BP announces global pay freeze as oil slump bites

Commentary, Economy, Stocks, U.S. Infrastructure

BP chief executive Bob Dudley, seen here in October 2014, admits that oil prices might stay low for some timeEnergy giant BP said Tuesday it was freezing global salaries following a sharp drop in oil prices, less than a fortnight after announcing 300 job cuts in the North Sea. "We see this as a prudent response to the currently challenging market environment in which we are operating," he added, in reference to a slump of more than 50 percent in global oil prices since June. The pay freeze was relayed to staff in an email from BP chief executive Bob Dudley on Monday. Speaking to the BBC last week from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Dudley said his company must face the possibility that oil prices will stay low for some time.


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Snowstorm sweeps northeast but falls short of predictions

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Men play in the snow along 7th Ave during a storm in Times Square, New YorkBy Scott Malone and Jill Serjeant BOSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – A blizzard swept across the northeastern United States, dropping more than a foot (30 cm) of snow but falling short of more dire predictions that sent workers and students home, halted thousands of flights and prompted New York officials to ban cars from roads and shut down subway trains. As day broke on Tuesday, the leaders of New York City, New York state and New Jersey began lifting travel bans imposed the night before, when forecasters warned of a potentially "historic" blizzard that could dump as much as 3 feet (90 cm) of snow and paralyze the East Coast. The National Weather Service lifted its blizzard warning for New York City, downgrading it to a winter storm warning, but cautioned that snow could fall off and on until midnight. "We thought we were going to get something a lot bigger," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN.


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Offshore drilling plan in Alaska may restrict parts of Arctic Ocean

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The federal Department of the Interior will make additional areas of Arctic Ocean waters off-limits to drilling when it announces a new five-year offshore drilling plan, a member of the Alaska congressional delegation said Monday. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said she was briefed last week by federal officials who told her the Obama administration will permanently remove from consideration some areas that had previously been deferred from the federal leasing program.

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South Africa port seeks investors for new jetty, oil rig repair quay

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A fireman holds a water supply nozzle while petroleum products are transported on a vessel from the Vadinar refinery operated by Essar Oil Ltd EOL on jetty off Essar ports in GujaratSouth Africa's state-owned logistics group Transnet plans to name its preferred bidders for a new jetty and deep sea oil rig repair quay, valued at around 10 billion rand ($871.42 million), at its Saldanha Port by September this year. Situated along the West Coast about 120 km (72 miles) from Cape Town, Saldanha is South Africa's deepest natural port and its geographical proximity to a slew of new oil and gas finds on either side of the continent is seen giving it an edge over other repair hubs in Europe, Singapore and Dubai. Laura Peinke, a senior official at the Saldanha Bay's special economic zone, said companies such as Kepple and Sembcorp Marine had placed their bids for the constuction of the oil and gas development facilities. Oil exploration firms could make significant savings by having their rigs repaired in South Africa, rather than towing them to Singapore, which could take up to 100 days for a rig that rents out for around $500,000 a day, Peinke said.


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East Coast braces, flights canceled as ‘historic’ blizzard bears down

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Snow collects on a bicycle during a winter snowstorm in CambridgeThe East Coast of the U.S. from Philadelphia to New York City to Maine braced on Monday for a potentially historic blizzard that forecasters say could dump up to 3 feet (90 cm) of snow on the region and snarl transportation for tens of millions of people. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a blizzard warning for the northern section of the East Coast from Monday afternoon, putting states from New Jersey to Indiana under winter storm watches and advisories until Tuesday. Airlines canceled nearly 1,800 flights. "This could be the biggest snowstorm in the history of this city," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference on Sunday afternoon, saying the snowfall could reach up to 3 feet.


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Obama to seek wilderness designation for Alaska refuge

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This July, 2001 aerial file photo shows the Coastal Plain of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. President Barack Obama says he will ask Congress to designate more than 12 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, including the Coastal Plain, as a wilderness area.

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Greek leftists Syriza aim for landmark election win

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Opposition leader and head of radical leftist Syriza party Tsipras casts his ballot at a polling station in AthensBy Angeliki Koutantou and James Mackenzie ATHENS (Reuters) – Greeks began voting on Sunday in an election expected to bring to power the radical leftist Syriza party, which has pledged to take on international lenders and roll back painful austerity measures imposed during years of economic crisis. "In Greece, democracy will return," the party's 40-year-old leader Alexis Tsipras told a throng of cameras as he voted in Athens. "The message is that our common future in Europe is not the future of austerity." A Syriza win would represent another turning point for Europe after last week's announcement by the European Central Bank of a massive injection of cash into the bloc's flagging economy after years of trying to clamp down on budgets and pushing countries to pass structural reforms. Syriza appeared to be widening the gap in the final days of campaigning over the centre-right New Democracy party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who appealed to undecided voters to ensure Greece stays on the path of stability and reforms.


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Winter storm spreads snow, traffic woes in U.S. Northeast

Commentary, Economy, Stocks, U.S. Infrastructure

A snow shoveler crosses a street during a winter snowstorm in CambridgeA winter storm spread freezing rain and snow and snarled traffic from the Middle Atlantic states into New England on Saturday, and forecasters said they expected a second system to lash the region early next week. Winter storm warnings remained in place for parts of New England, with up to 8 inches (20 cm) of snow expected in the area overnight as the storm system headed east, said National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Brian Hurley in College Park, Maryland.


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