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Fractured OPEC Walks Away From The Table | OilPrice.com – OilPrice.com

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After six hours of discussions, OPEC didn’t agree on Thursday on any specific oil production cut agreement as members are quarrelling on how to divvy up the production cuts and who will be exempt from reducing output, while all signs point to the cartel waiting to see how much Russia will agree to cut before announcing a possible deal.

OPEC canceled its scheduled after-meeting press conference on Thursday and Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the cartel was still “deliberating” an agreement, after the meeting ended. The main proposal that was discussed was a cut of around 1 million bpd.

“I am not confident of an agreement,” al-Falih said, adding that “Russia is not ready for a substantial cut.”

Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak will be joining the talks with non-OPEC on Friday, after having received instructions from President Vladimir Putin on Russia’s position on joining the cuts.

Even without having to wait for Russia’s consent, the OPEC meeting was more contentious than usual, with the main “sticking point” being getting agreement from all producers, according to the Saudi minister.

Another sticking point was who could be exempt from the cuts.

Iran is not taking part in any production cuts until it is under U.S. sanctions, its oil minister Bijan Zanganeh has said, adding that today’s talks we “hard”. Asked to clarify, he replied “Harder than Ever…but we are trying to reach an agreement.”

According to a delegate who spoke to Bloomberg, one of the contentious debates in Thursday’s meeting was whether Iran will get an exemption.

Libya has also asked for exemption, citing fragile security situation, while Nigeria, which together with Libya was exempted from the original deal, may be open to joining cuts. According to Nigerian oil minister Emmanuel Kachikwu, the bigger producers within OPEC should shoulder more of the supply reductions.

Apart from counting barrels and looking at demand forecasts, OPEC was dealing today with discontent from some members who blame Saudi Arabia for creating the oversupply by pumping at records, and for giving non-OPEC Russia a very big say in the cartel’s oil production policy.

The deal-or-no-deal saga continues on Friday, while the oil market was left hanging, with prices down 3% at 1:16 p.m. EDT.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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China has banned sales of Apple iPhones 6 through X in Qualcomm patent dispute – Financial Post

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Qualcomm Inc on Monday said it had won a preliminary order from a Chinese court banning the importation and sale of several Apple Inc iPhone models in China that the court found violated two of Qualcomm patents.

The preliminary order affects the iPhone 6S through the iPhone X. The ruling came from the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court in China, the same court that earlier this year banned the import of some of memory chip maker Micron Technology Inc’s chips into China. Qualcomm initially filed the case in China in late 2017.

The court found Apple violated two of Qualcomm’s software patents around resizing photographs and managing applications on a touch screen.

“Apple continues to benefit from our intellectual property while refusing to compensate us,” Don Rosenberg, general counsel of Qualcomm, said in a statement.

Because the patents concern software, Apple could make changes to its software to avoid the patents and still be able to sell its phones.

The patents in the suit, which Qualcomm said on Monday had been upheld by the Chinese patent office, are separate from those being contested in other cases in its wide-ranging legal dispute with Apple. Qualcomm has also asked regulators in the United States to ban the importation of several iPhone models over patent concerns, but U.S. officials have so far declined to do so.

The specific iPhone models affected by the preliminary ruling in China are the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.

© Thomson Reuters 2018

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Elon Musk says Tesla may consider buying idle General Motors plants – Financial Post

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Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that he may be willing to buy some of the five factories General Motors Co. will idle next year, making him the second rival in two days to step up with possible job-creating moves as GM takes political heat for cutting workers.

Musk made the statements in an interview with Leslie Stahl that was to air Sunday. CBS released excerpts Friday.

GM CEO Mary Barra was in Washington the past two days meeting with members of Congress about her plans to close five factories in North America and lay off 14,700 workers. She is under pressure to keep some of those facilities opened.


Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk told CBS’s 60 Minutes that he may be willing to buy some of the five factories General Motors Co. will idle next year.

AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File

While Barra was speaking with legislators on Thursday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said it will reopen one of its idle engine plant in Detroit and build a new Jeep, intensifying the irritation in Congress over GM’s plan to cut jobs.

