Market-Moving, International Oil and Gas Event is Premier Industry Platform for Minister-to-Global Business Leader Dialogue
Record Number of Expert Submissions to Technical Conference; Programme Underlines Abu Dhabi’s Leadership in Energy World
Abu Dhabi, UAE – 16 July 2017 – An unprecedented number of opportunities for Minister-to-global business leader strategic dialogue, along with a record number of expert submissions on a wide range of industry challenges and trends, will see the world’s energy leaders converge on the UAE capital for the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) 2017, later this year.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; hosted by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC); and supported by the UAE Ministry of Energy, the Abu Dhabi Chamber, and the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, ADIPEC will take place from 13 to 16 November 2017, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).
The premier meeting place for energy ministers and C-level executives from the world’s oil and gas giants, ADIPEC 2017 will convene under the theme: ‘Forging Ties, Driving Growth.’ It is expected there will be more than 45 ministerial and CEO sessions, up from 25 a year earlier, cementing Abu Dhabi’s leadership status in the global energy industry.
Ali Khalifa Al Shamsi, Al Yasat CEO and ADIPEC 2017 Chairman, said: “Abu Dhabi has always served as an international gathering place for the energy world’s best and brightest. But, this year, ADIPEC is shifting gears to facilitate additional ministerial and C-level executive networking. We believe that this annual event is where global energy strategies are proposed and agreed each year.”
The ADIPEC Conference Programme, organised in collaboration with the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), sets the international standard for the exchange of best-practice and operational excellence in the world of energy, with all technical abstract submissions put through a rigorous evaluation process by the Technical Programme Committee. There have been more than 3,000 technical abstract submissions this year, with more than half submitted from outside the UAE.
Christopher Hudson, President – Global Energy at dmg events, said: “Driving growth in a volatile industrial sector can be challenging at the best of times. ADIPEC 2017, the world’s most influential oil and gas exhibition and conference, is evolving to bring more event attendees fully into the realm of industry decision-making, from passive to active participation, and our new global downstream business leader sessions are testament to this progressive new approach to inclusion.”
ADIPEC 2017 conference sessions include Offshore and Marine, and Security. New this year to ADIPEC is the introduction of global downstream technical sessions, set to drive the conversation on downstream expansion, diversification, technology innovation and R&D.
Key returning features at the event are the: ADIPEC Awards, which celebrate excellence in energy; Women in Industry Conference, which addresses gender balance in the energy sector; Young ADIPEC, a dedicated ‘edutainment’ programme designed to encourage students to choose a career in energy; and a VIP conference programme for members of the Middle East Petroleum Club.
More than 10,000 delegates, 2,200 exhibiting companies, 900 speakers, and over 100,000 visitors from 135 countries are projected to gather in the UAE capital for ADIPEC 2017, breaking the event’s previous records in international participation, and bringing the world’s decision makers, industry leaders, and experts under one roof to address the most critical issues surrounding the evolving energy landscape.
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Supply chains are currently in crisis. They have been for a long time now, ever since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic reshaped the way the world works. Stressed shipping networks and operational blockages – coupled with China’s insistence on a Covid-zero policy – means that cargo tanker rates are at an all-time high and that there just aren’t enough of them. McDonalds and KFCs in Asia are running out of French fries to sell, not because there aren’t enough potatoes in Idaho, but because there aren’t enough ships to deliver them to Japan or to Singapore from Los Angeles. The war in Ukraine has placed a particular emphasis on food supply chains by disrupting global wheat and sunflower oil supply chains and kicking off distressingly high levels of food price inflation across North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It was against this backdrop that Indonesia announced a complete ban on palm oil exports. That nuclear option shocked the markets, set off a potential new supply chain crisis and has particular implications on future of crude oil pricing and biofuels in Asia.
A brief recap. Like most of Asia, Indonesia has been grappling with food price inflation as consequence of Covid-19. Like most of Asia, Indonesia has been attempting to control this through a combination of shielding its most vulnerable citizens through continued subsidies while attempting to optimise supply chains. Like most of Asia, Indonesia hasn’t been to control the market at all, because uncoordinated attempts across a wide spectrum of countries to achieve a similar level of individual protectionism is self-defeating.
