News Wrap

IN TODAY'S News Wrap: Perth-based RISC Advisory not fooled by US LNG export hype; Statoil on acquisition hunt; and Chinese authorities to punish 48 people for Qingdao pipeline blasts that killed 62.

Defending Aussie LNG

While the US is yet to start exporting LNG, Texas LNG CEO Vivek Chandra's views that Australian LNG producers had a "head in the sand" attitude and failed to heed the threat of cheaper US LNG exports into Asia received considerable print space in an Australian Financial Review report last week.

RISC, chaired by former WA premier Richard Court, has since helped balance the ledger, with principal advisor Martin Wilkes informing the newspaper that Australian LNG had a "real possibility" of ending up cheaper to Asian markets than American LNG.

He also told the AFR that some of the hype around the US-based Henry Hub and its influence on Asian LNG prices was self-serving.

Statoil speculation

Statoil is considering big acquisitions that may dilute the Norwegian government's stake of the oil and gas producer from 67% to 51%, according to undisclosed sources to Bloomberg.

While this strategy might fail to gain sufficient political support, Tullow Oil was named as a potential takeover target.

Chinese discipline

Authorities have finished investigating the two pipeline explosions at the Chinese port city of Qingdao in November that claimed 62 lives, including many workers who were trying to fix the initial crude oil leak.

According to various reports, China's State Council will discipline 48 people over the disaster. While the punishment is not yet known, at least 15 are expected to face criminal prosecution.

Pipeline corrosion and layout, along with insufficient work practices, were found to be some of the causes of the disaster.