Chilean rescue teams, along with Lebanese civil defence volunteers, resumed Friday their search for a possible life under rubble in Beirut, raising hopes that there might be a survivor even a month after a massive blast rocked the city’s port.
The search is being done amid silence from the crowd, and journalists at the scene were asked by the Chilean team to observe silence and switch off their phones, for them to be able to use their scanning equipment.
The Lebanese MTV television said the team detected a sign of life on Friday, but it was weaker than the previous day.
On Thursday a Chilean rescue team who came to Lebanon after the Beirut port blast that killed at least 190 people and wounded 6,000 on Aug. 4, detected a sign of life from under the rubble of a collapsed building in Gemmayze neighbourhood.
The team with the help of the Lebanese civil defence were manually removing rubble with their hands as they were afraid to use any equipment which would cause a total collapse of the already destroyed building.
Shortly after midnight, the fire department said that all work at the site had stopped due to the danger to the emergency teams.
The announcement prompted anger from a crowd that had gathered at the scene.
“We are ready to bring the cranes, but please continue searching,’’ a woman screamed.
“I don’t know how long it will take,’’ Francisco Lermanda of the Chilean “Topos” rescue team, whose name translates as “moles”, told CNN Espanyol overnight.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Oil prices slip on potential return of Libyan output; Gulf storm supports
Oil prices fell on Monday on the potential return of output from Libya as rising coronavirus cases also added to worries about global demand, although a tropical storm heading for the United States Gulf of Mexico limited losses.
Brent crude was down 33 cents or 0.8 per cent at $42.82 a barrel by 0645 GMT, while United States crude was down 38 cents or 0.9 per cent to $40.73 a barrel.
Workers at Libya’s major Sharara field have restarted operations, two engineers working there said, after National Oil Corporation announced a partial lifting of force majeure.
But it was still unclear when production might restart.
“The market can ill afford more crude hitting the market,’’ ANZ analysts said in a note on Monday, at a time when coronavirus-related curbs have eroded demand.
More than 30.78 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and 954,843 have died globally, a Reuters tally shows, paralysing travel and business activity.
“It is hard to get excited about a pickup in crude demand as the virus is surging in France, Spain and the UK, along with concerns that the United States appears poised for at least one more cycle in the fall and winter,’’ said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.
“Even if energy markets don’t see Libyan production return or if hurricane season eases, oil prices can’t shake off the dwindling demand outlook.’’
Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell Plc halted some oil production and began evacuating workers from a United States Gulf of Mexico platform, the company said on Saturday.
Tropical Storm Beta was predicted to bring one foot (30 centimetres) of rain to parts of coastal Texas and Louisiana as the 23rd named storm of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season moves ashore on Monday night, the National Hurricane Centre said.
Oil and gas producers had been restarting their offshore operations over the weekend after being disrupted by Hurricane Sally.
Some 17 per cent of United States Gulf of Mexico offshore oil production and nearly 13 per cent of natural gas output went offline on Saturday in the face of Sally’s waves and winds.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
BHP in talks with three firms for LNG bunker supply contract – Executive
A contract is expected to be awarded next month after an initial eight to 10 firms vied for delivery of the super-chilled fuel to the miner over 2022 to 2027, Rashpal Bhatti, BHP’s Vice-President for maritime and supply chain excellence told Reuters.
BHP earlier this month awarded a tender to charter five LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carriers to Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping, aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions on voyages to biggest customer China by more than 30 per cent.
The five vessels will be able to carry about 10 million tonnes per year (tpy) of iron ore or about 3.6 per cent of BHP’s 280 million tpy in exports.
“Our five vessels will make up 10 per cent of all Asian (LNG) bunkering volumes.
Miners are under pressure to reduce pollution to meet concerns about the environment, while investors increasingly demand that companies offer a compelling sustainability strategy.
“When it comes to cost, the build of the vessel is more expensive than a conventional vessel … but the gas supply is the one that really allows us to take a like for like view.’’
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Coronavirus: Biden says Trump trusted less than Russia’s Putin, China’s Xi
United States Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden said that President Donald Trump Administration’s way of handling the coronavirus outbreak in the United States was one of the reasons he was trusted by fewer foreigners than Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Biden said this during a CNN town hall meeting in the Pennsylvania state.
The United States is set to hold a presidential election on Nov. 3.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time. I never ever thought I would see such a thoroughly totally irresponsible administration,” Biden said.
“It’s one of the reasons why if you take a look at the Pew Foundation poll — guess what, Russia’s Putin, China’s Xi Jinping are trusted by more people in the world than the president of America.
“And one of the reasons they say is COVID-19.”
According to Biden, not only did the Trump administration’s response to COVID-19 cause loss of lives in the United States, but it also caused Washington “to lose [its] influence in ways that are profound.”
The Democrat politician further described China as a “serious competitor” and Russia as an “opponent” to the United States, vowing more sanctions on Moscow in the case if it meddles in the upcoming presidential election.
The United States repeatedly accused Russia of meddling in its political processes, in particular, during the 2016 presidential election. Moscow has consistently denied these allegations.
In 2019, United States Special Counsel Robert Mueller, mandated to investigate the alleged interference, found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
But established that Moscow systematically interfered in the United States elections via two chief methods — social media campaigns and intelligence-backed cyberattacks.
Moscow responded by pointing to the lack of actual evidence to support this assumption.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Oil rises after OPEC warn members to stick to quotas
Oil prices rose for a fourth day in a row on Friday, putting crude on track for a weekly gain of about 10 per cent, after Saudi Arabia pressed allies to stick to production quotas and banks, including Goldman Sachs, predicted a supply deficit.
Brent crude was up 18 cents at $43.48 a barrel by 0756 GMT while United States oil futures rose 17 cents to $41.14.
Both contracts are set for their strongest weekly gains since early June after Hurricane Sally cut United States production while OPEC and its allies laid out steps to address market weakness.
Goldman Sachs predicted the market would be in a deficit of three million barrels per day (bpd) by the fourth quarter and reiterated its target for Brent to reach $49 by the end of the year and $65 by the third quarter of 2021.
Swiss bank UBS also pointed to the possibility of undersupply in the oil market, forecasting Brent would rise to $45 a barrel in the fourth quarter and $55 by mid-2021.
Meanwhile, a tropical depression in the western part of the Gulf of Mexico could become a hurricane in the next few days, potentially threatening more United States oil facilities.
The Saudi Arabian energy minister said those who gamble on oil prices would be hurt “like hell”.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers in OPEC+ are cutting 7.7 million bpd of output and the group stressed at a meeting on Thursday that it would take action against members not complying with the deal.
In the Gulf of Mexico, United States offshore drillers and exporters began a clear-up on Thursday after Hurricane Sally weakened to a depression and started rebooting idle rigs following their closure for five days.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde