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Gas & Oil Prices - A Chronology

Refiner Acquisition Cost of Imported Crude Oil
Refiner Acquisition Cost of Imported Crude Oil

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  • Note from Department of Energy

    This chronology was originally published by the Department of Energy's Office of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Analysis Division. Updates for 1995 - March 2000 are from the Energy Information Administration. Please click here for a more detailed year/monthly chronology.

    The price data are in nominal terms, i.e., they are in "dollars-of-the-day" and have not been adjusted for inflation.

    Click on the any year to see the chronology for a specific date:

    January 2000 | February 2000 | March 2000 | April 2000 | May 2000 | June 2000 | July 2000 | August 2000

    | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 |


    Jan 1
    U.S. Federal oil depletion allowance reduced from 27.5 to 22.0 percent.
    May 3
    TAP line from Saudi Arabia to the Mediterranean interrupted in Syria, creating all-time tanker rate highs from June to December.
    Sep 4 - Oct 9
    Libya raises posted prices and increases tax rate from 50 percent to 55 percent. Iran and Kuwait follow in November.
    Dec 9-12
    OPEC meeting in Caracas establishes 55 percent as minimum tax rate and demands that posted prices be changed to reflect changes in foreign exchange rates.


    Jan 12
    Negotiations begin in Tehran between 6 Gulf producing countries and 22 oil companies.
    Feb 3-4
    OPEC mandates "total embargo" against any company that rejects the 55 percent tax rate.
    Feb 14
    Tehran agreement signed. Companies accept 55 percent tax rate, immediate increase in posted prices, and further successive increases.
    Feb 24
    Algeria nationalizes 51 percent of French oil concessions.
    Apr 2
    Libya concludes five weeks of negotiations with Western oil companies in Tripoli on behalf of itself, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Iraq. Agreement raises posted prices of oil delivered to Mediterranean from $2.55 to $3.45 per barrel; provides for a 2.5 percent annual price increase plus inflation allowance; raises tax rate from a range of 50-58 percent to 60 percent of posted price.
    Jul 31
    Venezuela's Hydrocarbons Reversion Law mandates gradual transfer to government ownership of all "unexploited concession areas" by 1974 and "all their residual assets" by 1983.
    Aug 15
    U.S. Government institutes Phase I price controls. Invoking the powers granted to the president by the Economic Stabilization Act of 1970, President Nixon orders 90-day nationwide freeze on all wages, prices, salaries and rents.
    Sep 22
    OPEC directs members to negotiate price increases to offset the devaluation of the U.S. dollar.
    U.S. Phase II price controls begin. Plan is to allow for gradual 2-3 percent annual price increases, however, domestic petroleum prices remain at Phase I levels.
    Dec 5
    Libya nationalizes British Petroleum concession.


    Jan 20
    Six exporting countries - Abu Dhabi, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia - conclude ten days of meetings with Western oil companies. An agreement is reached to raise the posted price of crude by 8.49 percent to offset the loss in value of oil concessions attributable to the decline in value of the U.S. dollar.
    Mar 11-12
    OPEC threatens "appropriate sanctions" against companies that "fail to comply with . . . any action taken by a Member Country in accordance with [OPEC] decisions."
    Jun 1
    Iraq nationalizes Iraq Petroleum Company's (IPC) concession owned by British Petroleum, Royal Dutch-Shell, Compagnie Francaise des Petroles, Mobil and Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon). The concessions were valued at over one billion dollars.
    Jun 9
    In a show of support for Iraq, OPEC moves to prevent companies whose interests were nationalized in Iraq from increasing production elsewhere; appoints mediators between Iraq and IPC.
    Sep 30
    Libya acquires a 50 percent interest in two ENI concessions.
    Oct 27
    OPEC approves plan providing for 25 percent government ownership of all Western oil interests operating within Kuwait, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia beginning on January 1, 1973, and rising to 51 percent by January 1, 1983. (Iraq declines to agree.) Agreements signed on December 21.


    Jan 11
    U.S. Phase III price controls begin. Allows for voluntary instead of mandatory price control on all U.S. prices. This does not prevent a sharp rise in heating oil prices caused by a severe winter and shortage of product.
    Jan 17
    President Nixon suspends mandatory oil import quota on No. 2 heating oil through April 30.
    Jan 23
    Shah of Iran announces that the 1954 operating agreement between a consortium of oil companies and Iran will not be renewed when it expires in 1979. The consortium was formed in 1954 as a means to settle a dispute between a new ministry in Iran and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC). The consortium included Standard Oil of New Jersey, Standard Oil of California, SOCONY-Vacuum, the Texas Company, Gulf, Royal Dutch-Shell, the Compagnie Francaise de Petroles, and the AIOC.
    Feb 28
    Iraq and IPC reach an agreement on compensation for nationalization.
    Special Rule No. 1 reimposes mandatory (Phase II) price controls on the 23 largest oil companies. Smaller companies, representing 5 percent of the market, enjoy uncontrolled prices.
    Mar 16
    Shah of Iran and Consortium members agree to nationalize all assets immediately in return for an assured 20-year supply of Iranian oil.
    Mar 16-17
    OPEC discusses raising prices to offset decline of U.S. dollar value.
    Apr 1
    OPEC increases posted prices by 5.7 percent.
    Apr 18
    U.S. Government ends Mandatory Oil Import Program. Program, established in 1959 by President Eisenhower, had limited imports of crude and product east of the Rocky Mountains to a percentage of domestic crude production.
    Jun 1
    Eight OPEC countries raise posted prices by 11.9 percent.
    Jun 11
    Libya nationalizes Bunker Hunt concession; Nigeria acquires 35 percent participation in Shell-BP concession.
    Jun 14
    Nixon administration imposes 60-day economy-wide price freeze, superseding Special Rule No. 1 for oil companies.
    Libya nationalizes 51 percent of Occidental Petroleum concession and of the Oasis consortium.
    Aug 17
    President Nixon's Cost of Living Council imposes two-tier price ceiling on crude petroleum sales: production of "old" oil (that produced at or below 1972 levels from existing wells) to be sold at March 1973 prices plus 35 cents; production of "new" oil (that produced above 1972 levels from existing wells and oil produced from new wells) to be sold at uncontrolled prices.
    Sep 1
    Libya nationalizes 51 percent of nine other companies' concessions: Esso, Libya/Sirte, Mobil, Shell, Gelensberg, Texaco, SoCal, Libyan-American (ARCO), and Grace.
    Sep 5-9
    Conference of less developed countries approves forming "producers' associations," calls for withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied Arab lands.
    Sep 15-16
    OPEC supports price hikes and designates six Gulf countries to negotiate collectively with companies over prices. Other members to negotiate individually.
    Kuwait rejects gradual participation increase plan, insists on immediate 60 percent participation.
    Oct 6
    Beginning of fourth Arab-Israeli War.
    Oct 7
    Iraq nationalizes Exxon and Mobil shares in Basrah Petroleum Company representing 23.75 percent equity in the company.
    Oct 8-10
    OPEC meets with oil companies to discuss revision of 1971 Tehran agreement and oil prices. Negotiations fail.
    Oct 16
    The Gulf Six (Iran, Iraq, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar) unilaterally raise the posted price of Saudi Light marker crude 17 percent from $3.12 to $3.65 per barrel and announce production cuts.
    Oct 17
    OPEC oil ministers agree to use oil weapon in Arab-Israeli War, mandate cut in exports, and recommend embargo against unfriendly states.
    Oct 19-20
    Saudi Arabia, Libya, and other Arab states proclaim an embargo on oil exports to the United States.
    Oct 23-28
    Arab oil embargo extended to the Netherlands.
    Nov 5
    Arab producers announce 25 percent cut in production below September levels. Further cuts of five percent are threatened.
    Nov 18
    Arab oil ministers cancel the scheduled 5 percent cut in production for EEC.
    Nov 23
    Arab summit conference adopts open and secret resolutions on the use of the oil weapon. Embargo extended to Portugal, Rhodesia, and South Africa.
    Nov 27
    President Nixon signs the Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act (EPAA). Authorizes petroleum price, production, allocation and marketing controls.
    Dec 9
    Arab oil ministers announce a further production cut of 5 percent for January for non-friendly countries.
    Dec 22-24
    OPEC Gulf Six decides to raise the posted price of marker crude from $5.12 to $11.65 per barrel effective January 1, 1974.
    Dec 25
    Arab oil ministers cancel January 5 percent production cut. Saudi Arabian oil minister promises 10 percent OPEC production rise.


    Jan 7-9
    OPEC decides to freeze posted prices until April 1.
    Jan 29
    Kuwait announces 60 percent government participation in BP-Gulf concession; Qatar follows on February 20.
    Feb 11
    Washington Energy Conference opens. Attended by 13 industrial and oil producing nations. Called by U.S. to resolve the international energy problems through economic cooperation among nations. Henry Kissinger unveils Nixon Administration's seven-point "Project Independence" plan to make the U.S. energy independent. Libya nationalizes three U.S. oil companies that had not agreed to 51 percent nationalization in September.
    Feb 12-14
    Heads of state of Algeria, Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia discuss oil strategy in view of the progress in Arab-Israeli disengagement.
    Mar 18
    Arab oil ministers announce the end of the embargo against the United States, all except Libya.
    May 18
    Nigeria announces 55 percent government participation in all concessions.
    Jun 1-3
    Arab oil ministers decide to end most restrictions on exports of oil to the United States but continue embargo against the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, and Rhodesia.
    Jun 4
    Saudi Arabia announces that it will increase its participation in Aramco to 60 percent. Abu Dhabi and Kuwait follow in September. Increases are retroactive to January 1.
    Jun 13
    IMF establishes its "oil facility," a special fund for loans to nations whose balance of payments have been severely affected by high oil prices.
    Jul 10-11
    OAPEC lifts the embargo against the Netherlands.
    Sep 6Saudi Arabia increases its buy-back price from 93 percent to 94.9 percent of posted price.
    Sep 13
    OPEC instructs its Secretary General to "carry out a study of supply and demand in relation to possible production controls."
    Saudi Arabians raise tax rate to 85 percent and royalty rate to 20 percent.
    Nov 15
    International Energy Agency formed in Paris within OECD framework. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates announce a slight reduction in posted prices and tax rates.
    U.S. Crude Oil Entitlements Program enacted, retroactive to November 1974.
    Dec 22
    Iraq announces plans to increase its production capacity to 3.5 MMB/D by 1975 and to 6 MMB/D by 1981.


    Jan 1
    U.S. Federal oil depletion allowance eliminated for large producers.
    Jan 13
    Business Week publishes Kissinger interview hinting at military action against oil countries in case of "actual strangulation."
    Apr 7-15
    Preliminary meeting at Paris on world economic crisis between oil-exporting (Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela), oil-importing (European countries, U.S., Japan), and non-oil Third World countries (India, Brazil, Zaire). Talks collapse after nations fail to decide whether agenda should focus on oil/energy issues or have a broader economic scope.
    Apr 9
    Twenty-four OECD members sign an agreement to establish a $25 billion lending facility to provide assistance to industrial nations hurt by high oil prices.
    Jun 13
    World Bank establishes its "Third Window," a fund to make loans to countries too rich to qualify for "soft" no-interest loans, but too distressed to afford loans at the prevailing normal lending rates. Action represents significant cooperation between oil-exporting and industrial nations.
    Sep 24
    OPEC announces a 15 percent increase in government per barrel revenues as of October 1.
    Oct 28
    Venezuela and foreign oil companies agree on nationalization as of January 1, 1976.
    Dec 1
    Kuwait and Gulf and BP agree on terms of nationalization.
    Dec 9
    Iraq completes nationalization by taking over the BP, CFP, and Shell shares of the Basrah Petroleum Company.
    Dec 22
    President Ford signs the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) effective February 1976. Authorizes the establishment of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), participation in International Energy Program, and oil price regulation.


    Official price of Saudi Light remains at $12.37 per barrel throughout 1976.
    EPCA 3-tier price regulation begins. Small changes in Entitlements Program.
    April - May
    Lebanese civil war causes drop in Iraq exports through trans-Lebanon pipelines to Mediterranean.
    OPEC issues press release vowing to "take appropriate measures" to protect OPEC interests in light of protectionist actions by certain countries.
    Sep 1
    U.S. stripper well oil prices decontrolled.
    Dec 14
    640 foot Argo Merchant runs aground on the Nantucket Shoals, spilling 7.6 million gallons of No. 6 fuel oil.
    Moderates and OPEC "hawks" disagree on how fast price should rise. Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates increase prices by 5 percent, others by 10 percent.


    OPEC goes to two-tier pricing (Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates use $12.09 per barrel and other OPEC countries use $12.70per barrel).
    Fifty percent of Saudi Arabia's 10 MMB/D production is halted briefly due to fire damage to separation facility in Abqaiq field. Prices increase slightly.
    OPEC prices reunified at $12.70 per barrel as Saudi Arabia and UAE fall into line, then official price rises to $13.66 per barrel.
    Oct 23
    Dry dock complex opens at Bahrain; only facility between Portugal and Singapore capable of servicing VLCCs.


