Last Updated: August 6, 2017
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As global oil stocks stubbornly hold on to the brims and crude struggles to stay in the $50-60/barrel band, OPEC and its non-OPEC collaborators are facing declining revenues and increasingly wavering quota discipline. Meanwhile, the US, Libya and Nigeria collectively pumped 1.6 million b/d more crude in July versus last October. Deepening the OPEC/non-OPEC cuts appears to be the need of the hour but that is not on the table unless there is full compliance and Libya and Nigeria are brought into the fold of the production restraint agreement. The emphasis has turned to ensuring full discipline, something that will need a lot of effort for relatively small immediate gains. OPEC wants to achieve compliance through monitoring members’ exports, which is neither easy nor fail-safe.

There is a new mantra in the OPEC/non-OPEC camp of collaborators wondering how to make their production cuts count and prop up crude closer to 2017 highs: target exports, not output.

While monitoring exports seems logical enough and might offer a distraction to producers struggling to reap the promised reward of higher crude prices in return for cutting back their sales volumes, the solution is not that simple.

First, the basics. The OPEC and non-OPEC supply restraint agreements of last November and December set individual country ceilings for crude production, in keeping with OPEC’s policy through the years. Accordingly, the OPEC/non-OPEC joint ministerial monitoring committee looks at production levels not exports of the participating countries.

While a country’s production and export levels would broadly correlate, they can diverge as a result of variations in how much of the total output is consumed at home as well as barrels moving in and out of its storage.

In countries such as Saudi Arabia, where direct-burning of crude for power generation typically spikes to meet increased electricity demand in summer months, volumes available for export can drop substantially. The Kingdom plans to export 300,000 b/d less in August compared with May, its energy minister Khalid al-Falih said on the sidelines of the OPEC/non-OPEC monitoring committee meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, on July 24. However, such big seasonal swings are rare among other producers.

To be very precise, or pedantic even, OPEC’s objective of bringing OECD commercial oil stocks down to within five-year average levels would be achieved if it curbs exports, not just production. But why stocks are not draining at the rate originally expected is not a question of discrepancy between exports and production so much as a suspected divergence between the production numbers being reported by some of the participating countries and the barrels actually being exported by them. Tracking exports could be a way to catch them out, if that is indeed the case.

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Infographic: Oil and Gas Scams & How to avoid them!

Oil and gas sector is one of the most lucrative sectors for job seekers from industries all over the world. It offers great salaries and benefits packages and an opportunity to travel and work overseas. Due to its high demand, scammers are preying on the vulnerable oil and gas workers. To ensure you don’t fall prey to their mischievous tactics, we would recommend reading our guideline below:

How does scamming occur? 

The scammer poses as an employer or recruiter of an oil and gas company or he may claim to be an employee or recruiter for a job consultancy firm catering to the oil and gas industry. They offer irresistible employment opportunities and often demand money in advance to conduct further processes. Money is often demanded on the pretext of work visas, travel expenses, background or credit checks that the job requires.

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To extract money: On the pretext of getting you a job in the energy sector employing any of the tactics mentioned above

For identity theft: scammers look for valid identity of people and ask for confidential personal details including bank details to commit fraud through your name or to withdraw money from your account.

Whatever be their modus operandi, their goal is to either separate you from your cash or accomplish an identity theft. The bigger problem is, the scammers are getting better at their game and coming up with innovative ideas to lure innocent job seekers. In oil and gas industry, the scammers are targeting the job seekers from overseas, immigrants or contractors as they feel it is easier to attract them on the pretext of work permits, high salaries, paid travel, better lifestyle in the first world countries.

How to spot a job scam and keep yourself secure?

 There is always a difference between real and fake, all you need to do is be watchful to notice the underlying discrepancies. There is a pattern that scammers usually follows, which is discussed below. Make sure you watch out for these red flags when you receive any job offer next time:

Free email provider - No legitimate hiring agency or company will use the services of free email provider like Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo. So, if you are receiving an email or have been requested to share your details on emails that use free email services, then be extremely cautious. The scammers try to trick the job seekers by using an email address that looks authentic for instance: [email protected]. It is important to notice here that the ‘xyz’ part of the email ID is usually a gmail, yahoo, etc. which is a free email address. A legitimate job provider would never use.

Fake or new company name - If company name or oil and gas recruitment agency name is mentioned along with the free email id, then do a quick search on the company. Verify its existence and contact them via official email address and contact numbers mentioned on the website. Check their social media presence too. If the website and social media page look new while the company claims to be in business for a substantial amount of time, know for sure that there is something fishy.

Bad grammar and confusing job details - The scammers usually do not pay much attention to structure the mail. You can spot grammatical errors and even the job descriptions are not explained well or is completely different than your skillset and experience. Any authentic mail from a company or oil and gas recruitment agency will ensure an error-free, concise, and clear communication

Fee to conduct a job interview - No legitimate oil and gas company or recruitment agency will ever ask for money to conduct a job interview or to apply to job positions. If the mail says, the money will be refunded once you appear for a job interview, then please do not trust such claims as it is always bogus.

Asking for confidential personal information - Anyone asking for information that you will never put on CV, is a warning sign. It includes your bank details, passport copy, identity cards, your current residential details and so on. No genuine company will ever ask for such details before you sign the offer letter. If by chance, you have shared your bank details or another confidential detail to the scammer, contact your bank and email service provider and register a complaint against it.

Unknown source - There are countries who have strict spam rules and until you subscribe or give consent to the company, they cannot send you emails. So, if you receive an email from a company you haven’t contacted or have not applied for jobs, then be cautious it might be a scam.

The principle on which scammers operate is “Too good to be true”.  Don’t entertain any job offer that offers a position, you are not qualified for or offers a salary which is unrealistically high. In the oil and gas sector, be careful not to reveal your passport/work visa details to the scammer. Remember, if you find anything which is way beyond the realistic expectations, then trust your instincts and drop the offer and do not respond.

See our infographic below for a quick summarized glance -


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