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Last Updated: June 22, 2017
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Last week in the world oil:

Prices

  • All the progress achieved since the OPEC supply quotas were agreed on have been undone, as crude prices fell to a seven-month low. With Brent at US$47/b and WTI at US$43/b, traders are concerned that rising production in Libya and Nigeria (exempt from the freeze), as well as in the US, have undermined OPEC’s ability to influence prices. With the glut growing and news of tankers increasingly being used as storage, there is little upside for crude prices now, so expect the decline to continue.

Upstream & Midstream

  • Deepwater seems to be back, as ExxonMobil signed off on the Liza field in Guyana. Together with partners Hess and CNOOC, the US$4.4 billion offshore project is the fifth deepwater project to be sanctioned this year, in part due to the attraction of its lower production costs. It marks a cautious return to upstream megaprojects after the price crash in 2015, in parallel with majors developing lower-cost shale sites as well. The first phase of Liza should pump 120 kb/d when it comes online in 2020.
  • Uganda has signed two production sharing agreements with Nigeria’s Oranto Petroleum that will see the first crude flow by 2020. Oil from the Ngassa Shallow and Ngassa Deep plays in the Albertine rift basin forms part of gross national recoverable reserves of 1.4-1.7 billion barrels. Landlocked Uganda is already working with Tanzania to build a heated pipeline to ship its crude internationally through the port of Tanga.
  • Six new oil rigs started up in the US last week, bringing the total number of oil rigs to 747 and total rigs to 933. In Canada, 27 new rigs started up last week as well, arresting the long slide in Canadian drilling sites.

Downstream

  • Mexico’s Pemex has begun to restart its 330 kb/d Salina Cruz refinery after Tropical Storm Calvin flooded the plant, breaking containment dams and triggering spills that halted the entire refinery. A fire that broke out killed a firefighter and injured nine workers has also been put out, allowing startup procedures to begin restoring the refinery to operation.

Natural Gas and LNG

  • While some central and southern European countries plan alternative gas routes, Austrian energy group OMV is considering reviving a plan to build a Black Sea pipeline to connect Russian Gazprom natural gas with the region. The plan is merely an outline at the moment, but will be an extension of the TurkStream pipeline currently being built that will connect to OMV’s Baumgarten gas hub and its 57 bcm/y capacity. Further south, Greece, Cyprus and Israel have jointly agreed to speed up their plans to develop a pipeline connecting Israel and Cyprus’ gas fields to the Mediterranean through a 2,000km pipeline linked to Greece and Italy. The new target completion date of 2025.
  • Shell and Qatar Petroleum have signed an agreement to jointly develop global LNG bunkering facilities. Combining Qatar’s vast LNG capacity and Shell’s bunkering expertise, the aim of the plan is to meet increasing demand for LNG as a bunker fuel, with Qatar Petroleum estimating that demand will reach 50 million tons per annum by 2030.

Last week in Asian oil

Upstream

  • As Chinese producers try to strike a balance between raising capex to boost domestic crude production with declining reserves, Chinese oil production fell to its lowest level on record in May. Production fell 3.7% y-o-y to 3.83 mmb/d, the lowest since the National Bureau of Statistics began publishing records in 2011. Producers like PetroChina are having to choose between cutting spending at rapidly declining fields like Daqing and Shengli, while raising spending elsewhere to help ease China’s increasing reliance on imported crude.

Downstream

  • China has issued a second round of crude oil import quotas. The overall number is higher than the entirety of allowances in 2016, but crucially, the allowance for teapot refineries is lower by some 17%. This is seen as an attempt by Beijing to exert control over a section of the refining industry that exploded last year, flooding the country with fuel.
  • Saudi Aramco’s relentless march into downstream continues, trying to secure footholds in key Asian markets to ensure captive demand for its crude. After Malaysia and China, Aramco is now talking with the Indian government to purchase a stake in the planned 1.2 mmb/d megarefinery to be build by the trio of state oil firms – Indian Oil, HPCL and BPCL – on the west coast. With little of its own crude to feed this planned site, India will need crude to run the refinery; and Saudi Aramco is happy to oblige, demanding a stake in what would be the world’s largest refinery.

