U.S. oil firms challenge pipeline surcharge for steel tariff
By Collin Eaton HOUSTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. shale producers have challenged an energy pipeline operator's proposed surcharge for the Trump administration's 25% tariff on imported steel, raising the stakes for pipeline builders facing higher construction costs. The United States imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminium last year to shield U.S
By Collin Eaton
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. shale producers have challenged an energy pipeline operator's proposed surcharge for the Trump administration's 25% tariff on imported steel, raising the stakes for pipeline builders facing higher construction costs.
The United States imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminium last year to shield U.S. producers from overseas competition. U.S. energy industry trade groups have warned the tariffs could raise costs for companies and consumers.
U.S. oil producer ConocoPhillips
Houston-based Plains this month proposed charging shippers a 5 cents per barrel fee on its 670,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Cactus II pipeline next April to offset higher construction costs due to the steel tariffs.
"We feel the tariff filing should be denied because it is procedurally incorrect, (and) does not clearly describe or justify the surcharge," ConocoPhillips spokesman Daren Beaudo said in an email.
Encana and Plains did not respond to requests for comment.
In their filing, ConocoPhillips and Encana said Plains' surcharge was premature because the U.S. Commerce Department may still grant the pipeline operator an exemption before the fee goes into effect in April. The companies said surcharges "are generally disfavored" by FERC.
Plains last year estimated the steel tariff would add $40 million to its costs for the $1.1 billion pipeline, which runs 550 miles (885 km) from the Permian basin of West Texas and New Mexico, the top U.S. shale field, to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Commerce had rejected Plains' two initial requests for a waiver, and the company has filed a third request, a spokesman had said earlier this month.
Plains Chief Executive Officer Willie Chiang said in a conference call the company would rebate the fee to shippers if the Commerce Department approved its exemption request.
Plains' Cactus II pipeline is the first of three new oil pipelines to begin transporting shale oil from the Permian to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The startup has already begun to lift regional oil prices in West Texas that were depressed due to a shortage of capacity.
Two other energy pipeline operators could also raise their prices if Plains' surcharge sticks, analysts have said. They have pointed to Kinder Morgan Inc's
Kinder Morgan and EPIC declined to comment.
(Reporting by Collin Eaton; Editing by David Gregorio, Nick Zieminski and Sonya Hepinstall)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.