Showing posts with label CERAWeek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CERAWeek. Show all posts

Monday, March 18, 2019

Meeting & greeting Emerson's inimitable boss

Before the Oilholic called time on CERAWeek 2019, this blogger had the absolute pleasure of meeting and greeting David Farr, the inimitable Chief Executive and Chairman of energy industry vendor Emerson Electric (NYSE:EMR) on the sidelines of the event on March 13. 

Farr, who has been Emerson's boss since 2000, has overseen the company's market valuation double under his stewardship. In a wide-ranging discussion, the industry captain touched on Emerson's performance, the Industry 4.0 challenge, change management, and more. 

No conversation would have been complete without touching on the portfolio shake-up that Farr has brought about at Emerson, and the unsuccessful bid for Rockwell Automation that did not turn out to be so bad in the end!

Ultimately, it all bottles down to corporate agility, and Farr said Emerson's two broad business streams - Automation and Commercial and Residential solutions - encompassing a diverse range of brands and businesses is working out pretty well. 


That's all for the moment folks! Keep reading, keep it crude!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2019. Photo: David Farr (left) with Gaurav Sharma on March 13, 2019 at CERAWeek in Houston, Texas, USA. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Crude 'smart' tech & 'Silicon Bayou'

Days IV and V of CERAWeek 2019 have zipped by with an emphasis on power markets and technology. Since it was all about electricity and technology; here's a photo of ABB's Formula E car on display here in Houston, and yes the Swiss automation and robotics giant's YuMi robot was here too.
And here is the Oilholic's full report for Forbes on how technology is making rigs 'smarter'. Its not just the greenfield sites we see this at play in, as a number of brownfield sites are being retrofitted as well to optimise performance and efficiencies. 

Finally, as is customary at CERAWeek, the Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner turned up, and this year he reminded delegates that H-Town has sufficiently diversified to have the spheres of education, medicine and information technology sit happily alongside the City's energy sector.

In fact, the IT industry here is growing at such a rapid place that you can call it 'Silicon Bayou' and promote #SiliconBayou, he added. The Oilholic promptly did so. And that's all from CERAWeek 2019 and Houston. Keep reading, keep it crude!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2019. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Another two 'crude' days at CERAWeek '19

Day II or Tuesday (March 12) of CERAWeek zipped by, Wednesday is about to come to a close here in Houston and there have been several discussion points. Where to start when penning thoughts on the last 48 hours - a lot of plaudits were won by BP boss Bob Dudley's dinner speech overnight on the evolving oil landscape. 

"Oil and gas majors need to recognise the world's low carbon future. They need to be progressive for society and pragmatic for investors," he noted to considerable applause.

Earlier on Tuesday, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo took to briefing journalists and analysts. Key points made included being 'apolitical' on the Venezuelan situation and launching a polite but firm attack on efforts by US lawmakers to hit OPEC with antitrust action - dubbed the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act. Here's yours truly's full report for Forbes

The UAE government envoys were also in town promoting their catchy 'Oil and Gas 4.0' drive ranging from investing in digital assets to upskilling and hiring, from AI to robotics. William Clay Ford Jr was around too telling CERAWeek when Ford's F-150 truck's electric version is available it'll be a "completely different animal" and also admitted he had a soft sport for the Mustang. 

On Wednesday (March 13), Centrica Group CEO Iain Conn said societal pressures, e.g. UK government's energy price cap, are eating into utilities sector's operating margins, and that (yes) natural gas will serve as a bridging fuel for decades. 

Away from Brexit chaos back home, he also noted: "While the energy market will not be materially disrupted by Brexit; UK energy consumers would be left worse off if a declining GBP contributes to higher domestic energy bills linked to global markets."

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry also turned up for his second successive CERAWeek making a wide range of points from sanctions on Venezuela to President Donald Trump's opposition to NordStream 2. 

Finally, here is the Oilholic's take on what ExxonMobil's Marine Fuels business makes of the approaching IMO 2020 rule. Well that's all for the moment, more from Houston soon. Keep reading, keep it 'crude'!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2019. Photo: BP CEO Bob Dudley addresses CERAWeek 2019 © Gaurav Sharma 2019.

Monday, March 11, 2019

IEA's take sets tone for CERAWeek 2019

The Oilholic is back in Houston Town for CERAWeek 2019 with talk of Saudi Arabia extending its oil export cuts to April, an OPEC summit due on April 17, and of course oil benchmarks still remaining largely range-bound.

The tone of the first day for IHS Markit's industry jamboree was set by the International Energy Agency's annual five-year market assessment. The agency's Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol, said here in Houston that there should be no doubt that a second wave of the US shale revolution was coming, with American production tipped to cap that of the Russians and the Saudis by 2024.

Later, speaking to the Oilholic, Birol said the agency's take does factor in rates of decline. Here's a full report for Forbes. There were loads of other catchy soundbites yours truly tweeted regularly from Day I of CERAWeek (welcome to follow here), but really Birol's words set the tone.

