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Oil Prices Rise With Nigerian And Canadian Disruptions

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Oil Prices Rise With Nigerian And Canadian Disruptions

With U.S. oil supplies growing and production still going on, oil prices went way down. Some consumers were getting gas at less than $2 per gallon. These are prices nobody noticed for quite some time.

Oil went way down for a time, closing at $27 per barrel at its lowest point. This price was back in February. Prices rose somewhat steadily for a time, and prices hit a little over $46 today at closing. Brent crude futures closed right at $47 today.

A Volatile Period

Oil prices have been quite volatile this year, moving up and down, and all around, it seems. Some experts say that oil price fluctuation is far from over. Prices have risen somewhat for several reasons recently, but it is unknown how high it will go and for how long.

The Canada Situation

Canadian Oil Sands in Fort McMurray, Alberta, have recently seen some serious troubles. A wildfire that grew massive in a very short time is still raging out of control, but the danger seems to be away from work sites, allowing workers back in again. There was a temporary suspension of the operations for a week, but workers heading back will soon have production moving along.

The U.S. Situation

The EIA (Energy Information Administration) issued a report about U.S. inventory falling. U.S. stock went down by almost 3.5 million barrels. This plunge in stock prices also added to the increase in prices. Demand has been higher this year, and more so than expected by analysts.

The Nigerian Situation

Oil production in Nigeria dropped off after Nembe Creek Trunk Line went down. Repairs were necessary to the line after they found the leaks. These repairs brought down Bonny Light production and were a major blow to Nigeria’s already struggling economy.

The reason it hits so hard is that Forcados crude is still down. Leaks in the underwater pipeline forced production to cease. One can expect that Forcados will be able to resume production in June. Shell Petroleum Development Co operates the Nembe Creek Line and has not said when production will resume there as of yet. SPDC is part of Royal Dutch Shell.

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Other Issues Causing Price Rise

Nigeria and Canada were not the only contributors to a boost in oil prices. Some Latin American producers along with Asian, African, and North American have experienced some issues with production going down and other disturbances. These have all factored in on the resurrection of oil prices.

Before we get to the Middle East situation, let’s recap so far.

  • Oil prices have rebounded, closing at $47 per barrel in Brent futures market
  • Production drops from several causes have led to rising prices
  • Growing demand also contributes to
  • Canadian Oil Sands production slated to resume shortly after week-long shutdown due to wildfires in Fort McMurray.
  • Nigerian production hit hard by Nembe Creek Trunk Line closure
  • Price rise also helped by increase in demand

The Middle East Situation

It seems there is always something going on in the Middle East, and that is because there is. Right now, oil producers in the Middle East could very well cut the legs out from under this rebound in oil prices.

Iran has increased its production beyond analyst expectations. This increased production was due chiefly to the lifting of the export sanctions. Saudi Arabia is the dominant player in what could bring oil prices down even further.

Saudi Arabia has publicly stated that its production will not only continue, but it will increase further with expansion. Saudi Arabia is tops among OPEC cartel producers, and none of them have agreed to slow down their production, despite pleas from other nations to do so.

Saudi Arabia is going for market share rather than prices at the moment, and Aramco, the monopoly oil company in the country, is going for it all, increasing production at all sites. Playing a part in this was Aramco’s chairman becoming Saudi Arabia’s new veteran oil minister.

Another important element in the unchecked production comes from Prince Salman. He is very much for getting market share, making it more important than the price at the moment. The kingdom has the capital to keep producing at high levels while prices are low, plus they still profit from exports.

There was almost a done deal that would bring prices skyrocketing upward again, but that deal was on the back burner. The deal would have made a global supply freeze, which would be the driving force in rising prices. Prince Salman was believed to have played a pivotal role in the deal falling apart.

What it All Means

Again, oil prices have come back up, but further fluctuations and even further drops in price could come soon with Middle East production continuing, with Saudi Arabia giving the biggest contribution to the effort.

If the oil prices continue to decline, it is expected that many countries will make an honest effort at getting off of Middle Eastern oil. Falling dependence can counteract the continuous production effects on oil prices.

For a final recap, here’s what’s been happening.

  • Oil prices have risen to $47 per barrel, with $27 being the year-low back in February
  • Production disruptions in Canada, Nigeria, and other countries have played a role in price rise
  • An attempt to implement a global freeze deal to boost prices has failed
  • OPEC, with Saudi Arabia at the top, has continued production and planned to increase it
  • Iran’s export sanctions are gone, allowing them to increase production as well
  • Alternative energy will likely be the chief weapon used to combat the effects of Middle Eastern production increases

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Business

RetailMeNot’s Five to Buy in February

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RetailMeNot's Five to Buy in February
Image via Shutterstock

The wintry temps may make you cold, but February deals are sure to warm your heart. It’s not only a great time to shower your valentine with roses and gifts, but it’s a great time to make other smart and timely purchases as well.

The shopping and trends expert for RetailMeNot, Sara Skirboll, agrees. “With the biggest football game of the year, Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day on the horizon, retailers will offer tremendous savings on a variety of categories — from TVs and TV dinners to all of your Valentine’s Day needs.

1. Play Cupid

With Valentine’s Day this month, shoppers might be struggling to find the right present that symbolizes their love. You can never go wrong with a customized gift made especially for them. This month, shoppers looking to go the extra mile for their loved one will save an average of 40% on items like personalized photo albums, picture frames, wall art and more. You name it, they make it — and just because it’s customized doesn’t mean it will break the bank. Turn to retailers like Shutterfly who is offering a RetailMeNot exclusive for 28% off your regular priced purchase.