    Student protests against government of Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, begin, touching off a wave of political unrest and violent clashes between police and demonstrators. Throughout the year increasing anti-Shah activities are led by Muslim fundamentalists seeking to establish a Muslim state.
    Amoco Cadiz tanker runs aground off the coast of France, spilling 1.6 million barrels of crude oil. (Largest crude spill to date.)
    Iran and Saudi Arabia block efforts of OPEC price hawks to fix the price of OPEC oil in a currency more stable than the U.S. dollar. Say world economy cannot support associated price increases. Are accused by hawks of being U.S. agents.
    Shah puts Iran under military rule. Muslim leader Noori arrested in crackdown of opposition groups.
    Iranian strikes; departure of foreign technicians.
    Pipeline fire drops Iraqi production 300,000 to 600,000 barrels per day.
    Iranian oil production starts dropping.
    Iranian production hits 1.5 MMB/D in mid-December; 500,000 on December 27, a 27-year low. OPEC production rises 1.6 MMBD over two months due to increased Saudi production.
    Dec 17
    OPEC decides on a 14.5 percent price increase for 1979, to be implemented quarterly.


    First emergency Crude Oil Buy-Sell Program allocations.
    Jan 16
    Shah leaves Iran on vacation, never to return. Bakhtiar government established by the Shah to preside until unrest subsides.
    Jan 20
    Saudi Arabia announces drastic cut in first-quarter production. 9.5 MMBD ceiling imposed. Although actual cuts never reach announced levels, spot prices of Middle East light crudes rise 36 percent.
    Jan 20
    One million Iranians march in Teheran in a show of support for the exiled Ayatollah Komeini, fundamental Muslim leader.
    Feb 12
    Bakhtiar resigns as prime minister of Iran after losing support of the military.
    Mar 5
    Iran resumes petroleum exports.
    Gasoline shortage/world oil glut.
    Mar 26
    OPEC makes full 14.5 percent price increase for 1979 effective on April 1. Marker crude raised to $14.56 per barrel.
    DOE announces $5 per barrel entitlement to importers of heating oil. Saudi Arabia announces intention to increase direct sales and to sell less through Aramco. Both announcements send prices higher.
    Jun 1
    Phased oil price decontrol begins. Involves gradual 28 month increase of "old" oil price ceilings, and slower rate of increase of "new" oil price ceilings.
    Jun 26-28
    OPEC raises prices average of 15 percent, effective July 1.
    Buy-Sell Program sales average more than 400,000 B/D from October 1979 through March 1980 - highest level since February 1976, due to emergency allocations.
    Canada eliminates light crude oil exports to U.S. refiners, except for those exports required by operational constraints of pipelines.
    Nov 4
    Iran takes western hostages.
    Nov 12
    Carter orders cessation of Iranian imports to U.S.
    Nov 15
    Iran cancels all contracts with U.S. oil companies.
    Dec 13
    Saudi Arabia raises marker crude price to $24 per barrel.


    Mar 1
    Windfall Profits Tax enacted.
    Saudi Light raised to $28.00 per barrel, retroactive to April 1.
    Buy-Sell Program allocations drop to average of 120,000 B/D for period April to September 1980.
    Sep 17
    Iraq breaks 1975 treaty with Iran and proclaims sovereignty over Shatt al-Arab waterway.
    Sep 23
    Iraq invades Iran. Mutual bombing of installations.
    Nov 10
    Iraq captures southern port of Khorramshahr.
    Nov 20-24
    U.N. gulf war mediator Olaf Palme makes first unsuccessful peace shuttle between Tehran and Baghdad.
    Collapse of OPEC's pricing structure. Saudis use $32 per barrel marker, others use $36 per barrel benchmark.


    Saudis flood market with inexpensive oil in 1981, forcing unprecedented price cuts by OPEC members. In October, all 13 OPEC members align on a compromise $32 per barrel benchmark. Later, benchmark price is maintained, but differentials are adjusted.
    Iraq repels first major Iranian offensive.
    Jan 28
    President Reagan lifts remaining domestic petroleum price and allocation controls originally scheduled to expire in September 1981.
    After meetings in Baghdad and Teheran, attempts by nine Islamic Conference leaders to mediate peace between Iraq and Iran fail.
    Windfall profits tax reduced.
    Sep 27-28
    Iran defends its besieged port of Abadan, driving back Iraqi forces.
    OPEC reaches an agreement to unify crude price at $32 per barrel through 1982 and sets an ultimate price ceiling of $38 per barrel.
    Nov 29
    Major Iranian offensive mounted on central front.


    Indications of a world oil glut lead to a rapid decline in world oil prices early in 1982. OPEC appears to lose control over world oil prices.
    Damascus closes Iraq's 400,000 bbl/d trans-Syrian oil export pipeline to show support for Iran.
    Mar 11
    U.S. boycotts Libyan crude.
    May 24Iran recaptures Khorramshahr.
    Iran demands $150 billion in war reparations; pledges war until Iraq's Hussein stands trial.
    Jun 10
    Iraq declares unilateral cease-fire.
    Jul 13
    Iran launches first attack into Iraq.


    Oil glut takes hold. Demand falls as a result of conservation, use of other fuels and recession. OPEC agrees to limit overall output to 17.5 MMB/D. OPEC agrees to individual output quotas and cuts prices by $5 to $29 per barrel.
    Iraq increases missile attacks on Iran.
    Jul 20-30
    Iran moves into northern Iraq. Casualties top 13,800 in ten days.
    Jul 26
    U.S. threatens action to preserve navigation in Persian Gulf.
    Heavy fighting and casualties in Iran-Iraq war.
    Iran attacks northern Iraq, threatening Kirkuk pipeline.


    Iran captures Najnoon Islands.
    Mar 27
    Beginning of "tanker war." Over the next nine months, 44 ships, including Iranian, Iraqi, Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti tankers, are attacked by Iraqi or Iranian warplanes or damaged by mines.
    Iran mobilizes 500,000 troops to southern front. No offensive materializes.
    May 26
    President Reagan rules out U.S. military intervention.
    Civilian target truce in Iran-Iraq war.
    Norway and Britain cut prices in response to falling spot market. Nigeria follows, renewing pressure on OPEC price cuts.
    Oct 17
    OPEC cuts production to 16 MMB/D, but agreement is negated by cheating and price-discounting.


    Nine OPEC members adjust prices to cut gap between light and heavy crudes from $4 to $2.40 per barrel. Saudi light price cut one dollar to $28 per barrel.
    Mar 11-19
    Iranian offensive; heavy casualties.
    "Battle of the cities" - heavy bombing from both Iran and Iraq.
    OPEC output falls to 20-year low of 13.7 MMB/D.
    Iran begins hit-and-run raids on Iraq.
    OPEC loses customers to cheaper North Sea oil. More OPEC price cuts.
    Saudi Arabia links prices to spot market. Output rises from 2 MMB/D in August to 5 MMB/D in early 1986.
    Aug 15
    First Iraqi air raid on Iran's main oil export terminal, Kharg Island.
    Nov 6
    Exploratory well in Ranger, Texas, blows out, spilling 150,000 BBLS of crude oil.
    OPEC output hits 18 MMB/D boosting a glut and triggering a price war.


    Average world oil prices fall by over 50 percent in 1986. There is wide use of netback pricing in 1986.
    Feb 3-4
    OPEC fails to agree upon a production accord after a two-day meeting in Vienna.
    Iran captures southern Faw peninsula, starts northern offensive.
    May 7
    Iraq bombs Tehran refinery.
    OPEC production-cut talks fail, ending in a tentative majority pact on an average 1986 ceiling of 17.6 MMB/D.
    Jun 8
    Iraqi jets attack Assadabad satellite station.
    Brent price dips under $9 per barrel. OPEC production rises to 20 MMB/D.
    Jul 27
    Iraqi jets attack central Iranian city of Arak. Iran threatens missile attack of gulf states supporting Iraq.
    Aug 2
    Hussein offers peace in open letter to Iran.
    Aug 4
    Reports of probable OPEC agreement on output quotas sends oil prices higher.
    Aug 12
    Iran fires missile at refinery near Baghdad. Iraq raids Iranian terminal at Sirri Island severely disrupting Iranian exports.
    Dec 19
    OPEC reaches an accord that would cut production by seven percent for the first six months of 1987 (from 17 MMB/D to 16 MMB/D) and would raise prices immediately toward a target world oil price of $18 per barrel.


    OPEC price accord begins to deteriorate.
    OPEC majors stick to fixed prices.
    Gulf war escalates.
    OPEC meeting failure.


    Wide use of crude formula pricing in 1988.
    OPEC price meeting set.
    OPEC/Non-OPEC meeting failure.
    Iran accepts cease fire.
    Oct 14
    Crude oil prices jump in anticipation of possible production accord at Gulf Cooperation Council meeting set for October 16.
    Nov 28
    OPEC reaches production accord. Six-month agreement to set production at 18.5 MMB/D. Although the recent OPEC quota had been 19.0 MMB/D, actual OPEC production had been closer to 21.0 MMB/D.
    Fulmar/Brent outages.


    Exxon tanker Valdez runs aground, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil in the waters of Price William Sound. Oil prices react upward to news of the spill and to potential shortages on the west coast cased by refinery fires there.
    OPEC raises their production ceiling to 19.5 MMB/D.


    Iraq invades Kuwait. Crude and product prices soar upward; exchange markets react wildly to any middle east news events; cash markets dominate prices after trading hours; jet fuel prices rise to record spreads over other products due to increase in defense demand. In late August, OPEC president fails to revive floundering attempts to organize a formal OPEC meeting to discuss crisis/production strategies. Informal meetings held in Vienna result in record price falls.
    Conflicting reports of promises to increase OPEC output to compensate for embargo of Iraq and Kuwait oil further compound market uncertainties.
    Aug 2
    raq invades Kuwait.
    Bush orders troops to Saudi Arabia.
    Aug 27
    Market prices plunge as OPEC nears informal agreement to increase output to cover 4 MMB/D shortfall due to invasion. Cash market trading experiences abrupt decline.
    Sep 6
    U.S. citizen is shot in Kuwait. API reports 4.4 MMB weekly draw in domestic crude stocks. Oil markets surge on aggressive U.S. statements toward Iraq.
    Sep 21
    Reports that U.S refinery problems will lead to a 200,000 B/D loss in capacity and aggressive remarks by Saddam Hussein send crude prices to new highs.
    Sep 24
    Iraq invades the French and Dutch missions in Kuwait; French President Mitterand called the action a violation of international law; a U.S. warship boards an Iraqi-flagged tanker bound for the port of Basrah.
    Sep 18
    Crude prices outpace increases in product prices and there is talk of cutting refinery runs.
    Sep 20
    Poor refining margins.
    Sep 24
    Saddam Hussein states his willingness to strike first and his intention to damage oil fields in the region if Iraq does strike.
    Oct 1
    Saddam Hussein says he may be willing to negotiate the occupation of Kuwait and would consider foreign participation in negotiations.
    Oct 3
    API reports a 9 MMB weekly U.S. crude inventory draw.
    Oct. 9
    Fear of war and long-term supply disruptions as Hussein threatens Israel.
    Oct 10
    API reports crude inventories dropped by more than 4 MMB in the last week.
    Oct 11
    Libya's Qadhafi says Israel must be eliminated, and U.K. Foreign Secretary Hurd says force would be used if Iraq doesn't withdrawal from Kuwait.
    Nov 5
    Reports of increasing Saudi production and lower world demand.
    Nov 6
    Iran's oil-producing region suffers a serious earthquake.
    Nov 7
    API reports 5 MMB U.S. crude inventory weekly increase.
    Nov 8
    Unconfirmed rumors that Bush would announce an airlift of supplies to U.S. embassy in Kuwait, which could ultimately trigger a military clash.
    Nov 13
    Saudis ask U.S. for rights to bid on SPR crude.
    Nov 19
    Report that Iraq will bolster its forces in Kuwait.
    Nov 20
    API reports crude inventory drop in U.S. of more than 4 MMB; Saddam Hussein announces plans to release German hostages; Soviet Union shows reluctance to endorse the use of force against Iraq.
    Nov 21
    French President Mitterand voices support of a proposed U.N. resolution that would authorize the use of force in the Persian Gulf.
    Nov 26
    U.S. proposes addition to U.N. resolution that would require Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait by January 1.
    Nov 29
    U.N. Security Council approves U.S.-sponsored resolution authorizing the use of force in the Persian Gulf if Iraq does not withdrawal from Kuwait by Jan. 15, 1991.
    Nov 30
    President Bush offers to send Secretary of State James Baker to Baghdad to meet with Hussein.
    Dec 4
    An Iraqi official reports that Iraq will withdraw if it can retain control of the Rumailah field and keep Bubiyan and Werbah islands; also says that demands that the Palestinian issue be treated separately would not be surmountable.
    Dec 5
    Iraq announces willingness to speak with U.S. about resolving the Persian Gulf crisis.
    Dec 13
    Secretary of State Baker questions Iraq's seriousness about Middle East peace.
    Dec 18
    Bush reiterates his "no concessions" stance against Iraq.


