One of the key factors which supported oil prices recovery last week was the news about some of OPEC's members who are calling once again for an output freeze deal. Positive comments were given by both, Saudi Arabia energy minister Khalid Al-Falih and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, which lay the groundwork for a possible talk next month to discuss the possibility of oil producers freezing their oil output to support oil prices.
This is not the first time OPEC's oil producers give the oil market a hope that an output freeze deal could be reached. In fact, we still remember Doha's meeting and its disappointing outcomes. When we look at the situation now and then, we realize that there is no much difference.
Back then, oil prices fell below $30/bbl. The oil market sentiments were bearish, and many oil analysts were expecting oil prices to fall as low as $20/bbl. The direction in which the oil market was heading scared oil producers. And consequently, some of OPEC's members as well as other oil producers threw the idea of an output freeze deal. The duration since announcing the news of a possible output freeze deal until its actual meeting helped oil prices recover at that time.
But the result of Doha's meeting ended up with a failure to reach an output freeze deal, mainly because of Saudi Arabia's refusal to freeze oil output unless Iran does too. At that time oil prices were already well above $30/bbl, and the news didn't have much impact on oil prices. The oil prices rally continued on support from different factors.
In a similar way now, the news of a possible output freeze talk by OPEC's members came after oil prices fell below $40/bbl. Oil market sentiments were bearish during the last few weeks. U.S. crude inventories were not falling as expected and gasoline inventories were increasing. The increase in U.S. rig count was accelerating, and U.S. oil production recorded few increases during early to mid-July. Hedge fund managers increased their short positions and oil market analysts expected oil prices to fall sharply again.
These negative news scared OPEC's members again, and they decided to play the same old game. Announce a possible oil output freeze talk. Oil prices will stop falling, and reverse a course. Then, let the talk takes a month or more. The news of 'output freeze talk' throughout this period will help change the state of the oil market from negative to positive, just like it did few months ago.
When the output freeze meeting date comes, some producers will come up with an excuse not to agree on freezing their oil output. And the meeting will end up as a failure in a similar way like its previous version.
When that time comes, oil prices will be at a higher level. The oil market will be in a better state than it was a week ago. Other parameters will come in to support oil prices like what happened few months ago. And these oil producers talking about freezing their oil output right now will be producing more oil at that time.
OPEC's members are not freezing any oil output, they are simply playing the emotion game to help the oil market get through this difficult time.
They come in when the oil market is full of pessimism and negative sentiments, and they give it what it needs; a hope. That hope prevents oil prices from falling further and supports its recovery. The good news is, everyone wins in this type of games. And when the game is over, oil prices are higher.
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Headline crude prices for the week beginning 9 September 2019 – Brent: US$61/b; WTI: US$56/b
Headlines of the week
Detailed market research and continuous tracking of market developments—as well as deep, on-the-ground expertise across the globe—informs our outlook on global gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG). We forecast gas demand and then use our infrastructure and contract models to forecast supply-and-demand balances, corresponding gas flows, and pricing implications to 2035.Executive summary
The past year saw the natural-gas market grow at its fastest rate in almost a decade, supported by booming domestic markets in China and the United States and an expanding global gas trade to serve Asian markets. While the pace of growth is set to slow, gas remains the fastest-growing fossil fuel and the only fossil fuel expected to grow beyond 2035.Global gas: Demand expected to grow 0.9 percent per annum to 2035
While we expect coal demand to peak before 2025 and oil demand to peak around 2033, gas demand will continue to grow until 2035, albeit at a slower rate than seen previously. The power-generation and industrial sectors in Asia and North America and the residential and commercial sectors in Southeast Asia, including China, will drive the expected gas-demand growth. Strong growth from these regions will more than offset the demand declines from the mature gas markets of Europe and Northeast Asia.
