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Oil prices rises to $47 a barrel

The price of a barrel of Brent Crude ended April at $47, a significant riseon the historic low prices from recent months.

It dipped to under $30 a barrel in January, leading to widespread job losses and abandoned projects across the industry, as well as political unrest in several oil producing countries.

The increase will be welcomed by oil majors, but as the BBC points out, it is still 30% down on this time last year.

The US shale gas industry has been hit particularly badly by the slump in oil price.

This morning, Reuters carry a story about Magnum Hunter Resources Corp, a US shale company which recently exited bankruptcy.

The company’s founder Gary Evans tells the agency that even debt free energy companies “cannot take survival for granted if energy prices do not recover soon”.

US Supreme Court rejects appeal in class action lawsuit brought by BP shareholders

The US Supreme Court has scuppered a lawsuit brought by shareholders of oil giant BP who claimed the company misrepresented its safety procedures in the run-up to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The lawsuit had been quashed by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September last year, and the Supreme Court has now ended any hopes of it being revived.

The investors bought shares in BP between two and two-and-a-half years before the spill, which cost the company $55billion and saw the company share price plummet.

Reuters report that BP argued in court papers that the suit should be allowed to proceed, as the claimants were seeking compensation for entire decline in stock price after the spill.

A BP spokesperson described the claim as “meritless” and said the company would “continue to defend against them”.

Lawyers for the investors have yet to comment.

Clinton walks back coal comments as she courts voters

Hillary Clinton was forced to walk back her comments about putting the coal industry “out of business” after being confronted by angry miners in West Virginia.

The exchange highlights the difficulties Clinton will face in making her pitch to white working class voters who have voted strongly for her likely rival Donald Trump during the primary season, as well as problems for Democrats discussing climate change in this election.

Back in March, Clinton had told a town hall in Ohio: “We are going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business”.

At an event in Williamson, West Virginia, the likely Democrat nominee told members of the mining community: “I don’t mind anybody being upset or angry. That’s a perfect right for people to feel that way. I do feel a little bit sad and sorry that I gave folks the reason and the excuse to be so upset with me because that is not what I intended at all.”

Across the world, the coal sector has been badly affected by the collapse in commodities prices and falling demand for the material in Asia.

Clinton and Trump are expected to win upcoming primary contests in Indiana this week, bringing them closer to securing their parties nominations.

In other news

Australia: Activists launch legal challenge to Adani coal mine to ‘protect Great Barrier Reef’

Halliburton: Merger with Baker Hughes scuttled

Renewables: Solar plane continues round world flight

Saudi Arabia: Foreign minister rubbishes talk of US divestment over 9/11 lawsuit

TTIP: Greenpeace to publish hundreds of pages of EU-US trade deal