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Five factors fueling the oil market in 2018

Arab News reported that it was a rollercoaster-ride of a year for the oil markets, with Brent prices soaring to a high of USD 86 in October, before a dramatic crash to as low as USD 50 earlier this month. With a few blips along the way, the first three quarters saw prices move upward, with strong trading activity in the physical markets, healthy demand and refining margins. The bearish horizon that clearly weighed on market sentiment in 2016 and the uncertainties of 2017 all but vanished in the first nine months of this year, when stability returned to the market.

Yet all that was undone in the final quarter, when the massive equities selloff in the US, as well as interest rate rises, coincided with oil prices nosediving.

Here are some of the key factors that fueled the oil market this year:

1. Stock, oil markets moving together
The global equities collapse in the forth quarter — exacerbated by the US Federal Reserve’s signals that it plans to keep increasing interest rates — coincided with a steep drop in oil prices. That followed a similar scenario in early February, when oil prices and US stocks fell sharply in parallel. Analysts see this link persisting in the immediate future. “For the time being, the stock market and the oil market will echo each other,” Ahn Yea-Ha of Kiwoom Securities in Seoul told Reuters. “Global economic slowdown worries have been weighing on stock market movements, and oil prices are not free from those concerns.”

2. OPEC+ success in stabilizing markets
This year proved that the historic OPEC+ agreement — in which the producer group and several others, led by Russia, agreed to slash oil output — could have success in helping to balance the market. Oil price movements have taken a gradual upward trend since the beginning of 2017, when OPEC+ began its output cut of 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd). While prices retreated in the last quarter of this year, compliance with a new agreement to cut by 1.2 million bpd, which starts in January, will be of vital importance to the market in 2019. Yet it is premature to judge how effective the output-cuts strategy will be before it kicks in.

3. IEA injects dose of pessimism
Throughout much of 2018, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) neglected the largely bullish sentiment in the physical oil market — and instead put out pessimistic forecasts. For example, the IEA started to insinuate that the global oil market is firmly in the shale era, and that output growth from the US will offset OPEC+ cuts in 2019. Yet all the evidence shows that the IEA’s goal is to push down oil prices. On top of that, contradictions emerge when the IEA’s oil market reports and one-off announcements are scrutinized, leading to questions about the IEA’s reading of market fundamentals.

4. Higher demand means there’s room for shale
Global oil demand recently passed the 100 million bpd mark. And as demand grows, there will be room in the market for shale from the US. The growing oil demand welcomes any new supplies that help the oil market fulfil its need, be it shale or conventional oil outputs.

5. US’ sudden waivers on Iran sanctions
Earlier this year, OPEC producers readied themselves to offset any supply shortages caused by US sanctions on Iranian oil exports, but the US surprised the market with waivers to eight of the major importers. That saw oil prices nosedive amid concerns over a surge in supplies. Yet OPEC+ reacted effectively to this sudden change in US sanctions, through its deal to cut outputs by 1.2 million bpd.

Source : Arab News
The oil key risks and uncertainties of 2019 - Wood Mackenzie

Brent over USD 80 a barrel always seemed too good to last, defying the fundamentals. The sharp retreat in price may turn out to be a good thing, injecting a healthy dose of reality to the industry at just the right time. We expect Brent to average USD 66 a barrel in 2019. That’s a tad down on 2018 though still a price that allows companies to generate free cash flow and continue to strengthen finances. It may sound benign, but numerous identifiable risks and uncertainties lurk in the shadows. I picked out ones Wood Mackenzie’s analysts worry could threaten our base case.

Economic slowdown and oil demand:
Alarm bells are starting to ring. Demand growth has been a pillar of strength for the oil market since prices fell and demand growth has exceeded 1 million barrels per pay (b/d) every year since 2012. We forecast demand growth of 1.1 million b/d in 2019, but the trend is at risk. China-US trade conflict and political tensions are dragging the global economy down. An inversion of the US yield curve, where short-term borrowing costs exceed long-term, is imminent. Inversion has proved a reliable indicator of recession in previous cycles. A modest slowdown in the global economy would push oil demand growth down by 0.8 million b/d in 2020 compared with our base case. A severe recession could wipe out oil demand growth altogether by 2020.