    Jan 4
    Reports Iraq will accept U.S. offer for talks in Geneva.
    Jan 7
    Saddam Hussein prepares his troops for what he says will be a long violent war against the U.S.
    Jan 9-14
    At Geneva talks, Baker says that "regrettably" Iraqi Foreign Minister Aziz has indicated no softening in Iraq's position. Peace talks break down, but there is still talk of a peaceful solution to the crisis.
    Jan 15
    Report that Iraq has a new peace initiative.
    Jan 16
    U.S. begins air attack against Iraqi military targets. President Bush directs drawdown of Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). U.S. Secretary of Energy James Watkins orders 33.75 MMB drawdown. Crude oil prices drop $9-10 per barrel in one day after having risen $3-5 per barrel during the first half of January.
    Jan 17
    Reports of early U.S. and allied success against Iraqi forces; DOE issues SPR sales notice.
    Jan 18
    Iraqi Scud missiles land in Israel.
    Jan 22
    Kuwaiti oil facilities are destroyed by Iraq and more Iraqi missile attacks on Saudi Arabia.
    Jan 30DOE selects 13 firms to purchase 17.3 MMB of SPR crude oil.
    Surplus of unsold oil held by oil producers reaches 80-90 MMB.
    Feb 5
    First SPR oil delivered to commercial buyers.
    Feb 15
    Daily market volatility as Hussein mentions withdrawal, but Bush calls his offer a "cruel hoax."
    Feb 26
    Signs of Iran crude now an option for U.S. refiners, but no imports from Iran likely in near future.
    Feb 28
    War ends. U.N. troops move into Kuwait City. Saddam Hussein orderstroops out of Kuwait. Iraqi soldiers ignite Kuwaiti oil fields during their retreat.
    Mar 1
    News that Kuwait will need to import crude in the short term.
    Mar 12
    OPEC announces production cut to 22.3 MMB/D.
    Mar 13
    API reports a 6 MMB weekly domestic crude inventory draw; Saudi Arabia and Iran say OPEC production cuts will take effect April 1.
    Mar 19
    Gorbachev says the Soviet Union will cut its oil exports by nearly half.
    Mar 25
    Nigerian crude becomes competitive in U.S. Gulf Coast as Nigeria cuts crude prices.
    Apr 25
    Iraq expects to resume crude and product exports by July.
    June 3
    Kuwait asks GCC members to produce 800,000 B/D of oil on its behalf.
    Unsuccessful coup attempt against Soviet President Gorbachev has minimal effect on oil markets.
    Soviet Union suspends petroleum product exports as its fuel shortages grow. NYMEX futures price for WTI climbs nearly $2, ending at $24 per barrel.
    Last of Kuwait oil well fires extinguished by well control teams.
    U.S. Senate filibuster causes withdrawl of an Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) pro-leasing bill.
    Soviet Union collapses as a series of events precipitated by Ukrainian vote for independence leads to formation of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).


    Kuwait reports oil production of 400,000 B/D; insists on restoration of its pre-invasion OPEC quota of 1.5 MMB/D.
    UN threatens sanctions against Libya for its refusal to extradite suspected terrorists.
    CIS announces that 1991 crude exports dropped by 52%.
    Saudi Arabia supports a crude oil price hike during a late-month OPEC meeting. NYMEX Futures prices exceed $22 per barrel.
    OPEC production reaches highest level in more than a decade at 25.25 MMB/D.
    U.S., Mexico, and Canada sign NAFTA multi-lateral free trade agreement.


    Oil prices plunge on speculation that Iraq will accept U.N. missile test site inspections and receive approval to resume oil exports.
    Combination of OPEC overproduction, surging North Sea output, and weak demand lowers the price of Brent to near $15 per barrel.


    Oil Prices firm on strength of institutional shifting of U.S. investment funds from equity and bond markets to cash and commodities.
    Nigerian production disrupted by oil workers' strike in response to imprisonment of apparent winner of presidential elections.


    Sources include: Dallas Morning News (DMN); Dow Jones (DJ); Energy Compass (EC); Financial Times (FT); New York Times (NYT); Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW); Platt's Oilgram News (PON); Wall Street Journal (WSJ); Washington Post (WP); Washington Times (WT); and Weekly Petroleum Argus (WPA).

    Jan. 14
    Mexico pledges profits from state-owned Pemex's $7-billion-per-year oil revenues in an effort to secure U.S. congressional approval of $40-billion worth of loan guarantees. Subsequently, President Clinton approved a $20-billion U.S. aid package for Mexico. (DMN)
    Jan. 30
    Norway's Statoil announces that a newly-formed consortium of 11 oil companies will develop a plan to supply Norwegian natural gas to the European continent. Three Norwegian companies recently signed a contract with Gaz de France to bring 1.4 trillion cubic feet of Norwegian gas to France between 2001 and 2027. (DJ)
    Feb. 28
    The Pentagon announces that it monitored Iranian installation of surface-to-air Hawk missiles in the Strait of Hormuz. The Iranians also have taken possession of and fortified the nearby Abu Musa and the Tunb Islands, which are claimed by both Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). (DJ)
    June 14
    After the semi-annual meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, President Ida Bagus Sudjana discloses the Organization's intention to roll over its present crude oil production ceiling of 24.52 million barrels per day. The announcement is followed by a trip to Norway by Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Hisham M. Nazer. Upon arriving, the Saudi Minister asks Norwegian Minister of Industry and Energy Jens Stoltenberg to restrain his country's oil production in the hopes of stabilizing world oil prices. (FT, DJ)
    June 30
    Exxon signs a $15.2-billion deal to develop oil and gas fields near Russia's Sakhalin Island. The Sakhalin I project will develop the offshore Shayvo, Odoptu, and Arkutun-Dagi fields that together are estimated to contain 2.5 billion barrels of crude oil and 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Exxon has a 30 percent stake in the project. (NYT, DJ)
    July 6
    Venezuela's Congress approves the country's first investment law allowing for foreign participation in oil exploration and production. The newly-passed "model agreement" authorizes the state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) to offer 10 exploration blocks to foreign investors. If oil is discovered, the government will maintain a majority stake in any joint venture formed to develop the new fields. (FT, DJ)
    July 27
    Saudi Aramco awards the giant Shaybah oil field development project to U.S.-based Parsons Corporation. The $2.5-billion project will develop the 7-billion-barrel field, including the construction of crude oil production facilities, gas-oil separation plants, and a 372-mile pipeline. The Shaybah field is located on the Saudi-UAE border and is expected to produce 500,000 barrels per day after it comes on line in 1999. (PON)
    July 28
    Norwegian Finance Minister Sigbjorn Johnsen says that Norway should not lower its crude oil production in an attempt to boost world oil prices. Norwegian Oil Minister Jens Stoltenberg believes production cuts may be necessary if prices begin to fall. Minister Johnsen's remarks follow last month's visit by Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Hisham M. Nazer, who asked Minister Stoltenberg to cut Norway's crude oil production. (PON)
    Aug. 2
    Saudi Arabia's King Fahd issues a decree replacing all members of the Council of Ministers who do not have blood ties so the royal Family. While most of the Council's top positions are unaffected by the reshuffling, Oil Minister Hisham Nazer is replaced with Ali bin Ibrahim al-Naimi. (WSJ)
    Aug. 14
    Iran's official news agency, IRNA, reports that Iran has been unable to sell 200,000 barrels per day of crude oil since the imposition of a unilateral oil embargo by the U.S. Iran increasingly has sold its crude oil on spot markets as opposed to long-term contracts. Larger purchases by France, Spain, Italy, China, India, Pakistan, and Thailand have failed to offset decreased demand by German and Japanese refiners. Before the U.S. embargo was announced in April 1995, U.S. companies were buying between 400,000 and 450,000 barrels per day, down from roughly 600,000 barrels per day in 1994. (PON)
    Aug. 28
    Kuwaiti Oil Minister Abdul Mohsen al-Medej announces that his country will increase its oil production capacity to as much as 3.5 million barrels per day by 2005. (DJ)
    Sept. 13
    The Kuwaiti Oil Ministry states its intention to seek a 200,000-barrel-per-day increase to its current 2-million-barrel-per-day crude oil production quota at the November 1995 OPEC meeting in Vienna. The announcement comes amidst growing non-OPEC oil production and weak oil prices. (DJ)
    Nov. 22
    OPEC states that it will roll over its current oil production quota of 25.42 million barrels per day. The roll-over was widely anticipated because of slack world oil demand, rising non-OPEC production, and weak prices. (DJ, PON)
    Nov. 29
    President Clinton approves legislation lifting a 22-year-old ban on exports of oil from the Alaskan North Slope (ANS). The ban was imposed after the oil embargo by Arab oil producers in 1973. The lifting of the ban opens up about one-quarter of U.S. crude oil production for export. The ANS legislation also waives royalty payments on deep water oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico. (WP)
    Dec. 12
    Speaking in New York during a U.S. visit by Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos, Joaquim David, president of the state-owned oil company , Sonangol, states that Angola will increase its crude oil production by 10 percent per year over the next five years, reaching 720,000 barrels per day by the end of 1996 and 1 million barrels per day by 2001. The statement comes amidst sporadic violence involving government forces and the rebel group UNITA, less than a year after a peace accord was signed ending the country's 20-year-old civil war. At the end of 1995, Angola had raised its crude oil production to 690,000 barrels per day. (PON, DJ)


    Sources include: Dow Jones (DJ), Financial Times (FT), New York Times (NYT), and Platt's Oilgram News (PON), Washington Post (WP), and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

    For a more detailed description of 1996 events go here.

    January 17
    Iraq agrees to talks concerning a U.N. plan to allow for the Iraqi sale of $1 billion of oil for 90 days for a 180-day trial period. Under U.N. Resolution 986, proceeds from the sale would be used for humanitarian purposes. In the past, Iraq has opposed clauses 6 and 8b contained in Resolution 986. Clause 6 stipulates that oil exports under this plan must pass through the 1.6-million b/d Iraq-Turkey pipeline, which currently is unusable because of sludge build-ups and pumping station damage. By most estimates, the line would take a minimum of three months to repair. Clause 8b states that part of the proceeds from the sales would be disbursed under U.N. supervision to Kurdish provinces in northern Iraq. Negotiations between Iraq and the United Nations are scheduled to begin February 6, 1996. (FT, PON, DJ)
    January 30
    Vice Admiral Scott Redd, commander of the U.S. Fifth Fleet based in the Persian Gulf, states that Iran test-fired a new anti-ship missile near the Strait of Hormuz on January 6. The missile reportedly has a range of 60 miles and is viewed as a threat to regional security by U.S. naval forces operating in the area. Oil tankers carry about 15 million b/d through the Strait. (DJ)
    April 24
    In New York, the United Nations and Iraq end a third round of negotiations over Iraq's possible sale of $1 billion of oil for 90 days for a 180-day trial period. Under U.N. Resolution 986, proceeds from the sale would be used for humanitarian purposes. While both sides have reached agreement on most of the key issues, chief Iraqi negotiator Abdul Amir al-Anbari says that the United States and the United Kingdom have fundamentally altered the text of a proposed agreement which he had received from the United Nations early in the third round. Al-Anbari states that the changes have postponed any possible deal. The U.N.-Iraq talks are scheduled to restart on May 10. (DJ)
    April 30
    In the United States, President Clinton approves the sale of $227 million of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. At current oil prices, roughly 12 million barrels would be sold. The Clinton Administration hopes that the sale will lower gasoline prices in the United States, which are at their highest levels in five years. (WSJ)
    May 20
    In New York, the United Nations and Iraq agree to U.N. Resolution 986, which provides Iraq with the opportunity to sell $1 billion of oil for 90 days for a 180-day trial period. Under the resolution, proceeds from the sale would be used for humanitarian purposes. The agreement comes following months of heated negotiations. Iraqi oil exports are expected to begin by the Fall of 1996, after a pumping station on the Iraq-Turkey pipeline is repaired and U.N monitoring and aid distribution facilities are put in place. Shortly after the agreement, the White House announces its decision to allow U.S. oil companies to purchase Iraqi oil exports. (FT, PON, WSJ)
    June 11
    Exxon states that it will soon begin work on its $15-billion Sakhalin I oil and natural gas development in Russia's Far East. The Sakhalin I project will develop an estimated 5 billion barrels of oil and 15 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas located in three offshore hydrocarbon fields. The $300 million appraisal program will include drilling one exploration well and conducting a 3-D seismic survey. The U.S. company says that it will start working despite ongoing differences with the Russian government over the country's new production sharing law, which is widely viewed as not offering adequate legal protection for foreign investment in the country's oil and gas sectors. (FT)
    June 20
    The Venezuelan Congress approves eight, multi-billion dollar, profit-sharing deals which allow foreign oil companies to explore and produce oil in Venezuela for the first time since the country's 1975 nationalization of the oil industry. The deals could boost Venezuela's current oil production by 500,000 b/d by 2005. Foreign oil companies such as Amoco and British Petroleum are expected to sign final deals with state-owned PdVSA within 10 days and may begin working on their new acreage by the third quarter of 1996. The eight blocks are estimated to hold between 7 to 11 billion barrels of light crude oil reserves. (PON, DJ)
    July 7
    OPEC issues a resolution announcing Gabon's withdrawal from the organization, effective January 1, 1995. Gabon had an OPEC quota of 287,000 b/d. (FT)
    July 18
    The United Nations formally approves an Iraqi aid distribution plan, a major step forward in the direction of allowing Iraq to sell oil under Resolution 986. (DJ)
    August 6
    President Clinton signs a new bill imposing sanctions on non-U.S. companies which invest over $40 million a year in the energy sectors of either Iran and Libya. Under the law, the President would be required to impose at least two of the following sanctions: import and export bans; lending embargoes from U.S. banks; a ban on U.S. procurement of goods and services from sanctioned companies; and a denial of U.S export financing. The European Union has stated its opposition to the U.S. law and threatened retaliation. (FT)
    August 21
    In Venezuela, a subsidiary of state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA), Corpoven, signs a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with U.S.-based ARCO. The MOU provides for a $3.5-billion joint venture to develop and upgrade roughly 200,000 b/d of crude oil from the country's 270-billion Orinoco Heavy Oil Belt. The project will produce 9° API gravity crude oil in the Hamaca region and upgrade it to 25° API for export to U.S. refineries. The project will be implemented in three phases, the last of which will be completed in 2006. Another PdVSA subsidiary, Maraven, recently signed another, similar deal with Conoco. (PON, FT)
    September 5
    Following U.S. cruise missile strikes on military facilities in southern Iraq, crude oil prices rise as the market speculates when Iraq will begin exporting oil under U.N. Resolution 986. Benchmark Brent Blend for October rises above $22/barrel amidst the uncertainty. The U.S. attack follows an Iraqi-supported invasion of Kurdish safe haven areas in the country's northern area. Subsequently, President Bill Clinton states that the U.N. oil-for-food sale should be postponed indefinitely. (DJ)
    October 30
    Exxon confirms that it is in talks with state-owned Qatar General Petroleum Corporation concerning the application of new technology to convert natural gas to petroleum products. Exxon believes that technology developed in a successful 200-b/d Anatural gas refinery project in Texas would work in Qatar, where a proposed $1-billion plant would be able produce between 50,000-100,000 b/d of middle distillate products. Under the proposal, Qatar's 270-Tcf North field would supply between 0.5-1 Bcf/d of gas for use as feedstock. In the past, technological barriers and high costs have precluded the development of natural gas refineries. (WSJ)
    December 18
    During a press conference, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Maleki states that Iran supports the free flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, but reserves the option of closing off the shipping route if it is threatened. Iran recently has admitted to deploying anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles on Abu Musa, an island strategically located near the Strait of Hormuz's shipping lanes. (DJ)
    December 30
    The United Nations announces that a total of 21 contracts have been approved for the limited Iraqi oil sales under U.N. Resolution 986. The approved contracts will allow for 43.68 million barrels of oil to be exported in the first 90 days of the sale. At present, exports of 26.37 million barrels have been approved for the second 90-day period of the sale, which allows Iraq to sell up to $1 billion worth of oil every 90 days for an initial 6-month period. In mid-December 1996, Iraq restarted the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, which is expected to carry up to 450,000 b/d of oil under the sales agreements approved so far under U.N. Resolution 986. Iraq's remaining oil exports will flow through the Mina al-Bakr terminal. (NYT, DJ)


