A large excavator loads a truck with oil

Oil sands producers have been through oil price declines before and some are hoping economies of scale, along with innovation, can reduce costs enough to make it through the current market cycle. “Syncrude forecasts operating costs at C$45.69 ($38.07) per barrel in 2015. Oil sands crude trades at a discount to the West Texas Intermediate benchmark and the outright synthetic price dropped below $42 a barrel at one point last week.” [Reuters]

The Greenpeace activist behind the group’s fateful campaign that defaced Peru’s treasured Nazca Lines has been on leave due to sustained in the incident’s wake. Greenpeace is cooperating with Peruvian authorities regarding the legal ramifications, which are now coming into focus. “The Greenpeace report, which was compiled under the leadership of Martin Prieto, executive director of Greenpeace Argentina, contains personal statements from each of the four individuals conveying their apologies for having offended the people of Peru. The statements describe each person’s role in the action and provide prosecutors with their home addresses. Townsley did not say whether Greenpeace would facilitate or oppose the extradition of the four activists to Peru.” [Business Week]

With the oil market in contango – prices for future delivery higher than prompt month prices – trading houses and other players are storing oil on tankers with an eye toward making a profit in the future. “So far this month, 13 VLCCs and one ULCC have been taken out on timecharter with contractual storage options attached, according to Platts data. Together, these vessels represent around 30m bbl of storage capacity. Over the past week, oil majors Vitol, Shell, Koch and Trafigura have all taken VLCC or ULCCs on timecharter for six to 12 months for delivery in Singapore or the Middle East Gulf. Several of these fixtures include an option to extend by up to a year.” [Seashipnews]