It was shaping up to yet another dull OPEC+ meeting. Cut and dry. Copy and paste. Rubber-stamping yet another monthly increase in production quotas by 432,000 b/d. Month after month of resisting pressure from the largest economies in the world to accelerate supply easing had inured markets to expectations of swift action by OPEC and its wider brethren in OPEC+.
And then, just two days before the meeting, chatter began that suggested something big was brewing. Whispers that Russia could be suspended made the rounds, an about-face for a group that has steadfastly avoided reference to the war in Ukraine, calling it a matter of politics not markets. If Russia was indeed removed from the production quotas, that would allow other OPEC+ producers to fill in the gap in volumes constrained internationally due to sanctions.
That didn’t happen. In fact, OPEC+ Joint Technical Committee commented that suspension of Russia’s quota was not discussed at all and not on the table. Instead, the JTC reduced its global oil demand forecast for 2022 by 200,000 b/d, expecting global oil demand to grow by 3.4 mmb/d this year instead with the downside being volatility linked to ‘geopolitical situations and Covid developments.’ Ordinarily, that would be a sign for OPEC+ to hold to its usual supply easing schedule. After all, the group has been claiming that oil markets have ‘been in balance’ for much of the first five months of 2022. Instead, the group surprised traders by announcing an increase in its monthly oil supply hike for July and August, adding 648,000 b/d each month for a 50% rise from the previous baseline.
The increase will be divided proportionally across OPEC+, as has been since the landmark supply deal in spring 2020. Crucially this includes Russia, where the new quota will be a paper one, since Western sanctions means that any additional Russian crude is unlikely to make it to the market. And that too goes for other members that haven’t even met their previous lower quotas, including Iraq, Angola and Nigeria. The oil ministers know this and the market knows this. Which is why the surprise announcement didn’t budge crude prices by very much at all.
In fact, there are only two countries within OPEC+ that have enough spare capacity to be ramped up quickly. The United Arab Emirates, which was responsible for recent turmoil within the group by arguing for higher quotas should be happy. But it will be a measure of backtracking for the only other country in that position, Saudi Arabia. After publicly stating that it had ‘done all it can for the oil market’ and blaming a lack of refining capacity for high fuel prices, the Kingdom’s change of heart seems to be linked to some external pressure. But it could seemingly resist no more. But that spotlight on the UAE and Saudi Arabia will allow both to wrench some market share, as both countries have been long preparing to increase their production. Abu Dhabi recently made three sizable onshore oil discoveries at Bu Hasa, Onshore Block 3 and the Al Dhafra Petroleum Concession, that adds some 650 million barrels to its reserves, which would help lift the ceiling for oil production from 4 to 5 mmb/d by 2030. Meanwhile, Saudi Aramco is expected to contract over 30 offshore rigs in 2022 alone, targeting the Marjan and Zuluf fields to increase production from 12 to 13 mmb/d by 2027.
The UAE wants to ramp up, certainly. But does Saudi Arabia too? As the dominant power of OPEC, what Saudi Arabia wants it usually gets. The signals all along were that the Kingdom wanted to remain prudent. It is not that it cannot, there is about a million barrels per day of extra production capacity that Saudi Arabia can open up immediately but that it does not want to. Bringing those extra volume on means that spare capacity drops down to critical levels, eliminating options if extra crises emerge. One is already starting up again in Libya, where internal political discord for years has led to an on-off, stop-start rhythm in Libyan crude. If Saudi Arabia uses up all its spare capacity, oil prices could jump even higher if new emergencies emerge with no avenue to tackle them. That the Saudis have given in (slightly) must mean that political pressure is heating up. That the announcement was made at the OPEC+ meeting and not a summit between US and Saudi leaders must mean that a façade of independence must be maintained around the crucial decisions to raise supply quotas.
But that increase is not going to be enough, especially with Russia’s absence. Markets largely shrugged off the announcement, keeping Brent crude at US$120/b levels. Consumption is booming, as the world rushes to enjoy its first summer with a high degree of freedom since Covid-19 hit. Which is why global leaders are looking at other ways to tackle high energy prices and mitigate soaring inflation. In Germany, low-priced monthly public transport are intended to wean drivers off cars. In the UK, a windfall tax on energy companies should yield US$6 billion to be used for insulating consumers. And in the US, Joe Biden has been busy.
