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 primary driver 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 $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 keep 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 WPC 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 provided 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 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 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.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Time for Istanbul and WPC 22

The Oilholic has arrived in Istanbul, Turkey for 22nd World Petroleum Congress, with the 2017 edition being this blogger’s third. 

Oh how time flies! Many in the industry must be wondering the same – from Doha(2011) to Moscow (2014) to Istanbul in 2017, the price of crude, using Brent as a benchmark, has fallen considerably, even if it was not a steady downward trajectory.

In 2011, the industry was looking at three-figure prices following a recovery from the global financial crisis. In 2014, the signs of an oil price slump were visible and in here in Istanbul we see it crudely languishing in the $40s despite an OPEC production cut - of 1.8 million barrels per day - in concert with 10 non-OPEC players, at least on paper, and in place until March 2018.

With customary aplomb over 6,000 delegates are expected at the industry’s premier jamboree with 500 chief executive officers, 50 ministers and around 25,000 visitors for the World Petroleum Exhibition; one of the largest strategic oil and gas expos in the world.

Over coming days we can expect to hear from Shell, BP, Total, ExxonMobil, Chevron and many more and ministerial soundbites from India to Iran, Kuwait to Russia and then some. Watch this space, but that’s all from Istanbul for the moment folks! Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2017. Photo: Istanbul Congress Center, venue of the 22nd World Petroleum Congress © Gaurav Sharma 2017.

Monday, July 03, 2017

A bearish view from New York

Its great to be back in New York on a part business, part pleasure adventure.

Of course, on visits like these, yours truly almost, always catches up with known crude traders and analysts to get a sense of how they are feeling about the direction of the market.

More so as market mood is a fickle thing,  and we are currently staring at an oil price jump predicated on the first single-digit decline in US rig counts for over 22 weeks. But seriously is that enough to go long? 

Not quite according to majority of traders yours truly has met in Manhattan; some 8 out of 10 remain net short and say the rally won't last. Almost all believe that US production would cap 10 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2018, and that we should not read much into the price uptick of the past week. Consensus here is that while the market is showing nominal signs of rebalancing, a short-term bounce of appreciable magnitude is not on the horizon. 

Furthermore, OPEC faces a damned if you do and damned if you don't dilemma. Much of its cuts are coming at the expense of market share based on raw data. Whenever that has happened in recent history, the oil price has slipped too in most cases, in step with OPEC's lower market share, as the Oilholic noted in a recent Forbes piece authored last week from here

The other problem is - should OPEC decide to pump more, or move to protect its market share, that would mean more barrels on the market and a subsequent bearish impact. 

And on that note, and armed with some bearish feedback from the Big Apple, its time for the Olympics of the oil and gas business; yup that would be the 22nd World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul, Turkey. Goodbye from NYC folks, and more from Istanbul soon! Keep reading, keep it crude!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2017. Photo: Skyline of New York, USA photographed from the city's Empire State Building © Gaurav Sharma 2017. 

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