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Last Updated: July 18, 2016
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Last week in the world oil:

-         Crude oil ended the week aroundUS$45/b, as the market largely shrugged off the attempted coup in Turkey andlooked ahead to healthy economic indicators from the US and China, although astronger US dollar weighed down on prices slightly.

 

Last week in Asian oil:

-        Iran’s new oil industryinvestment framework will be ready by the end of July, with the once-isolatednation looking to entice international oil firms to assist in bringing its oilindustry out from the cold. Several Asian firms, including those from China,India and Iran, have already announced proposed plans, and the new contractshould bring in other Western firms, including BP, Total, Rni and Repsol. Thenew system replaces the old buy-back system where foreign firms were bannedfrom booking reserves or taking equity in Iranian companies.

-        Pertamina’s goal of increasingits domestic output to meet federal targets by taking over private oil fieldsin Indonesia is gaining pace, with reports indicating that it is eyeing a partof the gas-rich Masela block in Arafura Sea, while expediting its takeover ofthe mature Mahakam block in East Kalimantan from Japan’s Inpex and Shell.

Downstream

-         China’s refineries processed arecord amount of crude in June, rising 3.2% y-o-y to 11 million b/d,contributing to the highest refining figure for the first six months of anyyear. The increase in mainly coming from the ‘teapot’ refineries – independentrefiners that were last year allowed to directly import crude – tempted byhealthy refining margins.

-         Meanwhile, CNOOC (ChinaNational Offshore Oil Company) is aiming to cap its crude runs to 1 million b/dby 2020 to ease oil product oversupply, and instead focus on expanding itsservice station fleet to 2000 over the same period, as the upstream firmcontinues its push downstream.

-         Flooding along the Yangtze hasdisrupted oil distribution and also damaged facilities in China’s central andsouthern regions, with Sinopec stating that some 500 of its gas stations weredamaged and some refining operations disruption.

-         Indonesia’s state power firmPLN has criticised the government’s upcoming B30 mandate for gasoil used inindustrial/power burning. Indonesia has ambitious plans to move to higherbiodiesel blends to ease pressure on oil product imports, but PLN says that thenew rules are ‘unworkable’ as it has not allowed for sufficient technicaltesting, potentially damaging equipment.

Natural Gas

-         Echoing Japan, South Korea isaiming to become an LNG hub as well. The Korean efforts will focus on becominga regional LNG bunkering hub along its southern cost, as the shipping industrygradually moves away from burning dirty fuel oil to cleaner LNG. The hope isthat by creating a hub, Korea’s LNG import volumes will rise, giving it morebargaining power as a buyer.

-         Thailand’s PTT wants to investmore in Malaysia, including a proposed LNG project with Petronas that PTT hopeswill ease its long-term energy demands. Thailand uses natural gas for almost70% of its power generation, traditionally from Thai gas fields in the Bay ofBangkok and its west offshore coast, but output is dwindling and PTT is lookingoverseas.


Last week in international markets

 

Upstream & Midstream

-         ExxonMobil has declare a force majeure on its Nigerian Qua Iboe crudeexports, traced to a ‘system anomaly’ at its loading facility that may take upto four weeks to repair. The issue is thought not to be connected to therampage of the Niger Delta Avengers, which continue its sabotage with morepipeline attacks on Eni, Shell, Exxon and NNPC facilities in the last twoweeks.

-         Aiming to capitalise on the post-Brexit shuffle in the UK government,where the climate change department has been bundled into the department ofbusiness, petrochemical giant Ineos is aiming to accelerate shale gasdevelopment in the UK by lodging up to 30 planning application for drill testwells through to the end of 2016.

-         BP’s Argentine subsidiary Pan American Energy plans to spend some US$1.4billion to exploit Argentina’s conventional and unconventional resources,including the Cerro Dragón oil field and shale gas in Neuquén and Tierra delFuego.

-         In a sign that US crude producers are seeing brighter times ahead, theUS oil rig count increased for the sixth time in seven weeks, up by 6 to 357,coming from Louisiana and New Mexico. The gas rig count rose by one, bringingtotal operational rigs in the US to 447.

Downstream

-         The 65 kb/d Cienfuegos refineryis Cuba will be partially shut down for 120 days, or four months, for extensivemaintenance. Technical problems have kept the Soviet-era refinery running atminimum capacity, causing shortages. Cuba depends on Venezuela for most of itscrude and oil imports, and problems there have affected the isolated Caribbeannation.

-         South African Airways hascompleted a test flight using bio-jetfuel refined from tobacco, part of aglobal aviation push to move to renewable resources. With refining marginsdeclining, jet fuel a dependable bright spot in oil products, but even thismight come under pressure soon.

Natural Gas

-         Shell and its partners on theLNG Canada project have delayed the final investment decision on the proposedLNG export terminal on Canada’s western coast for the second time this year.‘Global industry challenges, including capital constraints’ were cited as thereason to delay the project, aimed at exporting LNG to Asia, principally due toan emerging LNG glut.

Corporate

-         ExxonMobil has made another bidto acquire Canada’s InterOil, outbidding Oil Search Ltd with a ‘superior offer’as it looks to merge InterOil’s large natural gas reserves in Papua New Guineawith its own. Exxon has faced issues in building pipelines, and InterOil’sfields are logistically less complicated, and closer to the proposed coastalLNG plant, speeding up the ambition of PNG becoming a major LNG exporter.