    Sources include: Dow Jones (DJ), New York Times (NYT), and the Washington Post (WP).

    For a more detailed description of 1997 events go here.

    February 5
    Japan's Ministry of Finance announces plans to cut import tariffs on crude oil and most petroleum products from April 1, 1997, in a phased process that will reduce the country's crude oil import tariff rate to zero in April 2002. (DJ)
    February 24
    Qatar inaugurates the world's largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporting facility and formally launches Qatar Liquefied Gas Co., which will have total output capacity of 6 million tons per year of LNG. The facilities are part of a new $7.2 billion industrial zone which also includes a sea port with a capacity to handle 25-30 million tons of LNG annually. Qatar plans to build more gas liquefaction plants in the area to exploit its natural gas reserves of around 237 trillion cubic feet. (DJ)
    April 1
    A Shell spokesman confirms the company will declare force majeure at its Nigerian Bonny terminal due to local protests which disrupted 210,000 barrels per day of the company's oil production. Although the protests have ended and production is returning to normal, the backlog is temporarily delaying loadings by 3 days. (DJ)
    May 16
    A final agreement creating the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) is signed by project participants: Russia (24 percent), Kazakstan (19 percent), Chevron Corp. (15 percent), AO Lukoil/Arco Corp. (12.5 percent), Mobil Corp. (7.5 percent), AO Rosneft/Shell Corp. (7.5 percent), Oman (7 percent), Agip SpA (2 percent), British Gas PLC (2 percent), Oryx Corp. (1.75 percent), and Kazakstan Pipeline Ventures, a joint venture of Kazakstan's state oil company and Amoco Corp. (1.75 percent). The Russian government plans to transfer its stake to two Russian oil companies, AO Lukoil and AO Rosneft. CPC plans to begin building a 932-mile pipeline to transport crude oil from the Caspian region to Russia's Black Sea coast in 1998 and begin shipping around 558,000 barrels per day of oil in 1999 (planned peak capacity is 1.4 million barrels per day). (DJ)
    May 20
    President Clinton signs an executive order barring new U.S. investment in Burma (also known as Myanmar), effective May 21 and renewable annually. U.S. companies have invested about $250 million in Burma, primarily in the oil and gas sector. The biggest U.S. investor is Unocal, which is building (with France's Total) a $1.2 billion pipeline from Burma's Yadana natural gas field to an electric power plant in Thailand. (DJ)
    June 4
    In a unanimous vote, the United Nations Security Council renews for another 180-day period its "oil­for­food" initiative with Iraq. Under the resolution, Iraq may sell $2 billion worth of oil to buy food, medicine and other necessities to alleviate civilian suffering under the sanctions imposed when it invaded Kuwait in 1990. (WP)
    July 22
    The first shipments of oil produced from Kazakstan's Tengiz field arrive at terminals on the Black Sea in Novorossiysk (Russia) and Batumi (Georgia) for subsequent export through the Bosphoros Strait. Volumes total between 100,000 and 150,000 barrels per day. (DJ)
    July 23
    The U.S. State Department rules that Turkey's August 1996 agreement to purchase $23 billion worth of natural gas from Iran over a 20-year period does not violate the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act. In a May 1997 memorandum of understanding with Iran and Turkmenistan, Turkey modified the original arrangement so that the natural gas will be purchased from Turkmenistan rather than Iran. (DJ)
    August 4
    In Colombia, Occidental Petroleum, a California-based international oil company, and Ecopetrol, Colombia's national oil company, declare force majeure on all oil exports from the Cano Limon field. The declaration comes after a series of attacks dating back to July 30 knocked out a major oil pipeline transporting oil from the field to the Caribbean port of Covenas. The pipeline has been attacked 45 times this year which is equal to the total number of attacks for 1996. Responsibility for the attacks has not been determined, but leftist guerrillas from the National Liberation Army are usually blamed for such attacks. The force majeure declaration does not apply to the oil contained in the 2 million barrel storage facility at Covenas. (DJ)
    August 8
    The United Nations approves a sale-price formula for Iraqi crude oil sales under the oil-for-food plan. The approval cleared the way for Iraq to resume limited oil exports immediately through the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea and Iraq's Gulf port of Mina al-Bakr. The United Nations will also begin reviewing contracts for Iraqi crude oil purchases. Iraq has until September 5 to raise the $1.07 billion allowed under the existing 90 day oil-for-food plan window. Iraqi officials state they will boost exports to 2 million barrels per day to meet the sales target. However, industry experts say that Iraq's export capacity is untested beyond 1.4 million barrel per day. (DJ)
    September 12
    The United Nations Security Council passes a resolution that allows Iraq to reach the $2.14 billion oil sales limit under its oil-for-food program by December 5. The current 6-month oil sales window, running from June 8 to December 5, will be split into a 120-day segment and a 60-day segment instead of two 90-day segments. During each segment Iraq can sell $1.07 billion worth of oil. The resolution should enable Iraq to make up for lost revenues during a delay in the start of oil sales during the first two months of the current six month sale period. (DJ)
    October 29
    Iraq's Revolution Command Council, the country's main decision making body, announces that it will no longer allow U.S. citizens and U.S. aircraft to serve with the United Nations (U.N.) arms inspection teams. The council's statement gives U.S. citizens working with the inspection teams one week to leave Iraq. Iraq has also asked the U.N. to stop flights by American reconnaissance aircraft monitoring its compliance with U.N. resolutions requiring the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. In response to this statement, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approves a statement condemning Iraq's threats to expel the Americans. (DJ)
    November 20
    Iraq's Revolution Command Council formally endorses an agreement, arranged by Russia, that enables United Nation's (U.N.) weapons inspection teams to resume operations in Iraq. The deal ends a three-week standoff between the U.N. and Iraq that began in late October 1997 after Iraq announced it would no longer allow U.S. citizens to serve on U.N. weapons' inspection teams. (DJ)
    November 29
    For the first time in four years, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agrees to an increase in its production ceiling. OPEC has raised the ceiling to 27.5 million barrels per day for the first half of 1998, effective January 1, 1998. The new ceiling represents a 10 percent increase over the current ceiling. The new quotas are as follows: Saudi Arabia 8.76 million barrels per day (bbl/d), Iran 3.942 million bbl/d, Iraq 1.314 million bbl/d, Venezuela 2.583 million bbl/d, Nigeria 2.042 million bbl/d, Indonesia 1.456 million bbl/d, Kuwait 2.19 million bbl/d, Libya 1.522 million bbl/d, United Arab Emirates 2.366 million bbl/d, Algeria 0.909 million bbl/d, and Qatar 0.414 million bbl/d. (NYT)
    December 4
    Iraq's United Nations (U.N.) Ambassador Nizar Hamdoon warns that Iraq will not allow oil to flow during a third six-month phase of the U.N.'s oil-for-food sale until the U.N. approves an aid distribution plan. Despite the warning, the U.N. Security Council approves a third six-month phase following the end of the second six-month phase. Like the first two phases, the third phase allows Iraq to sell up to $1.07 billion of oil in each of two 90-day periods. However, the sales level may be increased by the Security Council in January 1998 after U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan reports on Iraq's needs. The next day Iraq stops pumping oil into the Iraqi-Turkish pipeline at the end of the second six-month phase of the United Nations (U.N.) oil-for-food program. (WP, NYT)
    December 11
    Delegates from 150 industrial nations attending a United Nations climate conference in Kyoto, Japan reach agreement on a protocol to control heat-trapping greenhouse gases. The protocol, if ratified, would commit nations to roll back emissions of six greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulphur hexafluoride) below 1990 levels. Under the protocol, the United States would be required to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent below 1990 levels, while Europe and Japan would make cuts of 8 percent and 9 percent, respectively. Developing countries are exempt from the emissions ceilings for the time being. (DJ)


    Sources include: Dow Jones (DJ), New York Times (NYT), Wall Street Journal (WSJ), and the Washington Post (WP).

    For a more detailed description of 1998 events go here.