As for oil benchmarks; both Brent and WTI were down last week, and are up this week but haven't spiked in the strictest sense. For the Oilholic, Brent futures sentiment still isn't decisively bullish.

One reckons $64.50 per barrel support level is key over the coming weeks. If breached meaningfully, a drop to $60-62 likely; if held decisively an uptick to $70 might be on the horizon. But for all the kerfuffle oil futures are largely where they were 12 months ago stuck in a range-bound market. Here is one's pre-CERAWeek analysis in an interview with Victoria Scholar of IG Markets TV:



More from Houston soon! Keep reading, keep it crude!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2019. Photo: Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of International Energy Agency speaks at IHS Markit's CERAWeek 2019 conference.© Gaurav Sharma 2019. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Meeting YuMi & getting Swiss chocolates packed

Technology, especially AI and robotics, were hot topics at the recently concluded IHS CERAWeek in Houston, Texas, US. 

They simply had to be, with a succession of ‘Big Oil’ and utility bosses stressing on the need for a more efficient optimised energy industry.

The annual event itself, now past its 37th year and counting, also saw its tech floor and space grow bigger in addition to the dialogues that took place. In the midst of it all, robotics and engineering giant ABB’s boss Ulrich Spiesshofer insisted that the Oilholic should not leave Houston without paying YuMi a visit. 

That would be the company’s small-parts assembly robot first introduced to the industrials market in 2015; and has been making waves ever since.

It has vowed US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and even conducted Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and the Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra at the Teatro Verdi in Pisa, Italy. 

True to his word, this blogger paid YuMi a visit and found it vowing and amusing CERA Week delegates in equal measure, by packing Swiss chocolates for them. (See video below)




According to ABB North America spokesperson Chris Shigas, the speed you see in the video is only 50% of what YuMi is capable of.  The company describes it as a ‘co-bot’. 

In Shigas’ own words: “It’s a collaborative, dual arm, small parts assembly robot solution that includes flexible hands, parts feeding systems, camera-based part location and state-of-the-art robot control.”

YuMi weighs 38kgs and is the size of a small human being. It can [and does], operate without a protective cage with in-built health and safety features designed for it to work alongside human co-workers. The thought process and platform collectively give YuMi its name - “you and me” working together to create “endless possibilities,” as ABB suggests.

In fact, the Swiss chocolate nibbles you see YuMi pick and pack are pretty light compared to the 500 gram payload it can currently handle. 

Shigas said that thanks to its compactness, YuMi can be easily integrated into existing assembly lines thereby increasing productivity.

What created the real buzz for oil and gas folks at CERA Week was the fact that YuMi features lead-through programming, which, in simple terms, does away with the need for specialised training for operators. That opens up endless future possibilities for a plethora of industries.

Well, that’s all for the moment folks! But before the Oilholic takes your leave, a photograph with YuMi was in order for a keepsake, given it has rubbed shoulders with presidents and chancellors, and might soon be coming to a facility near you. We both also seem to be in matching attire, more by coincidence than by design, in this blogger's case at least! Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2018. Photo 1: ABB's YuMi at IHS CERA Week 2018. Photo 2: The Oilholic with YuMi. Video: YuMi packs Swiss chocolates © Gaurav Sharma March, 2018. 

Monday, March 05, 2018

The Fatih & Mohammed show enlivens CERA Week 2018

The Oilholic is back in Houston town, for IHS CERA Week, one of the oil and gas industry’s premier event, and so far its all about the tussle between US shale producers and OPEC/non-OPEC ‘supergroup’. 

Before the things gained traction on the first day of the week-long event, the International Energy Agency (IEA) emphatically declared the US would dominate oil production over the next five years, and is well on its way to becoming the world’s number one oil producer ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia. (Here’s the Oilholic’s Forbes report). 

The IEA’s inimitable Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol also pointed out that describing the think-tank as an ‘oil consumers’ club’ is becoming clich√©d these days as four of its members – the US, Canada, Brazil and Norway, were accounting for much of the world’s oil production growth.

Meanwhile, OPEC Secretary Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, who is also in town, made it known that the OPEC/non-OPEC production cut underpinned by Saudi Arabia and Russia has been a success, and making a tangible impact in rebalancing the market.

So post-luncheon, both men took to the stage with Daniel Yergin, Vice Chairman of IHS Markit, for  a delightful, somewhat testy but good natured, exchange. 

Barkindo declared the OPEC and non-OPEC production cut has been “efficient”, “surpassed expectations” and “brought optimism to the market.”

Birol said that optimism was most apparent in the US, with shale producers, well...producing at a canter, and positioning themselves to cater to robust oil demand from India and China. Providing an undercurrent to his stance, was the news that India was taking it first US natural gas consignment, a mere nine months after inking an agreement to import American crude. 

