The daily business briefing: July 5, 2016

Chevron, Exxon approve Kazakhstan oil expansion, Standard Life halts real-estate fund trading over Brexit fallout, and more

A Chevron sign
(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

1. Chevron and Exxon invest $36.8 billion in Kazakhstan expansion

Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and other partners have approved a $36.8 billion oil-production expansion in Kazakhstan's Tengiz field, the companies said Tuesday in a joint statement with the Central Asian nations' Energy Ministry. The project will boost production in the field, which is one of the world's largest, from 800,000 barrels per day to one million. The first crude from the expansion is expected in 2022. The investment is the industry's biggest since oil prices began plunging two years ago.

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2. Standard Life suspends trading in real estate after Brexit

Standard Life Investments halted trading in its $3.9 billion U.K. Real Estate fund on Monday, blaming "exceptional market circumstances" following British voters' decision to leave the European Union. Industry experts predicted that London office values could drop as much as 20 percent over the three years after the U.K. leaves the EU. Standard Life last week wrote down the value of the assets in the fund by 5 percent, explaining that the Brexit had already "negatively impacted commercial property valuations in the U.K."

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3. U.K. central bank encourages lending to ease Brexit fallout

The Bank of England on Tuesday announced it was cutting banks' capital requirements to encourage them to keep lending as feared Brexit fallout began to materialize. "Those U.K. households and businesses who want to seize viable opportunities ... can be confident that they will be supported by the financial system," Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said. The move came as the British pound touched a 31-year low, and British government bonds hit record lows. U.S. Treasury note yields also touched record lows as expectations of more central bank easing spread around the world.

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4. Ashley Madison gets new CEO as part of post-hacking recovery

Hook-up website Ashley Madison's parent company, Avid Life, announced Tuesday it had appointed a new CEO as it tries to recover from its 2015 data breach. The company said the new leader, Rob Segal, had been in charge for three months, but it was releasing the news as it unveils "transformative changes" planned as it rebuilds after hackers stole nearly 10 gigabytes of customer data. "The company is truly sorry for how people's lives and relationships may have been affected by the criminal theft of personal information," Segal said.


5. Three ex-Barclays employees convicted in Libor rigging scandal

A British court has convicted three former Barclays employees of rigging the Libor interest rate between 2005 and 2007. Banks use the Libor rate to set prices for financial products. Britons Jay Merchant, 45, and Jonathan Mathew, 35, along with American Alex Pabon, 38, were found guilty by a jury at Southwark Crown Court after an 11-week trial. The jury could not reach a verdict on two other co-defendants — Stylianos Contogoulas and Ryan Michael Reich, Britain's Serious Fraud Office said Monday in a press release.

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