2. Ding-Dong Deals

While some might make dinner reservations at the fanciest restaurant in town, many will opt to eat at home. Those who do can take advantage of special promotions and discounts. In fact, diners can save an average of 30% off all month long, so be sure to search the food delivery deals from RetailMeNot. Right now, DoorDash is offering 25% off your first purchase and Postmates is offering $15 delivery credit for existing users.

3. Flower Power

Everything’s coming up roses! According to a recent RetailMeNot survey, 46% of shoppers plan to buy flowers for Valentine’s Day this year, up from 34% in 2019. Many florists will be offering promotions and discounts to help shoppers prepare for the holiday. This year, retailers like 1800Flowers are having up to 40% off flowers & gifts and FTD is offering a RetailMeNot exclusive offer for 20% off sitewide.

4. Get Your Game On

Attention sports fans: Discounts on electronics are not strictly reserved for Black Friday! In fact, February is the second-cheapest time of year to buy a new TV. With the big game right around the corner and March Madness close behind, manufacturers will use those big-time events to highlight big savings on big-screen sets. Another reason for the markdowns is that new models will be released next month, so retailers will be looking to make room for new inventory. Shoppers in the market for a new TV should head to Samsung where they can get 10% cash back with RetailMeNot, and Best Buy where they can find up to 64% off clearance items.

5. Meet Your (Price) Match

Life can easily get in the way of finding “the one,” but online dating sites and convenient mobile apps are here to help. Those looking for love are in luck: Dating sites can offer up to 75% off enrollment fees to encourage singles to put themselves out there. Dating sites like eHarmony are offering 35% off all subscriptions and OkCupid is offering free membership.

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Arts

Shutterstock Announced as Official Photographer of the 2020 EE British Academy Film Awards

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shutterstock 2020 EE British Academy Film Awards
Shutterstock Announced as Official Photographer of the 2020 EE British Academy Film Awards (Photo: PR Newswire)

Shutterstock, Inc., a leading global technology company offering a creative platform for high-quality content, tools and services, today announced that it has been renewed as the official photographer of the 2020 EE British Academy Film Awards, which recognizes the very best in film over the past year. As the official photographer of the show on Sunday, February 2nd, Shutterstock’s on-site entertainment photographers, editors and engineering team will deliver exclusive high-quality images from the event at the Royal Albert Hall in London to the world in less than one minute from the image being taken.

Shutterstock’s editorial team captures, edits and distributes celebrity portraits and candid images leveraging proprietary software optimized for speed to market. As the moments from the red carpet, inside the awards show, and at the after-parties are captured, Shutterstock’s team makes lightning-fast crops and edits and transmits them directly to the desks of photo editors, writers and media. This speed-to-market empowers Shutterstock’s editorial customers to keep up with today’s fast news cycle to quickly deliver their news stories.

“We are pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with BAFTA, an arts charity whose purpose of celebrating and supporting the best work and talent in film, games and television is closely aligned with Shutterstock’s,” said Candice Murray, Vice President of Editorial at Shutterstock. “As a company whose passion is rooted in creativity, it is always an honor to be selected to shoot and share these unique moments recognizing the industry’s top creatives from around the world at the BAFTAs.”

“Shutterstock is best equipped to provide the world’s media with high-quality images of our awards ceremonies and year-round program through their advanced creative platform,” said Claire Rees, Photography Director for British Academy of Film and Television Arts. “Our partnership has grown over the years and as Shutterstock’s technology and service continue to evolve, we continue to see greater results in amplifying the mission of BAFTA around the world.”

Shutterstock’s annual partnership with BAFTA, a world-leading independent arts charity, originated in 2013 and includes editorial photography coverage of the Television Craft Awards, Games Awards, Television Awards, Young Game Designers Competition, Scotland Awards, Cymru Awards and Children’s Awards.

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Business

Amazon Profits Surge as Investment in Faster Shipping Pays Off

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Amazon Profits Surge as Investment in Faster Shipping Pays Off
Image via Shutterstock
By Dominic Rushe

Amazon’s massive investment in faster shipping paid off for the tech company over the Christmas holidays with record sales and four times as many customers taking advantage of its free one-day shipping offer over the shopping season compared with last year.

Amazon is spending billions making one-day shipping the default for its Prime members and the gamble helped drive its revenues up over $87bn for the final quarter of 2019, or $29bn a month, compared with $72.4bn in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Profits increased to $3.3bn in the fourth quarter, up from $3bn in the same period last year, after a fall of 25% from July to September due to its costly shipping investments. Amazon’s shares shot up over 10% in after-hours trading.

“We’ve made Prime delivery faster – the number of items delivered to US customers with Prime’s free one-day and same-day delivery more than quadrupled this quarter compared to last year,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO.

Amazon’s bumper Christmas – the best in its history – came as other retailers including Target, Macy’s and JC Penney have reported lower sales.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), its cloud computing business, reported revenues of $9.9bn for the quarter, up 34% from the year-ago period.

Amazon also gave an update on its number of Prime subscribers, who pay an annual fee for faster shipping and access to free content on its streaming media services. Bezos said the company now has over 150 million paid Prime members around the world, up from 100 million last April.

Amazon’s share price has lagged its tech giant peers in recent months as investors have worried about its spending. The latest results push the company back into the exclusive club of tech companies now valued at over $1tn including Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft.

Copyright © 2020 theguardian.com. All rights reserved.

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