Of course, Birol warned that oil and gas investment was lagging, with 2018 investment valuation projected to rise by only 6% on an annualised basis. 

Barkindo declared that was “not in the interest of the global economy.”

Via production cuts, the 24 OPEC and non-OPEC producers were providing “insurance and stability” to the global market; a move that was open to “all producers,” he added. 

Of course, US producers driven by the spirit of private enterprise, are not really queuing up to join anytime soon. So what should they do? “Enjoy”, quipped Birol, to peals of laughter in the room. 

And so it went, but the Oilholic suspects you get the gist. Elsewhere on day one, Total CEO Patrick Pouyann√© said in the crude industry size does matter, and that a lower price environment gives bigger players opportunities to make strategic acquisitions. 

“It’s good to be a large integrated oil and gas company. Key to success is stable investment, regardless of oil price,” he added. 

Plenty more to come from CERA Week, but that’s all from Houston for the moment folk. Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2018. Photo: (Left to right) IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo and IHS Markit Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin speak at CERA Week 2018 © Gaurav Sharma 2018. 

Monday, May 01, 2017

Of soundbites and buffer crude producers

If sounbites were the sole influencers of the oil market direction, Brent ought to be near $60 per barrel. (see chart on the left, click to enlarge

The fact that it isn’t, and couldn’t be any further from that promised level despite OPEC cuts tells you that verbal quips from oil producers matter little when the market is trying to readjust to a new normal; i.e. the impact of a buffer producer in the shape of the US of A.  

When OPEC and 11 non-OPEC producers came together last December to announce a headline production cut of 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd), it was done in the knowledge that inevitably US shale producers would benefit from higher prices too. 

However, the economic paradox of that was additional US barrels replacing barrels taken out by the OPEC and non-OPEC agreement. In March, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih ensured that the OPEC put unravelled by quipping that his country would not subsidise non-OPEC margin plays by supporting an extension of the OPEC and non-OPEC agreement, due to expire in June. 

The result was a near instantaneous drop in both benchmarks as the market factored in the possibility of more OPEC barrels. Soon thereafter, on witnessing the ensuing oil price slide, ministers of several OPEC member nations, including Al-Falih himself, issued soundbites claiming an extension to the cut was in fact possible. However, in the Oilholic’s humble opinion, the damage had already been done by that time. 

This blogger's interaction with the wider market – whether we are talking spot or futures traders – leads one to believe that sentiment is in favour of higher US production, with each OPEC and non-OPEC barrel taken out of the market subsidising an American barrel. Of course, it’s not as linear or simple but the market’s reasoning isn’t flawed.  

All OPEC soundbites in favour of extending the cartel’s cut further are fuelling such sentiment further. Should OPEC extend its cut, the artificial support to the oil price would again be short-lived, as US barrels will continue to flood into the market. 

Finally, the Oilholic believes the market is showing signs of rebalancing unless it is artificially tampered with, and there could be some semblance of normalcy by September-end. So as such neither is an OPEC cut needed nor are the soundbites in its favour. Perhaps the cartel might consider keeping mum for a change! That's all for the moment folks! Keep reading, keep it 'crude'!

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To email: gaurav.sharma@oilholicssynonymous.com


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

Saturday, March 11, 2017

CERAWeek 2017 ends & so does the 'OPEC put'!

It’s a wrap from CERAWeek 2017, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau telling his high net worth Houstonian audience assembled by IHS Markit, that no country would leave 173bn barrels of oil - as Canada has – in theground.

The Oilholic wonders if his ‘crude’ words would have been quite as forthcoming if he was surrounded by tree huggers in British Columbia. 

Nonetheless, as Trudeau says, it is all about tapping the tar sands ethically and responsibly, now that US President Donald Trump has approved the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline. Away from all the public relations mumbo-jumbo of the Canadian Prime Minister, it looks like the OPEC put, OPEC & non-OPEC price floor of $50, call it what you will is now over.

That’s after Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih warned the oil market not to take Riyadh’s support for granted. Here are The Oilholic’s thoughts in a detailed post for Forbes. Despite long bets by money managers, such calls appeared bereft of clear thinking, and were solely predicated on Opec rolling over its cuts beyond June, despite US producers cashing in on it.

Since Al-Falih’s quip included “we will not bear the burden of free riders” the market took notice, and WTI fell the most among benchmarks, breaching the $50 floor for the first time in 2017 as the number of operational US rigs continues to rise.

Away from the oil price, yours truly had a fascinating conversation on behalf of the International Business Times UK with Vimpar Kapur, President of Honeywell Process Solution (the multinational conglomerate’s automation unit). 

Kapur opined that process efficiencies in the oil and gas business are likely togather further momentum over the next 12-18 months as the crude world gets used to a $50s oil price. And that’s all from Houston folks! It’s been a fascinating week, but it’s time for that parting selfie, and a brief trip to Canada before the flight home to London. Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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