Last week, several world powers convened in Vienna, Austria to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Senior officials from the governments of Iran, United States, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, China, and the European Union aim to determine the next steps the United States and Iran need to take to get back into compliance. The United States has not been in direct talks with Iran but is relaying messages mainly through European members in attendance. Read More
In a new analysis of its phase three trial in the United States, AstaZeneca has determined their COVID-19 vaccine to be 76% effective. This new data shows a three percent change from their initial report earlier this week stating their efficacy rate to be 79% effective against the coronavirus disease. AstraZeneca’s original filing came under public scrutiny from health officials in the United States because their data did not include more recent infections.
The United States Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy announced last Friday that contracts have been awarded for the sale of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The sale is for 10.1 million barrels of fuel to be sold during the fiscal year 2021. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was established in the 1970s as a response to the Arab Oil Embargo that caused a fuel crisis in the United States. It was recently determined the SPR held 637.8 million barrels of crude oil, which makes it the world’s largest supply of emergency crude oil.
The United States has completed the sale of over one million barrels of gasoline that were seized from four Iranian vessels last August. The fuel seized came from Iran while being transported to Venezuela, two countries sanctioned by the United States. In addition, the Biden Administration is also looking to detain another tanker believed to have shipped Iranian oil to a foreign customer. Sanctions on Iranian oil exports occurred in 2018 after the Trump Administration abandoned the Iranian nuclear agreement of 2015 due to Iran continuing to develop their nuclear program.
President Biden announced Tuesday evening that the United States is aiming to purchase an additional 200 million does of COVID-19 vaccines. Securing these supplemental doses would be enough to inoculate most Americans by the end of the summer. The Biden Administration will purchase 100 million doses of each of the two current vaccines on the market, the Moderna vaccine and the vaccine created by Pfizer and BioNTech. This will be an overall increase to 600 million doses obtained by the United States.
The oil market received positive news on Thursday as oil futures for Brent and WTI Crude rallied for the first time since the oil price crash in early March, all fueled by the positive news of vaccine approval in Canada and the United Kingdom. Brent Crude hit $50 per barrel, while WTI Crude was trading as high as $47.23 Thursday. Analysts are optimistic that this may be a strong indication that the economy will receive a boost heading into next year.
The oil industry of Venezuela has had a tumultuous year under sanctions from the United States, poor refining network, supply shortages as well as ongoing political and social challenges. The situation has gone from bad to worse for the once dominant member of OPEC. According to two workers at state owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), Venezuelans have begun stealing crude from the idled oilfields and distilling homemade gasoline.
On Thursday, a California appears court upheld a state order that ride sharing companies, Uber and Lyft are required to treat their drivers in California as employees instead of independent contractors. The ruling from the court comes less than two weeks before voters in the state of California will be asked to vote on Proposition 22 on November 3rd. Proposition 22 classifies app-based drivers as independent contractors instead of employees and provides independent contractor drivers other compensation, unless certain criteria are met.
President Trump announced last week that he will be issuing a Presidential Permit for a freight railway project that will run from Alberta, Canada to Alaska, called A2A Railway. The project will cost $22 billion and will transport a variety of commodities such as oil and iron ore, as well as other container goods. The rail line will run close to 1,600 miles (2,570 kilometers) from Anchorage, Alaska through Yukon and Northwest Territories into northern Alberta.
Earlier this month both China and Russia reported that they have developed a Covid-19 vaccine that has been clouded by doubt throughout the world since Phase III testing had not been performed. The vaccines have been developed by CanSino Biologic from China and the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow and are a modification of adenovirus type 5 (AD5). AD5 is currently being used to treat the common cold, and scientists and researchers are now concerned with the effectiveness of the vaccine.