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Last Updated: September 29, 2017
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Last week in World oil:

Prices

  • Oil prices got a boost, within striking distance of US$60/b, as major producers say that the global supply glut is shrinking as strong demand creates a rebalancing, as well as threats by Turkey to cut off Kurdistan’s only pipeline outlet for its crude oil over its independence referendum.

Upstream

  • As Lebanon seeks to join Cyprus, Egypt and Israel in exploiting potential offshore oil and gas resources, its Parliament has approved a law outlining tax revenue structure for oil companies, as Lebanon prepares for its first offshore auction. Five offshore areas will be offered on October 12, to be taxed at 20% income tax under the new law; 46 companies have signed up for the auctions, including ExxonMobil, Shell, Eni and Total.
  • A third consecutive week of decline for US drillers, as the loss of five oil rigs was only partially offset by the gain of four gas rigs. Losses were mainly in Eagle Ford, while restarts begin in the Permian.

Downstream & Midstream

  • Phillips 66 Partners LP – the master limited partnership that operates pipelines in the Bakken basin – will buy midstream assets from its parent Phillips 66 in a US$2.4 billion deal. Under the deal, Phillips 66 Partners will acquire a 25% interest in the Dakota Access and Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company LLCs – totalling 530 kb/d of crude oil pipeline capacity. With both companies listed separately, this leaves Phillips 66 free to concentrate on refining operations, and the MLP on distribution.
  • After Harvey and Irma – and with Maria on its way – the resulting gap in Gulf refining production is proving to be a boon for European diesel exports to Latin America. Trade sources indicate that some 600,000 tons of diesel and heating oil will be heading to Brazil and Argentina from Europe, as the fuel hungry region finds volumes from its traditional sources in the US Gulf and Caribbean withdrawn. This is some three times the usual trade, and is expected to continue until end October.

Natural Gas and LNG

  • Cheniere has officially requested permission from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to place the fourth train at its Sabine Pass LNG export facility in Louisiana into service. First LNG was achieved at Train 4 in July, checking off all environmental and safety requirements. Cargo commissioning has already begun, bringing Cheniere close to its ambition of six trains at Sabine Pass, each with 4.5 mtpa capacity.
  • Algeria’s Sonatrach is aiming to boost gas output at its Hassi Messaoud field by 10 mcm/d and at its Rhourde el Baguel oil field by 6 mcm/d. This attempt to up output comes as Sonatrach seeks buffer against fluctuating oil prices to stabilise government revenues. The additional volumes will come on by next year, targeted as exports to Europe.
  • Canada’s Veresen is trying once again to gain US federal approval for its Jordan Cove LNG export plant in Oregon. The project has been rejected twice under the Obama administration, but the Trump presidency might be friendlier to the US$10 billion, 7.8 mtpa project targeting Asia. Meanwhile, the Eagle LNG Maxvillesmall-scale LNG facility in Florida has been approved, with capacity for some 21 mtpa of exports.

Last week in Asian oil

Upstream

  • Saudi Aramco is moving ahead with the development of its Safaniyah, Marjan, Zuluf and Berri oilfields, handing out more than US$1.5 billion in three major offshore contracts as it continues on a US$300 billion investment plan through 2027. The technical contracts precede major development plans for the fields, which include the sixth phase of the giant Safaniyah field (with 37 billion barrels of heavy oil), a US$3 billion expansion of Marjan and a boost in production at Berri by 200 kb/d.
  • India’s ONGC has announced a ‘good’ offshore find near its Mumbai High offshore fields that could hold some 20 million tons of oil equivalent. Though small by international standards, it is a large discovery in India terms, with the WO 24-3 well in a different play than neighbouring Mumbai High fields, potentially opening up a new area of exploration.

Downstream & Midstream

  • Sri Lanka is in talks with the two Chinese companies to build a US$3 billion oil refinery in the new Chinese-build port of Hambantota. The proposed 115 kb/d is the second of two planned refineries in Sri Lanka, to ease pressure on the aging CPC refinery. The first, a 100 kb/d site planned with Indian Oil in Trincomalee is export-oriented, while the new Chinese site will serve both domestic needs and produce some exports.
  • A jet fuel crisis continues to brew in New Zealand, as over 200 flights have been cancelled from Auckland – the country’s largest city – as the sole, private-owned pipeline delivering jet fuel to the airport from NZ’s sole refinery was damaged for months without being fixed.

