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Last Updated: January 3, 2020
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Market Watch   

Headline crude prices for the week beginning 30 December 2019 – Brent: US$68/b; WTI: US$61/b

  • Global oil prices finished the year on a relative high, with indications that the presumed upcoming supply glut might be less severe than expected, pushing Brent and WTI prices to 3-month highs.
  • Dragged up by the renewed OPEC+ supply deal and an imminent Phase 1 US-China trade deal, data released by US EIA showing that US crude inventories had fallen for a second consecutive level to its lowest point in two points (along with a fall in US crude exports) also supported prices
  • Rising supply from non-OPEC+ sources – including the US, Norway and Brazil – is still a concern, especially with a significant amount of crude from Guyana also entering the market; while OPEC+ is stressing adherence, calculations suggest that there may still be an immediate excess of 500,000 b/d of crude in 1H 2020
  • Members of the OPEC+ club have also signalled that they expect an end to the organisation’s attempts to prop of crude prices, with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak stating that the cuts ‘can’t last forever’, stressing a need to defend market share
  • After two weeks of gains, the US active rig count fell to the pre-New Year lull, dropping 8 oil rigs overall, while the number of gas rigs stayed flat for a total count of 805, or 278 fewer rigs y-o-y; major losses were seen in the Permian, where 9 rigs were lost
  • At the start of a new year, it looks like crude prices will hold their recent gains, but not much higher, as the market frets about impending oversupply; Brent and WTI should remain rangebound at US$65-67/b and US$60-62/b, respectively


Headlines of the week

Upstream

  • First oil from Guyana is now on the market, as ExxonMobil’s Liza field starts commercial production, ramping up to some 120,000 b/d over Q1 2020
  • Even more oil is coming from Guyana, as ExxonMobil and its partners Hess  and CNOOC struck oil again at the Mako-1 well, southeast of the Liza field, making it the 15th discovery in the Stabroek Block and increasing estimated recoverable resources in the block to some 6 billion barrels of oil equivalent
  • Hoping to follow in the footsteps of Guyana’s success, Apache and Total have formed a joint venture to explore Block 58 offshore Suriname, each holding a 50% working interest in the asset, which includes the Maka Central-1 well
  • South Africa has published its first draft of new oil and gas legislation that would give the state a 20% carried interest in all exploration and production rights, including a 10% participating interest for black partners and calling for the establishing of a national Petroleum Agency
  • Equinor and Rosneft have taken FID on the first stage of their North Komsomolskoye field development project, with the onshore field in Western Siberia estimated to hold some 250 million barrels of oil and 23 bcm of gas
  • After several years of dispute that halted production, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have agreed to resume oil production in their shared neutral zone, which could return as much as 500,000 b/d of crude to the market
  • China’s CNOOC is to ramping up drilling in the South China Sea, with up to 30 wells planned in the Pearl River Mouth and Qiongdongnan basins over 2020

Midstream/Downstream

  • Nigeria’s NNPC will be increasing its stake in the Chevron-operated 33,000 b/d EGTL gas-to-liquids refinery near Lagos from 20% to 60%, which is part of a cost dispute resolution agreed between both parties

Natural Gas/LNG

  • Shell announced that it had made a ‘significant’ gas and condensate discovery in Western Australia’s Browse Basin, with the Bratwurst-1 well lying close enough to the Prelude FLNG facility to enable a future tie-back
  • Thailand’s PTTEP has sanctioned the start of its Lang Lebah gas project in Block Sk 410B in Sarawak, Malaysia, with production aimed to act as feedstock for the Petronas LNG export project in Bintulu
  • Delek Drilling has officially delayed the launch of production at the Leviathan gas field in Israel, following a court injunction halting operations and a delay in permits required from the Ministry of Environmental Protection
  • Eni has taken FID on the planned expansion of its LNG export facility in Nigeria, which would increase production capacity from a currently 22.5 million tpa to over 30 mtpa, involving a new liquefaction train and debottlenecking of the existing six trains
  • Private equity group KKR & Co and the Alberta Investment Management Corporation have taken a 65% stake in the 21 bcf/d Coastal GasLink Pipeline project in Canada, which will connect natural gas supply from Dawson Creek to the upcoming LNG export facility in Kitimat, British Columbia
  • The second liquefaction train at the Cameron LNG project in Louisiana has started up initial production, bringing total production capacity to 8 mtpa
  • Australia’s Woodside has signed a long-term 13-year LNG sales and purchase agreement with Germany’s Uniper Commodities, involving an initial 500,000 tpa of LNG in 2021 then rising to 1 million tpa from 2025 onwards

Oil Oil and gas news oil and gas industry LNG oil and gas companies News weekly update market watch market trends latest oil and gas trends
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