of how old your ride is.  (go to article)

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Google opening self-driving car facility near Detroit

USA Today -- Google may have hatched its self-driving cars in California's Silicon Valley, but it is returning to the traditional heart of the auto industry to develop it.

John Krafcik, CEO of Google's Self-Driving Car Project, said Wednesday that the tech giant will open a 53,000-squaree-foot development center in the Detroit suburb of Novi. He made the announcement in a post on Google+.  (go to article)

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Shell to cut another 2,200 jobs

BBC -- Royal Dutch Shell is to cut at least another 2,200 jobs, with around 475 of those coming from its UK and Ireland oil and gas production business.

The cuts are mainly due to Shell's takeover of oil and gas exploration firm BG Group and prolonged low oil prices, it said.

Shell has announced more than 10,000 job losses over the past two years.  (go to article)

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450 feet under Lake Michigan, classic car cache rests in frigid silence

M Live -- The world's largest collection of 1929 and 1930 Nash Motors automobiles exists not in a museum, but rather entombed in the frigid depths of Lake Michigan.

The cars, 268 of them, are lashed in rows inside and crumpled in a heap next to the wreck of the SS Senator, a Great Lakes steamship that rests for eternity in an uncharted sinkhole about 15 miles east of Port Washington, Wis.

The Senator, which sank during the final days of the Roaring Twenties as the country was plunging into the Great Depression, sits upright nearly 450 feet down; so deep that few, if any, divers will ever see her in person. Her collection of vintage autos once bound for Detroit join the pantheon of ships, airplanes, submarines, train cars and other vehicles of yesteryear that populate the bottom of Lake Michigan.

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Toyota invests in Uber to explore ride-share partnership

The Times-Picayune-AP -- Toyota said Tuesday it is investing in Uber, the nation's largest ride-hailing service, and the companies will explore new leasing options for Uber drivers.

Neither company disclosed the size and scope of the investment. The companies plan to create new leasing options so Uber drivers can lease Toyota vehicles and cover their payment through their income from driving.

It is the latest in a series of deals between automakers and ride-hailing services that are becoming a popular mode of transportation in large urban areas. In January, General Motors invested $500 million in Lyft, the nation's second-largest ride-hailing provider.

GM and Lyft have launched a program called Express Drive in Chicago. Through it, Lyft drivers can lease GM vehicles for $99 a week for up to eight weeks.  (go to article)

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Volkswagen, U.S. make substantial progress toward final deal-judge

Reuters -- Volkswagen AG has made substantial progress toward reaching a final settlement next month with car owners and the U.S. government over the German automaker's cheating on diesel emissions tests, a federal judge said on Tuesday.

But major issues remain, including how much the world's No. 2 automaker may have to pay in fines, which could run in the billions of dollars, to federal and state regulators for violating U.S. clean air rules, as well as an ongoing U.S. Justice Department criminal probe.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco reiterated that a settlement will include substantial monetary compensation for U.S. owners of 482,000 polluting vehicles that emit up to 40 times legally allowable pollution.  (go to article)

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The new normal in oil prices? Wild swings

CNN Money -- Extreme turbulence may be the new normal for the oil market.

That's the message from Citigroup, which on Tuesday became the latest oil bear to defect to the bullish camp. Edward Morse, Citi's commodities guru, believes oil prices could rise to $61 a barrel by next year because the epic supply glut may soon be over. That echoes a recent optimistic call from from Goldman Sachs.  (go to article)

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Oil prices will 'grind higher' and don't expect a smooth ride: Citi's Kleinman

CNBC -- Crude oil inventory drawdowns, supply outages and oil worker strikes are happening all over the world and are likely to prove beneficial to oil prices this year, the head of European energy research at Citigroup said on Wednesday.

"We stayed bearish through all of last year but starting early this year you really started to see oil supplies really getting whacked by the low oil price. And yes you see U.S. declines, but you see (the same) in Azerbaijan, you see it in Mexico, you see it in China, you see a pretty broad-based, widespread declines settling in," Seth Kleinman told CNBC on the sidelines of the Institute of International Finance summit in Madrid.  (go to article)

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Oil Industry Headed for Record Third Straight Year of Cutbacks

Bloomberg -- Global crude supplies will start to dwindle in as little as two years, boosting prices, as the industry cuts investment to weather the worst market collapse in a generation, according to Statoil ASA.