Tight oil upside:
Can US lower 48 production outperform again? Tight oil stunned the oil market in 2018, not for the first time. Volumes increased by 1.5 million b/d, delivering 0.5 million b/d more by the end of the year than we had forecast at the start, mostly from the Permian. Operators completed more wells and were able to get the oil to market despite pipeline constraints. We forecast 1.1 million b/d of growth in 2019, and again there could be upside risk. Big M&A deals in 2018 – such as Concho Resources/RSP Permian and Diamond/Energen – are all about creating value from scale. Operators that doubled down on the Permian will want to justify their acquisitions with guidance-beating production growth in 2019.

OPEC and Iran:
Iran’s exports plunged from 2.8 million b/d in April to 1.1 million b/d by year-end as buyers withdrew to comply with US sanctions imposed in November. Exports could increase by 0.3 million b/d under the terms of the 120-day waivers granted to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey. When the waivers end in May, the outcome is potentially binary. Renewal may force OPEC, at its June meeting, to cut production again for H2 2019. No renewal takes more Iranian crude off the market, opening the door for OPEC to lift its self-imposed production constraints.

Compounding effect of underspend:
Oil supply may be the least of the market’s problems at present. But are we in danger of sleepwalking towards a supply squeeze? A fifth year of low global conventional spend and cherry picking the best projects leaves hoppers increasingly depleted. The retreat in oil price likely nips in the bud any urge to relax capital discipline. Good for near-term returns, but not for the sustainability of the business in the longer term. A return to organic growth must come at some stage to deliver the new volumes to meet a looming supply gap beyond the mid-2020s. Full-cycle exploration returns, back in double digits, are attractive again. Given lead times from discovery to production, the industry may come to rue its present lack of investment in exploration.

Downstream and the IMO:
The entire refining value chain needs to adjust in the next 12 months for the 2020 regulation on marine fuels. Sulphur content must be cut from 3.5% (high sulphur fuel oil, or HSFO) to 0.5% (very low sulphur fuel oil, VSLFO). This is a big deal for refiners, affecting 3.5 million b/d of HSFO volumes. It will impact crude prices, differentials, product prices and refining margins. There are huge uncertainties. What will be the level of global compliance? How many ships will install scrubbers to allow them to burn HSFO? How much VLSFO can refiners produce and what will be its price?

Source : Strategic Research Institute
Nog even en ik moet weer die anderwe draad gebruiken. :-)

Weer winst voor olieprijs

(ABM FN-Dow Jones) De olieprijs sloot donderdag voor de vierde dag op rij hoger, ondanks de flinke daling van de aandelenmarkten en de mogelijke afname van de mondiale vraag naar olie.

Olie werd woensdag ook duurder. De sprong omhoog kwam nadat een rapport van persbureau Bloomberg wees op een daling van de olie-export door Saoedi-Arabië in december. Volgens dit rapport daalde de productie van 7,72 miljoen naar 7,25 miljoen vaten per dag.

“De daling van de Saoedische export was een welkome verrassing voor de bulls, maar de de vooruitzichten voor de langere termijn en en de bredere fundamentele achtergrond zijn niet bemoedigend”, zeiden analisten in een rapport van Sevens.

“Er zijn aanwijzingen dat de bodem van de olieprijs zich zal vormen rond de 40 dollar, maar er is een forse technische weerstand voor WTI rond de 50 dollar”, stelden de Sevens-analisten.

Vrijdagmiddag zullen de wekelijkse cijfers over de Amerikaanse olievoorraden worden bekendgemaakt. Vanwege de viering van Oud en Nieuw werden deze cijfers uitgesteld.

“Analisten verwachten een daling van de Amerikaanse olievoorraden. Dat zal de olieprijs een positieve impuls geven”, zei analist Robbie Fraser, van Schneider Electric.

Een februari-future voor een vat ruwe WTI-olie werd donderdag 1,2 procent, ofwel 0,55 dollar, duurder op 47,09 dollar op de New York Mercantile Exchange.

Door: ABM Financial News.
Redactie: +31(0)20 26 28 999

© Copyright ABM Financial News B.V. All rights reserved.
US October crude oil production sets record high - EIA

According to government data released, US crude oil output hit an all-time high of more than 11.5 million barrels per day in October. Crude production rose 79,000 bpd in October to 11.537 million bpd, the US Energy Information Administration said in a monthly report. The EIA revised its September oil production figure down by 17,000 bpd to 11.458 million bpd. US oil production broke its 1970 record of 10.04 million bpd in November 2017, and has set monthly record highs for five straight months since June. The United States has become the world's leading crude producer, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia. Production rose to 4.7 million bpd in Texas, 1.37 million bpd in North Dakota and 772,000 bpd in New Mexico. Output in the offshore Gulf of Mexico fell to 1.74 million bpd.