Cooking oil is a major product of sensitive importance in Indonesia, and one that it is self-sufficient in as a result of its status as the world’s largest palm oil producer. So large is Indonesia in that regard that its excess palm oil production has been directed to increasingly higher biodiesel mandates, with a B40 mandate – diesel containing 40% of palm material – originally schedule for full implementation this year. But as palm oil prices started rising to all-time highs at the beginning of January, cooking oil started becoming scarcer in Indonesia. The government blamed hoarding and – wary of the Ramadan period and domestic unrest – implemented a Domestic Market Obligation on palm oil refineries, directing them to devote 20% of projected exports for domestic use. Increasingly stricter terms for the DMO continued over February and March, only for an abrupt U-turn in mid-March that removed the DMO completely. But as the war in Ukraine drove prices even further, Indonesia shocked the market by announcing an total ban on palm oil exports in late April. Chaotically, the ban was first clarified to be palm olein only (straight refining cooking oil), but then flip-flopped into a total ban of crude palm oil as well. Markets went haywire, prices jumped to historical highs and Indonesia’s trading partners reacted with alarm.
Joko Widodo has said that the ban will be indefinite until domestic cooking oil prices ‘moderate’. With the global situation as it is, ‘moderate’ is unlikely to be achieved until the end of 2022 at least, if ‘moderate’ is taken to be the previous level of palm oil prices – roughly half of current pricing. Logistically, Indonesia cannot hold out on the ban for more than two months. Only a third of Indonesia’s monthly palm oil production is consumed domestically; the rest is exported. An indefinite ban means that not only fill storage tanks up beyond capacity and estates forced to let fruit rot, but Indonesia will be missing out on crucial revenue from its crude palm oil export tax. Which is used to fund its biodiesel subsidies.
And that’s where the implications on oil come in. Indonesia’s ham-fisted attempt at protectionism has dire implications on biofuels policies in Asia. Palm oil prices within Indonesia might sink as long as surplus volumes can’t make it beyond the borders, but international palm oil prices will remain high as consuming countries pivot to producers like Malaysia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, West Africa and Latin America. That in turn, threatens the biodiesel mandates in Thailand and Malaysia. The Thai government has already expressed concern over palm-led food price inflation and associated pressure on its (subsidised) biodiesel programme, launching efforts to mitigate the worst effects. Malaysia – which has a more direct approach to subsidised fuels – is also feeling the pinch. Thailand’s move to B10 and Malaysia’s move to B20 is now in jeopardy; in fact, Thailand has regressed its national mandate from B7 to B5. And the reason is that the differential between the bio- and the diesel portion of the biodiesel is now so disparate that subsidy regimes break down. It would be far cheaper – for the government, the tax-payers and consumers – to use straight diesel instead of biodiesel, as evidenced by Thailand’s reversal in mandates.
That, in turn, has implications on crude pricing. While OPEC+ is stubbornly sticking to its gentle approach to managing global crude supply, the stunning rebound in Asian demand has already kept the consumption side tight to match that supply. Crude prices above US$100/b are a recipe for demand destruction, and Asian economies have been preparing for this by looking at alternatives; biofuels for example. In the past four years, Indonesia has converted some of its oil refineries into biodiesel plants; in China, stricter crude import quotas are paving the way for China to clamp down on its status of a fuels exporter in favour of self-sustainability. But what happens when crude prices are high, but the prices of alternatives are higher? That is the case for palm oil now, where the gasoil-palm spread is now triple the previous average.
Part of this situation is due to market dynamics. Part of it is due to geopolitical effects. But part of it is also due to Indonesia’s knee-jerk reaction. Supply disruption at the level of a blanket ban is always seismic and kicks off a chain of unintended consequences; see the OPEC oil shocks of the 70s. Indonesia’s palm oil export ban is almost at that level. ‘Indefinite’ is a vague term and offers no consolation to markets looking for direction. Damage will be done, even if the ban lasts a month. But the longer it lasts – Indonesian general elections are due in February 2024 – the more serious the consequences could be. And the more the oil and refining industry in Asia will have to think about their preconceived notions of the future of oil in the region.
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