Oil companies reduced capital expenditure last year and are likely to cut it further this year and next, Statoil’s Chief Financial Officer Hans Jakob Hegge said in an interview in London. Lower spending means there could be a “significant effect” on crude supply after 2020, he said.  (go to article)

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Ford recalls 271,000 F-150s for possible brake fluid leak

M Live -- Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it is issuing a safety recall for 271,000 F-150 pickup trucks from the 2013 and 2014 model years for a possible issue with brake fluid leaking.

The Dearborn automaker said in some cases brake fluid has leaked from the brake master cylinder into the brake booster, affecting brakes to the front wheels, but not to the rear.

Ford said it is aware of nine allegations of accidents related to the issue with no injuries, and one alleged injury involving a pickup's brakes but not related to an accident.

The affected F-150s are equipped with 3.5-liter GTDI engines built at Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant from Aug. 1, 2013 through Aug. 22, 2014, and at its Kansas City Assembly Plant from Aug. 1, 2013 through Aug. 31, 2014.

On affected trucks, dealers will replace the bra  (go to article)

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Mozambique’s LNG Dreams Falling Apart

OilPrices.com -- Mozambique is heading towards a major default on outstanding loans related to offshore natural gas infrastructure, symbolizing the deflating hopes for a major source of new natural gas production from East Africa.

The state-owned Mozambique Asset Management is set to default on $535 million in loans, which it took out to construct shipyards to service natural gas drilling off of its coast. Because of the grace period included in the loan terms, Mozambique is not yet technically in default, but it could default soon if it fails to convince creditors to make a deal. Mozambique had tried to renegotiate with creditors, led by Russia’s VTB Bank, but has been unable gain some leniency.

Mozambique’s debt problems have snowballed...  (go to article)

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EIA: Gasoline inventories rise as crude oil inventories drop

GasBuddy Blog -- The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report today on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States.

Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories decreased by 4.2 million barrels (MMbbl) to a total of 537.1 MMbbl. At 537.1 MMbbl, inventories are 57.7 MMbbl above last year (12.0%) and are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories increased by 2.0 MMbbl to 240.1 MMbbl. At 240.1 MMbbl, inventories are up 19.5 MMbbl, 8.8% higher than a year ago. 

Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (+2.3 MMbbl); Midwest (-0.7 MMbbl); Gulf Coast (-0.9 MMbbl); Rockies (+0.3 MMbbl); and West Coast (+1.1 MMbbl). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drives prices up (in  (go to article)

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oil refiners shut down in france

yahoo -- all refineries in france are on strike thus no gas and stations are running out.  (go to article)

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There may be help for Ford F150 owners

CarComplaints.com -- Ford and owners settle class-action lawsuit that alleges Ford spark plugs break off in the engines  (go to article)

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UBCO research targets oil and gas pipeline safety

Kelowna Capital News -- A recent UBC Okanagan study could make it easier for oil and gas companies to prevent pipeline failures.

This study has resulted in an engineering model that could help the companies determine which areas of their pipeline network could be prone to corrosion and should receive priority for integrity testing.

“There are over 40,000 kilometers of pipelines operating in Canada alone and deciding how best to schedule and complete testing on those lines can be a daunting task,” said associate professor Solomon Tesfamariam.
 (go to article)

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Chesapeake Energy settles royalty lawsuits for $52.5 million

WFAA -- FORT WORTH -- Chesapeake Energy, in an effort to put its troubles in the Barnett Shale behind it, is settling hundreds of lawsuits that accuse the company of cheating thousands of property owners out of millions of dollars in natural gas royalties.

The biggest settlement, for $52.5 million, covers more than 400 lawsuits covering 13,000 clients.

The amount to be paid to each plaintiff will vary widely, based on the language in each landowner’s lease. While the settlement covers 13,000 individuals, the large majority of them have small-acreage leases that allowed post-production deductions, unlike many of the other royalty underpayment lawsuits that have been filed, according to a joint statement.

“We are pleased to have reached a mutually acceptable resolution of this legacy issue and  (go to article)

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Chevron-led group to invest up to $37B in Tengiz field, Kazakhstan says

SeeKing Alpha --
A Chevron-led (NYSE:CVX) consortium is set to invest up to $37B starting in 2017 as it increases output at the giant Tengiz oil field in Kazakhstan, the country’s energy minister tells Dow Jones.