Natural Gas & LNG

  • The government of Papua New Guinea will be selling off its stake in Oil Search, as it seeks to pay off some US$1 billion in debt. With stakes in PNG’s massive Elk and Antelope gas fields, Australia’s Oil Search has a major presence in PNG, though it was beaten out by ExxonMobil to acquire InterOil earlier this year. The PNG government holds a 9.8% stake in the company, which will be sold by UBS and JP Morgan at a floor price of A$6.55 per share.
  • Bangladesh signed its fourth and fifth natural gas import deals last week, with Indonesia and Gunvor. Under the preliminary long-term agreement with Indonesia’s Pertamina, Petrobangla will take in at least 1 million mtpa of LNG from Indonesia, while the contract with Gunvor is for a mixture of spot, short-term and medium-term volumes, beginning in 2018. Bangladesh has also signed a contract with Qatar to import some 2.5 mtpa of LNG from RasGas over a 15 year period for cooking fuel.
  • China’s CNOOC is reviving a plan to build an LNG import terminal in Binhai, Jiangsu. Initially proposed in 2010, the US$1.7 billion project has been endorsed by CNOOC’s investment committee as China’s appetite for LNG continues to grow. The project has an initial capacity of 3 mtpa of LNG, with a potential phase doubling capacity to 6 mtpa. Associated power generation facility will be included in the project as well.
  • Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines is aiming to buy a stake of at least 26% in the Swan Energy FSRU off the coast of Jafrabad in Gujarat, Insia. With capacity for 5 mtpa and startup expected in 2020, the FSRU is being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries and chartered to Swan Energy by Mitsui OSK. The Japanese company will also be taking an 11% stake in Swan LNG, the Swan Energy subsidiary that will manage terminal and port facilities.

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BP & The Expansion of the Caspian

The vast Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan’s portion of the South Caspian Sea marked several milestones in 2018. It has now produced a cumulative total of 100 billion cubic metres of natural gas since the field started up in 2006, with daily output reaching a new peak, growing by 12.5% y-o-y. At a cost of US$28 billion, Shah Deniz – with its estimated 1.2 trillion cubic metres of gas resources – has proven to be an unparalleled success, being a founding link of Europe’s Southern Gas Corridor and coming in relatively on budget and on time. And now BP, along with its partners, is hoping to replicate that success with an ambitious exploration schedule over the next two years.

Four new exploration wells in three blocks, along with a seismic survey of a fourth, are planned for 2019 and an additional three wells in 2020. The aggressive programme is aimed at confirming a long-held belief by BP and SOCAR there are more significant pockets of gas swirling around the area. The first exploratory well is targeting the Shafag-Asiman block, where initial seismic surveys suggest natural gas reserves of some 500 billion cubic metres; if confirmed, that would make it the second-largest gas field ever discovered in the Caspian, behind only Shah Deniz. BP also suspects that Shah Deniz itself could be bigger than expected – the company has long predicted the existence of a second, deeper reservoir below the existing field, and a ‘further assessment’ is planned for 2020 to get to the bottom of the case, so to speak.

Two wells are planned to be drilled in the Shallow Water Absheron Peninsula (SWAP) block, some 30km southeast of Baku, where BP operates in equal partnership with SOCAR, with an additional well planned for 2020. The goal at SWAP is light crude oil, as is a seismic survey in the deepwater Caspian Sea Block D230 where a ‘significant amount’ of oil is expected. Exploration in the onshore Gobustan block, an inland field 50km north of Baku, rounds up BP’s upstream programme and the company expects that at least one seven wells of these will yield a bonanza that will take Azerbaijan’s reserves well into the middle of the century.

Developments in the Caspian are key, as it is the starting node of the Southern Gas Corridor – meant to deliver gas to Europe. Shah Deniz gas currently makes its way to Turkey via the South Caucasus Gas pipeline and exports onwards to Europe should begin when the US$8.5 billion, 32 bcm/y Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) starts service in 2020. Planned output from Azerbaijan currently only fills half of the TANAP capacity, meaning there is room for plenty more gas, if BP can find it. From Turkey, Azeri gas will link up to the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline in Greece and connect into Turkey, potentially joined by other pipelines projects that are planned to link up with gas production in Israel. This alternate source of natural gas for Europe is crucial, particularly since political will to push through the Nordstream-2 pipeline connecting Russian gas to Germany is slackening. The demand is there and so is the infrastructure. And now BP will be spending the next two years trying to prove that the supply exists underneath Azerbaijan.

BP’s upcoming planned exploration in the Caspian:

  • Shafag-Asiman, late 2019, targeting natural gas
  • SWAP, 3 sites, late 2019/2020, targeting oil
  • ‘Onshore gas project’, end 2019, targeting natural gas’
  • Block D230, 2019 (seismic assessment)/2020 (drilling), targeting oil
  • Shah Deniz ‘further assessment’, 2020, targeting natural gas
January, 22 2019
RAPID Rises

When it was first announced in 2012, there was scepticism about whether or not Petronas’ RAPID refinery in Johor was destined for reality or cancellation. It came at a time when the refining industry saw multiple ambitious, sometimes unpractical, projects announced. At that point, Petronas – though one of the most respected state oil firms – was still seen as more of an upstream player internationally. Its downstream forays were largely confined to its home base Malaysia and specialty chemicals, as well as a surprising venture into South African through Engen. Its refineries, too, were relatively small. So the announcement that Petronas was planning essentially, its own Jamnagar, promoted some pessimism. Could it succeed?