Natural Gas & LNG

  • BP and Reliance in India have agreed to jointly invest up to US$6 billion to restart work in the country’s east coast gas blocks, where eight years of inertia have led to curtailed production. The money will be poured into developing 3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, boosting production at the D6 block in the Krishna Godavari basin by 30-35 mcf/d by 2020. The BP-Reliance partnership was resuscitated after the government relaxed rules last year, allowing freedom in pricing and marketing gas in an attempt to attract investment into India’s dormant deepwater gas fields.
  • Japan’s JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration has commenced commercial gas production from the Layang field in Malaysia. Initial production of natural gas and condensate from the field offshore Sarawak is estimated at 12 kb/d, which will be piped together with gas from the Helang field to Petronas’ MLNG Tiga LNG plant in Bintulu, in which JX Nippon has a stake.
  • Faced with the departure of Chevron from its gas fields, Bangladesh’ state energy firm PetroBangla has inked an agreement with Swiss trader AOT Energy to secure LNG for the power-hungry nation. The LNG will be directed at the country’s first LNG terminal being built as an FSRU at Moheshkali island by Excelerate Energy. Another LNG terminal is also being planned, at Kutubdia Island with India’s Petronet LNG.
  • The capacity for the Abadi LNG project in Indonesia appears to be settled at 9.5 mtpa, with partners Inpex and Shell nearing agreement with Indonesia’s Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry. This would leave some 150 mcf/d of natural gas available for the domestic market to meet Indonesia’s domestic market obligation requirements. This would be almost four times the initial planned LNG capacity of 2.5 mtpa for Abadi, as Inpex itches to commercialise a discovery made in 1992. A smaller capacity of 7.5 mtpa is also being considered, which would leave 500 mcf/d leftover.

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[Media Partner Content] Recognising innovation in transforming the world’s oil and gas industry

The 9th edition of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) Awards, hosted by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), is now open for submissions.

In this fourth industrial age it is technology, innovation, environmental leadership and talented workforces that are shaping the companies of the future.

Oil and gas is set to play a pivotal role in driving technology forward, and at this year’s ADIPEC Awards emphasis is placed on digitalisation, research, transformation, diversity, youth and social contribution, paving the way towards a brighter tomorrow for our industry.

Hosting the ADIPEC Awards is one of the world’s leading energy producers, ADNOC, a company exploring new, agile and flexible ways to build its people, technology, environmental leadership and partnerships, while enhancing the role of the United Arab Emirates as a global energy provider.

Factors which will have a prominent influence on the eventual decisions of the distinguished panel of jury members include industry impact, sustainability, innovation and value creation. Jury members have been carefully selected according to their expertise and knowledge, and include senior representatives from Baker Hughes, a GE Company, BP UAE, CEPSA Middle East, ENI Spa, Mubadala Petroleum, Shell, Total and Weatherford.

Chairperson of the awards is Fatema Al Nuaimi, Acting CEO of ADNOC LNG, who says: “At a time when the industry is looking towards an extremely exciting future and preparing for Oil &Gas 4.0, the awards will recognise excellence across all its sectors and reward those who are paving the way towards a successful and sustainable future.”

Ms Al Nuaimi, continues: “we call upon our partners across the globe to submit their achievements in projects and partnerships which are at the helm of technical and digital breakthroughs, as well as to nominate the next generation of oil and gas technical professionals, who will spearhead the ongoing transformation of the industry.

These awards are recognising the successes of those companies and individuals who are responding in the most innovative and creative manner to the global economic and technological trends. Their contribution is pivotal to the development of our industry and to addressing the continuous growth of the global energy demand. “

Christopher Hudson, President of the Energy Division, dmg events, organisers of ADIPEC, says: “With ADNOC as the host and ADIPEC as the platform for the programme, the awards are at the heart of the worldwide oil and gas community. With its audience of government ministers, international and national oil companies, CEOs and other top global industry influencers, the ADIPEC Awards provide the global oil and gas community the perfect opportunity to engage, inspire and influence the workforce of the future.”