The investment would represent one of the first big commitments by a major oil company to spend on new production during the nearly two-year slump in crude prices.

The Tengiz project is one of the world’s biggest oil fields and a key source for CVX’s growth in crude output in the next few years; CVX is the biggest partner in the field’s operator, with a 50% stake, while Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) holds a 25% stake, Kazakhstan’s state-run oil company has 20% and a Lukoil-controlled (OTC:LUKOF, OTCPK:LUKOY) group owns 5%.
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Chevron, Shell among bidders to operate Qatar oil field

SeeK Alpha -- Chevron (NYSE:CVX), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B), Total (NYSE:TOT), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) and Maersk Oil (OTCPK:AMKAF) have submitted bids to operate Qatar’s biggest offshore oil field, Bloomberg reports.

The Al-Shaheen field currently produces 300K bbl/day of oil, accounting for nearly half of Qatar’s daily crude output; Maersk Oil Qatar is the current operator and has developed and managed the field since 1992.

State-run Qatar Petroleum is expected to choose an operator this year.
 (go to article)

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268 vintage Nash cars are resting on the bottom of Lake Michigan.

MLive -- The USS Senator sank in Lake Michigan at the end of the 1920's, taking with it 268 brand new Nash automobiles headed for Detroit.  (go to article)

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Oil nudges $50 a barrel as investors bet on shrinking overhang

Yahoo News - Reuters -- LONDON (Reuters) - Oil rose towards $50 a barrel on Wednesday for the first time in seven months, driven by expectations that shrinking supply will help erode any overhang of unwanted crude, particularly after industry data showed a sharp fall in U.S. inventories.

A series of outages around the world, such as wildfires in Canada and a spate of violence in Nigeria's oil-producing region, has helped cut global oil supply by nearly 4 million barrels per day this month.

Although these hitches are temporary, they have contributed to a drop in the supply glut that has plagued the market for nearly two years.

Brent crude futures were up 58 cents at $49.19 a barrel by 0849 GMT, while U.S. crude futures rose 56 cents to $49.18 a barrel.  (go to article)

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Crude oil prices at highest in 7 months on U.S. supply surprise

Market Watch -- U.S. oil prices traded at their highest level in seven months on Wednesday after an industry group reported a larger-than-expected decline in U.S. crude inventories last week.

The American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday that its data for last week showed a 5.1-million-barrel decrease in crude supplies. The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its official data later on Wednesday and analysts polled by The Wall Street Journal expect U.S. crude stockpiles to have decreased by 2.5 million barrels.

“The unexpected API crude draw supports oil prices,” said Tamas Varga, oil analyst at PVM brokerage. “Short-term bullish developments dominate traders’ minds.”

Brent crude LCON6, +1.23% , the global oil benchmark, rose 1.2% to $49.19 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchang  (go to article)

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Oil jumps to near $50 after API reports big U.S. stockpile draw

Yahoo -- Oil rose about 1 percent on Tuesday on a boost from Wall Street and expectations of a drawdown in U.S. crude inventories, then prices jumped another 1 percent after settlement to nearly $50 a barrel after an industry group suggested the draw was larger than expected.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed U.S. crude inventories fell 5.1 million barrels last week, double the expectations of analysts polled by Reuters.

The market will watch for confirmation of the big draw when the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) issues official inventory numbers on Wednesday.  (go to article)

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OPEC could revive freeze in oil production

TRIBLIVE-AP -- The oil market is slowly recovering from its steep drop over the past two years but crude is still not trading at a “fair price” to encourage necessary investment, Qatar's energy and industry minister said Tuesday, ahead of next week's meeting of OPEC producers.

Speaking to The Associated Press from his high-rise office in the capital, Doha, Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada said a minimum price of $65 a barrel is “badly needed at the moment.” He cautioned that the security of future supplies is at risk because of the price slump that has squeezed oil producers since 2014.