With the Permian Basin focusing on fiscal prudence instead of wanton drilling, US shale output has not responded to lucrative oil prices that way it used to. American rig counts are only inching up, with some shale basins even losing rigs. So the White House is trying more creative ways. Though the suggestion of an ‘oil consumer cartel’ as an analogue to OPEC by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is likely dead on arrival, the US is looking to unlock supply and tame fuel prices through other ways. Regular releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve has so far done little to bring prices down, but easing sanctions on Venezuelan crude that could be exported to the US and Europe, as well as working with the refining industry to restart recently idled refineries could. Inflation levels above 8% and gasoline prices at all-time highs could lead to a bloody outcome in this year’s midterm elections, and Joe Biden knows that.
But oil (and natural gas) supply/demand dynamics cannot truly start returning to normal as long as the war in Ukraine rages on. And the far-ranging sanctions impacting Russian energy exports will take even longer to be lifted depending on how the war goes. Yes, some Russian crude is making it to the market. China, for example, has been quietly refilling its petroleum reserves with Russian crude (at a discount, of course). India continues to buy from Moscow, as are smaller nations like Sri Lanka where an economic crisis limits options. Selling the crude is one thing, transporting it is another. With most international insurers blacklisting Russian shippers, Russian oil producers can still turn to local insurance and tankers from the once-derided state tanker firm Sovcomflot PJSC to deliver crude to the few customers they still have.
A 50% hike in OPEC’s monthly supply easing targets might seem like a lot. But it isn’t enough. Especially since actual production will fall short of that quota. The entire OPEC system, and the illusion of control it provides has broken down. Russian oil is still trickling out to global buyers but even if it returned in full, there is still not enough refining capacity to absorb those volumes. Doctors speak of long Covid symptoms in patients, and the world energy complex is experiencing long Covid, now with a touch with geopolitical germs as well. It’ll take a long time to recover, so brace yourselves.
End of Article
Something interesting to share?
Join NrgEdge and create your own NrgBuzz today
Anthony Rizzo Players Can't Sit On Bench According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, the world-famous Anthony Rizzo Phrase "Zombie Rizzo" has been told to never be used again. Of course, this is not the first time that the Zombified Chicago Cubs' first baseman has made headlines this year. A year ago, "Rosebud" was the catchphrase that he coined for himself. Also, there is Anthony Rizzo Shirts that come in his name. Now that the Cubs are World Series Champions, Anthony Rizzo is on his way to superstardom. He is leading the World Series in several categories, including hits, runs, home runs, RBI's, OBP, and SLG. Also, he's on track for a staggering year in hits, RBI's, and total bases, all while being second in home runs.
The Cubs Phenom
This season the Chicago Cubs are over 3.5 million in earnings from the local broadcasts alone. The Cubs could lose a good deal of local revenue if they fail to get back to the World Series. But the local revenue is not the biggest factor in the Cub's success. A large part of their success comes from two of their most popular players, third baseman Kris Bryant and first baseman Anthony Rizzo. These two players are now the favorites to win the MVP awards this year, especially if the Cubs are able to stay on top of the wild card standings. A Look at Rizzo Anthony Rizzo is often compared to his college teammate Andrew McCutchen. Both players have performed well at the plate.
The wood pellet mill, that goes by the name of a wood pellet machine, or wood pellet press, is popular in lots of countries around the world. With all the expansion of "biomass energy", there are now various production technologies utilized to convert biomass into useable electricity and heat. The wood pellet machines are one of the typical machines that complete this task.
Wood pellet mills turn raw materials such as sawdust, straw, or wood into highly efficient biomass fuel. Concurrently, the entire process of converting these materials in a more dense energy form facilitates storage, transport, and make use of on the remainder of any value chain. Later on, you will find plans for biomass fuel to replace traditional fuels. Moreover, wood pellet machines supply the chances to start many different types of businesses.
