Sunday, July 16, 2017

A bearish view from Istanbul

The 22nd World Petroleum Congress circus has left Istanbul, Turkey in a distinctly bearish mood, at least that’s the Oilholic’s verdict! 

'Big Oil' boss after boss pointed out to the congress that IOCs were gearing up for a short-term breakeven of $50 per barrel, and working towards a $30 per barrel breakeven by the turn of the decade. Few, if any expect an uptick to a three figure oil price anytime soon. 

The International Energy Agency expects a flood of US shale barrels, so much so that its Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol noted that describing his outfit as being representative of energy consumers was sounding clich├ęd these days.

Afterall, IEA members US, Canada and United Kingdom, were also energy exporters. At the same time, global oil inventories remain stubbornly above 3 billion barrels, and not anywhere near the 2.7 billion five-year average OPEC is hoping to achieve via its cut. 

Tied in to all of this are two important considerations in light of what's on the horizon. Firstly, OPEC’s production cut in concert with 10 non-OPEC producers only lasts until March 2018 on paper. What happens after that? Surely more oil is coming our way. Secondly, most at the WPC, including the IEA, predicted US production to climb to 10 million barrels per day (bpd) and for some even as high as 10.3 million bpd. 

So what is there to be bullish about? Agreed - as many readers of this blog have pointed out - inventory rebalancing will gather steam towards the fourth quarter of this year, but not to the extent some are predicting. 

For arguments sake, if that is seen as being supportive of the oil price and that sustains oil futures above $55 for a period, more US and non-OPEC oil is bound to come on to the market. Draw your own conclusions where the ‘crude’ world would be heading to thereafter. In short, this blogger finds little evidence that the oil price would escape its current $45-55 per barrel range using Brent as a benchmark. 

Just a couple of things to flag up before yours truly takes your leave. Here is one’s IBT report from the WPC on how spooked the industry is about not being able to attract enough young recruits and qualified female professionals. Additionally, here is the Oilholic’s foray into the emergence of ‘crude’ robots, that could be coming to an oil and gas field near you. That’s all for the moment folks. Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2017. Photo: An oil tanker in the Bosphorus, Istanbul, Turkey © Gaurav Sharma, July 2017.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Chatting to Bob Dudley & host broadcaster TRT

As the 22nd WPC approaches its end, more interesting soundbites have emerged, especially from International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol who has been on several panels and forums, energised no doubt in his hometown of Istanbul.

According to Birol, despite all the noise about electric cars, automobiles aren’t the primary drivers for oil demand. “That comes from trucks, aviation and petrochemicals. So even if one in every two cars is an electric vehicle, oil demand will still grow.”

On average, most analysts, including many at the IEA, expect that global demand growth to be in the region of 1.2 to 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd). That’s hardly the stuff of dreams for those placing long bets on the crude stuff. 

Getting away from Birol, the Oilholic also had the pleasure of spending a few minutes in the company of BP boss Bob Dudley, who said the oil giant was preparing for a $30 per barrel oil price breakeven. Here’s one’s exclusive interview for IBTimes UK

In another major development, the geopolitical significance of which cannot be understated, India has imported its first ever consignment of US crude oil. For a country largely reliant on Middle Eastern oil, the US is now an avenue.

The Oilholic is reliably informed the consignment has been drawn from conventional sources, but to quote Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan - New Delhi would not be averse to importing “shale oil in the future.”

Finally, before one takes your leave and calls time on the 22nd WPC, it was a pleasure appearing on host broadcaster TRT World, and discussing the crude state of affairs on the channel’s Money Talks programme. Here’s a clip dear readers, but that’s all from Istanbul! Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2017. Photo: The Oilholic (right) on TRT World’s Money Talks with Azhar Sukri © Gaurav Sharma 2017.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Oilholic’s photo clicks @ the 22nd WPC host city

The Oilholic is by no means a photojournalist, but akin to the last congress in Moscow, and in keeping with a tradition dating back to WPC 20 in Doha, there is no harm in pretending to be one, this time armed with a BlackBerry DTEK here in Istanbul!

The 22nd World Petroleum Congress also marked this blogger's return to Turkey and the vibrant city of Istanbul after a gap of three years. 

The massive Istanbul Congress Center (left) happens to be the Turkish venue for the Congress from July 9-13, 2017. Hope you enjoy the virtual views of the venue as well as Istanbul, as the Oilholic is enjoying them here on the ground. (Click on images to enlarge). 