    January 7
    Due to the continuing Asian economic crisis, South Korea's refiners have reportedly cut operations to around 80 percent of capacity. The refiners have also had difficulty securing crude oil supplies for delivery in late January or February, which could cut operations to as low as 70 percent-75 percent of capacity. (DJ)
    January 15
    Environmentalists hail the implementation of a 50-year moratorium on mining and oil exploration in the Antarctic. A protocol for the protection of the Antarctic was adopted by twenty-six countries in 1991, but it could not be implemented until Japan's ratification cleared the way last month. Antarctica contains 70 percent of the world's fresh water, and the moratorium attempts to preserve the world's least polluted continent. (WP)
    February 5
    Following a ruling by a federal judge denying a request from environmentalists and Native Americans seeking to block the sale of the Elk Hills Naval Petroleum Reserve, the U.S. Department of Energy formally transfers ownership of the reserve to Occidental Petroleum Corporation. Occidental purchased a 78 percent interest in the field for $3.65 billion. Chevron Corporation currently holds the remaining 22 percent. Elk Hills contains 450 million barrels of proven oil reserves; however, officials from Occidental believe the reserve may contain one billion barrels of recoverable reserves. (DJ)
    February 20
    The United Nations (U.N.) Security Council votes unanimously to more than double the amount of oil Iraq can export under the U.N. oil-for-food program. The Security Council's vote increases the amount Iraq can export from $2.14 billion to $5.26 billion over six months. Iraq maintains that it only has the capability to export up to $4 billion over a six-month period. (DJ)
    March 31
    The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) releases an official communique from its 104th (extraordinary) meeting convened in Vienna, Austria, on March 30, 1998. The communique states that member countries have agreed to voluntary cuts from each country's current production levels in an attempt to boost oil prices. OPEC has agreed to cuts totaling 1.245 million barrels per day effective April 1, 1998. The cuts, in barrels per day, break down as follows: Algeria 50,000; Indonesia 70,000; Iran 140,000; Kuwait 125, 000; Libya 80,000; Nigeria 125,000; Qatar 30,000; Saudi Arabia 300,000; United Arab Emirates 125,000; and Venezuela 200,000. In addition, non-OPEC oil-producing countries Mexico, Oman, and Yemen have agreed to cut production by 100,000, 30,000, and 20,000 barrels per day, respectively. Moreover, a third non-OPEC country, Norway, the world's third largest oil exporter, has pledged to reduce its oil production by 3 percent, or approximately 100,000 barrels per day. However, Norway's cuts will not take effect until mid-April 1998. (Cuts are from February production based on secondary sources.) (DJ) (WSJ)(NYT)
    May 4
    The Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) announces that it will acquire Union Texas Petroleum Holdings Incorporated, an independent oil company based in Houston, Texas, for $2.47 billion. The acquisition will add 140,000 barrels per day to ARCO's oil and natural gas production and increase ARCO's total oil and gas reserves by 14 percent. The deal also helps ARCO enter the Caspian Sea region, with ARCO gaining a 12.5 percent interest in the Caspian Pipeline Consortium and a 5 percent interest in Kazakhstan's Tengiz oil filed. ARCO also will gain additional interests in projects located in the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Alaska, and Venezuela. (NYT) (WSJ)
    May 11
    India announces that it has conducted three underground nuclear tests, the country's first since 1974. The tests were conducted simultaneously 330 miles southwest of New Delhi, near the Pakistani border. The Indian government indicates that the three tests included a thermonuclear device, commonly known as a hydrogen bomb. Two days later, on May 13, 1998, India announces that it has conducted two more underground nuclear tests in the same desert range. (WP) (DJ)
    June 19
    The United Nations (U.N.) Security Council unanimously approves a resolution allowing Iraq to spend $300 million on spare parts for its oil industry. The funding is intended to help Iraq increase oil exports under the fourth phase of the U.N.'s oil-for-food program. The spare parts are expected to expand Iraq's oil export capacity from 1.6 million barrels per day to 1.8 million or 1.9 million barrels per day. (NYT) (DJ)
    June 24
    The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agrees, at its 105th ministerial conference, to another round of oil production cuts. In recent weeks oil prices have fallen to their lowest levels in more than a decade. OPEC members have agreed to cut production by 1.355 million barrels per day, effective July 1, 1998, bringing the group's total reductions since March 1998 to 2.6 million barrels per day. Together with promises from non-OPEC nations such as Russia, Oman, and Mexico, world oil producers have pledged to cut world-wide production by approximately 3.1 million barrels per day. (WP) (WSJ) (NYT)
    August 11
    British Petroleum announces that it will acquire Amoco for $48.2 billion in stock. If the merger is approved by regulators and shareholders of both companies, it will be the largest oil industry merger and the largest foreign take-over of a U.S. company to date. The company will be known as BP Amoco, and it will be the world's third-largest multinational oil company in terms of net income behind Exxon and Royal Dutch/Shell Group. (NYT) (WSJ) (WP)
    October 1
    South Korea's oil refining sector fully deregulates, allowing for 100 percent foreign investment. Originally, South Korea had expected to fully deregulate its refining industry by January 1999, but it decided to move up the date in order to help reform its economy. (DJ)
    October 7
    European Union (EU) nations approve an accord in which European car makers will voluntarily agree to cut carbon dioxide emissions 25 percent by 2008. EU officials say they will seek similar deals with automakers in Asia and North America. (WP)
    October 28
    Japan's Nippon Oil Company, the country's second largest petroleum distributor and Mitsubishi Oil Company, the sixth-ranking company in the industry, agree to merge as of April 1, 1999. The combined company will be the largest oil distributor in Japan. (WSJ)
    December 2
    Exxon Corporation agrees to buy Mobil Corporation for approximately $75.4 billion, which will make the company the largest corporation in the U.S. The companies say they expect to cut about 9,000 jobs from their combined worldwide workforce of 122,700 and to close offices, saving $730 million. The merger comes in the context of low oil prices, which have hurt profits at many oil companies. (DJ)
    December 23
    The Colombian government says it will allow gasoline and diesel prices to float with international oil prices starting January 1, 1999. The move will end a system of artificial price fixing which has cost the government more than $3.2 billion in subsidies over the past five years. (DJ)


    Sources include: Dow Jones (DJ), New York Times (NYT), USA Today (USA), Wall Street Journal (WSJ), and the Washington Post (WP).

    For a more detailed description of 1999 events go here.

    January 1
    British Petroleum Company and Amoco Corporation complete their $53 billion merger. Chicago-based Amoco is the United States' fifth-largest oil company with roughly 9,300 gasoline stations. London-based British Petroleum, the world's third largest oil company, sells its products through a network of about 17,900 stations. (DJ)
    February 4
    Italy's ENI SpA and Russia's RAO Gazprom, the world's largest natural gas producer, agree to build a natural gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey at a cost of nearly $3 billion. Each project partner will hold a 50 percent stake in the project. The proposed pipeline, called the Blue Stream project, is expensive by industry standards partly because it would run at great depth under the waters of the Black Sea. (Asian WSJ)
    February 10
    U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson visits Saudi Arabia to discuss potential U.S. investment in the Kingdom's oil and gas sectors. Following his visit, Richardson says the Saudis are primarily interested in foreign investment in the natural gas sector and in the oil refining and marketing sectors, rather than in the upstream crude oil sector. Secretary Richardson's visit comes several months after a September 1998 meeting between several U.S. oil companies, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah and Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi, in which Abdullah requested proposals from the companies on the development of Saudi oil reserves. (DJ), (USA), (WSJ)
    March 23
    In an effort to raise oil prices, which fell sharply in late 1997 and stayed low through 1998 and into early 1999, OPEC and non-OPEC countries agree to cut oil output by a combined 2.104 million barrels per day, effective April 1, 1999, for one year. OPEC members have pledged to cut 1.716 million barrels per day, while several non-OPEC countries have pledged total reductions of 388,000 barrels per day. During 1998, due mainly to low oil prices, OPEC crude oil export revenues fell 30 percent (to $100 billion) from the previous year. (DJ, NYT)
    March 31
    Arco agrees to be acquired by BP Amoco PLC for $26.6 billion in stock. If approved, the merger will create the largest oil producer in the United States and one of the largest energy companies in the world. The deal marks the fourth largest oil company merger since the onset of low oil prices in late 1997. (DJ), (WSJ)
    April 5
    Following the arrival in the Netherlands of two Libyan suspects in the 1988 bombing of Pan American Flight 103 that killed 270 people, United Nations sanctions against Libya are suspended. The sanctions, imposed on March 31, 1992, initially included a ban on the sale of equipment for refining and transporting oil, but excluded oil production equipment. Sanctions were then expanded on November 11, 1993, to include a freeze on Libya's overseas assets, excluding revenue from oil, natural gas, or agricultural products. (DJ)
    April 15
    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announces that it will begin taking oil deliveries within the next few days under its plan to add 28 million barrels of oil to the U.S. Government's Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) from federal oil royalty payments. In Phase 1 of the plan, the SPR is expected to acquire about 43,000 barrels per day over the next 3 months from oil companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico. Although about 50 percent of the oil supplied in Phase 1 will be imported, domestic producers would still benefit from the entire acquisition since the oil market is international and fungible, according to a DOE official. Under Phase 2 of the program, the DOE expects to acquire about 100,000 barrels per day of royalty oil over a 6-month period. (DJ)
    April 17
    An oil pipeline that transports oil from Baku, Azerbaijan, to Suspa, Georgia, is officially opened. This is the second pipeline dedicated to exporting Caspian Sea oil, but the first built since the Soviet Union disbanded in 1991. The other Caspian Sea oil pipeline, which runs through the Russian breakaway republic of Chechnya to the Russian port of Novorossisk, is often shut down. The new pipeline to Georgia has a capacity of 100,000 barrels per day. (DJ)
    April 28
    The U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), notifies Mobil that it has turned down Mobil's request for a license to swap crude oil it produces in Turkmenistan in exchange for Iranian oil. Mobil had hoped to be allowed to ship oil produced in Turkmenistan to northern Iranian oil refineries, while Iran, in turn, would provide Iranian oil from Iran's Persian Gulf export terminals to Mobil for shipment to global markets as payment. OFAC is responsible for enforcing U.S. unilateral sanctions against foreign countries. As a result of OFAC's denial of a swap arrangement with Iran, Mobil will have to continue exporting its Turkmenistan oil production across the Caspian Sea by barge to Azerbaijan, where it is then carried by rail or pipeline to Black Sea ports. (DJ, WP)
    May 1
    U.S. President Clinton unveils a plan to apply the same standard for tailpipe emissions to cars, light-duty trucks, and most sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Based on current nitrogen oxides (NOx) emission levels, the proposed plan would result in a 77 percent reduction for cars and a 95 percent reduction for light-duty trucks and SUVs. The new standards would be phased in from the 2004 to 2007 model years. At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes a rule that would require refiners to reduce gasoline sulfur content from a current average of nearly 330 parts per million (ppm) to 30 ppm. The new sulfur standard is being proposed in conjunction with the new tailpipe emission proposal since sulfur impedes catalytic converter efficiency, thus making it more difficult to reduce tailpipe emissions without reducing sulfur content in gasoline. Oil industry representatives have vowed to protest the proposed rule, claiming that it will cost refiners $3 billion to $6 billion. The EPA estimates that the cost of compliance for both the automobile and oil industries will be between $3.4 billion and $4.4 billion. (DJ)
    May 10
    The Board of Argentine oil company YPF unanimously approved a $13.4 billion offer from Repsol, a Spanish company. Repsol, which already owns 14.99 percent of YPF, made an all cash offer to purchase the remaining 85.01 percent last month. The Board recommended to all shareholders to accept the Repsol offer. Two Argentine provinces, which own about five percent of YPF's shares, remain concerned about Repsol's intentions for their regions. (WSJ)
    May 12
    The Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) begins construction of a 981-mile pipeline that will carry crude oil from the Caspian Sea to the Russian port of Novorossisk for export to foreign markets. The pipeline's planned capacity is about 1.3 million barrels per day, and the CPC is expecting to load the first tanker in mid-2001. (DJ)
    May 17
    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that it will not change its "Tier Two Plan" to cut gasoline sulfur content and tailpipe emissions, in response to a recent appellate court ruling that the EPA had overstepped its mandate in implementing some provisions of the Clean Air Act. Beginning in 2004, the Tier Two Plan would require refiners to cut gasoline sulfur content to an average of 30 parts per million, down more than 90 percent from the current national average. (DJ)
    May 27
    Exxon and Mobil shareholders approve an $81.2 billion merger, in which Exxon will issue 1.32 shares for each share of Mobil's approximately 780.2 million shares outstanding. The merger still must receive regulatory approval from the U.S. government and the European Union. The chairmen of both companies state that they expect regulatory approvals to be obtained by the end of the third quarter of 1999. (DJ)
    June 1
    Sudan starts pumping oil through its pipeline linking the Heglig oil field in Western Kordofan province to Port Sudan on the Red Sea. The pipeline has a capacity of 250,000 barrels per day, and was financed by a consortium of Chinese, Malaysian, Canadian, and Sudanese firms. (DJ)
    August 9
    The United States Department of Commerce dismisses a petition filed by Save Domestic Oil, Inc. under anti-dumping statutes. The petition alleged that Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Mexico, and Iraq had sold crude oil to the United States at artificially low prices. The decision was based on the Department of Commerce's determination that "opposition to the petitions exceeded support." Majority support is defined as petitioner representation of at least 25 percent of the domestic industry and support from at least 50 percent of the industry expressing an opinion. Support from a majority in the affected industry is necessary under the law for Commerce to commence a formal investigation of an anti-dumping complaint. (DJ, WP, NYT)
    September 14
    French oil companies Total Fina and Elf Aquitaine agree to merge, after a lengthy takeover battle, in a deal which will form the world's fourth largest oil company. The deal will give Elf Aquitaine shareholders 19 shares of Total Fina for every 13 shares of Elf Aquitaine. According to Total Fina's management, the merger will result in annual cost savings for the combined firm of $1.56 billion. (WP, WSJ)
    September 22
    The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), at a meeting of its member states' oil ministers, decides to maintain current production cuts until March 2000, despite the fact the crude oil prices have doubled since early 1999. In another development, OPEC announces that its current Secretary General, Nigerian Rilwanu Lukman, will stay in office until March 2000. The announcement follows a vigorously contested race to succeed Lukman in the post, in which OPEC's three largest members, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq, had fielded candidates. (DJ)
    September 28
    Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh announces that the National Iranian Oil Company has discovered a new oilfield, Azadegan, with 26 billion barrels of crude oil in Khuzestan province. The discovery is the largest new find in Iran in the last three decades. Zanganeh expects the field to produce between 300,000 and 400,000 barrels per day of crude oil three to four years after development begins next year. (DJ)
    September 30
    Japan suffers a serious nuclear accident at a uranium processing plant in Tokaimura, in which radiation is released after an apparent uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction. Three workers at the plant, operated by JCO, Inc., are injured. Japanese authorities issue a warning instructing 310,000 people in neighboring communities to stay indoors. (DJ, WSJ)
    October 4
    The United Nations Security Council agrees to raise the monetary ceiling on Iraqi oil sales to $8.3 billion from $5.26 billion, guaranteeing the continuation of Iraqi production until the November 20 end date for the current six month extension of the "oil-for-food" program. The move is a one time adjustment, and does not bind the Security Council to continue a higher ceiling if the program is renewed for another six month term. The increase reflects the difference between previous monetary ceilings and actual Iraqi sales during previous phases of the program. (DJ)
    November 18
    The heads of state of Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia sign an agreement to build a pipeline for the export of crude oil from the Caspian Basin. The 1,080-mile pipeline will begin at the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, and run through Georgia and Turkey to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. The project is expected to cost $2.4 billion, and the government of Turkey has offered guarantees that the cost of the Turkish segment of the pipeline will not exceed $1.4 billion. The signing ceremony took place during a visit to Istanbul by U.S. President Clinton for a summit of the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE). (WP, NYT)
    November 30
    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) grants approval for the proposed merger between oil giants Exxon and Mobil. The $80 billion merger was approved by the FTC after the firms agreed to the largest divestiture of assets ever involved in a merger. The companies will sell over 2,400 retail outlets, mostly in the Northeast, Texas, and California, and a refinery in California. (DJ)
    December 10
    The California Air Resources Board approves a regulatory change that will halve the amount of sulfur allowed in gasoline sold in California from 30 parts per million to 15 parts per million, starting in 2003. The California limit would be half the national limit under a new rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The current federal sulfur limit for gasoline is 330 parts per million. (WSJ)
    December 21
    The Export-Import Bank drops a proposed $500 million loan to Russia's Tyumen Oil after Secretary of State Madeleine Albright exercises her statutory authority to block the transaction. The loan had been controversial in part because of Tyumen Oil's dispute with BP Amoco over the bankruptcy of Russian oil firm Sidanko, in which BP Amoco owns a major stake. BP Amoco and Tyumen Oil later settled the dispute on December 23. (DJ)
    December 31
    The Panama Canal Zone reverts to Panamanian sovereignty at noon, after nearly a century of American control. More than a half-million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products transit the Canal each day. (DJ)
    December 31
    After nearly two years of construction, ExxonMobil completes the Sable Offshore Energy Project, a $2 billion project to bring natural gas from fields offshore Nova Scotia to the northeastern United States. The fields are estimated to contain 3.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. (DJ)
    December 31
    Russian President Boris Yeltsin makes a surprise announcement that he is resigning immediately. Vladimir Putin becomes Acting President, and presidential elections will be held within 90 days, with a date to be set by the State Duma. Russia is the largest exporter of energy in the world. (DJ)