What Is A Wood Pellet Mill?
Wood pellet machines are kinds of pellet machines to process raw materials including peanut shells, sawdust, leaves, straw, wood, plus more. Today the pellet mills can be purchased in different types. Both the main types include the ring die pellet mills as well as the flat die pellet mills. Wood pellet mills are designed for processing many different types of raw materials irrespective of size. The pellet size is very simple to customize with the use of a hammer mill.
The Benefits Of A Wood Pellet Mill
- The gearboxes are made of high-quality cast iron materials which provide excellent shock absorption and low noise. The wood pellet mills adopt a gear drive that makes a better efficiency in comparison with worm drive or belt drive. The gear drive setup really helps to prevent belt slippage while extending the lifespan in the belt drive.
- The equipment shell includes reinforced ribs and increased casting thickness, which significantly enhances the overall strength of those mills, preventing the breakage in the shell.
- The rollers and die are made of premium-quality alloy steel with 55-60HRC hardness.
- These mills adopt an appropriate wood-processing die-hole structure and die-hole compression ratio.
- The electric-control product is completely compliant with CE standard-os.
- The Emergency Stop button quickly shuts along the mill if you are up against an unexpected emergency.
How To Maintain A Wood Pellet Mill
- The belt tightness ought to be checked regularly. If it is now slack, it needs to be tightened immediately.
- The equipment should be situated in a nicely-ventilated area to ensure the temperature created by the motor can emit safely, to extend the lifespan of your machine.
- Before restarting the appliance, any remaining debris has to be cleared from the machine room to reduce starting resistance.
- Oil must be filled regularly to every bearing to market inter-lubricating.
- To ensure the cutter remains sharp, check this part regularly to prevent unnecessary damages for any other part.
- Regularly inspect the cutter screws, to make sure the bond involving the knife and blade remains strong.
- The machine should take a seat on an excellent foundation. Regular maintenance of your machine will prolong the complete lifespan of the machinery.
When Shell (or rather, Royal Dutch Shell as it was known then) discovered oil in the Niger Delta, the results for West Africa was transformative. Exploration funds poured in, and found plenty of oil waiting. Cameroon, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Mauritania… all joined the list of oil-producing nations, with a few being so rich in oil resources that they ascended to the ranks of OPEC – Nigeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Congo and Gabon. Look at a map of West Africa and you’ll see a crescent of offshore oil and gas producing fields hugging the coastline from Cote d’Ivoire to Angola. And then, immediately south of Angola in Namibia, it stops.
That quiet stretch of sea might change soon. Announcements from Shell and TotalEnergies that oil had been struck in two separate discoveries off the coast of Namibia herald a potential gamechanger, with estimates suggesting up to 4 billion barrels of oil in place between the two. And, even more exciting, there are signs that this is potentially just the tip of the iceberg.
If there truly are blockbuster reservoirs waiting to be found off Namibia, why did it take so long? Especially when its neighbours to the north have been enjoying an oil revenue bonanza. Intent doesn’t seem to be the issue. Offshore drilling has been attempted for decades. The Kudu gas field was discovered by TotalEnergies back in 1974, when Namibia was still under the rule of South Africa. Independence for the country came in 1990, but no major progress came in hydrocarbon exploration. The Kudu gas field remains undeveloped to this day, with Namibia’s economy revolving around onshore mining of uranium, gold and diamonds.
The answer, it seems, is in geography. The waters off the coast of Namibia run deep, with technology only recently allowing exploration to go that far down. Potential hydrocarbon reservoirs in Namibia’s Walvis and Orange basins lie in some of the deepest waters below sea level. In comparison, West Africa’s oil and gas boom started with shallow water discoveries; to this date, over 90% of Angola’s production comes from its shallow water blocks at depths of less than five hundred metres. Only recently has exploration and production moved deeper into the Atlantic Ocean, with has paid off in discoveries such as the Jubilee field in Ghana and the Dalia field in Angola. Namibia has not had the luxury of that gradual evolution. Also, at those depths, fixed oil rigs are not an option, with the only alternative for explorers to commercialise potential finds being floating platforms that have to contend with the turbulent waters and winds of the southern Atlantic. This was the dilemma faced by Chariot Oil & Gas as it explored the potential of its Tapir prospect field in the offshore Namibe basin, but dry holes and soaring infrastructure costs led to the abandonment.