Entries can be submitted until Monday 29th July for the following categories:

Breakthrough Technological Project of the Year

Breakthrough Research of the Year

Digital Transformation Project of the Year

Social Contribution and Local Content Project of the Year

Oil and Gas Inclusion and Diversity Company of the Year

Young ADIPEC Technical Professional of the Year

A shortlist of entries will be announced in October and winners will be revealed on the first day of ADIPEC 2019, Monday 11th November, St. Regis Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi.


ABOUT ADIPEC

Held under the patronage of the President of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and organised by the Global Energy Division of dmg events, the Abu Dhabi Petroleum International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) is the global meeting point for oil and gas professionals. Standing as one of the world’s leading oil and gas events.  ADIPEC is a knowledge-sharing platform that enables industry experts to exchange ideas and information that shape the future of the energy sector. The 22nd edition of ADIPEC will take place from 11th-14th November 2019, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). ADIPEC 2019 will be hosted by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and supported by the UAE Ministry of Energy & Industry, Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK). dmg events is committed to helping the growing international energy community.

June, 24 2019
TODAY IN ENERGY: Energy products are key inputs to global chemicals industry

chemicals industry inputs

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on World Input-Output Database
Note: Dollar values are expressed in 2010 U.S. dollars, converted based on purchasing power parity.

The industrial sector of the worldwide economy consumed more than half (55%) of all delivered energy in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency. Within the industrial sector, the chemicals industry is one of the largest energy users, accounting for 12% of global industrial energy use. Energy—whether purchased or produced onsite at plants—is very important to the chemicals industry, and it links the chemical industry to many parts of the energy supply chain including utilities, mines, and other energy product manufacturers.

The chemicals industry is often divided into two major categories: basic chemicals and other chemicals. Basic chemicals are chemicals that are the essential building blocks for other products. These include raw material gases, pigments, fertilizers, plastics, and rubber. Basic chemicals are sometimes called bulk chemicals or commodity chemicals because they are produced in large amounts and have relatively low prices. Other chemicals—sometimes called fine or specialty chemicals—require less energy to produce and sell for much higher prices. The category of other chemicals includes medicines, soaps, and paints.

The chemicals industry uses energy products such as natural gas for both heat and feedstock. Basic chemicals are often made in large factories that use a variety of energy sources to produce heat, much of which is for steam, and for equipment, such as pumps. The largest feedstock use is for producing petrochemicals, which can use oil-based or natural-gas-based feedstocks.

In terms of value, households are the largest users of chemicals because they use higher value chemicals, which are often chemicals that help to improve standards of living, such as medicines or sanitation products. Chemicals are also often intermediate goods—materials used in the production of other products, such as rubber and plastic products manufacturing, agricultural production, construction, and textiles and apparel making.

basic chemicals industry energy intensity in select regions

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, WEPS+, August 2018
Note: Dollar values are expressed in 2010 U.S. dollars, converted based on purchasing power parity.

The energy intensity of the basic chemicals industry, or energy consumed per unit of output, is relatively high compared with other industries. However, the energy intensity of the basic chemicals industry varies widely by region, largely based on the chemicals a region produces. According to EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2018, Russia had the most energy-intensive basic chemicals industry in 2015, with an average energy intensity of approximately 98,000 British thermal units (Btu) per dollar, followed by Canada with an average intensity of 68,000 Btu/dollar.

The Russian and Canadian basic chemicals industries are led by fertilizers and petrochemicals. Petrochemicals and fertilizers are the most energy intensive basic chemicals, all of which rely on energy for breaking chemical bonds and affecting the recombination of molecules to create the intended chemical output. These countries produce these specific basic chemicals in part because they also produce the natural resources needed as inputs, such as potash, oil, and natural gas.