“The oil market is recovering slowly but steadily. Luckily, the fundamentals show it is heading in the right direction,” al-Sada said. “I don't think we are yet at a fair price. We need to have a fairer price so that we...  (go to article)

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I-69 convoy to test self-driving tech

TheTimesHerald -- A convoy of U.S. Army vehicles will be cruising Interstate 69 in St. Clair and Lapeer counties in late June.

The vehicles will be testing a piece of technology that is a critical piece in the development and testing of driverless and connected vehicles.

“This is the first time these tests are being done on a highway,” said Doug Halleaux, public affairs officer for the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center.

TARDEC and the Michigan Department of Transportation will hold public information sessions on the testing May 23 in Imlay City and Capac.

The convoy will test vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure radio communications, Halleaux said. The technology used to communicate between the Army line-haul vehicles and between the vehicles and...  (go to article)

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Net metering benefits all ratepayers, two reports conclude

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL/SUN -- Two reports, one from the Brookings Institution the other from SolarCity, conclude net metering is a benefit to all utility ratepayers.
“According to our research, multiple analyses in multiple states around the country are in fact concluding that net metering is a net benefit for the grid and non-solar using customers — not a net cost,”

The report uses evidence from other states to evaluate the ongoing dispute in Nevada that net metering payments to rooftop solar customers is an unfair cost shift to other ratepayers.

State regulators earlier this year adopted a new rate class for rooftop solar customers after determining that net metering customers receive a subsidy from non-metering customers of about $16 million a year. The new rates have brought the rooftop solar industry in Nevada t  (go to article)

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Alaska crew to help Canada fight flames in Fort McMurray oilsands

CBC News - EDMONTON -- Alberta rallies international help for Fort McMurray wildfires
Alberta's fire boss hopes fresh feet at the perimeter of Fort McMurray's massive fire will save some of the province's most valuable assets
More than 1,000 firefighters from across Canada, the U.S., South Africa and other countries will soon join the roughly 1,200-member fire crew already in Fort McMurray
Provincial wildfire manager said his team made the decision to order them up last week — around the time the fires swept to the edges of oilsands sites, forcing a mandatory evacuation of 19 facilities north of Fort McMurray
Those evacuation orders have since been lifted, but caution continues as flames keep raging and growing
"This fire is not under control by any means," Morrison said in a news conference Tuesday, when asked  (go to article)

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Slowing decline of auto manufacturing in Canada will be tough: expert

CTV News -- Trudeau met with automakers in Japan Tuesday and asked them to consider building new assembly plants in Canada
But one expert says it will be difficult for Canada just to even keep its existing plants in operation
Canada has slipped from the world’s 4th-largest automotive assembling nation in the world to 11th, and he expects further decline
Canada has some assets that make it attractive to automakers, including a well-educated workforce, very productive plants and a competitive tax environment
However, high production costs make it tough to compete with the U.S. and Mexico, particularly when it comes to labour and electricity
All of Canada’s major auto assembly plants paid $112.24/MWh
in 2014
That’s about double the cost of electricity in 15 mid-western states, which averaged $48.08
“The  (go to article)

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Houston vacuum gasoil barges rise on ExxonMobil buying

Platts -- ExxonMobil went into the cash vacuum gasoil market as a buyer for a second straight day Tuesday during a unit outage at its Baytown, Texas, plant, and VGO found a seven-month high, market sources said.

Market sources said the refiner was buying feedstock to compensate for lost production of VGO from one of three crude distillation units at the plant. ExxonMobil on May 3 said one of the units was going into maintenance.

ExxonMobil was heard to buy at least three 45,0000-barrel barges of VGO and was seeking more feedstock Tuesday, market sources said.

"The Exxon deals were widely reported. They have a CDU problem, which is why they are buying," a US feedstocks trader said.

"Strong products make refiners crave VGO at higher levels," the trader said.  (go to article)

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Vallejo unveils plans for electric car plant at ex-shipyard

AP -- SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The city of Vallejo, which emerged from bankruptcy five years ago, is poised to get a big economic boost as plans to build a major plant for electric cars are rolling forward, officials said Tuesday.  (go to article)

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Oil's Recovery Under Threat as Tankers Run in Circles Off China

Downstream Today (Bloomberg) -- In late February, the tanker Jag Lok loaded oil from Equatorial Guinea in western Africa and set sail for the Chinese port of Qingdao, the gateway to the world’s newest buyers of crude, a journey of more than 12,000 nautical miles.