But geography might also be the reason why Namibia could be on the cusp of an oil treasure trove. And for that, you have to look at what is across the Atlantic to Brazil and Guyana. Exploration in the deepwater sub-salt Santos basin yielded the Tupi field in 2006, and since then Brazil has gone from strength to strength as a major oil producer. More recently, Guyana’s treasure trove of continuous oil discoveries were based on similar deepwater geologies. Why does that matter for Namibia? Because, some 200 million years ago, South America and Africa were parts of the super-continent Gondwanaland. Seismic studies suggest that Namibia’s offshore area is the African counterpart of Brazil’s Santos and Campos basins. And the Brulpadda discovery in South Africa – at depths of up to 3,633 metres – suggests that deepwater technology is now at a stage to allow Namibia centre stage.
Several major explorers – including BP and Petrobras – have been poking away with the latest deepwater tech over the last decade. But it was only in 2022 that aspirations were confirmed. In February, Shell announced a major find at its Graff-1 well, with an initial estimate that it contains some 400 million barrels of oil. Estimates from Namcor – Namibia’s state oil company and Shell’s junior partner in Block 2913A – are even higher, at up to a million barrels of resources with nearly 700 million barrels recoverable. Many have called it a ‘game changer’, breaking a 48-year streak of dry well. Shell is now estimating production to begin in 2027 via FPSO at a peak rate of 19,000 b/d, which could be much more if Shell’s upcoming second drilling campaign this year yields more finds, with the wildcat at La Rona-1 holding promise.
If Shell’s Graff discovery was ‘major’, then TotalEnergies’ Venus discovery was ‘magnificent’. From a well drilled at depths of 6296 metres at Block 2913B next to Shell’s discovery, Venus is an ultra-deepwater discovery that shatters several records. TotalEnergies has been coy about the prospects, but internal reports suggest it has at least 3 billion barrels of recoverable oil. This would make it the biggest deepwater discovery ever, taking the crown from Buzios in Brazil and the largest ever in sub-Saharan Africa. This could support production of up to 250,000 b/d via FPSO from Venus alone by 2028, with a ‘significant’ amount of natural gas in place as well. Predictably, this has set off an interest and bidding frenzy for areas in the Orange Basin, with Namibia preparing for the upcoming rush by launching a sovereign wealth fund to fund infrastructure and national development in other areas.
Since its initial discovery at Liza, Guyana has been on a continuous streak of major finds, each lifting the ceiling for its potential production to (a current) 1 mmb/d. Namibia could be on a similar trajectory, with its initial finds being even higher than Liza-1’s 1.5 boe/d and spread across two blocks by two operators instead of one. Namibia looks like it could be the next deep-water exploration hotspot and potentially become the third-largest producer in sub-Saharan Africa within a decade. Wild potential for a country of only 2.5 million people.
That’s very exciting and all, but the climate on hydrocarbon exploration has changed. Both Shell and TotalEnergies are seen as leading proponents of energy transition, with Shell even being (currently) legally obliged to accelerate its decarbonisation programme. To invest in expanding hydrocarbon production when both companies had net-zero targets would require careful recalibration of their communications, as activists push back.
It is also going to be a balancing act for Namibia, which has intentions of developing itself into a green hydrogen leader within Africa, having signed a US$9.4 billion plan to use its huge solar and wind power potential. Balancing clean energy credentials with its new hydrocarbon darling status will not just draw flak from the environmental lobby, it also brings in the risk of exacerbating inequality in one of Africa’s most unequal countries for income distribution. Namibia also pledged to reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 91% through 2026 at COP26, which is now unrealistic. Graff and Venus could revitalise Namibia’s economy and benefit its people, if done right. And it is likely that Namibia, like Guyana, will be one of the last of its kind, as the window for energy exploration in new frontier areas close rapidly as net zero accelerates.