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…

Oil demand faces long, slow climb out of doldrums

Despite some oil industry analysts and observers looking at the glass as half full, there still seems to be ample reasons for gloom

Oil demand faces long, slow climb out of doldrumsForecasting crude oil markets remains a matter of perspective. Global oil demand growth is expected to taper off, journalist and analyst Julianne Geiger says, referencing the latest report from energy consultancy IHS Markit. Crude oil demand sits at 89 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, IHS Markit says. It’s expected to rise, then level off at…

Will petrochemicals be the last gasp for big oil?

The pandemic has caused some major producers to pause and defer investments in the petrochemical sector

Will petrochemicals be the last gasp for big oil?With the crude oil landscape changing rapidly, the refining industry is faced with major adjustments. Several oil refiners have announced permanent closures in the United States and Asia, while some high-cost refineries in Europe could also be shut down over the next few years. Margins for processing crude into fuels are expected to remain depressed,…

Are we seeing a partial recovery in the energy market?

Supported by all these bullish factors, Brent crude spot prices rose. Yet oil markets also face bearish pressures

Are we seeing a partial recovery in the energy market?Faced with gloom and some good news at the same time, crude oil markets continue to be in a quandary. Retrenchment and lack of capital investment could eventually lead to crude shortages, argued David Messler in a piece in Oilprice.com in June. The shortage could result in firming up of oil prices. Messler also points…

Trump’s oil industry optimism is misplaced

The pain is only just beginning to ripple through the U.S. industry in the form of bankruptcies and layoffs

Trump’s oil industry optimism is misplacedIn love and war, everything is fair. And U.S. President Donald Trump knows that well. After all, to him, the re-election bid is nothing but war. While campaigning in Midland, a region deep in the heart of the west Texas oil patch, Trump underlined: “And now we're back,” proclaiming euphorically, “and now we're just going…

Oil industry facing (c)rude awakening

The game is up: Oil and gas companies can no longer mask their financial frailty

Oil industry facing (c)rude awakeningThe decline in oil demand accelerated by Covid-19 may be a sign of the future. Forty publicly-traded U.S. oil producers wrote down a collective $48 billion worth of the value of their assets in the first quarter of 2020, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported. Quoting Deloitte, Oilprice.com points out that the collapse in crude…

Middle East oil exporters facing tough economic times

Despite the recent unprecedented output cuts by oil-producing countries, crude continues to trade around $40 a barrel

Middle East oil exporters facing tough economic timesGlobal economies are in distress. In the United States, the world’s largest economy, jobless claims rose last week for the first time since March. With measures to contain the COVID-19 virus keeping drivers off the road, recent data shows gasoline demand edging even lower. In South Korea, a large crude oil consumer, the economy is…

Crude oil marketplace bubble can’t last

Iran, Venezuela and Libya have virtually been forced out of production. But that hasn’t made the lives of other producers easier

Crude oil marketplace bubble can’t lastAn uneven playing field exists in the crude oil marketplace. Two major producers, Iran and Venezuela, face sanctions on their oil sales from the United States. Meanwhile, Libya is in the midst of civil strife. These circumstances mean a considerable volume of oil isn’t available to the markets. Yet the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries…

China the big winner in world oil price calamity

The Chinese have stockpiled huge reserves of low-priced oil, giving them significant geopolitical leverage over Russia and Saudi Arabia

China the big winner in world oil price calamityWith the major stakeholders – Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States – emerging badly bruised from the last round of the crude oil price war, a new world order is set to emerge. The cost of the battle has been immense to all three. In April, as the battle erupted, the value of Saudi…

Brakes applied to worldwide oil, gas exploration

The long-term view is frightening. With long gestation periods, new oil and gas projects may not get online when needed

Brakes applied to worldwide oil, gas explorationInternational oil and gas exploration and production are in the doldrums and won’t likely rebound any time soon. Canada has curtailed its crude output by one million barrels per day (bpd). The country’s active oil and gas rig count had fallen to an all-time low of 17 in early June, Baker Hughes reported. That was…