    January 2000

    The following chronology lists international events that hold significance for world petroleum markets. Sources include: Dow Jones (DJ), The Los Angeles Times (LAT), The New York Times (NYT), The Washington Post (WP), and The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

    January 1 Energy companies and countries around the world report that they have passed into the year 2000 without significant problems from the "Y2K Bug." There was concern that the inability of some computers and embedded control systems to recognize the year 2000 could create serious problems. (DJ, WP)

    January 6 Texaco announces that it has completed testing of the Agbami-2 well off the coast of Nigeria. The company states that the new field has crude oil reserves estimated at more than one billion barrels. (DJ, WSJ)

    January 7 Statoil shuts in 390,000 barrels per day of crude oil production in response to severe weather in the North Sea. Including earlier moves by Norsk Hydro, Statoil, and Shell, a total of 1.27 million barrels per day of North Sea crude oil production is shut in due to weather. (DJ)

    January 13 The National Research Council, a body of the National Academy of Sciences, releases a report confirming that the rise in global temperatures is "undoubtedly real," deflating a key argument used by skeptics of global warming. The report does not directly address the causes of the warming trend. (WP, LAT, WSJ)

    January 13 The Environmental Protection Agency announces a fine of $30 million against refiner Koch Industries as part of a settlement of charges that the company contaminated lakes and streams with petroleum products which leaked from pipelines. (DJ)

    January 13 Indonesian President Abderrahman Wahid appoints a high level panel to oversee the restructuring of the state-owned oil company Pertamina and choose a new senior management team for the firm. (DJ, WSJ)

    January 14 Chevron announces that it has agreed to pay $95 million to settle charges that it underpaid royalties to the federal government for oil produced on federal lands. The company says the move is not an admission of wrongdoing. (WSJ)

    January 16 Takashi Fukuya, Japan's Minister of International Trade and Industry, meets with Saudi Arabia's Petroleum Minister Ali al-Naimi in an attempt to reach an agreement on the renewal of Japanese firm Arabian Oil Company's concession for crude oil production in the Saudi sector of the Neutral Zone. The ministers reportedly failed to reach agreement on an extension. (DJ)

    January 19 China discovers a large natural gas deposit in the Tarim Basin in the Xinjiang region of Western China. The country is considering the construction of a gas pipeline from the region to more heavily populated areas along the Pacific coast. (DJ)

    January 22 Iraq reaches an agreement on the continuation of oil supplies to Jordan. Under the agreement, Iraq will give Jordan $300 million worth of crude oil in 2000 free of charge, and Jordan will pay a maximum of $19 per barrel for any additional volumes imported. (DJ)

    January 25 Spot prices for number two heating oil close at $1.359 per gallon, after rising rapidly from $0.687 per gallon at the beginning of January 2000. The rapid rise takes place as winter storms hit the northeastern United States, increasing short term demand for heating oil. The spot price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil closes at $30.28 per barrel. (DJ)

    January 26 The United Nations Security Council reaches agreement on the appointment of Hans Blix of Sweden, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to lead the new United Nations weapons inspection organization for Iraq. Iraq has indicated that it does not intend to accept the new Security Council resolution. (DJ)

    January 27 Senator Charles Schumer meets with Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson to press for a sale of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in response to high oil prices. In particular, northeastern members of Congress have been concerned by the sharp rise in prices for heating oil in late January 2000 due to cold temperatures on the East Coast of the United States. (DJ)

    January 27 The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decides to postpone a scheduled decision on whether to allow the proposed merger between BP Amoco and Atlantic Richfield, after the companies involved made a new offer to divest themselves of further assets. (NYT)

    January 27 Azerbaijan experiences a short-term domestic petroleum products shortage, which cripples the country's oil fired power plants. The government of Azerbaijan temporarily restricts oil shipments to the Russian port of Novorossisk and orders the import of a shipment of oil from neighboring Turkmenistan. (DJ)

    January 28 ExxonMobil's Australian unit, Mobil Oil Australia Limited, announces a compensation package to cover equipment damage and direct business losses arising from contaminated aircraft fuels. Around 5,000 small aircraft have been grounded in Australia due to concerns that engines could clog after consuming the fuels. Mobil has said the contamination resulted from a mistake in the production process, but has not admitted liability for financial losses incurred by its clients. (DJ)

    February 2000

    The following chronology lists international events that hold significance for world petroleum markets. Sources include: Dow Jones (DJ), The Los Angeles Times (LAT), The New York Times (NYT), The Washington Post (WP), and The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

    February 2 The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) acts to block the proposed merger between BP Amoco and Atlantic Richfield, saying the merger would unduly restrict competition along the West coast of the United States. (WSJ, WP)

    February 3 The United States Navy seizes the Russian tanker Volgoneft-147 in the Persian Gulf. The vessel is transporting a cargo of smuggled Iraqi gasoil in violation of United Nations sanctions against Iraq. (NYT, WP)

    February 8 Russia's second largest oil company, Yukos Oil, announces an agreement with state oil pipeline company Transneft to build a $1.7 billion oil pipeline from Siberia to China. The pipeline would run from Angarsk in Siberia to Beijing. (WSJ)

    February 9 The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issues a group of policy changes which extend the deregulation of the interstate natural gas pipeline system begun under Order 636 in 1992. Among the changes is a lifting, for a trial period of 30 months, of the price ceiling on secondary market exchanges of short-term gas pipeline capacity. FERC's lifting of the ceiling is meant in part to encourage gas shippers to use longer-term contracts which would promote market stability. (DJ)

    February 11 Occidental Petroleum agrees to buy Altura Energy, the onshore U.S. oil exploration joint venture between BP Amoco and Shell, for $3.5 billion. Altura produces about 110,000 barrels per day of crude oil, mostly in West Texas and New Mexico. (LAT)

    February 14 The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil closes on the New York Mercantile Exchange at $30.30 per barrel, the highest price (in nominal terms) since the Gulf War in 1991. (WSJ)

    February 16 The United States announces sanctions against the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC), which is developing oilfields in Sudan. The sanctions prohibit American firms and individuals from doing business with GNPOC, but do not cover the foreign parent companies of GNPOC, which include China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Petronas, and Talisman Energy. (NYT)

    February 16 President Clinton announces the release of $125 million in additional federal government assistance for low income households hit by high heating oil prices. On the same day, Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson addresses the New England Heating Oil Summit in Boston. The moves come after a dramatic spike in heating oil prices in the Northeastern United States. The price for number two heating oil at New York Harbor peaked at February 4th at $1.77 per gallon. (WP, WSJ, DJ)

    February 18 Iranian voters go to the polls to elect members of parliament. The election results in a landslide victory for reformist candidates allied with Iranian President Mohammed Khatami. (DJ

    February 21 General Electric announces a breakthrough in the design of natural gas power generating plants, using steam instead of air to cool turbine blades. According to the company, the new design will use about 5 percent less natural gas per unit of power generated than the best existing technologies. (WSJ)

    February 22 Several hundred truck drivers form a convoy through downtown Washington in a protest against high diesel fuel prices. Trucking lobby groups such as the American Trucking Association have supported calls for a release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell proposes removing the federal excise tax on diesel for one year. (DJ)

    February 24 BP Amoco announces that it plans to make $2.5 billion in investments in the development of natural gas reserves at the In Salah field in Algeria. Gas deliveries to Europe from the field are expected to start in 2003. (WSJ)

    February 24 Saudi Arabia announces that it intends to invite representatives of companies which have submitted bids for natural gas and petrochemical investment in the country to talks which will be held in late March 2000, shortly after the end of the Muslim haj pilgrimage season. (DJ)

    February 26 Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson meets with Saudi Arabian Petroleum Minister Ali Naimi in Riyadh to discuss the recent rise in crude oil prices. The meeting is part of an overseas tour which includes stops in Mexico, Norway, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. In a joint statement, Naimi pledged to "continue to review oil supply and demand levels to ensure market stability, prevent oil price volitility, and avoid harming the world economy." (DJ)

    February 27 BP Amoco and Atlantic Richfield hold talks with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on their proposed merger, which the FTC has filed suit in a federal court to block. The two companies have reportedly offered major concessions, including a much larger sale of Alaskan North Slope production assets. (WSJ)

    February 27 Columbia Energy agrees to be acquired by NiSource, ending an eight month long takeover battle. The deal is valued at $6 billion, will make NiSource the largest natural gas company east of the Rocky Mountains. (WSJ)

    February 28 Arabian Oil Company, the Japanese firm which produces crude oil in the Neutral Zone of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, announces the expiration of its concession for production in the Saudi half of the Zone. The firm's concession for the Kuwaiti portion of the Neutral Zone expires in 2003. (DJ)

    March 2000

    The following chronology lists international events that hold significance for world petroleum markets. Sources include: Dow Jones (DJ), The Los Angeles Times (LAT), The New York Times (NYT), The Washington Post (WP), and The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

    March 2 Valero Energy Corporation agrees to purchase ExxonMobil's 160,000-barrel-per-day refinery at Benicia, California, and 340 retail gasoline stations for $895 million. The sale is part of the package of divestitures which Exxon and Mobil agreed to in order to secure approval for their merger from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Valero was selected despite a higher bid from Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corporation, in the expectation that Valero posed fewer potential problems with approval by the FTC, as it has not previously sold gasoline in California and would introduce a new competitor into that market. (WSJ)

    March 3 A strike by workers at Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA) officially begins, but fails to attract much support from union members. Only about 15 percent of PdVSA workers fail to report for work, according to the company, and operations are not disrupted. (DJ)

    March 6 The United States Supreme Court overturns the State of Washington's law establishing state regulation of oil tankers, ruling unanimously that federal laws take precedence. The attempt to impose tougher regulatory standards came in the wake of the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska. (WP, NYT)

    March 7 New York Mercantile Exchange front-month West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures contract closes at $34.13 per barrel, the highest level in nine years. (WSJ)

    March 9 South Korea's Hyundai Corporation announces that it is to begin developing Libya's Elephant oilfield, discovered in 1997. The project is expected to produce 150,000 barrels per day when it reaches full output capacity in 2003. (DJ)

    March 14 The Clinton administration announces changes to the system for assessing royalties for oil production on federal lands. In the future, royalty calculations will be pegged closer to current spot market prices, instead of an arbitrary value at the wellhead. The changes are expected to generate an additional $67.3 million per year in revenues. (WP)

    March 15 Phillips Petroleum announces that it has agreed to purchase Atlantic Richfield's assets in Alaska for $6.5 billion. The sale is being made in an effort to secure approval from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for the merger of Atlantic Richfield with BP Amoco. Earlier the same day, the FTC announced that it had suspended its antitrust lawsuit seeking to block the merger, citing progress in talks with the companies involved. (DJ, NYT, WSJ)

    March 17 Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announces an easing of some United States economic sanctions against Iran. Purchases of several non-energy items produced in Iran, such as pistachio nuts and Persian rugs, now will be permitted. Sanctions dealing with Iran's oil and natural gas industries, however, remain in place. (NYT)

