Auto Industry, Energy, Transportation: Factors To Watch on July 18 image

Here are news stories, press reports and events to watch which may affect the auto industry, transportation and energy markets on Wednesday.

WORLD OIL PRICES
Brent crude slipped below $104 a barrel on Wednesday, snapping five days of gains as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offered no signs of further monetary stimulus to boost growth in the world’s top oil consumer.

US:
General Motors’ Cadillac brand on Wednesday launched one of its most crucial marketing campaigns since the automaker emerged from bankruptcy as it takes aim at BMW’s 3-series in the heart of the U.S. luxury car market with its new ATS sedan.

Thailand:
— PTT PCL
Thailand’s top energy firm said on Tuesday it planned to invest $2 billion-$3 billion in projects in Myanmar, including a 150,000-barrel-per-day refinery, coal mines and a power plant, as part of its drive to expand in Southeast Asia.

– Toyota Motor Corp’s Thai unit said on Tuesday it expected the Thai automotive industry to achieve record sales of 1.2 million units in 2012, helped by government subsidies.

Indonesia:
* Malaysian crude palm oil futures ended lower on Tuesday, as traders booked profits from the previous day’s rally, though the market could resume its advance as persistent hot and dry weather in the United States reduces global oilseeds supply.

Nordics:
WARTSILA
The Finnish ship and power plant engine maker is expected to report a 2.6 percent rise in second-quarter adjusted operating profit to 120 million euros ($146.6 million), according to a Reuters analyst poll.

NESTE OIL
Neste Oil said its diesel line 4 at Porvoo was back on-stream after maintenance.

UK:
* ROYAL DUTCH SHELL – Nigerian regulators have told parliament that Royal Dutch Shell should be fined $5 billion for environmental damaged caused by an oil spill at its offshore Bonga field, one of the biggest in the history of Africa’s largest energy industry.

* IAG – A potential merger between American Airlines and US Airways would strengthen, not harm, its partners British Airways and Iberia, owned by IAG, the European airlines group’s chief said on Tuesday.

* TULLOW OIL – The oil explorer announced that the Wawa-1 exploration well in the Deepwater Tano licence offshore Ghana has intersected oil and gas-condensate in a Turonian turbidite channel system.

Italy:
*ENI
Italian energy company is to sell a further 5 percent of gas group Snam’s share capital, the oil major said in a statement on Tuesday.

African Markets:
NIGERIA OIL
Nigerian regulators have told parliament that Royal Dutch Shell should be fined $5 billion for environmental damaged caused by an oil spill at its offshore Bonga field, one of the biggest in the history of Africa’s largest energy industry.

ANGOLA OIL
Angola’s crude oil exports in September are set to fall by 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) to the lowest since June 2011, a preliminary loading schedule showed on Tuesday, which could support prices in the West African market.

France:
ADP
Traffic at Paris airports rose 1.0 percent in June to 8.0 million passengers, with a 2.3 percent increase at Charles de Gaulle more than offsetting a 1.7 percent decline at Orly, ADP said.

China:
* Air China, the country’s flagship air carrier, expects first-half net profit to more than halve due to a slowdown in airline industry growth and high prices for jet fuel, it said on Tuesday.

* CNOOC, China’s top offshore oil producer and parent of CNOOC Ltd, said on Tuesday a tender issued last month to invite firms to bid for oil and gas blocks in the South China Sea is progressing well, attracting interest from companies including from some U.S.-based ones.