By comparison, the energy intensity of the U.S. basic chemical industry in 2015 was much lower, at 22,000 Btu/dollar, because the industry in the United States has a more diverse production mix of other basic chemicals, such as gases and synthetic fibers. However, EIA expects that increasing petrochemical development in the United States will increase the energy intensity of the U.S. basic chemicals industry.

The United States exports chemicals worldwide, with the largest flows to Mexico, Canada, and China. According to the World Input-Output Database, U.S. exports of all chemicals in 2014 were valued at $118 billion—about 6% of total U.S. exports—the highest level in decades.

June, 24 2019
The Winds of War and Oil Markets

The threat of military action in the Middle East has gotten more intense this week. After several attacks on tankers that could be plausibly denied, Iran has made its first direct attack on a US asset, shooting down an unmanned US drone. The Americans say the drone was in international waters, while Iran claims that it had entered Iranian air space. Reports emerging out of the White House state the US President Donald Trump had authorised a military strike in response, but pulled back at the last minute. The simmering tensions between the two countries are now reaching boiling point, with Iran declaring that it is ‘ready for war’.

Predictably, crude oil prices spiked on the news. Brent and WTI prices rose by almost US$4/b over worries that a full-blown war will threaten global supplies. That this is happening just ahead of the OPEC meeting in Vienna – which was delayed by a week over internal squabbling over dates – places a lot of volatile cards on the table. Far more than more than surging US production, this stand-off will colour the direction of the crude market for the rest of 2019.

It started with an economic war, as the Trump administration placed increasingly tight sanctions on Iran. Financial sanctions came first, then sanctions on crude oil exports from Iran. But the situation was diffused when the US introduced waivers for 8 major importers of Iranian crude in November 2018, calming the markets. Even when the waivers were not renewed in April, the oil markets were still relatively calm, banking on the fact that Iran’s fellow OPEC countries would step in to the fill the gap. Most of Iran’s main clients – like South Korea, Japan and China – had already begun winding down their purchases in March, reportedly causing Iran’s crude exports to fall from 2 mmb/d to 400 kb/d. And just recently, the US also begun targeting Iranian petrochemical exports. Between a rock and a hard place, Iran looks seems forced to make good on its threats to go to war in the strategic Straits of Hormuz.

As the waivers ended, four tankers were attacked off the coast of Fujairah in the UAE in May. The immediate assumption was that these attacks were backed by Iran. Then, just a week ago, another two tankers were attacked, with the Americans showing video evidence reportedly show Iranian agents removing mines. But still, there was no direct connection to Iran for the attacks, even as the US and Iran traded diplomatic barbs. But the downing of the drone is unequivocally the work of the Iranian military. With President Donald Trump reportedly ‘bored’ of attempting regime change in Venezuela and his ultra-hawkish staff Mike Pompeo and John Bolton in the driver’s seat, military confrontation now seems inevitable.

This, predictably, has the oil world very nervous. Not just because the extension of the current OPEC+ deal could be scuppered, but because war will impact more than just Iranian oil. The safety of the Straits of Hormuz is in jeopardy, a key node in global oil supply through which almost 20 mmb/d of oil from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE flows along with LNG exports from the current world’s largest producer, Qatar. At its narrowest, the chokepoint in the Straits is just 50km from Iranian land. Crude exports could be routed south to Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, but there is risk there too; the mouth of the Red Sea is where Iranian-backed Yemeni rebels are active, who have already started attacking Saudi land facilities.

This will add a considerable war risk premium to global crude prices, just as it did during the 1990 Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But more than just prices, the destabilising effects of a war could consume more than just the price of a barrel. If things are heading the way the current war-like signs are heading, then the oil world is in for a very major change very soon.

Historical crude price responses to wars in the Middle East

  • 1973: Yim Kippur War – oil prices quadrupled from US$3/b to US$12/b
  • 1990: Iraq invasion of Kuwait/Gulf War – oil prices doubled from US$17/b to US$36/b
  • 2003: US invasion of Iraq – oil prices rose from US$30/b to US$40/b
June, 21 2019