    March 21 Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson arrives in Algiers to meet with Algeria's oil minister, Chakib Khalil, as part of a final round of talks with oil producers about the need to increase production in advance of the OPEC ministerial meeting scheduled for March 27th. The visit is the first to Algeria by a cabinet level American official in over a decade. Earlier in the day, Secretary Richardson had visited Nigeria for talks with President Olesegun Obasanjo. (WSJ)

    March 20 EPA Administrator Carol Browner announces that the Clinton Administration intends to push for a phase out of the use of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) as a gasoline additive. The administration wants Congress to pass legislation which would end the requirement for the use of MTBE in gasoline sold in some smog-prone urban areas, and instead require nationwide use of ethanol. (DJ)

    March 23 Vice Admiral Charles Moore, who oversees United States naval operations in the Persian Gulf, briefs the United Nations Sanctions Committee on the increased smuggling of Iraqi oil. Iraq is expected to earn in excess of $500 million from oil smuggling, and possibly up to double that amount, in the absence of strong action by Iran to prevent the use of its territorial waters by smugglers. (DJ, NYT)

    March 23 BP Amoco announces that it will purchase 20 percent of the shares to be offered by PetroChina in its initial public offering (IPO) on the New York and Hong Kong stock exchanges on April 7. PetroChina is a unit of China National Petroleum Corporation China's largest oil and gas company. The announcement by BP Amoco provides a needed boost to the IPO, which had to be scaled back in size by more than half due to lack of interest on the part of many large institutional investors. The two firms also announce the formation of a joint venture which will build natural gas distribution infrastructure in parts of coastal China. (LAT, WSJ)

    March 23 Russia's Lukoil announces the discovery of as much as 2.2 billion barrels of new oil reserves in the Russian sector of the Caspian Sea. (WSJ)

    March 26 Vladimir Putin is elected president of Russia on the first ballot, winning 53 percent of the popular vote. Putin took office as acting president in December 1999 after the resignation of Boris Yeltsin. (DJ)

    March 27 ExxonMobil files a lawsuit in an attempt to block the sale of Atlantic Richfield's assets in Alaska to Phillips Petroleum. ExxonMobil holds stakes in Prudhoe Bay assets currently operated by Atlantic Richfield. (DJ)

    March 28 After two days of meetings, oil ministers of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agree on an increase in oil production of 1.452 million barrels per day by its members, excluding Iran and Iraq. Iraq, has not been subject to OPEC production agreements while under U.N. Security Council sanctions. Iran, though not formally signing on to the agreement, stated its intention to raise its production in order to avoid loss of its market share. This would represent about a 1.7 million barrel per day increase in OPEC production targets, if Iran was included. Several major non-OPEC producers, including Mexico and Norway, also have indicated an intention to raise production. (DJ)

    March 30 The State Department announces that it is lifting its hold on an Eximbank loan to Russia's Tyumen Oil Company. The loan was blocked by the State Department in December due to a dispute between Tyumen and BP Amoco over the ownership of assets in Siberia's Chernegorneft oil field, but the two firms had since reached a settlement. (WP, NYT)

    March 30 The United Nations Security Council votes to allow Iraq to import $1.2 billion in spare parts and other equipment for its oil industry this year under the "oil-for-food" program. This is an increase from the previous $600 million annual value allowed. (NYT)

    April 2000

    The following chronology lists international events that hold significance for world petroleum markets. Sources include: Dow Jones (DJ), The New York Times (NYT), The Washington Post (WP), and The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

    April 5 The government of Iran announces that it has seized a tanker which was smuggling Iraqi oil through Iranian territorial waters. A spokesman for the United States Department of State welcomes the action. (NYT, WP)

    April 6 PetroChina, a holding company which serves as a stock market listing entity for the China National Petroleum Corporation, launches an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York and Hong Kong stock exchanges. The IPO is valued at nearly $3 billion, scaled back drastically in size due to a lack of investor interest. (WSJ)

    April 7 Tosco Corporation agrees to purchase the Wood River Refinery, located in Illinois from Equilon Enterprises, a joint venture between Texaco and Shell, for $420 million. Equilon officials say the sale is part of a shift to concentrate on the West Coast petroleum products market. (NYT)

    April 12 Several Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of major United States oil companies meet with senior Saudi Arabian officials to discuss possible investments in natural gas and petrochemical projects. The firms represented at the meetings include Chevron, Conoco, ExxonMobil, Marathon Oil, Phillips Petroleum, and Texaco. The Saudi government announces, in conjunction with the meetings, a package of legal changes that will make Saudi Arabia more open to foreign investors. Complete foreign ownership will be allowed for some types of projects, and the maximum corporate tax rate for foreign enterprises will be reduced to 15 percent. (WP)

    April 14 BP Amoco receives approval from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for its $28 billion takeover of Atlantic Richfield Corporation (ARCO). As part of the approval, ARCO has agreed to sell its crude oil production operations in Alaska to Phillips Petroleum in a deal valued at $6.5 billion. (WP, WSJ)

    April 18 The China National Petroleum Corporation announces an agreement with Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) to begin purchases of Orimulsion, a power-plant fuel made from bitumen from Venezuela's Orinoco region. (NYT)

    April 18 Amerada Hess Corporation announces an agreement with the Algerian state-owned oil company Sonatrach to develop three oil fields in central Algeria. The $555 million project will develop the El Gassi, El Agreb, and Zotti fields. (NYT)

    April 19 The United States Commerce Department reports a record $29.2 billion trade deficit for February 2000. This is due largely to the sharp increase in prices for crude oil imports, which added $1.3 billion to the monthly trade deficit. (WP)

    April 24 The American Petroleum Institute (API) files a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the Interior Department's new rules for royalty valuation of natural gas produced from federal government lands. The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), which represents independent oil and gas companies, also has filed a similar lawsuit. (DJ)

    April 25 Royal Dutch Shell agrees to pay a $2 million fine for transporting smuggled Iraqi oil aboard a Russian tanker. The tanker, Akademik Pustovoit, was detained by United States naval vessels enforcing United Nations sanctions against Iraq on April 5. Defense Department spokesman Kenneth Bacon states that Shell appeared to have acquired the Iraqi oil unwittingly, and would therefore be allowed to keep the cargo. The fine will go into a United Nations fund for the enforcement of sanctions. (NYT, WP)

    April 28 Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey sign a final governmental agreement in Washington on the planned Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, which would transport oil from the Caspian Sea region to Western markets through the Turkish port of Ceyhan. The agreement covers the issues of transit fees, security, and governmental liability involved in the project. (DJ)

    April 29 Iraq's oil ministry states that it expects to export more than $8.5 billion of oil in the current six-month phase of the United Nations "oil-for-food" program. (DJ)

    April 30 Total Fina Elf announces that it intends to invest $8 billion in Saudi Arabia's natural gas sector. The announcement comes following a meeting between Total Chairman Thierry Desmarest and Saudi Arabia's Oil and Gas Policy Committee, which includes Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal and Petroleum Minister Ali Naimi. The Saudi government has been seeking foreign investment in natural gas and petrochemical projects. (DJ)

    April 30 The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) signs a 25-year agreement with a consortium of multinational firms for a set of studies dealing with its natural gas sector. The topics will include estimating reserves and assessment of Iran's prospects for both increased domestic use and export of natural gas. Firms involved in the agreement include BP Amoco, Royal Dutch Shell, British Gas, and Gaz de France, among others. (DJ)

    May 2000

    The following chronology lists international events that hold significance for world petroleum markets. Sources include: Dow Jones (DJ), The Los Angeles Times (LAT), The New York Times (NYT), The Washington Post (WP), and The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

    May 2 ExxonMobil signs a production-sharing agreement with Qatar General Petroleum Corporation (QGPC) for the development of natural gas from Qatar's offshore North Field. The project is expected to eventually produce 1.75 billion cubic feet per day, much of which will be exported to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as part of the Dolphin Project, a series of pipelines linking the gas grids of Qatar, the UAE, and Oman. (DJ)

    May 5 Indonesia's central government proposes three management options to the government of Riau province for the Penkanbaru field, Indonesia's largest. The options include the possibility of Riau taking over state oil company Pertamina's stake in the field. The move is part of an effort by the government of President Wahid to distribute oil and gas revenues more fairly among Indonesia's regions. (DJ)

    May 10 BP Amoco reports the discovery of a major natural gas field off the coast of Trinidad, which may hold 2 trillion cubic feet of gas. BP Amoco recently announced a planned expansion of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Trinidad, which will triple its capacity by 2003. (DJ)

    May 16 Several sources, including the Washington Post, report a major oil find at the Kashagan field offshore from Kazakhstan, with reserves reportedly greater than 8 billion barrels. If these early reserve estimates prove correct, the additional production volumes could boost chances for construction of the proposed Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. (WP, DJ)

    May 16 Senate majority leader Trent Lott and other Republicans introduce legislation intended to boost United States domestic oil production. Among other actions, the bill would provide a tax credit of up to $3 per barrel for production from marginal wells during periods of low oil prices and open up the coastal portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil exploration. (DJ)

    May 17 Chevron announces that it is to acquire an additional 5 percent stake in Tengizchevroil, the firm which operates the Tengiz field in Kazakhstan, in a deal valued at $450 million. The Kazakh government share in the field will fall to 20 percent. (DJ)

    May 17 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formally proposes a rule which, if finalized, would reduce allowable sulfur levels in diesel fuel by 97 percent over the next five years. The move is opposed by major refiners. (DJ)

    May 19 BP Amoco receives approval from the European Union for its acquisition of Burmah Castrol, for $4.7 billion. After the purchase, BP Amoco will hold a 15 percent market share for automotive lubricants in Europe, comparable to TotalFinaElf and ExxonMobil. (DJ)

    May 19 A federal appeals court denies a petition by six major oil companies to rehear a decision upholding a Unocal patent for phase two reformulated gasoline. Uncertainty over Unocal's patent rights has led some refiners to stay out of the market for reformulated gasoline, fearing that they may infringe on one of Unocal's five patents related to reformulated gasoline. (DJ)

    May 21 Russian President Vladimir Putin appoints Alexander Gavrin as Minister of Energy. Gavrin, a former Lukoil executive, replaces Victor Kalyuzhny. Putin also abolishes Russia's State Committee on the Environment, transferring its functions to the Ministry of Natural Resources, which licenses oil and gas development. (WSJ, WP)

    May 22 The United States Supreme Court agrees to hear a case involving the power of federal agencies to issue regulations under broad grants of authority from Congress. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is appealing a decision by a federal appellate court which invalidated new standards set by the EPA in 1997 for ozone and particulate matter emissions. The case, Browner vs. American Trucking Association, is significant because it is the first time since 1935 that a federal regulatory program has been struck down under the "non-delegation doctrine." (NYT, WSJ)

    May 23 The Energy Information Administration releases a study of oil reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), which currently is off-limits to oil exploration. The study estimates that there are between 5.7 and 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the ANWR. (WSJ)

    May 24 BP Amoco agrees to purchase the 18.1 percent of Houston-based upstream oil and gas producer Vastar Resources which it does not already own. The deal is valued at $1.6 billion. (WSJ)

    May 26 Devon Energy agrees to acquire Santa Fe Snyder Corporation for $2.35 billion in stock, plus the assumption of about $1 billion in debt. The deal will put Devon Energy among the largest independent oil and gas producers in the United States. (DJ)

    May 29 According to the Energy Information Administration, retail gasoline prices in the United States reach their highest level ever, with an average price of $1.538 per gallon. The previous peak was $1.529 per gallon, on March 20, 2000. These figures are not adjusted for inflation. (DJ)

    May 30 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denies requests from petroleum marketers in Chicago and Milwaukee for a temporary exemption from a requirement to sell phase two reformulated gasoline, rejecting marketers' claims of supply shortages in those cities. Earlier, on May 18, the EPA had approved such a temporary waiver for St. Louis, based on a local supply shortage. (DJ)

    May 31 Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Muhammad Rashid states that Iraq does not intend to cooperate with the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), the new body created to verify Iraq's destruction of prohibited weapons. In other comments, he also states that Iraq does not intend to sign more contracts with foreign oil companies to develop its oilfields until contracts previously awarded are implemented. (DJ)

    May 31 TransCanada Pipelines agrees to sell its stakes in several natural gas transmission assets in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile to TotalFinaElf for $440 million. The sales come as part of TransCanada's drive to divest non-core assets, which the company expects to result in revenues of $3 billion. (DJ)

    May 31 Oilfield services firms Baker Hughes and Schlumberger agree to create a venture which will unite the two companies' seismic survey units. The joint venture, Western Geco, will own seismic survey hardware, data processing operations, and the companies' archives of seismic survey data. The firm will be 70 percent owned by Schlumberger and 30 percent owned by Baker Hughes. Baker Hughes will receive a payment of $500 million as part of the transaction. (DJ)

    June 2000

    June 6 The World Bank executive board votes to approve a loan of $193 million to support a project to build a crude oil pipeline from Chad to the coast of Cameroon. The countries will collect an estimated $2 billion in revenues from the project over a period of 25 years. (DJ)

