Putin’s push for a China gas deal
Russia really, really wants to sell China some natural gas. Wrapping up his two-day visit to Beijing, Russian president Vladimir Putin touted “unprecedented” energy ties with China. That sounds like an exaggeration. While Gazprom didappear to snag a deal with China National Petroleum Corp. to sell more gas, it did not specify the quantity of increase. Meanwhile, there were no new announcements about Power of Siberia 2, a proposed pipeline through Mongolia to export more gas to China—and recoup a big chunk of lost deliveries to Europe. For now, Beijing is content with playing hard-to-get.
The US lifts oil sanctions on Venezuela
Washington has temporarily eased sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector following a deal between the Caracas government and opposition parties for next year’s election. For the next six months, the OPEC member can produce and export oil without limitation—but with conditions, like lift bans on opposition candidates. Venezuela’s state-run oil company is already getting busy contacting customers with crude supply contracts, Reuters reports, though output isn’t expected to surge.
Global Brent crude prices slipped 0.9% after the sanctions were lifted, but climbed again on reports of a US Navy warship intercepting three missiles fired from Yemen.
Crude oil WTI futures
The Albemarle-Liontown lithium deal falls through
The world’s largest lithium producer, US-based Albemarle, has been pursuing its Australian rival for a year. Liontown had spurned its suitor three times, and finally agreed to a 4.3 billion USD takeover bid last month. Albemarle took a victory lap, declaring its offer “best and final, in the absence of a superior proposal.” Now a wrench has been thrown in Albemarle’s plans: Australian tycoon Gina Rinehart had rapidly built a 19.9% stake in Liontown, putting her in a position to easily block the acquisition. In response, Albemarle ditched its buyout bid. For now, it’s unclear what Rinehart’s next move is. Markets don’t like the uncertainty: Liontown shares slumped tanked 34% on Friday (Oct. 20).