TOP Oil Market News: Brent Gains After U.S. Stockpiles Decline

The following is a selection of the most important news affecting the oil market.

Brent Crude Gains for Second Day as U.S. Stockpiles Decline

Brent crude rose for a second day in London after an industry report showed stockpiles fell the most in more than three months in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer.

TOP OIL MARKET STORIES

BP Whiting Delay Puts WTI-Brent Drop on Hold: Energy Markets

A delay in upgrades to the biggest refinery in the U.S. Midwest is reinforcing the gap between the prices of the world’s two most-traded oil contracts, confounding forecasts for the difference to all but disappear.

Green California to Vie With Texas as U.S. Oil Heartland: Energy

California, even as it seeks to be the greenest of U.S. states, stands a good chance of emerging as America’s top oil producer in the next decade, helping the nation toward what once seemed an unlikely goal of energy independence.

American Oil Growing Most Since First Well Signals Independence

The U.S. expanded its oil production this year by the most since the first commercial well was drilled in 1859, upending a belief that Americans were increasingly hooked on foreign crude.

Investors Shun Postwar Iraq as OPEC Star’s Recovery Lags (2)

Ziad Makkawi set up a private equity investment firm last year to capitalize on Iraq’s plans for reviving an economy gutted by wars and sanctions.

REFINERIES

Petronas Said to Shut Melaka Crude Unit for Maintenance Dec. 17

Petroliam Nasional Bhd., Malaysia’s state oil company, shut a crude distillation unit at its Melaka I refinery for maintenance, said two people with knowledge of the decision.

BP to Carry Out Maintenance on Texas City Catalytic Cracker

BP Plc said it will carry out maintenance at a fluid catalytic cracker at its Texas City, Texas, oil refinery, according to a filing with state regulators.

OTHER OIL MARKET NEWS

Saudi Arabia Keeps Oil Output Unchanged in Oct From Sept: Jodi

Kingdom pumped 9.72m b/d of crude oil in Oct., according to data posted on website of Joint Organizations Data Initiative.

Asia Fuel Oil Losses Widen; Trafigura Buys Gasoil: Oil Products

Asia’s fuel oil crack spread widened, signaling increased losses for refiners turning crude into residual products. Trafigura Beheer BV extended its gasoil purchases in Singapore, the region’s largest oil-trading center.

Japan to Extend Cuts in Iran Oil Imports, JX Chairman Says (1)

Japan will import fewer than 160,000 barrels a day of oil from Iran next year to avoid sanctions aimed at the Middle Eastern country’s nuclear program, the head of Japan’s oil industry group said.

Angola to Cut February Plutonio Crude Exports; Palanca Stable

Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer, will cut exports of Plutonio crude in February while shipments of Palanca grade will be stable at one lot, two loading programs obtained by Bloomberg News showed.

Surgut Seeks to Sell Three January-Loading Urals Crude Cargoes

OAO Surgutneftegas, Russia’s fourth-largest oil producer, issued a tender to sell three cargoes of Urals crude for loading in January from two Baltic ports, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg News.

Japan to Cut Iran Imports; Saudi Output Unchanged: Asia Crude

Japan will import fewer than 160,000 barrels a day of oil from Iran next year to avoid sanctions aimed at the Middle Eastern country’s nuclear program. Saudi Arabia kept its oil output unchanged in October.

Indian Oil Said to Cancel Offer to Sell Naphtha From Chennai

Indian Oil Corp., the nation’s largest refiner, canceled an offer to sell 35,000 metric tons of naphtha for loading in January from Chennai, said two traders who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential.

TOP ENERGY STORIES

Greeks Can’t Find Euros to Buy Heating Oil in Winter Economy (1)

In the Greek mountain town of Kastoria, less than an hour from the Albanian border, Kostas Tsitskos, 88, can’t afford fuel to heat his home against the winter’s cold. So he and his son live in a single bedroom, warmed by a small electric heater.

Pertamina to Buy Conoco’s Algerian Unit for $1.75 Billion (1)

PT Pertamina, Indonesia’s state-owned oil company, agreed to buy stakes in three Algerian oil fields from ConocoPhillips for $1.75 billion, expanding its overseas assets.

U.S. Boosts Duties on China Wind-Towers as Trade Talks Open (1)

Ratcheting up trade tensions with China, the U.S. increased import duties on wind towers produced by Chengxi Shipyard Co. and CS Wind Corp. as economic talks between the two nations opened in Washington.

BP Sells China Gas Stake, Bringing It Close to Disposal Target

BP Plc, Europe’s second-biggest oil company, sold its stake in China’s Yacheng gas field for $308 million in cash, bringing the company close to its target for asset disposals following the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill.

OTHER MARKETS

Stocks Rise to 17-Month High as Euro Gains on German Confidence

Stocks rose to a 17-month high and the yen weakened on speculation U.S. leaders will reach a budget deal and Japan’s central bank will expand stimulus. The euro strengthened after German business confidence increased.

Gold Gains as Consumers Buy After Drop to 3-Month Low, ETPs Rise

Gold gained in London as a drop to the lowest level in more than three months and a weaker dollar spurred buying while holdings in exchange-traded funds rose to a record.

SPORTS

Jets Turn to Greg McElroy at Quarterback, Benching Mark Sanchez

Greg McElroy will start at quarterback for the New York Jets this week in place of Mark Sanchez, who was benched after committing five turnovers two days ago in a loss at Tennessee that ended the team’s chances of making the National Football League playoffs.

Giants Given 45% Chance to Win Last 2 Games to Make NFL Playoffs

The New York Giants have a 45 percent chance of winning their final two games to make the National Football League playoffs, according to bookmakers’ odds.

Knicks-Nets at Garden Tonight Boasts NBA’s Most-Expensive Ticket

Tickets for tonight’s game between the first-place New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden are the most expensive of the National Basketball Association season on the resale market.

Lakers Rally From 18-Point Deficit to Defeat Bobcats 101-100

Kobe Bryant scored two baskets to break a 97-97 tie as the Los Angeles Lakers rallied from an 18-point third-quarter deficit to defeat the Charlotte Bobcats 101-100.

ENERGY PRICES

Last Chg %Chg Exch Contract

---- ---- ---- ---- --------WTI Crude ($/Bbl) 88.35 +0.42 +0.5 Nymex Jan. Brent Crude ($/Bbl) 109.74 +0.90 +0.8 ICE Feb. Gasoil ($/Ton) 937.50 +8.75 +0.9 ICE Feb. Gasoline (c/Gal) 271.01 +1.92 +0.7 Nymex Jan. Natural gas ($/MMBtu) 3.35 -0.06 -1.9 Nymex Jan. Dated Brent ($/Bbl) 111.12 +0.65 +0.6 OTC 21 Days Heating Oil 302.34 +2.69 +0.9 Nymex Jan.

Other markets:

Last %Chg

----- -----Dollar Index 79.14 -0.3 Gold ($/Oz)

1,670.70 -1.6 MSCI World Index 1,353.96 +0.4

Prices as of 12 p.m. London time

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Voss in London at sev@bloomberg.net

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