Meanwhile, gross natural gas production in the lower 48 US states rose to an all-time high of 96.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in October, up from the prior record of 96.0 bcfd in September, according to EIA's 914 production report.

In Texas, the nation's largest gas producer, production increased to 25.2 bcfd, up 0.1 percent from September. That compares with output of 22.3 bcfd in October 2017.

In Pennsylvania, the second-biggest gas producing state, production rose to 17.9 bcfd in October, up 1.1 percent from September. That compares with output of 14.4 bcfd in October 2017.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
OPEC blinks to provide USD 60 oil price floor US shale players become unintended beneficiaries

Forbes citing, when oil cartel OPEC announced its 1.2 million barrels per day output cut alongside 10 Russian-led non-OPEC producers, after keeping the market on edge for most of December 6 and 7th, many thought the move would provide a modicum of support to rapidly declining oil prices. While I never bought the relief rally that followed in its wake, many did. The argument was that a 1.2 million bpd cut was well above the rumored level of 1 million bpd. Given that the production of Nigeria and Libya fluctuates because of their internal strife, that of Venezuela is rapidly declining courtesy its political mess, and Iran, exempted from the latest cut, was likely to face barriers in 2019 following the re-imposition American sanctions; 1.2 million bpd was actually as high as 1.5 million bpd in all but name, according to some market commentators.

Whether or not you buy that hypothesis, even 1.5 million bpd is not enough and that is why the so-called relief rally failed to last even a week following the OPEC meeting. In the run up the end of the year (see chart below), on the Friday (December 21) before Christmas, both Brent and the West Texas Intermediate front-month contracts fell by over 11% week-over-week.

With the US, already the world’s largest oil producer, providing adequate buffer production to neuter the OPEC swing in the face of lackluster demand, the market remains unconvinced. Of course, not all oil barrels extracted are equal, and US barrels in the export market are largely of a lighter, sweeter variety by composition.

But the fact that incremental American production would on its own cancel out OPEC and non-OPEC cuts in 2019 is a point not lost on traders. Smart money suggests it is a point OPEC is just as cognizant of. For the OPEC and non-OPEC cuts to carry weight, the cut should have been around 2 million bpd in my opinion; a level both parties knew they need if providing an oil price floor of $60 per barrel using Brent as a benchmark is their unstated objective.

Problem is, had they chosen that pathway, the most visible beneficiaries would have been U.S. shale players, and OPEC just didn’t want to blink. But having seen the end-result in the three weeks since the OPEC meeting, new jitters have surfaced.

The OPEC next meeting has been set for an unspecified date in April, in the knowledge that further intervention might be required. Now talk is rife of a possible “extraordinary”, unscheduled meeting of oil ministers before April.

To provide some context, the last extraordinary meeting was held in 2008 when the global financial crisis appeared on the horizon. If the cuts are expanded, OPEC’s desired price range of $60-70 per barrel might well be achieved, but that would encourage higher production stateside and a loss of market share for some in OPEC. It could all have been so different, and ongoing bearish sentiment is to an extent of OPEC’s own making.

Having announced cuts, the following week the Russians revealed they’d be pretty slow in implementing cuts and might not get to their agreed 200,000 bpd level before the end of Q1 2019, while the United Arab Emirates announced a massive investment aimed at boosting oil production. That is hardly an ‘on-message’ image that OPEC and 10 non-OPEC producers – signatory to output cuts – ought to be portraying.

Meanwhile, U.S. crude continues to alter the supply-side dynamic. For the next 5 to 7 years, contingent upon shale decline rates, the US will remain a solid buffer producer first hitting 12 million bpd, and subsequently 15 million bpd by 2025 according to industry projections, and all in tandem with an evolving oil demand dynamic that would shift from mobility to rely upon petrochemicals and aviation.