Tesla makes the all-electric Model S, Model X and Model 3 at its sole auto plant in California, which it bought from a joint venture operated by GM and Toyota Motor Corp.

The “60 Minutes” interview, which was filmed at Tesla’s lone auto plant in Fremont, California, largely focused on Tesla’s year in which it raced to ramp up production of the Model 3 sedan. Musk credited the decision to build a third general assembly line outside under a tent with saving the company.

Assembly Line Tent

“It was life or death,” said Musk. “Those betting against the company were right by all conventional standards that we would fail. But they just did not count on this unconventional situation of creating an assembly line in a parking lot in a tent.”

Stahl pressed Musk on the string of complaints about conditions inside company factories, including unreported injuries, abusive conditions and excessive hours. Musk said there’s been an “aggressive campaign” by the United Auto Workers to attack Tesla with a “load of nonsense” in an effort to unionize the carmaker.

Bloomberg.com

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GM lobbies for tax credit – Business News – Castanet.net

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General Motors is fighting to retain a valuable tax credit for electric vehicles as the nation's largest automaker tries to deal with the political fallout triggered by its plans to shutter several U.S. factories and shed thousands of workers.

Preserving the $7,500 tax incentive for buyers is crucial for GM as the company pivots from internal combustion engines in favour of building cars powered by batteries or hydrogen fuel cells. Yet the layoffs and plant closings could imperil GM's push to keep the incentive. It helps make plug-ins such as the $36,000 Chevy Bolt more affordable at a time when competition from other electric vehicle makers is heating up.

GM faces opposition from President Donald Trump and other Republicans who consider the credit a waste of taxpayer money and want it eliminated. Trump, who has pledged a manufacturing rebirth in the Midwest, reacted angrily to GM's "transformation " announcement late last month, declaring that his administration was "looking at cutting all GM subsidies, including for electric cars."

The company already is on the verge of being phased out of the tax credit program unless Congress changes a law that caps the break at 200,000 vehicles per manufacturer. Without the incentive, GM may be forced to cut the price of its electric cars to keep prospective customers from taking their business elsewhere, according to automotive industry experts.

As evidence of the credit's importance to GM's future, the automaker has expanded its lobbying footprint in Washington and even joined forces with two rivals, Tesla and Nissan, to call for 200,000-vehicle limit to be scrapped.

Standing in the way of that goal is Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Barrasso introduced legislation in October to abolish the tax credit, a move he said would save about $20 billion over the next 10 years. He has argued the market for electric vehicles is already established and "no longer needs the crutch of government assistance."

"The idea of the subsidies had to do with trying to make sure that electric vehicles would be a viable technology," Barrasso said. "Well, that's clearly there."

The tax credit came up briefly during a private meeting on Wednesday between Ohio's senators, Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown, and GM chief executive Mary Barra, according to a congressional aide familiar with the conversation. As part of the restructuring, GM said it will stop making the Chevy Cruze at its Lordstown, Ohio, plant by March and is considering closing the plant for good.

Portman told Barra that it's difficult to help with priorities such as the electric vehicle credit when GM is moving production out of Ohio, according to the aide, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the private conversation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

One of the lobbyists working to salvage the credit for GM is Kent Hance, a former chancellor of Texas Tech University who is well connected in GOP circles, according to his online profile . Hance lists his role as a fundraiser for the campaigns of outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and others. He has known Rick Perry, the energy secretary and former Texas governor, for nearly 30 years.

GM in early August named a former Trump White House official, Everett Eissenstat, its senior vice-president for global public policy, a post that oversees the company's lobbying operations. Eissenstat, however, is not registered as a lobbyist, according to disclosure records filed with Congress. Before coming to GM, he was Trump's deputy assistant for international economic affairs.

Under federal law, the $7,500 credit for buyers begins to phase out after a manufacturer has sold 200,000 qualifying electric vehicles. GM has estimated it will hit that threshold by the end of December, just as the Bolt will be facing new and potentially stiff competition.

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