Showing posts with label US oil exports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US oil exports. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Crude musings at Platts LOF & IPWeek

A plethora of ongoing events meant the Oilholic ditched the comforts of suburbia last week and camped out at London’s Park Lane, with its row of hotels playing host to some crude events. 

For starters S&P Global Platts’ London Oil Forum 2018 made for an interesting Monday (19 Feb). Talk of the forum was, of course, the eastward direction of crude cargoes, as more and more oil tankers from the US head to Asian shores. There was tacit agreement among delegates at the Platts event that North American crude production will continue to grow, dominated by shale, leading to a relative surge in US exports.

Chris Midgley, Global Director of Analytics at Platts, noted: "Lot more US crude will move into Asia, primarily lighter crude for independent Asian refiners with less complex kit."

Platts' own observation, in tandem with those of rival data aggregators, also suggests that global production is growing a lot lighter. That's because the OPEC and non-OPEC production quota cut took heavy and medium crude exports to Asia into a net decline in 2017.


Additionally, Platts expects 2020 to be hugely disruptive from a crude cracking standpoint as nearly 3 million barrels per day (bpd) of fuel oil will have to "produced differently."

Right after the Platts LOF came the International Petroleum Week 2018, Tuesday through to Thursday, where yours truly also donned an event speaker’s hat. More on that later.  

On the very first day of IPWeek, UAE oil minister Suhail Al Mazrouei, said plans for an OPEC and non-OPEC producers’ ‘super-group’ were well and truly underway, and that the producers, while satisfied with the reduction in global inventories, had not quite reached their end-goal of achieving the kind of market balance they were aspiring for yet.

Elsewhere, BP Boss Bob Dudley told delegates the energy industry was in a race to lower carbon emissions, "not in a race to renewables"; which was one of the standout quotes of the event. 

Trump versus Iran, and India's crude oil demand were other burning topics. Platts also unveiled an agreement to track UAE oil inventories using blockchain. And the event ended with a lively debate organised by Gulf Intelligence, with the motion being ‘US Oil & Gas will steal market share from Gulf producers in Asia.

The Oilholic joined Dr Carole Nakhle, CEO of Crystol Energy, in arguing against the motion, with Amrita Sen, Energy Aspects’ Chief Oil Analyst and David Sheppard, Energy Markets Editor of the Financial Times, supporting the motion.  

In a nutshell, Dr Nakhle and this blogger’s argument against the motion was a simple one – as the demand mix evolves, and much of the incremental demand comes from Asia, there is in fact room for everyone, and the impact of US exports should not be exaggerated or oversimplified. 

At the beginning, the audience was 61% in favour of the motion and 39% against. However, in a final vote upon the conclusion of the debate, the Nakhle-Sharma duo managed to sway audience opinion to 65% against the motion, with those in favour of it down to 35%! 

Overall, a fun end to a crude week. That’s all for the moment folks! Next stop, Houston, Texas for IHS CERAWeek! Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2018. Photo1: Chris Midgley, S&P Global Platts’ ‎Director of Analytics, speaks at the data aggregator’s London Oil Forum. Photo 2: UAE Oil Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei  (left) talks to CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick at the International Petroleum Week, London, UK © Gaurav Sharma 2018. Photo 3: IPWeek Debate Participants at Middle East Energy Summit © Gulf Intelligence 2018.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Preparing for an oil slump away from US pumps

The Oilholic is delighted to be back in lovely San Francisco, California, some 5350 miles west of London town. And what a 'crude' contrast it has been between two visits - when yours truly was last here little less than two years ago, the oil price was in three figures and our American cousins were (again!) bemoaning oil prices at the pump, not all that unaware about even higher prices we pay in Europe.

Not so anymore – for we’re back to under $3 per gallon (that’s 3.785 litres to Europeans). Back in January, CNBC even reported some pumps selling at rock bottom prices of as little as 46 cents per gallon in eastern US; though its doubtful you’ll find that price anywhere in California. 

Nonetheless, the Bay Area’s drivers are smiling a lot more and driving a lot more, though not necessarily honking a lot less in downtown San Francisco. By and large, you might say its happy days all around; that’s unless you run into an oil and gas industry contact. Most traders here are pretty prepared for first annual decline in global oil production since 2009, underpinned by lower US oil production this year.

Ratings agency Moody’s predicts a peak-to-trough decline in US production of at least 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) that is about to unfold. On a related note, Genscape expects North American inventories to remain at historically high levels for 2016, and production to fall by -581,000 bpd in 2016, and -317,000 bpd in 2017, as surging blended Canadian production is expected to grow at +84,000 bpd year-over-year in 2016.

Most reckon the biggest US shale declines will occur in the Bakken followed by the Eagle Ford, with Permian showing some resilience. Genscape adds that heavy upgrader turnarounds in Spring 2016 will impact near-term US imports from Canada.

All things being even, and despite doubts about China’s take-up of black gold, most Bay Area contacts agree with the Oilholic that we are likely to end 2016 somewhere in the region of $50 per barrel or just under.

As for wider domino effects, job losses within the industry are matter of public record, as are final investment decision delays, capital and operating expenditure cuts that the Oilholic has been written about on more than one occasion in recent times. Here in the Bay Area, it seems technology firms conjuring up back office to E&P software solutions for the oil and gas business are also feeling the pinch.

Chris Wimmer, Vice President and Senior Credit Officer at Moody's, also reckons the effects of persistently low crude oil prices and slowing demand in the commodities sectors are rippling through industrial end markets, weakening growth expectations for the North American manufacturing sector.

Industry conditions are unfavourable for almost half of the 15 manufacturing segments that Moody's rates, with companies exposed to the energy and natural resource sectors at the greatest risk for weakening credit metrics.

As a result, Moody's has lowered its expectations for median industry earnings growth to a decline of 2%-4% in 2016, from its previous forecast for flat to 1% growth this year. "This prolonged period of low oil prices initially affected companies in the oil & gas and mining sectors, but is spreading to peripheral end markets," Wimmer said.

"Slackening demand and cancelled or deferred orders in the commodities sectors will constrain growth for a growing number of end markets as the fallout from commodities weakness and lackluster economic growth expands."

Everyone from Caterpillar to Dover Corp has already warned of lower profits owing to weak equipment sales to customers in the agriculture, mining, and oil and gas end markets. The likelihood of deteriorating performance will continue to increase until the supply and demand of crude oil balance and macroeconomic weakness subsides, Wimmer concluded.

Finally, as the Oilholic prepares to head home, not a single US analyst one has interacted with seems surprised by a Bloomberg report out today confirming the inevitable – that China will surpass the US as the top crude oil importer this year. As domestic shale production sees the US import less, China’s oil imports are seen rising from an average of 6.7 million bpd in 2015 to 7.5 million bpd this year.

And just before one takes your leave, Brent might well be sliding below $40 again but all the talk here of a $20 per barrel oil price seems to have subsided. Well it’s the end of circling the planet over an amazing 20 days! Next stop London Heathrow and back to the grind. That's all from San Francisco folks. Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’! 

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To email: gaurav.sharma@oilholicssynonymous.com

© Gaurav Sharma 2016. Photo I: Vintage Tram in Downtown San Francisco. Photo II: Gas prices in Fremont. Photo III: Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, USA © Gaurav Sharma, March 2016.

Contact:

For comments or for professional queries, please email: gaurav.sharma@oilholicssynonymous.com

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