Source : Forbes
Handelaren zijn negatiever over de oliemarkt in 2019 dan analisten

De oliehandel heeft maandag een somber 2018 gematigd optimistisch afgesloten. Een vat Brent-olie werd 1,1% duurder op $53,80, maar dat was bij lange na niet voldoende om de vieze smaak van het vierde kwartaal weg te spoelen. Begin oktober stond er namelijk nog ruim $86 op het bord - een prijs die al vier jaar niet meer was gezien.

Een jaknikker pompt olie op in de buurt van Wink, Texas.Foto: Reuters
Analisten vermoeden dat de zwakte van de laatste tijd nog even zal aanhouden, maar gaan er in doorsnee toch van uit dat de markt zich later dit jaar weer opricht. Uit de jongste enquête die persagentschap Reuters maandelijks uitvoert onder een grote groep marktvorsers, blijkt dat ze voor 2019 op een gemiddelde prijs rekenen van $69,13 voor een vat Brent. Eind november schatten ze dat weliswaar nog $5 hoger in, maar het is flink hoger dan de slotprijs op de laatste dag van vorig jaar.

Afgelopen zondag zei de Algerijnse olieminister Mustapha Guitouni te verwachten dat de olieprijs in april weer terug is op een niveau tussen $65 en $70, met dank aan de begin december overeengekomen productiereductie door de Opec-landen en Rusland. En als er een grotere inspanning nodig is, dan zullen de producenten daarvoor zorgen, zo benadrukte hij.

Volgens Guitouni is de genoemde bandbreedte een 'goudlokje'-situatie, precies goed voor zowel producenten als consumenten. Wellicht kunnen analisten zich daarin herkennen, maar partijen die daadwerkelijk in olie handelen zijn een stuk negatiever over het opwaarts potentieel. Voor een vat in december 2019 te leveren Brent legden ze maandag $55,85 neer.

De vorm van de olieprijscurve maakt duidelijk dat handelaren in ieder geval voorlopig geen krapte verwachten. Vóór de markt in oktober onderuit begon te gaan, was de lijn die prijzen van contracten met verschillende looptijden met elkaar verbindt een neerwaartse. De prijzen op de middellange termijn lagen duidelijk onder die van spoedig te leveren olie. Die structuur draaide in het afgelopen kwartaal om naar een situatie waarbij ze juist hoger kwamen te liggen. De prijsstructuur ging daarmee van 'backwardation' naar 'contango', klinkt het dan onder oliehandelaren. Is een markt in contango dan wordt dat geassocieerd met een overvloedig aanbod en hoge voorraden; bij backwardation zijn er juist tekorten.

Om de markt te verkrappen zullen de Opec-landen en Rusland vanaf het nieuwe jaar 1,2 miljoen vaten per dag minder oppompen. Nu is het altijd afwachten of producenten zich aan hun beloftes houden, maar volgens consultant JBC Energy zijn er inderdaad signalen dat de olielanden hun akkoord zullen naleven.

Tot een terugkeer naar backwardation heeft het vooralsnog niet geleid. Want tegenover het oliekartel staan de Amerikaanse schalieboeren. Zij zijn actiever dan ooit. In 2018 maakten ze de VS met een gemiddelde dagelijkse output van 10,9 miljoen vaten tot 's werelds grootste producent. En de rek is er nog niet uit. Het Amerikaanse Energy Information Agency (EIA) verwacht dat de productie in 2019 wordt opgevoerd tot 12,1 miljoen vaten. De VS zal dus de 1,2 miljoen vaten die de Opec en Rusland minder gaan oppompen kunnen compenseren.

Ondertussen lopen de verwachtingen flink uiteen over wat er aan de vraagkant zal gebeuren. Nam de mondiale behoefte vorig jaar met 1,54 miljoen vaten per dag toe, voor dit jaar rekenen analisten op tussen de 1 en 1,6 miljoen vaten. Dit is afhankelijk van de wereldwijde groei en meer in het bijzonder van de uitkomst van de handelsoorlog tussen China en de VS en de gevolgen van het verkrappende monetaire beleid in de VS en Europa.

Het was de vrees voor de impact van die laatste ontwikkelingen die voor de forse daling van de olieprijs in het vierde kwartaal zorgde, gekoppeld aan de onverwachte terughoudendheid van president Trump bij het doorvoeren van een streng sanctiebeleid tegen Iran. Voor de fundamentele vraag- en aanbodverhoudingen had dit weinig gevolgen. Dat er toch in korte tijd 35% van de olieprijs afging was volgens energie-analist Hans van Cleef van ABN Amro voor een flink gedeelte toe te schrijven aan het gedrag van speculanten. Die rekenden vóór oktober op verdere prijsstijgingen en hadden 'een enorme hoeveelheid longposities' afgesloten, zo schreef de analist in een notitie.

