Sunday, December 04, 2011

Hello Doha! Time for kick-off at 20th WPC

The Oilholic arrived in Doha late last night before the biggest bash in the oil & gas business kicks-off in Qatar – yup its 20th World Petroleum Congress! Sadly a very late arrival at the hotel meant, the first square meal was not a local delicacy – but a visit to Dunkin’ Donuts which was just about the only place open at 12:20 am local time. Still there’ll be plenty of opportunities to savour local delights over the next five days!

As the opening ceremony takes place later this evening, there is lots to discuss already following Shell’s announcement about its withdrawal from the Syrian market in wake of EU sanctions. Other oil companies are simply bound to follow suit. Syrian officials are expected to be in attendance but it is highly doubtful that the Oilholic would gain an attendance with them.

A few more bits before things get going, one hears that Fitch Ratings expects the credit profiles of the European oil majors to remain stable in 2012 despite the risk of a possible slowdown in revenue growth combined with still ambitious investment spending programmes of around US$90 billion over the following four quarters. The agency believes sector revenue growth in 2012 will probably slow to single digits from more than 20% in 2011, according to a new research note.

The Oilholic also had the pleasure of interviewing Eduardo de Cerqueira Leite, the chairman of (currently) the world’s largest law firm by revenue – Baker & McKenzie – on behalf of Infrastructure Journal. Leite does not believe the integrated model of combining upstream, downstream and midstream businesses is dead as far as major oil companies are concerned.

“We saw Marathon Oil Corp split off its refining business and know that ConocoPhillips is planning to do the same. By spinning off R&M infrastructure assets a company can focus on producing oil and gas, particularly in the more innovative areas of offshore oil exploration and unconventional oil and gas production,” he said.

“However, we are not seeing all of the majors spin off their R&M divisions. Many still have a need for refining expertise and processing plants due to the increasing development of liquefied natural gas, natural gas liquids and high-sulphur heavy crudes. So, I wouldn't call the integrated model dead, although we are seeing changes to it,” Leite concludes.

That’s it for now. Keep reading, keep it 'crude'!

© Gaurav Sharma 2011. Photo: Doha Skyline © WPC. Logo: 20th World Petroleum Congress © WPC.

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