Brent crude surged above $90/bbl for the first time in seven years Wednesday over concerns of tight supply arising from political tensions in Europe and the Middle East. Oil prices ended the day about 2% higher, staying essentially flat in late morning trading today with WTI at $87.36/bbl and Brent at $89.93/bbl.
U.S. natural gas prices surged Wednesday on higher heating demand in regions hit by frigid weather. Futures were 3.9% higher in late morning trading at $4.45/MMBtu.
OPEC+ will likely continue unwinding pandemic production cuts by 400,000 bpd in March, as global demand remains resilient despite record COVID-19 cases in major oil-consuming countries. The group will meet next week to decide.
European utilities have raised more than $10 billion through bond offerings this month, the most since 2014, as energy prices remain high and borrowing costs are expected to rise.
Striking energy workers in France lowered the nation’s nuclear and hydro power generation by 2.5 GW Wednesday.
Oil production is set to triple next month in Guyana, the resource-rich South American nation that’s been a primary focus of new capacity investment by oil majors during the pandemic.
High-impact drilling activity in the U.S. returned to growth in 2021 after a decade-low the previous year, as the early-pandemic crash in demand forced producers to slash drilling budgets and defer exploration.
Low natural gas prices in 2020 caused many U.S. operators to lower proved reserve estimates and scale back development plans for new wells, leading to a 4% decline in proved reserves:
U.S. independent energy company Hess saw $265 million in fourth-quarter profit compared to a $176 million loss the same time in 2020.
An out-of-season wildfire in California’s central coastal region is now 55% contained after forcing hundreds to evacuate the past week.
Container ship charter rates are continuing to hit record highs, with prices for 3,500-teu vessels shooting up to $60,000/day on three-year contracts compared to $45,000/day just a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, spot rates for the largest dry bulk ships are down 56% since the start of the year in a traditionally weak quarter.
The Port of Savannah saw 12 straight months of record container growth in 2021, totaling a 20% annual rise to 5.6 million TEUs.
The American Trucking Association’s for-hire truck tonnage index hit 114.7 in December, up 1% from the month before and the highest level for the index since April 2021.
Total freight truck mileage on U.S. roads hit a record for the 12 months ending last September and is expected to grow even more in 2022, leading state officials to look for ways to ramp up spending on road and bridge maintenance.
Union Pacific reported fewer on-time trips and other deteriorating performance measures in the fourth quarter amid high levels of COVID-19 infections among workers.
Class I freight railroad CSX saw quarterly profit rise 23% to $934 million as strong pricing gains offset a 28% increase in expenses.
High demand for cardboard and lumber is lifting southern timber prices, raising hopes of a more consistent path forward for the sector that has seen some of the greatest volatility of the pandemic. Saw timber prices are up 18% from their 50-year lows of 2020 but remain well below levels of two decades ago.
The U.S. reported 653,120 new COVID-19 infections and 4,040 virus fatalities Wednesday.
The U.S. seven-day average for new COVID-19 fatalities reached 2,258 per day Tuesday, up from about 1,000 two months ago and eclipsing early 2021’s wave of the Delta variant. The CDC expects the nation to record 62,000 more virus fatalities over the next month.
Total COVID-19 hospitalizations in West Virginia rose to a record 1,043 Wednesday.
COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising in Utah, with a record 776 new patients admitted Wednesday.
Health officials and scientists are closely tracking the BA.2 “stealth” subvariant of Omicron, which is rapidly spreading in Europe and Asia, though only 96 cases have been confirmed in the U.S. so far. In mid-January, it comprised 45% of COVID-19 cases in Denmark, up from 20% two weeks earlier.
It could take years for vaccine makers to develop a shot that works against all COVID-19 variants, federal health officials say.
Abbot Laboratories, one of America’s largest producers of COVID-19 rapid tests, reported $2.3 billion in testing-related sales in the final three months of 2021 but warned that demand will slow this year.
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