U.S. FINES EXXON OVER SANCTIONS VIOLATION
The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday slapped Exxon Mobil Corp. with a $2 million fine for allegedly expanding its business ties with the Kremlin in violation of U.S. sanctions on Russia, Samuel Rubenfeld, Lynn Cook and Ian Talley report.
The Treasury Department said that in 2014, Exxon—led then by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson—forged eight deals with Russia’s state oil company. Those agreements were signed as Washington imposed sanctions against Moscow for its annexation of Crimea and support of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
Exxon insisted it did not violate sanctions and vowed to fight the accusations, calling the fine “outrageous.”
BP COURTING POTENTIAL BUYERS FOR NORTH SEA FIELDS
BP PLC has held talks with potential buyers of its oil- and gas fields in the North Sea, including private-equity firms, report Sarah McFarlane, Matt Jarzemsky and Ben Dummett, citing people familiar with the matter.
The potential sale of some of its North Sea fields comes as BP and other major energy companies grapple with a persistent low oil price environment, which has been weighed down by oversupply in the market.
“With prices stuck around $50 a barrel, BP, Shell and others have been looking to ditch oil fields that are nearly tapped out for cheap, quicker-hit options like U.S. shale,” the reporters note.
For its part, BP said it remained “committed to the U.K. North Sea,” where its fields produce the equivalent of roughly 150,000 barrels a day.
BRAZIL INCREASES FUEL TAXES
Brazil said Thursday it plans to double some taxes on fuels in an effort to cut its budget deficit, report Jeffrey T. Lewis and Luciana Magalhaes.
The increase is expected to raise $3.3 billion this year, which could help boost an economy that recently suffered through its worst recession on record.
“Forecasts for a recovery this year have turned out to be overly optimistic, and the administration of President Michel Temer has been forced to cut spending, and now raise taxes, to try make up for some of the resulting shortfall in tax proceeds,” the reporters note.
OIL GAINS AMID SIGNS OF SHRINKING STOCKS
Oil prices advanced Friday as stronger signs of a shrinking global glut and increased demand continue to emerge.
Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.51% to $49.55 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 0.43% at $47.12 a barrel.
U.S. oil inventories have been falling for several months even with continued output growth, suggesting demand increases are gathering steam. Meanwhile, there have been reports that end-of-May oil storage in Saudi Arabia was at its lowest level since the start of 2012.