Eenmaal bevangen door de vrees voor een handelsoorlog en een inzakkende mondiale groei besloten de speculanten in zeer korte tijd die longposities terug te brengen tot een relatief normaal niveau en dat veroorzaakte de snelle en sterke prijsdaling. Uit de laatste gegevens van ICE Futures Europe blijkt echter dat de speculanten sinds medio december weer geleidelijk hun longposities uitbouwen, in de week voor kerst met bijna 7% tot 162.249 contracten. 'We zien wat meer rationaliteit terugkomen in de markt', zei strateeg Ashley Petersen van Stratas Advisors, tegen persbureau Bloomberg.

Marcel de Boer
Amerikaanse olievoorraden stabiel

(ABM FN-Dow Jones) De voorraden ruwe olie in de Verenigde Staten zijn vorige week opnieuw vrijwel stabiel gebleven. Dit bleek vrijdag uit cijfers van het Amerikaanse energieministerie.

In de week eindigend op 28 december stegen de voorraden ruwe olie fractioneel met circa 7.000 vaten tot 441,4 miljoen vaten. Een week eerder noteerden de voorraden ook al vrijwel stabiel.

De benzinevoorraden stegen met 6,9 miljoen vaten tot circa 240,0 miljoen vaten. De voorraden stookolie en diesel namen met 9,5 miljoen vaten toe tot 129,4 miljoen vaten.

De capaciteitsbenutting van de raffinaderijen nam toe van 95,1 procent naar 97,2 procent.

Door: ABM Financial News.
Redactie: +31(0)20 26 28 999

© Copyright ABM Financial News B.V. All rights reserved.
Iraq’s oil exports rise to 3.73 million bpd in December 2018

Reuters citing, the oil ministry, as saying that Iraq’s oil exports averaged 3.726 million barrels per day in December, a significant increase from the previous month. Exports from Iraq’s southern Basra ports rose to a record high of 3.63 million bpd, up from 3.363 million bpd in November. Shipments from Iraq’s northern Kirkuk oilfields to the Turkish port of Ceyhan increased to 99,000 bpd from 8,716 bpd in November. Iraq exported 3.372 million bpd of crude oil in November. Its oil officials said bad weather in the Gulf slowed shipments from the southern ports in that month.

The statement said that the average sale price in December was USD 52.8 per barrel, generating around USD 6.1 billion in revenue. Iraq is producing below its maximum capacity of nearly 5 million bpd in line an agreement between OPEC and other exporters such as Russia to curtail global supply in order to support prices.

Source : Reuters
South Korea's imports record amount of North American crude oil

Business Korea reported htat the cumulative share of North American crude oil in South Korea’s oil imports came to 7.82 percent in November this year. South Korea’s imports of crude oil from the United States and Mexico is expected to hit the highest level this year since 1988.

According to Petronet of Korea National Oil Corp, Korea’s imports of American crude oil stood at 10,675,000 barrels in November, accounting for 11.2 percent of the nation’s total imports of 95,328,000 barrels. American crude oil took up more than 10 percent of the total for the second month in a row as their share reached 10.92 percent in October.

Source : Business Korea
If OPEC doesn’t maintain its cuts, oil could stay lower for longer - JP Morgan

According to JP Morgan’s head of Asia Pacific oil and gas, if the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries does not follow through with its commitment to reduce oil production throughout this year, Brent crude prices could struggle to rise. In an early December meeting, OPEC and non-OPEC countries agreed to take about 1.2 million barrels a day off the oil market - initially for six months - starting January, amid a persistent imbalance between global oil supply and demand.

Scott Darling told CNBC’s “Squawk Box ”, “Well, JP Morgan said prior to the OPEC meeting early December, that if OPEC didn’t really cut by more than around 1.2 million barrels per day, and they did just for the first half, (not) for the full year, that we could gravitate toward our low-oil-price scenario, which is USD 55 Brent for 2019.”

On Wednesday afternoon during Asian hours, Brent traded down around 1 percent at USD 53.28.

