Stock markets have retreated again over worries of further US interest rate rises after the Federal Reserve defied Donald Trump to increase rates for the fourth time this year.

The EU has confirmed it is “actively investigating” a potential breach of its diplomatic communications network, following reports that secret cables had been stolen by hackers.

The Bank of England has welcomed a “crucial and positive” move by the EU to help keep a key part of the financial system functioning in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit.

A handful of banks will be forced to write multimillion pound cheques to buy shares in the construction giant Kier Group after some of its biggest investors snubbed the chance to take part in a £250m fundraising.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is to merge its consumer healthcare unit with that of rival Pfizer, to create a new market leader with almost £10bn in annual sales.

 

Santander has been fined more than £30m for “serious failings” in processing the accounts of dead customers, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says.

ENERGY TOP STORIES

PetroChina beefs up oil and gas output goals as latest trade war tariffs target US energy shipments

The country’s largest oil and gas producer is aiming to boost oil output by 1% and gas production by 4 to 5% annually in the domestic market

It is so searching for a solution to deal with Beijing’s tariff on US natural gas.

PetroChina vice-chairman Zhang Jianhua stated on Thursday: “We believe the central government will definitely have a series of policy measures to facilitate our efforts to increase proved reserve and production, which will be beneficial to us.”

National energy security is high on Beijin’s agenda, due to the rise in China’s foreign oil dependence ratio rising to 70% this year from 64% two years ago, and natural gas climbing to 40% from 29% in 2012, he noted.

Xi instructed the nation’s three state-backed oil and gas giants to work hard to raise production only weeks before a 25% tariff on US liquefied natural gas shipments was due to come into effect on August 23.

Zhang stated that for PetroChina to keep domestic oil output stable despite declining output from existing oilfields is a challenging process. He declined to offer any details on whether the company would compromise on return rats on certain projects, given costly interventions are required to maintain output at its existing oilfields. These interventions may only be profitable if oil prices remain relatively high.

Zhang said PetroChina is “working hard” in a bid to “minimise” the cost burden from the 25% tariff on US natural gas. The company’s management would not elaborate on possible solutions, such as entering into swap agreements with gas purchasers from other nations.

PetroChina has a 25-year contract to buy 1.2 million tonnes per year of liquefied natural gas from Cheniere Energy, a leading US exporter. The first shipment arrived in China very recently.

He spoke after the company posted a 113.7% year-on-year rise in net profit for the first hald to $3.97 bn, in line with its own growth forecast a month ago.

-GBO Correspondent

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