OPEC+ opens oil production taps after U.S pressure

With the continuing OPEC+ oil output cuts, markets were going into an overdrive mode. Prices at U.S. gas stations rose sharply

OPEC+ opens oil production taps after U.S pressureSurprising the markets and going against expectations, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies in the extended OPEC+ changed course at their ministerial meeting last week. At the virtual meeting, OPEC+ opted to increase its output by 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) in May another 350,000 bpd in June, and roughly an additional…

OPEC+ expected to continue to dampen oil output

Crude oil markets continue to show signs of weakness – even without the Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia and the Suez Canal closure

OPEC+ expected to continue to dampen oil outputPressure is mounting on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies in the extended OPEC+ to roll over their crude oil output cuts when they meet on April 1. Markets continue to show signs of weakness – even without the Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia and the Suez Canal closure. But the Suez…

Oil market recovery may be on borrowed time

The recent spike in oil markets was engineered – fundamentals didn’t drive it. There were issues about the tight leash on output

Oil market recovery may be on borrowed timeThe oil market recovery is faltering. Uncertainty over the speed of an economic recovery and whether there will be a full rebound in global oil demand is holding back the markets. Stalled COVID-19 vaccination efforts in parts of the world and a strong dollar are also keeping the markets from rising much further. The recent…

Saudis determined to keep crude oil market on a tight leash

Although the OPEC+ decision resulted in immediate oil price gains, the warning shots on the horizon couldn’t be altogether ignored

Saudis determined to keep crude oil market on a tight leashSaudi Arabia is leading the pack on crude oil production management. Russia seems to be following. Despite murmurs in the oil market of a possible rift between the two countries on the issue of output, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and their allies in the OPEC+, at their virtual meeting last Thursday, went…

Mourning the passing of an oil industry giant

Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani personified OPEC

Mourning the passing of an oil industry giantThe grand old wise man of the energy world has slipped into history. With the passing away of Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, the charismatic Saudi oil minister from 1962 to 1986, an era has come to an end. With his calm and cool demeanour, intellectual depth, sharp mind and the capacity to stand up to…

Oil prices rise as Texas drops into deep freeze

But how long will the bull run last?

Oil prices rise as Texas drops into deep freezeWith the Brent crude oil price touching $65 last week, markets have entered the hot zone. Inclement weather, the resultant rising demand for heating, a dip in United States output and the unilateral Saudi output cut all helped to tighten the markets, contributing to the bull run. Parts of the U.S. have been in a…

Cautious optimism as crude oil prices climb

Some observers see prices moving even higher as refiners increase processing rates to meet rising product demand

Cautious optimism as crude oil prices climbOil extended its longest winning streak in two years last week. Crude oil prices climbed more than nine per cent, as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies in OPEC+ curbed supplies, depleting global oil inventories. A United States government report also indicated that U.S. domestic oil stockpiles have fallen by 6.6 million…

Iran returns to the oil market in a big way

An expected new nuclear deal, a pipeline project and an easing of sanctions all contribute to increased production and exports

Iran returns to the oil market in a big wayCrude oil markets are focused on the Iran nuclear deal. A new United States administration under President Joe Biden has pledged to revert to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal. The world awaits the next moves, which will set the contours of future Iranian oil output. With…

Below-normal temperatures lead to soaring spot LNG prices

But opposition to resource development means Canada is being left out in the cold

Below-normal temperatures lead to soaring spot LNG pricesExtreme cold weather and mismatched supply and demand have pushed spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Asia through the roof. Bloomberg reports that LNG spot prices went from “almost to zero” in April 2020 to above US$30 per one million British thermal unit (MMBtu), rising “18-fold in less than nine months.” Prices in…

Crude oil market remains in flux

Global demand remains a major concern

Crude oil market remains in fluxUncertainty is ruling the energy world. “Crude producers continue to grapple with huge uncertainty about where this goes from here,” Tim Gould, the International Energy Agency (IEA) head of energy supply outlooks and investment, told the press last week. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agrees. “Uncertainties remain high going forward with the main…

Saudis sacrifice to broker oil production cuts

Until recently, the nation has insisted it wouldn’t unilaterally cut output until others agreed to contribute. All that has changed

Saudis sacrifice to broker oil production cutsSaudi Arabia is back in its role as the swing crude oil producer of the world. Until recently, the nation has insisted it wouldn’t unilaterally cut output until others, including Russia, agreed to contribute. But all this changed – almost overnight. On Jan. 4, while the ministers from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its…

Oil markets still face uncertain future

Even if the vaccines remain effective against the new COVID-19 mutants, a true crude oil market rebound is still a long shot

Oil markets still face uncertain futureStrong headwinds continue to disrupt crude oil markets in the new year. In 2020, COVID-19 triggered demand destruction, with some insisting that global oil demand may have already peaked. Lifestyles changed – apparently forever. Working from home became the new norm, commuting to the workplace became extinct and flying became less prevalent. All these factors…

Tensions rise in Persian Gulf over oil shipments

Tensions rise in Persian Gulf over oil shipmentsUnited States President Donald Trump leaves office in three weeks. Anything could happen before then. Stakeholders are taking positions around the strategically-important Strait of Hormuz, the only sea passage for crude oil shipped from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean. In 2018, some 21 million barrels per day (bpd), or almost 20 per cent…

A legitimate demand for oil industry investment?

