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Light, sweet crude oil for the January contract dropped modestly to approach $51/bbl, settling at $51.15/bbl on the New York market Dec. 12 on concerns about the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ ability to make the production cut that it announced last week.

Witnesses at a Dec. 11 US House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing generally applauded the sponsors’ effort in releasing a discussion draft weeks earlier that would reform the Renewable Fuel Standard’s quotas by establishing a national octane specification beginning in 2023.

In its latest monthly oil market report, the International Energy Agency has revised its 2019 non-OPEC supply growth forecast down by 415,000 b/d to 1.5 million b/d, partly due to expected cuts from Russia agreed last week, and to lower growth in Canada. “By agreeing a cut of 1.2 million b/d, and additional output curbs in Canada, producers may go some way towards restoring balance to the world market,” IEA said.

ExxonMobil Corp. plans to produce natural gas for the Australian market by 2021 following a final investment decision to develop West Barracouta gas field in Bass Strait. The project, on the VIC/L1 Block offshore Victoria, is part of the Esso-BHP Gippsland basin joint venture.

Inpex agreed to acquire an additional 4% interest in the Ichthys LNG project in Australia from Total SA for $1.6 billion, increasing the operator’s participating interest to 66.245% from 62.245%. The first offshore condensate cargo was exported on Oct. 1, the first LNG cargo was exported on Oct. 22, and the first LPG cargo was exported on Nov. 16. The two LNG trains are now fully operational.

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