TOP Oil Market News: Crude Trades Near Four-Month High in N.Y.

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

Oil Trades Near Four-Month High as Run Rates, Supply Seen Rising

Oil was little changed amid concern that Congress will fail to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, hurting economic confidence, and on speculation that supplies in the world’s biggest crude- consuming country will rebound.

Hedge Fund Oil Bets Jump as Fiscal Cliff Averted: Energy Markets

Hedge funds raised bullish bets on West Texas Intermediate oil to the highest level in 11 weeks before U.S. lawmakers passed a bill to undo automatic tax increases and spending cuts that threatened the U.S. economy.

Gasoline Futures Rise as Refinery Maintenance Cuts Fuel Output

Gasoline futures rose as several refineries cut production of transportation fuels during maintenance.

Vitol Fails to Buy Forties; BFOE Crude Exports at 9-Month High

Vitol Group bid unsuccessfully for two cargoes of North Sea Forties crude, one of which was at the same price as a trade in the previous session. Statoil ASA didn’t find a buyer for a consignment of Oseberg.

North Sea Grane February Crude Exports Stable at Five Cargoes

Exports of North Sea Grane crude in February will be stable at five cargoes of 600,000 barrels for a third month, according to a loading program obtained by Bloomberg News.

North Sea Alvheim Crude February Exports to Drop to Four Cargoes

Exports of North Sea Alvheim crude for February will be four cargoes of 780,000 barrels each, one less than this month, according to a loading program obtained by Bloomberg News.

North Sea BFOE Crude Exports Set to Rise to Most in Nine Months

Daily exports of North Sea Brent, Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk crudes, which make up the Dated Brent benchmark, will increase in February to the most in nine months, loading programs obtained by Bloomberg News show.

Gulf Crudes Weaken as West Texas Intermediate Gains Versus Brent

Crude produced offshore in the Gulf of Mexico weakened as U.S. benchmark oil strengthened against overseas imports.

Solar Mosaic’s Crowdfunding Beats Treasuries With 4.5% Return

Solar Mosaic Inc., which operates an online service that lets individuals fund solar projects, said investors can earn a 4.5 percent return on rooftop power plants, better than 10-year Treasuries that currently yield about 1.9 percent.

Lower-48 Natural Gas Output Rose 0.4% in October, EIA Says (1)

Natural gas production in the lower- 48 states rose to a record in October as more of the fuel was pumped from shale formations, the Energy Department said.

U.K. Says Ex-Deutsche Bank’s Lovegrove to Head Energy Department

The U.K. appointed Stephen Lovegrove, a former head of Deutsche Bank AG’s European media team, as permanent secretary, or the top official, at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Vitol Sells European Naphtha; Diesel Barges Gain: Oil Products

European naphtha declined as Vitol Group sold two cargoes, bringing its total in the past two sessions to six lots.

Mercuria Said to Hire Standard’s Harrison as Copper Trader (1)

Mercuria Energy Trading SA hired Mike Harrison as a copper trader, three people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

OPEC

Iran Crude Oil Exports Drop 40 Percent Amid Sanctions, ISNA Says

Iran’s crude oil shipments plunged 40 percent in the last nine months, state-run Iranian Students News Agency reported, in a rare acknowledgment that international sanctions are crimping the country’s most lucrative export.

REFINERIES Map global refinery outages

Gulf Gasoline Advances After Motiva Shuts Port Arthur Crude Unit

Gasoline strengthened on the U.S. Gulf Coast after Motiva Enterprises LLC shut a 325,000-barrel-a- day crude unit at its Port Arthur, Texas, refinery.

Motiva Port Arthur Halts Crude Unit Start as Clamp Fails (1)

Motiva Enterprises LLC shut down the 325,000-barrel-a-day crude unit at the Port Arthur refinery days after trying to restart it when a clamp that was modified to fix an earlier leak failed.

BP to Resume Operations at Texas City Fluid Catalytic Converter

BP Plc plans to resume normal operations at a fluid catalytic converter at its Texas City, Texas, oil refinery beginning at 6 p.m. local time today.

California Diesel Advances as BP Carson Refinery Plans Flaring

Spot diesel in California strengthened against futures after BP Plc reported planned flaring at the Carson refinery, California’s second-largest.

