High bids by major oil producers in a recent Gulf of Mexico offshore auction point toward a resurgence of interest in deepwater exploration. This year’s bids totaled $121 million—nearly a seven-fold increase over the bids on the Outer Continental Shelf auctioned last summer by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
Building a canal across Thailand’s Kra Isthmus to connect the Andaman Sea in the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea isn’t a new idea. In fact, it’s been around since the 17th century, when a king in the region requested a report on the feasibility of the project. The notion resurfaced two centuries later, when Ferdinand de Lesseps—the “Father of the Suez Canal”—expressed support for such a project.
At first glance, recent facts and figures about U.S. seaborne coal exports in 2017 seem to suggest a cause for celebration among dry-bulk shippers. After all, America’s coal exports are up 57% in total volume and 61% tonne-miles for the first two quarters of 2017, compared with the same period in 2016.
In December of 2015 the United Stated lifted its ban on exporting domestic oil, and terminals up and down the Gulf Coast began vying for that business. Prior to the ban being lifted, only 10 countries were importing U.S. crude. Since then, that number has grown to 33. And it’s a trend likely to continue.
To impose sanctions or not to impose sanctions? That is the question the Trump Administration is grappling with in relation to Venezuela’s exports of crude oil to the U.S. The answer could have an impact on everything from the oil business in the United States to the current political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela—attributed in large part to the repressive policies of President Nicolas Maduro.
“Bespoke.” The term has been around awhile, but in recent years it’s gained popularity as a way of conveying the idea of something made-to-order for a specific customer. In the world of fashion, a bespoke suit is a suit cut and sewn to the exact measurements of the buyer. Or in the everyday world of lunchtime options, a bespoke sandwich might combine any number of toppings and condiments.
With that example in mind, it might even be said that some of today’s biggest oil traders have created a kind of “Sandwich Shop at Sea”. When it comes to the blends they’ve made it their business to mix-and-match for the niche needs of their customers.