Darling said factors that could keep oil prices weak in 2019 include sluggish demand for crude and the uncertainty over full compliance from OPEC members, including the largest producer Saudi Arabia, over the agreed 1.2 million barrels per day supply reduction.

In recent months, the Saudis increased production by more than 1 million barrels per day. Now, the kingdom will aim to cut about 900,000 barrels per day in just two months. With oil prices struggling, some have said the kingdom needs Brent crude to rise significantly to balance its budget.

Source : CNBC
China cuts refiners’ oil import quotas with first 2019 allowances - SIA

According to four sources with direct knowledge of the matter and documents reviewed by Reuters, China issued its first batch of crude oil import quotas for 2019 at a lower volume than for the same batch a year ago though expectations are for the volumes to climb later this year. The Ministry of Commerce granted quotas totalling 89.84 million tonnes to 58 companies in its first allowances for 2019. This is down from the 121.32 million tonnes issued in the first batch of allowances for 2018, although the sources said Beijing may increase the overall volume for 2019 in a second batch of quotas later this year. Lower import quotas may signal slowing crude demand growth for the first half of 2019 in China, the world’s largest oil importer and second-largest oil consumer.

Zhou Guoxia, a crude oil analyst with consultancy JLC, said that “The market, in general, does not have a upbeat outlook for imports. I think the drop in quota could likely mean easing growth in China’s crude imports in the first half.”

According to the documents and Reuters data, private refiners, also known as teapots, received quotas for 70.65 million tonnes of imports, more than 20 percent lower than the first batch of quotas issued last year.

Seng Yick Tee, analyst at Beijing-based consultancy SIA Energy, said that this followed lower consumption of the 2018 quotas. Refiners only used 71 percent of the quotas allocated between January and October 2018, the period that the government used to determine quotas for the first batch of 2019.

One of the four sources with knowledge of the quotas, who works for a private Chinese refiner, said they received about a third of its annual quota in the first batch and expects to get the remainder in a second batch, which Beijing usually issues around September.

Overall though, the start up of new refineries in China in 2019 is expected to raise crude imports to a record, adding 630,000 barrels per day of new demand, 7 percent higher than last year, according to SIA Energy.

Source : Reuters
China surpassed the US as the world’s largest crude oil importer in 2017 - EIA

China surpassed the United States in annual gross crude oil imports in 2017, importing 8.4 million barrels per day compared with 7.9 million barrel per day for the United States. China had become the world’s largest net importer of total petroleum and other liquid fuels in 2013. New refinery capacity and strategic inventory stockpiling combined with declining domestic oil production were the major factors contributing to the recent increase in China’s crude oil imports. In 2017, 56% of China’s crude oil imports came from countries within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, a decline from the peak of 67% in 2012. More so than other countries, Russia and Brazil increased their market shares of Chinese imports between those years from 9% to 14% and from 2% to 5%, respectively.

Russia surpassed Saudi Arabia as China’s largest source of foreign crude oil in 2016, exporting 1.2 million b/d to China in 2017 compared with Saudi Arabia’s 1.0 million b/d. OPEC countries and some non-OPEC countries, including Russia, agreed to reduce crude oil production through the end of 2018, which may have allowed other countries to increase their market shares in China in 2017.

Several factors are driving the increase in China’s crude oil imports. China had the largest decline in domestic petroleum and other liquids production among non-OPEC countries in 2016, and EIA estimates it will have had the second-largest decline in 2017. Total liquids production in China averaged 4.8 million b/d in 2017, a year-over-year decline of 0.1 million b/d (2%) from 2016, and further declines in both 2018 and 2019 are forecasted in EIA’s January 2018 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).

In contrast to declining domestic production, EIA estimates that growth in China’s consumption of petroleum and other liquid fuels in 2017 was the world’s largest for the ninth consecutive year, growing 0.4 million b/d (3%) to 13.2 million b/d. As China has built up inventories of strategic petroleum reserves, China’s crude oil imports have increased faster than their domestic consumption.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
Russian oil output reaches record high 11.16 million bpd in 2018

Reuters reported that Russian oil production rose to a post-Soviet record high of 11.16 million barrels per day in 2018, exceeding for the first time the 11 million bpd annual average mark, data from its energy ministry showed. The mark surpassed the previous annual record average of 10.98 million bpd set in 2017. Russian oil output reached 555.838 million tonnes last year, against 547 million tonnes in 2017. Reuters uses a barrel to tonnes ratio of 7.33 to 1.