Gulf Crude Premiums Weaken as Brent-WTI Differential Narrows

Light Louisiana Sweet and Heavy Louisiana Sweet oils from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico lost value on the spot market as the margin between Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate narrowed.

Pemex Minatitlan Refinery Controls Small Fire, Output Unaffected

Petroleos Mexicanos said a small fire that broke out at its Minatitlan refinery in Mexico’s Veracruz state has been extinguished, according to a statement posted on its website.

California Spot Gasoline Declines on Short-Term Valero Repairs

Spot gasoline in Los Angeles weakened against futures for a fourth day on speculation that Valero Energy Corp. will start two production units at the Wilmington refinery in Southern California after short-term repairs.

CVR Said to Shut Alkylation Unit at Wynnewood, Oklahoma, Plant

CVR Energy Inc.’s Wynnewood refinery in Oklahoma has shut an alkylation unit for unplanned work, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Valero Said to Plan Meraux Refinery Shutdown for Late February

Valero Energy Corp. is planning to shut units at the Meraux refinery in Louisiana for planned work that will start in late February, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

OTHER OIL MARKET NEWS

Oil Tanker Overseas Reymar Strikes San Francisco’s Bay Bridge

Oil tanker Overseas Reymar struck “a glancing blow” to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge after unloading crude at a Royal Dutch Shell Plc refinery.

Oil Product Shipping Costs to Japan Fall 2.1 %

The cost of shipping a gallon of gasoline, jet fuel or other so-called clean petroleum products from the Middle East to Japan fell 2.1 percent to 9.49 U.S. cents yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The cost is based on a cargo of 55,000 metric tons.

Crude Oil-Tanker Bookings Seen by Poten 5% Higher in 2012

Spot, or single-voyage, bookings for crude oil-tankers increased by 5 percent in 2012 compared with the previous year, according to Poten & Partners Inc., a New York-based consulting firm and shipbroker.

Libya Keeps January Es Sider Oil Price at Parity to Brent (1)

Libya’s state-run National Oil Corp. kept its official selling price of benchmark Es Sider crude for January unchanged at parity to Dated Brent, according to a price list obtained by Bloomberg News.

Crude Official Selling Prices and Formulas by Country (Table)

The following table shows official prices, formulas and relative values for crudes from the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. Figures represent outright prices in dollars a barrel, or premiums and discounts to regional benchmarks where plus and minus symbols appear.

Libya Keeps January Es Sider Oil Price at Parity to Dated Brent

Libya’s state-run National Oil Corp. kept its official selling price of benchmark Es Sider crude for January unchanged at parity to Dated Brent, according to a price list obtained by Bloomberg News.

TOP ENERGY STORIES

Maersk Wants Hong Kong to Ban Dirty Ship Fuel to Fight Pollution

Maersk Line, the world’s biggest container-shipping company, threatened to stop using cleaner fuel at Hong Kong port from next year if the government doesn’t mandate higher quality oil for carriers berthing in the city.

Bulls Add to Wagers for First Time Since November: Commodities

Speculators increased their bullish commodity wagers for the first time since November as signs of accelerating growth in China and the U.S. drove prices higher for a fourth consecutive week.

Gas at $8 May Lure Reliance to Start New Fields: Corporate India

Reliance Industries Ltd., sitting on untapped natural gas reserves off India’s east coast, will be able to generate profit from new fields if the government agrees to double prices, a person familiar with the matter said.

Oil Declines a Third Day; Morgan Stanley Sees Supply Recovery

Oil dropped for a third day in London amid speculation that talks between Sudan and South Sudan may lead to the resumption of crude exports.

Energy Boosts Office Market as Pittsburgh Rents at Decade High

Leasing demand from natural-gas and other energy companies is helping to bolster the U.S. office market and drive growth in cities such as Pittsburgh, where rents are at their highest in more than a decade.

Formosa Petrochemical Offers Gasoil Cargoes for February Loading

Formosa Petrochemical Corp. offered to sell as much as 1.22 million barrels of gasoil, or diesel, for loading in February, according to tender documents obtained by Bloomberg News.

Long Island Power Should Be Privatized, New York Panel Says (1)

The Long Island Power Authority should be converted into an investor-owned utility to end poor management practices that exacerbated slow and halting repairs of blackouts from October’s Hurricane Sandy, a New York state investigative panel said today.

