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Houston independent Apache Corp. reduced its preliminary upstream capital budget for 2019 by 20% but expects full-year total adjusted production to trend to the midpoint of the projected 410,000-440,000 boe/d target—a 3% reduction from previous estimates.

The US House Judiciary Committee approved a fresh bill by voice vote on Feb. 7 to amend the Sherman Antitrust Act to make oil producing and exporting cartels illegal. H.R. 948, which committee member Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) introduced on Feb. 4, reportedly gained traction following reports that OPEC was considering formalizing its relationship with Russia and other non-OPEC producers and might discuss the matter when it meets with those countries’ representatives in Vienna on Apr. 18.

Crude oil benchmark prices rose modestly Feb. 8 with light, sweet crude oil for March delivery settling above $52.70/bbl and Brent settling above $62/bbl although both crude benchmarks declined for the week overall ended Feb. 8. US futures tumbled 4.6% for the week, which Dow Jones Market Data said was the largest loss since the week ended Dec. 21, 2018. Brent oil prices dropped 1% for the week ended Feb. 8.

Venezuela’s oil industry has been in a tailspin in recent years, with the country’s crude oil production falling to just 1.34 million b/d at yearend 2018 from 2.4 million b/d in 2015. This freefall is poised to carry over into 2019, according to energy research and consulting firm Rystad Energy.

India has launched the third bid round under its Open Acreage Licensing Policy, offering 23 onshore and offshore blocks covering more than 31,000 sq km for exploration. Dharmendra Pradhan, minister of petroleum and natural gas, announced OALP-3 at the Petrotech conference in Noida, outside Delhi.

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