Mr Alexander Novak, Russian Energy Minister, said that the country's oil production in 2019 may decline to 552 million tonnes due to a global deal.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other large oil producers including Russia agreed in December to cut their combined crude output by 1.2 million bpd from January to halt a decline in oil prices.

Russia undertook as part of the deal to reduce its production by 230,000 bpd from 11.41 million bpd touched in October. Oil prices reached their lowest in 1-1/2 years last week and fell more than 20 percent in 2018, depressed in part by rising supplies, mainly in the United States.

Mr Novak said that oil prices would become more stable in the first half of 2019.

Source : Reuters
Total starts up production of the giant Egina field in Nigeria

Total has started up production on December 29th 2018 from the Egina field, located in around 1,600 meters of water depths, 150 kilometers off the coast of Nigeria. At plateau, the Egina field will produce 200,000 barrels of oil per day, which represents about 10% of Nigeria’s production. The Floating Production Storage and Offloading unit used to develop the giant Egina field is the largest one Total has ever built. This project has also involved a record level of local contractors. Six of the eighteen modules on the FPSO were built and integrated locally, and 77% of hours spent on the project were worked locally. Startup has been achieved close to 10% below the initial budget, which represents more than 1 billion dollars of CAPEX savings, due in particular to excellent drilling performance where the drilling time per well has been reduced by 30%.

Mr Arnaud Breuillac, President Exploration & Production, said that “Total is proud to deliver a project of this size under the initial budget and to contribute to the development of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector by generating employment as well as building industrial capability. Egina will significantly boost the Group’s production and cash flow from 2019 onwards, and benefit from our strong cost reduction efforts in Nigeria where we have reduced our operating costs by 40% over the last four years. Furthermore, some upside potential nearby remains to be developed and we are studying in particular Preowei discovery tie-back to the Egina FPSO.”

Initially discovered in 2003, the Egina field is the second development in production on the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 130 following the Akpo field, which started-up in 2009. The Preowei field is another large discovery made on this prolific block for which an investment decision is scheduled for 2019.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
JSW Steel once again becomes largest buyer of NMDC iron ore

Winslow Record reported that after a gap of three months, JSW Steel has again become the largest buyer of iron ore in Karnataka. They had curtailed its off take from the state-owned miner due to quality issues, saying the price at which the ore was being offered was not justified. Mr Seshagiri Rao, joint managing director and group chief financial officer told that now we are buying at previous levels. Mr Rao said the miner made some price correction and that has translated in cost reduction to some extent, but overall cost continues to remain high. He refrained from quantifying the amount of benefit.

He said that “We have been representing to them that there are problems in overall pricing in Karnataka. So NMDC has done some corrections, but they have a long way to go. We are not okay with the current price levels but there is no option. We need Karnataka iron ore and it is not possible to source 100 per cent from outside.”

The company was said to be importing iron ore and also buying from Odisha for INR 4,000-4,500 per tonne, as against from Karnataka for INR 3,000 per tonne.

Source : Winslow Record
Trump Trade War - US steel companies face downturn after tariffs

The Spec reported that in the 10 months since the Trump administration imposed 25 per cent tariffs on steel imports, prices in the United States have now fallen back to levels last seen before the tariffs were announced March 1. Hiring in the steel sector remains stagnant, in part because new mills have become more reliant on automation. Even with the opening and restarting of several mills last year, direct steel industry employment was 146,300 as of November 4 per cent lower than it was four years ago, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Industry analysts estimate that steel companies made 50 announcements of plans for new mills and investments last year and that three dozen plants were built or restarted.

Investors are increasingly wary about the industry's long-term strength. Stock prices for some of the nation's biggest steel manufacturers dropped by as much as 47 per cent in 2018 amid fears of slowing global economic growth and the potential for Trump to reach trade deals that remove the tariffs.

The Trump administration imposed sweeping steel and aluminum tariffs on trading partners like Europe, Canada, Japan and Mexico, saying it was trying to protect US security by preventing a flood of cheap metals into the United States. The tariffs, which went fully into effect in June, initially goosed steel prices in the United States, which jumped more than 50 per cent after it became clear that the tariffs would really be put in place.