Exxon Hedges Oil Sands With Offshore Project: Corporate Canada

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s plans to develop a $14 billion underwater oil field off Newfoundland’s coast allows the world’s biggest energy company to hedge against discounted crude from Canada’s oil sands.

Waste Manager Seeks $200 Million as IPOs Return: Corporate India

Ramky Enviro Engineers Ltd., an Indian waste management company, plans to raise $200 million in the nation’s first initial share sale to finance a power plant fueled by urban refuse.

Shell Leads S. Africa on Record Oil Rush as Coal Falters: Energy

South Africa, the African continent’s economic engine, is on the cusp of an oil rush never before seen in the country as burgeoning energy demand exposes the vulnerability of its dependence on coal.

OTHER MARKETS

Stocks Slip Before Earnings as Dollar Weakens, Japan’s Yen Gains

Stocks slipped before the start of earnings season, pulling the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index down from a five-year high, and the Dollar Index fell for the first time in four days. European banks rose as regulators eased liquidity rules while Italian bonds slid.

FX: Yen Strengthens 0.3% to 87.54 Per Dollar From Yesterday

Yen gains 0.2% to 114.94 per euro as of 7:45am Tokyo from yesterday.

Dollar Weakness Masked by Yen as Deficit Talks Loom: Currencies

Dollar weakness against the currencies of some of the largest U.S. trading partners is being masked by a plunge in the yen as bets by futures traders for a drop in the greenback re- approach the highest levels on record.

U.S. Stocks Fall as Investors Await Start of Earnings Season

U.S. stocks fell, after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed to a five-year high, as investors awaited the start of the corporate earnings season tomorrow.

Hedge Funds Squeezed as Shorts Beat S&P 500 by Most in Year (3)

Speculators are abandoning money- losing bets that stocks with the closest links to the U.S. economy will fall as America’s most-hated shares stage the best rally in a year relative to the broader market.

LBMA’s Best Gold Forecaster Hochreiter Says Bull Market Over (1)

Gold’s 12-year bull market is over as U.S. economic growth means investors will switch focus to precious metals that benefit from expansion, the top forecaster in the London Bullion Market Association’s 2012 poll said.

Copper Falls Amid Concerns on U.S. Debt Limit, German Orders

Copper futures dropped for the third straight session on concern that demand will slump as U.S. lawmakers struggle to reach agreement on a debt ceiling and economies in Europe sputter.

Health Spending Grows at Half Pre-Recession Level for Third Year

Health-care spending in the U.S. grew at less than half the pre-recession level for the third consecutive year, as employers shifted more costs to strapped workers and state governments limited payouts for the poor.

McConnell Takes Taxes Off the Table in Debt Limit Negotiations

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said further tax changes are off the table as lawmakers and the president gear up for a fight next month over raising the U.S. government’s debt limit.

SPORTS

Lionel Messi Named Soccer’s Best Player for Record Fourth Time

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi was crowned soccer’s best player for an unprecedented fourth straight time after 12 months in which he broke the record for goals in a calendar year.

Manchester United Plans to Replace De Gea, Mirror Says: Roundup

The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable links to the web.

PGA Tour Opener Has Play Canceled Again, Targets Tuesday Finish

The U.S. PGA Tour’s season-opening Tournament of Champions in Hawaii is scheduled to start today and finish tomorrow after play was canceled the past three days because of windy conditions in Maui.

ENERGY PRICES

Last Chg %Chg Exch Contract

---- ---- ---- ---- -------- WTI Crude ($/Bbl) 93.33 +0.14 +0.2 Nymex Feb. Brent Crude ($/Bbl) 111.40 +0.09 +0.1 Ice Feb. Gasoil ($/Ton) 940.25 +9.50 +1.0 Ice Feb. Gasoline (c/Gal) 278.30 +0.56 +0.2 Nymex Feb. Natural gas ($/MMBtu) 3.28 +0.01 +0.3 Nymex Feb. Dated Brent ($/Bbl) 111.78 +0.42 +0.4 OTC 21 Days Heating Oil 303.21 +1.44 +0.5 Nymex Feb.

Other markets:

Last %Chg

----- ----- Dollar Index 80.14 -0.4 Gold ($/Oz) 1,646.30 -0.2 MSCI World Index 1,366.91 -0.2

Prices as of 11 p.m. GMT

Copy and paste this link for Table: NI $790 FJM

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski in Singapore at akwiatkowsk2@bloomberg.net

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