Gas supply to meet this demand will come mainly from Africa, China, Russia, and the shale-gas-rich United States. China will double its conventional gas production from 2018 to 2035. Gas production in Europe will decline rapidly.LNG: Demand expected to grow 3.6 percent per annum to 2035, with market rebalancing expected in 2027–28
We expect LNG demand to outpace overall gas demand as Asian markets rely on more distant supplies, Europe increases its gas-import dependence, and US producers seek overseas markets for their gas (both pipe and LNG). China will be a major driver of LNG-demand growth, as its domestic supply and pipeline flows will be insufficient to meet rising demand. Similarly, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and South Asia will rely on LNG to meet the growing demand to replace declining domestic supplies. We also expect Europe to increase LNG imports to help offset declining domestic supply.
Demand growth by the middle of next decade should balance the excess LNG capacity in the current market and planned capacity additions. We expect that further capacity growth of around 250 billion cubic meters will be necessary to meet demand to 2035.
With growing shale-gas production in the United States, the country is in a position to join Australia and Qatar as a top global LNG exporter. A number of competing US projects represent the long-run marginal LNG-supply capacity.Key themes uncovered
Over the course of our analysis, we uncovered five key themes to watch for in the global gas market:
Challenges in a growing market
Gas looks the best bet of fossil fuels through the energy transition. Coal demand has already peaked while oil has a decade or so of slowing growth before electric vehicles start to make real inroads in transportation. Gas, blessed with lower carbon intensity and ample resource, is set for steady growth through 2040 on our base case projections.
LNG is surfing that wave. The LNG market will more than double in size to over 1000 bcm by 2040, a growth rate eclipsed only by renewables. A niche market not long ago, shipped LNG volumes will exceed global pipeline exports within six years.The bullish prospects will buoy spirits as industry leaders meet at Gastech, LNG’s annual gathering – held, appropriately and for the first time, in Houston – September 17-19.
Investors are scrambling to grab a piece of the action. We are witnessing a supply boom the scale of which the industry has never experienced before. Around US$240 billion will be spent between 2019 and 2025 on greenfield and brownfield LNG supply projects, backfill and finishing construction for those already underway.50% to be added to global supply
In total, these projects will bring another 182 mmtpa to market, adding 50% to global supply. Over 100 mmtpa is from the US alone, most of the rest from Qatar, Russia, Canada, and Mozambique. Still, more capital will be needed to meet demand growth beyond the mid-2020s. But the rapid growth also presents major challenges for sellers and buyers to adapt to changes in the market.
There is a risk of bottlenecks as this new supply arrives on the market. The industry will have to balance sizeable waves of fresh sales volumes with demand growing in fits and starts and across an array of disparate marketplaces – some mature, many fledglings, a good few in between.
India has built three new re-gas terminals, but imports are actually down in 2019. The pipeline network to get the gas to regional consumers has yet to be completed. Pakistan has a gas distribution network serving its northern industrial centres. But the main LNG import terminals are in the south of the country, and the commitment to invest in additional transmission lines taking gas north is fraught with political uncertainty.
China is still wrestling with third-party access and regulation of the pipeline business that is PetroChina’s core asset. Any delay could dull the growth rate in Asia’s LNG hotspot. Europe is at the early stages of replacing its rapidly depleting sources of indigenous piped gas with huge volumes of LNG imports delivered to the coast. Will Europe’s gas market adapt seamlessly to a growing reliance on LNG – especially when tested at extreme winter peaks? Time will tell.
The point-to-point business model that has served sellers (and buyers) so well over the last 60 years will be tested by market access and other factors. Buyers facing mounting competition in their domestic market will increasingly demand flexibility on volume and price, and contracts that are diverse in duration and indexation. These traditional suppliers risk leaving value, perhaps a lot of value, on the table.
In the future, sellers need to be more sophisticated. The full toolkit will have a portfolio of LNG, a mixture of equity and third-party contracted gas; a trading capability to optimise on volume and price; and the requisite logistics – access to physical capacity of ships and re-gas terminals to shift LNG to where it’s wanted. Enlightened producers have begun to move to an integrated model, better equipped to meet these demands and capture value through the chain. Pure traders will muscle in too.
Some integrated players will think big picture, LNG becoming central to an energy transition strategy. As Big Oil morphs into Big Energy, LNG will sit alongside a renewables and gas-fired power generation portfolio feeding all the way through to gas and electricity customers.
LNG trumps pipe exports...
...as the big suppliers crank up volumes