Crude Oil Hits 4 Year High
(March 19, 1996) – April delivery crude oil gained $1.28 to close at $23.27 per barrel on Monday March 18. This price is almost 40% higher than it was at the beginning of February 1996. Traders attribute the increase to tight inventories caused by a cold winter, decisions by oil firms to keep inventories low to reduce carrying costs, and stalled negotiations between Iraq and the UN to allow Iraq to sell as much as $1 billion dollars worth of oil every 90 days to pay for humanitarian supplies.
California Utility Restructuring
(March 18, 1996) – The California Public Utilities Commission delayed their awaited decision on stranded cost recovery at the request of Pacific Gas & Electric. PG&E filed their motion in an attempt to prevent certain retail customers from leaving their system. PG&E claimed that competitors are determined to invade their service territory and disrupt an orderly transition to the competitive industry structure envisioned in the Commission’s December 20, 1995 decision.
According to that plan, the restructuring of California’s electric utility industry would start in January of 1998 and would include recovery provisions for uneconomic investments. The next meeting of the California Public Utilities Commission will be on April 10, 1996, and will take place in San Francisco.
(March 15, 1996) – US Senate committee approves interim waste repository. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has given its blessing to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1996, clearing the way for its adoption. The bill includes provision for the construction of a central interim waste repository for spent fuel, and means that the US government could meet its obligation to begin accepting spent fuel in 1998.
Uranium Prices on the Rise
(March 8, 1996) – Since the beginning of 1995, the NUEXCO price of uranium has increased by approximately 60%. This price increase is encouraging uranium mining companies in Canada, Australia, and the United States to begin new projects. Last week, Uranium Resources announced plans for two in-situ leach mining projects in New Mexico and one in Texas that will increase production capacity by 1500 tons per year or more.