Yet that may not matter this Labor Day. Bloomberg News reports that the most Americans since 2008 will travel on vacation during the Labor Day weekend this year, as consumers grow more confident that conditions are improving in the world’s largest economy. The number of people taking trips of 50 miles or more will increase to 33 million from 32.1 million last year, the American Automobile Association, the biggest U.S. motoring organization, said in its annual forecast. That’s the most since a record 45.1 million travelers four years ago. This year the long weekend runs from Aug. 30 to Sept. 3.
The FT reports that Cnooc, China’s main offshore oil and gas producer, posted an unexpectedly large 19% drop in net profit in the first half of the year on higher costs and lower output caused partly by an oil spill. Most analysts had expected the state-controlled energy group would post a small profit fall in the first half. Its Hong Kong-listed shares fell 3% on Tuesday. The net profit drop comes at a sensitive time for Cnooc, which is in the midst of a bid to acquire Canadian oil company Nexen for $15.1 billion in a deal that, if completed, would be the largest ever offshore acquisition by a Chinese company. In announcing first-half results on Tuesday, Cnooc said it cut its interim dividend by 40% to HK$0.15 per share in order to save cash to pay for the Nexen deal, which still needs to be approved by the Canadian government.
The Chronicle is reporting that Mexico may someday realize its potential as a natural gas superpower, but in the lengthy meantime, the country’s gnawing energy craving may feed off Texas pipelines. Mexico energy planners are pressing ahead with an $8 billion expansion of the country’s 5,500-mile natural gas pipeline system, focusing on central and northern industrial cities. And for the foreseeable future, they intend to fuel that network with U.S. natural gas, including from South Texas and Eagle Ford Shale fields. “Mexico has a unique opportunity, we have access to the world’s cheapest gas,” Mexican Energy Minister Jordy Herrera said of the U.S. supply in announcing the new pipeline plans earlier this year. “This is competitiveness for the industry of our country.” The U.S. side of the project awaits regulatory approval.