    June 8 The Brazilian government conducts an auction of oil exploration and production concessions covering a total of 21 blocks, both onshore and offshore. The auction represents an important step in the opening of Brazil's oil industry to international competition and investment. (NYT)

    June 9 The United Nations Security Council passes a resolution extending the "oil-for-food" program, under which Iraq sells oil to finance imports of food and other civilian necessities, for a period of six months. (NYT)

    June 9 The United States and Mexico sign a treaty resolving the issue of economic rights over the deepwater "doughnut hole" area in the Gulf of Mexico between the two countries. The agreement is based on measuring distances from each country's coast, and gives the United States rights to 38 percent of the area. (DJ)

    June 10 Syrian President Hafez Assad dies in Damascus. Syria's parliament votes to amend the constitution to lower the minimum age for a president, a move seen as facilitating a succession by his son, Bashar Assad. (DJ)

    June 15 The German government announces an agreement with utilities for the complete phaseout of nuclear power. Nuclear power plants will be closed after a lifespan of 32 years. Nuclear power supplies about one-third of Germany's electricity, and the phaseout plan may complicate Germany's plans to reduce fossil fuel consumption to curb greenhouse gas emissions. (DJ)

    June 15 The Department of Energy orders the release of 500,000 barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The oil is to be loaned to Citgo's refinery at Lake Charles, Louisiana, which has been cut off from it normal crude oil supplies by an obstructed waterway. (DJ)

    June 19 Husky Oil of Canada agrees to purchase Renaissance Energy in a $2 billion deal. The new entity created by the merger will be the second largest producer of oil and gas in Canada. (WSJ)

    June 19 The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports a one-week rise of five cents in the average price of regular gasoline, to $1.681. This is the seventh straight week of increasing prices. Gasoline prices in the Midwest are the nation's highest, at $1.874. (DJ)

    June 20 The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launches a formal investigation into high gasoline prices in some areas of the Midwest, which have seen gasoline prices rise disproportionately in relation to the rest of the United States. (DJ)

    June 21 Oil ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), meeting in Vienna, agree to raise crude oil production quotas by a total of 708,000 barrels per day. OPEC's total production quota (excluding Iraq) will rise to 25.4 million barrels per day as of July 1, 2000. The next day, crude oil futures rise, with the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) August West Texas Intermediate contract closing June 22 at $32.19. (DJ)

    June 26 The United States Supreme Court orders the federal government to refund $156 million which Mobil Oil and Marathon Oil had paid for exploration rights off the coast of North Carolina. Plans to develop the area were derailed in 1990 by the Outer Banks Protection Act, which required extensive environmental analysis by the Department of the Interior before drilling would be permitted. The plaintiffs argued that the law amounted to an "open ended moratorium" on the companies' exploration plans. (DJ)

    June 27 The Wall Street Journal reports that PSG International, the joint venture company formed by GE Capital and Bechtel to build the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP), has laid off most staff and closed offices associated with the project. The discovery of natural gas at the Shah Deniz field off Azerbaijan in 1999 has complicated negotiations on the project. (DJ)

    June 29 Norway's Oil and Energy ministry announces that it is rescinding its production cut of 100,000 barrels per day, which it had undertaken in cooperation with production cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), of which it is not a member. It is unclear whether the move will have a significant impact, as Norway's production cuts are subtracted from planned, not actual, quantities, and it is unclear whether Norway can meet its full planned production of 3.4 million barrels per day in the near term. (DJ)

    June 30 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes a rule change which would make it easier for refiners to use ethanol in gasoline. The proposed change allows refiners to slightly increase the evaporative property in gasoline to accommodate ethanol, in exchange for the carbon monoxide reductions which result from ethanol use. (DJ)

    June 30 The Department of Justice and the State of Wisconsin file suit against Murphy Oil, alleging Clean Air Act violations at the company's refinery in Superior, Wisconsin. (DJ)

    June 30 Australia's Woodside Petroleum rejects an asset-equity swap deal proposed by Royal Dutch Shell, which would have resulted in Shell owning a majority interest in Woodside. Analysts have said the rejection by Woodside may result in a hostile takeover bid by Shell. (DJ)

    June 30 Shareholders of the Russian natural gas company Gazprom elect Dimitry Medvedev, a former senior government official, to take over as Chairman. Medvedev replaces former Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin in the post. Gazprom provides the Russian government with almost one-fifth of its tax revenue and accounts for about 6 percent of Russia's gross domestic product. (DJ)

    July 2000

    July 3 News reports attributed to sources at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) say that Saudi Arabia plans to increase production by 500,000 barrels per day in an effort to lower the price of the AOPEC Basket. Later the same day, Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi confirms that Saudi Arabia intends to increase production Avery soon if prices remain above the OPEC price range of $22-$28 per barrel. (DJ)

    July 5 Halliburton announces that it has received contracts from the Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras for the development of the Barracuda and Caratinga offshore oilfields. The contracts, with a total value of $2.5 billion, provide for the construction of two floating production, storage, and offloading units and the drilling of 51 wells. (DJ)

    July 5 Tosco Corporation agrees to sell its Avon refinery near San Francisco to Ultramar Diamond Shamrock in a transaction valued at $800 million. (DJ)

    July 11 Kuwait Petroleum Corporation announces plans to increase its crude oil production capacity to three million barrels per day, in a program of facility upgrades which will take approximately three years to complete. (DJ)

    July 12 The Kuwaiti parliament ratifies a treaty with Saudi Arabia resolving competing claims to offshore mineral rights. The two countries will share revenues from the Khafji, Dorra, and Hout oil and gas fields. The treaty will allow the two governments to begin negotiations with Iran to settle conflicting claims, which have again surfaced as Iran has begun drilling in the Dorra offshore gas field. (DJ)

    July 12 In a policy shift which will allow foreign investors a majority stake in the planned Xinjiang-Shanghai natural gas pipeline project, the Chinese government announces that it is ending its ban on foreign ownership of natural gas infrastructure. A tender for the project is planned for later this year and construction is to begin in 2001. The shift is seen as a further attempt by China to attract foreign capital to its energy sector. (DJ)

    July 13 BP Amoco agrees to sell its Alliance Refinery at Belle Chasse, Louisiana, to Tosco Corporation for $660 million. The sale will bring Tosco's refining capacity to 1.35 million barrels per day. BP Amoco plans to sell its Alliance Pipeline to other buyers. BP Amoco currently owns 21 refineries, but has announced plans to sell off more refining capacity, including its interests in Singapore. (DJ)

    July 24 BP Amoco announces that it will launch a new brand identity worldwide, consolidating the acquisitions of Amoco, Burmah Castrol, and Atlantic Richfield. The company will drop the Amoco name, and will adopt a new green, white, and yellow logo based on the sun god Helios from Greek mythology. (DJ)

    July 25 Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at Camp David, Maryland, break off after two weeks of U.S.- mediated negotiations fail to produce an agreement. (DJ)

    July 25 A petroleum products pipeline catches fire in southeastern Nigeria, resulting in many deaths. Oil pipeline fires are common in the Niger Delta region, often resulting from attempts to steal petroleum products. (DJ)

    July 25 A large spill of diesel fuel takes place in Guanabara Bay near Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The event is the third major oil spill in Brazil in 2000. (WP)

    July 26 The Offshore Kazakhstan International Operating Consortium (OKIOC), which includes nine international oil companies, reports substantial flows of oil and natural gas from the first well drilled at the Kashagan field. OKIOC plans to drill a second test well at the western end of the structure, 25 miles away from the first well, before the end of 2000. (WSJ)

    July 27 Qatar General Petroleum Corporation (QGPC) and ExxonMobil sign a memorandum of understanding with Kuwait Petroleum Corporation for exports of Qatari natural gas to Kuwait. The gas will come from Qatar's offshore North Field. (DJ)

    July 27 Italy's ENI signs a deal with Iran worth $3.8 billion for the development of the country's South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf. The project will take five years to become operational, and will eventually produce 530 million cubic feet of gas per day. (DJ)

    July 28 Spain's Repsol and Brazil's Petrobras agree to a $1 billion asset swap which will make Repsol the second largest oil refiner in Brazil. The two companies also agree to jointly produce electricity in Brazil. (DJ)

    July 30 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wins reelection with 60 percent of the popular vote. His Patriotic Pole party also wins a controlling majority in the country's new unicameral legislature. (DJ)

    July 31 A Shell executive involved in the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP) project warns that time is running out for reaching an agreement with the government of Turkmenistan. The Turkmen government has reportedly been asking for a pre-payment from the companies developing the pipeline, a demand they have not been willing to accept. In June 2000, consortium partner PSG International closed offices in the region associated with the TCGP project. (DJ)

    July 31 The Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) reports that Saudi Arabia has shortlisted eleven bidders who will be asked to submit formal proposals for integrated natural gas projects and downstream oil projects in August 2000. The firms reported to have been invited to bid include Royal Dutch Shell, Phillips Petroleum, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Texaco, Conoco, BP Amoco, ENI, Marathon Oil Canada, TotalFinaElf, Enron, and Occidental. (Enron and Occidental have submitted a joint bid.) (DJ)

    August 2000

    August 1 ExxonMobil announces that it expects to attain cost savings of $4.6 billion as a result of its recent merger, up 65 percent from its original estimate. Cost-cutting measures include a staff reduction of 19,000 from the original combined total of 123,000. (WSJ)

    August 1 The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) officially tells member governments to cancel plans to raise production. On July 17th, with the price of the OPEC Basket above $28.00 since July 1, OPEC President Ali Rodriguez told members in a letter to prepare for an increase by the end of July, provided the OPEC Basket price stayed above the $28.00 ceiling in OPEC's Aprice band. The price then fell below the threshold. (LAT)

    August 10 General Motors and ExxonMobil announce that they are jointly developing a gasoline processor for fuel cell-powered vehicles. The processor will create a stream of hydrogen derived from the gasoline which will run the fuel cell, which could be twice as efficient as a regular gasoline engine. General Motors says it plans to put fuel cell-powered vehicles on the market in significant numbers by 2004. (WSJ)

    August 10 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez meets with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in Baghdad as part of a tour of members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). He is the first head of state to visit Saddam Hussein since the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. (NYT, WP)

    August 10 Shares of Petrobras, the Brazilian oil company, begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange, as the Brazilian government sells a 16.6 percent stake in the majority state-owned firm, raising more than $4 billion. (WSJ, NYT)

    August 16 ExxonMobil announces that it and four other refiners will ask the Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling upholding Unocal's patent covering reformulated gasoline. The Supreme Court will announce this fall whether it will hear the case. (WSJ)

    August 17 The Wall Street Journal reports that, in a reversal, President Sapamurad Niyazov of Turkmenistan is again actively pursuing the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline. The shift in policy reportedly is communicated during a meeting with the Turkish ambassador in Ashgabat. (WSJ)

    August 20 Ten people die as a result of a gas pipeline explosion outside of Carlsbad, New Mexico. The pipeline, which carries natural gas from West Texas to California, is owned by El Paso Energy. (DJ)

    August 22 PetroChina, China's largest oil and gas company, and the Hong Kong firm Hutchinson Whampoa announce the formation of a joint venture which will develop a business-to-business Web portal for oil and gas businesses in China. PetroChina says it expects the move to reduce its own procurement costs by 5 to 10 percent. (DJ)

    August 23 The Energy Information Administration reports that crude oil stock levels in the United States have fallen to their lowest level since 1976. Crude oil for October delivery closes at $32.02 on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), up 80 cents. (DJ)

    August 24 Enron announces an agreement with German regulators which will allow the company to begin supplying the municipal utilities of two German cities with natural gas. As with other members of the European Union (EU), Germany must open part of its natural gas market to foreign competition to fulfill its EU commitments. (DJ)

    August 24 Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz says Iraq will not cooperate with the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), the body created by the United Nations to replace the former United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM). (DJ)

    August 25 President Clinton begins an official visit to Nigeria. In the first six months of 2000, Nigeria ranked as the fifth largest supplier of crude oil to the United States, accounting for about 10 percent of American imports. (NYT)

    August 25 BP Amoco wins the right to retain its 10 percent stake in the Russian oil company Sidanco, when Sidanco shareholders vote to allow the former rival to receive newly-issued shares in exchange for a subsidiary it lost in a disputed bankruptcy proceeding. (DJ)

    August 25 Florida Power and Light (FPL), the largest electric utility in the United States, files with the Florida Public Service Commission for approval to raise electricity tariffs in the state. The company cites increased costs for natural gas and fuel oil. (DJ)

    August 28 Futures contracts for heating oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) reach their highest price since October 1990, trading as high as $1.00 per gallon before falling back to close at 99.9 cents per gallon. The price rise reflects low stock levels for heating oil in the United States, which have fallen almost 40 percent in relation to the same period last year.(DJ)

    August 30 The Department of Energy awards contracts to create a 2- million-barrel reserve of heating oil. The oil will be stored in privately owned facilities in Woodbridge, New Jersey, and New Haven, Connecticut. (DJ)

    August 31 PetroChina announces that it plans to eliminate 50,000 jobs annually over the next five years in a move to cut its operating costs. At the end of 1999, PetroChina had a staff of 480,000. (DJ)

    Note from the Department of Energy:

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