A legitimate demand for oil industry investment?Opposing interest groups are endeavouring to sway crude oil market sentiments. The global oil industry needs some $12.6 trillion in investments through 2045 to meet the demand, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) secretary general Mohammed Barkindo said at a videoconference. This declaration came despite the fact that earlier the month in its Monthly Oil…

The crude oil market is approaching its peak

And the rush to monetize crude oil assets is on

The crude oil market is approaching its peakThe halcyon days of crude oil are over. The reality of the transition is dawning on stakeholders. From the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia, to the major oil companies, all are beginning to recognize, appreciate and react to this changing global energy kaleidoscope. Russia was denying the reality. No more. “The peak…

OPEC+ fault lines growing deeper

OPEC+ fault lines growing deeperIt was a political decision, a compromise between the differing oil producers. Last Thursday, after extended deliberations, debate and heated arguments, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies in the extended OPEC+ finally opted to increase their crude oil output by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) from January 2021. And every month…

Financial quagmire engulfing oil-producing countries

The rush to monetize oil and gas assets gathers momentum as major debt problems rise for many oil-producing countries

Financial quagmire engulfing oil-producing countriesClimate change is at the top of U.S. president-elect Joe Biden’s priority list. By nominating a person of the stature of former secretary of state John Kerry as the special presidential envoy on climate change, Biden has spelled out his intentions. The message is getting loud and clear to stakeholders. Consequently, the rush to monetize…

OPEC faces an existential threat

The viability of OPEC as an effective organization is now in question

OPEC faces an existential threatGloom continues to cloud crude oil markets. With a COVID-19 vaccine unlikely to ride to the rescue of the global oil market for some time, the combination of weaker demand and rising oil supply provides a difficult backdrop to the meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and their allies later this month,…

Is Biden about to alter the war on climate change?

Is Biden about to alter the war on climate change?With the incoming U.S. administration of Joe Biden vowing to embark on an extraordinarily ambitious international climate agenda, the world is reaching a tipping point as far as climate is concerned. The president-elect has announced the U.S. will return to the Paris climate agreement on day one in office. The incoming administration has also released…

Dark days ahead for oil-rich Gulf economies

Dark days ahead for oil-rich Gulf economiesOil-dependent economies are in a real quandary. Sliding markets, lowering demand and strong output capacities are set to hit the single-product, oil-rich economies of the Middle East, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a recent report. These oil-rich Persian Gulf states are now expected to see a six per cent real gross domestic product…

Energy use forecasts pivot dramatically

Global energy players and major stakeholders are out with their keenly-awaited and immensely researched outlooks

Energy use forecasts pivot dramaticallyEnergy outlook season is here. And it’s not rosy. Global energy players and major stakeholders are out with their keenly-awaited and immensely researched outlooks. COVID-19 has turned 2020 into an unusual year, carrying long-term ramifications for the energy world. The Paris-based International Energy Agency has termed the pandemic a disruption not seen since the “world…

More dark days on the horizon for oil industry

More dark days on the horizon for oil industryDesperation is creeping into the crude oil industry. With crude oil prices stuck at around $40 a barrel, S&P Global Ratings has estimated that the total government budgetary deficits of the oil-producing countries of the Co-operation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf could reach $490 billion cumulatively between 2020 and 2023. At the…

As COVID-19 cases rise again, oil forecasts fall

The world is past the era of growing crude oil demand and it may never recover to pre-pandemic levels

As COVID-19 cases rise again, oil forecasts fallThe crude games continue. While crude oil markets continue to be sloppy, despite the possibility of a small bull run just before the weekend, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies in OPEC-plus are opting to keep their cards close to their chests. Avoiding any hint about their next steps, after their virtual…

The global energy landscape is changing fast

Over a fifth of Europe’s energy was generated by solar panels and wind turbines in the first half of 2020

The global energy landscape is changing fastPeak oil demand is approaching fast – and earlier than anticipated. It’s not that oil won’t be required in the years and decades to come. It will still be in demand. But the world won’t be critically, crucially and strategically dependent on oil, as it is today. This year may be the turning point for…