 

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September, 21 2019
Your Weekly Update: 16 - 20 September 2019

Market Watch  

Headline crude prices for the week beginning 16 September 2019 – Brent: US$69/b; WTI: US$63/b

  • Global crude oil prices surged at the start of the week as news that a successful drone strike on the Abqaiq processing plant and the Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia took out over half of the Kingdom’s crude production capacity
  • Brent prices jumped above US$70/b at one point on fears on global supply disruption, but abated as President Donald Trump authorises the release of US strategic petroleum reserves to cover the market
  • Initial fears that the Saudi Arabian crude output would be crippled for months proved to be extreme, with Saudi Aramco announcing that some 70% of capacity at Abqaiq had been restored within days
  • But more worryingly is that this incident escalates the risk of a full-blown military confrontation with Iran; the US was quick to accuse Iran of the attack, citing data on the attack, which was denied by Iran
  • Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, although initial results of a Saudi investigation pointed to the weapons originating from Iran
  • For now, crude oil prices have retreated as the risk of widespread supply disruption abated, but tensions are still high in the region
  • This comes after President Trump signals that he was considering easing sanctions in an apparent thaw in the US-Iran relationship; this opportunity now appears to have evaporated
  • Saudi Arabia’s new oil energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, made a positive impression at the recent OPEC+ meeting, with errant members of the group signalling that they were now ready to adhere to the supply deal
  • In Venezuela, the oil crisis continues as ongoing US sanctions now mean that the country cannot find enough vessels to transport its crude, as shippers fear losing insurance coverage if they transport Venezuelan oil
  • Iran has released the UK-flagged Stena Impero vessel that it had impounded, a lone bright spot in a region now clouded by geopolitical tensions
  • Against this backdrop, the US active rig count recorded yet another fall, losing five oil and seven gas rigs for a net drop of 12 to a new total of 886 rigs
  • With the shock of the Saudi drone attacks abating, crude oil prices are retreating back to their previous range – US$60-63 for Brent and US$56-59/b for WTI – as the impact of global supply was minimised; another attack, however, might cause a more permanent shift in prices


Headlines of the week

Upstream

  • Equinor has received consent from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate to continue operations at the Tordis and Vigdis fields through 2036 and 2040, respectively, extending the life of the North Sea fields by 34 years
  • BP has announced that it will deploy continuous measurement of methane emissions for all future oil and gas projects in a bid to reduce emissions
  • CNOPC and Niger have agreed to collaborate on a 1,892km pipeline to carry oil from Niger’s Agadem rift basin to port facilities in Benin
  • The South African government is tabling a new law that will allow the state to take a free stake of up to 10% in all new oil and gas ventures, hoping to capitalise on a surge in upstream interest after Total’s Brulpadda discovery

Midstream/Downstream

  • As the IMO deadline for low-sulfur marine fuels approaches, refiners have begun stockpiling supplies of very low-sulfur fuel oil to ensure adequate supply; this includes Japan’s Cosmo Oil that aims to begin supplying VLSFO to the domestic marine market by October 2019
  • IndianOil’s Gujarat refinery stated it ready to produce 12,900 b/d of VLSFO by October while its Haldia refinery will start producing 5,500 b/d of VLSFO by December; this should be adequate to cover the India’s marine fuel demand
  • India is considering selling a stake in BPCL, the country’s second largest refiner, to an international firm to boost competition in downstream fuel retailing that has historically been dominated by state firms
  • Valero Energy and Darling Ingredients are launching the first renewable gasoil plant in Texas, focusing on producing renewable diesel and naphtha
  • In the UK, Essar Oil’s Stanlow refinery aims to increase its diet of US crude from a current 35% to 40%, leveraging on cheaper American oil
  • The after-effects of Russia’s contaminated crude through the Druzhba pipeline continues as Total issues a tender to sell 1.3 million barrels of tainted Ural crude through Rotterdam after failing to process it

Natural Gas/LNG

  • Poland has won a ruling from the EU courts to reduce Russian control over the key EU Opal pipeline that carries Russian gas from the Nord Stream link to Germany, preventing Gazprom from using most of Opal capacity in a bit to increase energy security for Eastern European countries
  • Vitol and Mozambique’s state player ENH have set up a new joint venture in Singapore to capitalise on trading opportunities for LNG, LPG, and condensate
  • Australia’s Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd and Delta Offshore Energy will supply gas from the Magnolia fields to an LNG-to-power project in Bac Lieu, Vietnam
  • Eni’s Baltim South West gas field offshore Egypt has started up production, only 3 years after discovery, producing an initial 100 mscf/d of gas
  • US gas player Sempra is looking to take FID on its Energia Costa Azul LNG project in Mexico’s Baja California region by the end of 2019
  • Egypt has announced that it expects to receive first natural gas from Israel by end-2019 through the East Mediterranean Gas pipeline, with initial supplies of 200 mscf/d that will rise to 500 mscf/d by 2020
  • The Independence floating LNG terminal in Lithuania – built to reduce the Baltic region’s dependence on Russian gas – is set to receive its first-ever cargo from Siberia, likely from Novatek’s LNG projects in Yamal
September, 20 2019
Financial Review: Second-Quarter 2019
Key findings
  • Brent crude oil daily average prices were 9% lower in second-quarter 2019 than in second-quarter 2018 and averaged $68 per barrel
  • The 117 companies in this study increased their combined liquids production 4.6% in second-quarter 2019 from second-quarter 2018, and their natural gas production increased 5.0% during the same period
  • Nearly half of the companies were free cash flow positive—that is, they generated more cash from operations than their capital expenditures
  • Dividends plus share repurchases were nearly one-third of cash from operations, slightly lower than the six-year high set in first-quarter 2019

Distributions to shareholders via dividends and share repurchases amounted to nearly 33% of cash from operations


See entire second-quarter review

September, 20 2019