Oil producer Azerbaijan in talks for international aid

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Representatives of organizations including the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are in Azerbaijan to discuss financial support for the oil producing country's ailing economy.

The ex-Soviet nation in the Caucasus has been hit hard by the sharp drop in prices of its oil and gas exports over the last year.

Zaur Rzayev, spokesman for the World Bank's local office, says the IMF and World Bank are "are discussing both immediate and longer-term measures."


Russian companies back talks with OPEC on oil

MOSCOW (AP) — The head of Russian state oil pipeline monopoly Transneft says talks on output cuts are planned with Saudi Arabia and OPEC.

Transneft head Nikolai Tokarev said that Saudi Arabia had "taken the initiative and come out with a proposal to discuss the possibility of reducing volumes," in comments reported by Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

The negotiations could be within the OPEC format or bilateral, though the Saudis are the "main negotiators," Tokarev was quoted as saying by Tass.


Sudan's president orders change to oil deal with South Sudan

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — Sudan's state-run news agency says the Sudanese President Omar Bashir has ordered revisions to the economic agreements struck with South Sudan in a positive gesture to the breakaway southern state.

SUNA said that the changes come after a visit by South Sudan's foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin in January when he requested a reduction in the fees Khartoum charges for processing and transporting oil from South Sudan to its northern neighbor.

The pipeline between the two countries is operated by Khartoum's government.


IS attacks fuel storage tanks in Libya's major oil terminal

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — Libyan officials say Islamic State militants have attacked one of the country's major oil terminals, setting storage tanks on fire at the coastal Ras Lanuf facility.

State-run National Oil Corporation's spokesman, Mohammed al-Hariri, and Osama al-Hadairi, the spokesman for the oil facilities' security unit, say the attack took place early Wednesday.

There were no details on the size of destruction or possible casualties.

AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Oil prices may fall further this year, the IEA says

NEW YORK (AP) — The International Energy Agency says oil prices may fall further this year due to low demand, warm winter weather and an oversupply of crude.

The organization, which advises countries on energy policy, said in its monthly report Tuesday that global excess supply may reach 1.5 million barrels per day during the first half of the year.

"Unless something changes, the oil market could drown in over-supply," the IEA said.


Chinese president arrives in Saudi Arabia on Mideast tour

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Saudi Arabia for a two-day visit as part of a Middle East tour that will include stops in Egypt and Iran.

Saudi state television reported that King Salman and President Xi held talks on Tuesday afternoon. Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman greeted the Chinese delegation on their arrival.

China and Saudi Arabia signed 14 memoranda of understanding to enhance cooperation, research, investment and development in the fields of trade, satellite navigation technology, renewable energy and oil. Two Saudi loans for Chinese environmental projects were agreed on, but the size of these loans was not discosed.

AP Photo

Iran to boost oil output by 500,000 barrels

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran is aiming to increase its oil production by 500,000 barrels per day now that sanctions have been lifted under a landmark nuclear deal with world powers, a top official said.

In comments posted on the Oil Ministry's website Monday, Deputy Oil Minister Roknoddin Javadi said Iran is determined to retake its share of the oil market, which plunged after crippling sanctions were imposed in 2012.

The U.N. nuclear agency certified Saturday that Iran has met all its commitments under last summer's agreement, prompting the lifting of a broad range of economic sanctions, including those covering the oil industry. Other sanctions unrelated to Iran's nuclear program remain in place.

AP Photo

With wave of Iranian oil imminent, a shudder in Saudi Arabia

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new wave of oil from Iran will flow into a global market awash in oil where prices are plunging to depths not seen in a dozen years. With a historic nuclear deal between Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers set into place this weekend, a European oil embargo on the world's seventh-largest oil producer will end.

The impact may be felt widely when crude begins trading in Asian markets Monday, but the return of Iran to global energy markets created tremors even before the first trade was made. Saudi Arabia's stock market plunged more than 5 percent Sunday. Saudi Arabia is the biggest oil producer within OPEC, the oil cartel with waning influence to which Iran also belongs.

Saturday was dubbed Implementation Day, when Iran was freed from international sanctions after being deemed as having dismantled most of its nuclear program under the deal established last summer. "Implementation Day for the nuclear agreement means a new oil day for Iran," Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of research firm IHS and author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning book on the history of oil, said Sunday.


Russia warns cuts needed to avoid repeat of '98 crash

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's leaders are warning the government will need to make more cutbacks if the nation is to avoid a repeat of the 1998 financial crash, the country's biggest post-Soviet economic trauma.

The economy, which is heavily reliant on its massive oil and gas industry, is getting hammered by the plunge in global energy prices. State revenues are running dry and the cost of living is soaring for Russians as the currency drops.

Faced with the prospect of the economy languishing in recession in an election year, the government sought Wednesday to manage expectations.


Oil keeps falling. And falling. How low can it go?

DALLAS (AP) — The price of oil keeps falling. And falling. And falling. It has to stop somewhere, right?

Even after trending down for a year and a half, U.S. crude has fallen another 17 percent since the start of the year and is now probing depths not seen since 2003.

"All you can do is forecast direction, and the direction of price is still down," says Larry Goldstein of the Energy Policy Research Foundation, who predicted a decline in oil in 2014.


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