Here are Wednesday’s oil news updates:
France Slated to Release Oil Reserves: France is seriously mulling the opening of its strategic oil reserves, according to recent reports. The Washington Post reported this morning that France’s Industry Minister Eric Besson claimed the country might do so at America’s behest, stating, “the United States asked, and France welcomed this hypothesis.” Government spokesman Valerie Pecresse has further confirmed France’s intentions, outlining that France is waiting to release its reserves upon receiving a definite go-ahead from the International Energy Agency. A diplomatic standoff between NATO and Iran has kicked up crude oil’s market value — there seems to be hope that the pending release of France’s reserves could help mitigate ongoing flux in the global oil economy.
Libya’s Oil Contracts Uncertain: Despite the gradual return to civil order following this summer’s bloody revolution, Libya’s oil economy has not fully reorganized. According to a new Reuters analysis, Libya likely will delay auctioning contracts with major oil companies until no earlier than June. Uncertainty around the auction date has upset major foreign oil players — Italy’s Eni S.p.A. (NYSE:E), Austria’s OMV and Canada’s Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU) seem particularly anxious to secure Libyan oil contracts.
CNOOC Posts Record Earnings: CNOOC (NYSE:CEO), China’s largest offshore energy producer, has posted record yearly profits. As Bloomberg reports, the Chinese energy company announced its FY2011 earnings late yesterday — with fiscal details indicating rapid growth. Last year’s earnings of 70.3 billion yuan (about $11.2 billion) were the highest in the company’s history, up 29% from the year-ago period. There is little sign CNOOC will cease growing: Record earnings were largely propelled by the inflated price of crude, and the company has announced an upcoming period of aggressive purchases of U.S. shale developments.
Adam Patterson is an Assistant Editor of InvestorPlace. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. For more oil news, check out our previous Daily Oil News stories.