It has. The RAPID refinery – part of a larger plan to turn the Pengerang district in southern Johor into an oil refining and storage hub capitalising on linkages with Singapore – received its first cargo of crude oil for testing in September 2018. Mechanical completion was achieved on November 29 and all critical units have begun commissioning ahead of the expected firing up of RAPID’s 300 kb/d CDU later this month. A second cargo of 2 million barrels of Saudi crude arrived at RAPID last week. It seems like it’s all systems go for RAPID. But it wasn’t always so clear cut. Financing difficulties – and the 2015 crude oil price crash – put the US$27 billion project on shaky ground for a while, and it was only when Saudi Aramco swooped in to purchase a US$7 billion stake in the project that it started coalescing. Petronas had been courting Aramco since the start of the project, mainly as a crude provider, but having the Saudi giant on board was the final step towards FID. It guaranteed a stable supply of crude for Petronas; and for Aramco, RAPID gave it a foothold in a major global refining hub area as part of its strategy to expand downstream.

But RAPID will be entering into a market quite different than when it was first announced. In 2012, demand for fuel products was concentrated on light distillates; in 2019, that focus has changed. Impending new International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulations are requiring shippers to switch from burning cheap (and dirty) fuel oil to using cleaner middle distillate gasoils. This plays well into complex refineries like RAPID, specialising in cracking heavy and medium Arabian crude into valuable products. But the issue is that Asia and the rest of the world is currently swamped with gasoline. A whole host of new Asian refineries – the latest being the 200 kb/d Nghi Son in Vietnam – have contributed to growing volumes of gasoline with no home in Asia. Gasoline refining margins in Singapore have taken a hit, falling into negative territory for the first time in seven years. Adding RAPID to the equation places more pressure on gasoline margins, even though margins for middle distillates are still very healthy. And with three other large Asian refinery projects scheduled to come online in 2019 – one in Brunei and two in China – that glut will only grow.

The safety valve for RAPID (and indeed the other refineries due this year) is that they have been planned with deep petrochemicals integration, using naphtha produced from the refinery portion. RAPID itself is planned to have capacity of 3 million tpa of ethylene, propylene and other olefins – still a lucrative market that justifies the mega-investment. But it will be at least two years before RAPID’s petrochemicals portion will be ready to start up, and when it does, it’ll face the same set of challenging circumstances as refineries like Hengli’s 400 kb/d Dalian Changxing plant also bring online their petchem operations. But that is a problem for the future and for now, RAPID is first out of the gate into reality. It won’t be entering in a bonanza fuels market as predicted in 2012, but there is still space in the market for RAPID – and a few other like in – at least for now.

 

RAPID Refinery Factsheet:

  • Ownership: Petronas (50%), Saudi Aramco (50%)
  • Capacity: 300 kb/d CDU/3 mtpa olefins plant
  • Other facilities: 1.22 Gigawatt congeneration plant, 3.5 mtpa regasification terminal
  • Expected commissioning: March 2019
January, 21 2019
Forecasting Bangladesh Tyre Market | Zulker Naeen

Tyre market in Bangladesh is forecasted to grow at over 9% until 2020 on the back of growth in automobile sales, advancements in public infrastructure, and development-seeking government policies.

The government has emphasized on the road infrastructure of the country, which has been instrumental in driving vehicle sales in the country.

The tyre market reached Tk 4,750 crore last year, up from about Tk 4,000 crore in 2017, according to market insiders.

The commercial vehicle tyre segment dominates this industry with around 80% of the market share. At least 1.5 lakh pieces of tyres in the segment were sold in 2018.

In the commercial vehicle tyre segment, the MRF's market share is 30%. Apollo controls 5% of the segment, Birla 10%, CEAT 3%, and Hankook 1%. The rest 51% is controlled by non-branded Chinese tyres.

However, Bangladesh mostly lacks in tyre manufacturing setups, which leads to tyre imports from other countries as the only feasible option to meet the demand. The company largely imports tyre from China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan.

Automobile and tyre sales in Bangladesh are expected to grow with the rising in purchasing power of people as well as growing investments and joint ventures of foreign market players. The country might become the exporting destination for global tyre manufacturers.

Several global tyre giants have also expressed interest in making significant investments by setting up their manufacturing units in the country.

This reflects an opportunity for local companies to set up an indigenous manufacturing base in Bangladesh and also enables foreign players to set up their localized production facilities to capture a significant market.

It can be said that, the rise in automobile sales, improvement in public infrastructure, and growth in purchasing power to drive the tyre market over the next five years.

January, 18 2019