This Week’s Market Buzz

• Brent crude futures dipped 4 cents at press time to $107.55 a barrel after rising 2.1% in the previous session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 49 cents, or 0.5% to $104.87 a barrel.

• Union Pacific (UP) and other major railroads said they are acting aggressively to solve their workforce woes and operations inefficiencies to move more petroleum, coal, agriculture and other products amid growing customer complaints and federal regulatory scrutiny. UP’s energy and specialized markets quarterly freight revenues rose 4% from $530 million to $552 million compared with the first three months of 2021, but actual volumes by revenue carloads dipped from 139,000 carloads to 131,000 carloads. However, as oil and gas drilling activity increase, UP said its frac sand and downhole piping volumes are rising, citing greater shipments of oil country tubular goods.

• U.S. hydraulic fracturing firm Liberty Oilfield Services on April 21 warned that demand for fracking services will outpace availability, adding that it has no plans to build new frac fleets. The second-largest fracking services company said pricing is rising, in part due to inflation, and that it still anticipates hitting mid-cycle returns this year. Access to frac sand and labor remain an issue, it said. Liberty emphasized to investors that it had no plans to quickly invest in building new hydraulic fracturing fleets and instead would focus on upgrading its current equipment.

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