© Gaurav Sharma 2017. Photos from the 22nd World Petroleum Congress, Istanbul, Turkey © Gaurav Sharma, July 2017, as captioned.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at WPC




Decorations in the ICC front garden
Crooners entertain diners on opening night
IEA's Fatih Birol (centre) speaks at WPC
BP stand at WPC Exhibition
Oil supply chain model at WPC Exhibition
Istanbul 
Istanbul Modern
The Bosphorus, Istanbul
Oil tanker in the Bosphorus
Traditional dancers at WPC's Turkish night



Two WPC days, umpteen 'crude' angles

In typical fashion, two packed days have zipped by at the 22nd World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul, Turkey and the Oilholic could count at least a dozen talking points, few of which are duly noted here. 

Let's start with Total's boss Patrick Poyanne, whom this blogger has not had the pleasure of listening to since the International Petroleum Week in London.

Pouyanne told WPC delegates that Brazil's mammoth offshore deepwater fields could one fine day be "as profitable as US shale". That's providing operators and consortium partners keep a tight handle on break-even costs.

"Maybe they are long-cycle, and shale is short-cycle, but in terms of profitability, in the giant deepwater fields it is easy to make money, provided a handle is kept on the break-even," he quipped. 

Another industry captain - Shell's CEO Ben van Beurden - correctly opined that discussions over the global energy mix and the transition to a low carbon global economy should not only focus on Western perspectives.

van Beurden also said energy transition is regularly portrayed in terms that compare it to a revolution; a moment in time when everything changes. "In truth, different countries and different sectors will advance at different speeds. In truth, we are not talking about a moment in time, but of change that will take place over generations." (For IBTimes UK report, click here)

Meanwhile, murmurs in the Congress background suggest Abu Dhabi National Oil Company may beat Saudi Aramco to a mega stock floatation. The planned IPO would be of ADNOC's distribution business, which manages 460 petrol stations and accompanying convenience stores across the United Arab Emirates.

According to sources, ADNOC's expected valuation for the business is around $14bn, which if realised could net it $1.5bn to $2bn via a 10-15% equity float which many say might be on the immediate horizon. Still early days though. (Read all about it here).

Finally before one takes your leave, it seems 'Crude' history has been made, with India poised to buy its first consignment of US oil. Indian Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told the Oilholic the crude sourced is conventional, but New Delhi might consider going for shale oil too in the future. Here is one's full report for IBTimes UK. Well that's all for the moment from Istanbul folks! Keep reading, keep it crude!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2017. Photo: Front entrance garden of the Istanbul Congress Center, Turkey - venue of the 22nd World Petroleum Congress © Gaurav Sharma 2017.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Tillerson kicks things off with a bit of nostalgia

The current US Secretary of State and the former ExxonMobil boss Rex Tillerson got things off to a nostalgic start by telling the 22nd World Petroleum Congress he misses the industry. 

In town to collect the Dewhurst Award, Tillerson joked he’d be heading to retirement by now, but things just didn’t turn out that way, when President Donald Trump came calling. (Here’s a full IBTimes UK report).

If things didn’t quite turn out the way Tillerson imagined, the WPC – so far – is turning out to be exactly the way half the world’s media thought it would between the Saudis and Qataris who are entrenched in a diplomatic row and keeping their distance from each other.

Qatar’s energy minister Mohammed Saleh Al Sada said his country’s exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to major partners remain unaffected by the boycott of Doha by Saudi Arabia and its allies United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt.

The Qatari minister told the WPC its LNG exports to the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain accounted for less than 8% of its total. The country's exports to Japan, India, South Korea and China – accounting for nearly 75% of the total - have not been affected.

"Qatar remains committed to all its agreements with its partners and is determined to maintain this status despite the illegal and unjust embargo imposed on it," he added. What’s more, the Qataris are taking legal action against the aforementioned blockaders. (More here).

And just before for one takes your leave, it’s also worth mentioning that OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo has said there would be no further discussion on crude production cuts, since it would be “premature” to discuss this. 

Concurrently, Kuwait's Oil Minister Issam Almarzooq has told Bloomberg that Libya and Nigeria – the two OPEC members exempt from production cuts – may be invited to consider capping production pretty soon.That’s all from Istanbul for the moment folks! Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2017. Graph: Oil benchmark prices year to date © Gaurav Sharma 2017.

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