After reaching its destination in early April, the ship churned in circles for 20 days before it got a chance to deliver its cargo. That’s because the port in Shandong province was struggling to handle a record number of vessels arriving to supply the privately held refineries called “teapots” that dot the region, ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The backup illustrates the challenges facing the independent refiners, which have emerged as a bright spot of rising demand amid a global glut. The processors are forecast by ICIS-China to purchase a com  (go to article)

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Oil Ends Up on US Crude Drawdown Hopes, Wall Street Rally

Reuters -- NEW YORK, May 24 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Tuesday as investors anticipated a weekly drawdown in U.S. crude inventories that they hoped would boost prices closer to $50 a barrel, while a rally on Wall Street also lent support.  (go to article)

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These driverless car drones have been taught to drift

Business Insider -- Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology in the United States have built tiny, self-driving vehicles designed to drift around dirt tracks at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour without crashing, Evan Ackerman at IEEE Spectrum reports.
The little electric vehicle on the right is able to drift but operates without a driver using software called AutoRally, which enables it to stay in control (withstanding most crashes and roll-overs) while driving aggressively.

The car is 1 meter-long, 21 kilograms, and protected by a tough aluminium enclosure, according to IEEE. It was recently let loose on a dirt track in Georgia.

The aim of the test was to see if AutoRally could hit speeds of up to 8 metres a second without crashing. As shown below, it expertly handled the high speeds by drifting in  (go to article)

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Michigan Governor declares State of Energy Emergency ahead of holiday weekend

FOX28 -- Michigan Governor Rick Snyder issued an Executive Order Tuesday declaring a State of Energy Emergency in Michigan due to the shutdown of a fuel pipeline in Wisconsin and an unplanned outage of the Marathon refinery in Detroit heading into the holiday weekend.

A news release from the Governor's office said the order suspends state and federal regulations related to hours-of-service for motor carriers and drivers transporting all transportation fuels within Michigan,allowing them to exceed the number of hours and consecutive days in which they can operate a commercial motor vehicle. It does not waive any environmental rules or alter commercial arrangements.

“We want to make sure the fuel Michiganders need for their travels to work, school or a long weekend trip is available,” Snyder said.  (go to article)

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Autonomous Vehicles Hit Dirt Track to Push Handling Limits

Industrial Equipment News -- A Georgia Institute of Technology research team has devised a novel way to help keep a driverless vehicle under control as it maneuvers at the edge of its handling limits. The approach could help make self-driving cars of the future safer under hazardous road conditions.

Researchers from Georgia Tech's Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering (AE) and the School of Interactive Computing (IC) have assessed the new technology by racing, sliding, and jumping one-fifth-scale, fully autonomous auto-rally cars at the equivalent of 90 mph.

The technique uses advanced algorithms and onboard computing, in concert with installed sensing devices, to increase vehicular stability while maintaining performance.  (go to article)

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Electric Carmaker (Not Tesla) Begins Setting Up in Nevada

Industrial Equipment News -- Electric carmaker Faraday Future said Monday it will move heavy equipment and a handful of employees early next month to North Las Vegas, where the upstart company is planning a three million-square-foot manufacturing plant. The California-based company said it will soon set up construction trailers and fill dust-reducing water tankers at Apex Industrial Park. Grading is expected to begin in late June.

Faraday is "excited to kick off these next steps at our Nevada facility, and bring our vision of future mobility closer to reality," the company said in a statement. Faraday announced it will work with the multinational, Los Angeles-based design firm AECOM for architecture, design and construction of the facility.  (go to article)

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Motorists not all on board with self-driving cars, U-M study finds

M live -- ANN ARBOR, MI — Not everyone is ready for vehicle automation just yet, University of Michigan researchers have found.

Despite greater coverage of driverless technology advancements the past couple of years, most Americans still prefer to drive themselves — at least partially, researchers say.

In a follow-up to a report issued last year, Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak of the U-M Transportation Research Institute examined motorists' current preferences for vehicle automation, including their overall concern about riding in self-driving cars.

They found that about 46 percent prefer to retain full control while driving, while nearly 39 percent prefer a partially self-driving vehicle with occasional control by the driver. Just under 16 percent would rather ride in a completely self-driv  (go to article)

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