Source : The Spec
Olieprijs daalt

(ABM FN-Dow Jones) De olieprijs is woensdag lager gesloten, na een bericht dat de Europese Unie mogelijk binnenkort een mechanisme zal lanceren waardoor bedrijven Amerikaanse sancties kunnen omzeilen en zaken kunnen doen met Iran.

Een maartfuture voor een vat ruwe olie sloot woensdag 0,7 procent lager op 52,62 dollar. Brent noteerde 0,6 procent lager.

Persbureau Reuters meldde woensdag dat de EU binnenkort een beleggingsvehikel in het leven roept zodat er met Iran kan worden gehandeld in euro's, terwijl de Amerikaanse sancties worden omzeild. Het zou werken als een soort clearinghuis, citeerde het persbureau de Franse minister van buitenlandse zaken Jean-Yves le Drian tegen een parlementscommissie.

De mogelijkheid dat de EU de Amerikaanse sancties zou kunnen omzeilen werd echter "mogelijk tenietgedaan door berichten dat de regering Trump tegen energiebedrijven zegt dat ze zich moeten voorbereiden op sancties tegen Venezuela", zei analist Phil Flynn van Price Futures.

Reuters Venezuele meldde woensdag via Twitter dat de regering Trump oliesancties kan instellen tegen het land, als de politieke situatie daar verder verslechtert.
De Amerikaanse president erkende woensdag de Venezolaanse oppositieleider Juan Guaido, die zichzelf uitriep tot interim-president van het land. Venezuela, dat rijk is aan olie, zakte de afgelopen jaren steeds verder weg in diepe armoede onder het bewind van president Nicolas Maduro en diens voorganger Hugo Chavez.

Dinsdag stond de olieprijs nog onder druk na een waarschuwing van het IMF voor vertragende economische groei en zwakke Chinese cijfers. Aan het einde van de dag voorspelde de Amerikaanse regering een minder sterke productiestijging voor schalie-olie dan verwacht.

Door: ABM Financial News.
Redactie: +31(0)20 26 28 999

© Copyright ABM Financial News B.V. All rights reserved.
Amerikaanse olievoorraden omhoog

(ABM FN-Dow Jones) De voorraden ruwe olie in de Verenigde Staten zijn vorige week gestegen. Dit bleek donderdag uit cijfers van het Amerikaanse energieministerie.

In de week eindigend op 18 januari stegen de voorraden ruwe olie met 8,0 miljoen vaten tot 445,0 miljoen vaten.

De benzinevoorraden stegen met 4,1 miljoen vaten tot 259,6 miljoen vaten.

De voorraden stookolie en diesel namen met 0,6 miljoen vaten af tot 142,4 miljoen vaten.

De capaciteitsbenutting van de raffinaderijen zakte van 94,6 procent naar 92,9 procent.

Door: ABM Financial News.
Redactie: +31(0)20 26 28 999

© Copyright ABM Financial News B.V. All rights reserved.
Russia committed to oil output cuts - Energy Minister Novak

Reuters reported that Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, after criticism from Saudi Arabia, said that Russia is committed to its pledges on oil output cuts. Novak also said he would meet his Saudi counterpart in Davos later this week if Falih attends the world economic forum in the Swiss resort.

Last week, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said Russia was cutting its oil production more slowly than expected.

Source : Reuters
India to leave China behind in oil demand growth this year - WoodMac

PTI reported that research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie said that India is expected to become the second-largest oil demand growth centre globally in 2019, behind US but ahead of China. According to the firm, petrol, diesel, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) would continue to be the two main drivers of oil demand growth for the country. It said “India's demand growth recovered strongly in 2018, overcoming the aftermath of the goods and services tax (GST) and demonetisation, and contributing to 14 per cent of the global demand growth or 245,000 barrel per day. We forecast oil demand to grow at the same level in 2019.”

WoodMac has projected diesel demand to grow 6.4 per cent to 1,12,000 barrels per day in 2019 as compared to 93,000 barrels per day in 2018, primarily on the back of: Robust commercial vehicle sales, increased demand for heavy and medium-duty trucks due to removal of interstate taxes, and increased travel activity due to general elections in May.

The group said that LPG demand growth would remain robust in 2019 at 5 per cent to 40,000 barrels per day, lower than the 56,000 barrels per day growth achieved in 2018.

Source : PTI
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