Headline crude prices for the week beginning 27 November 2018 – Brent: US$63/b; WTI: US$58/b
- All eyes on OPEC as its convenes in Vienna on November 30; an extension of the supply cuts is expected, but there could be surprises
- Iran claims a ‘majority of OPEC members’ support extending the current production freeze
- Saudi Arabia has signalled that it prefers oil to trade at US$60/b, while an OPEC working panel has concluded that oil markets will only begin rebalancing in June 2018 at the earliest
- However, internal squabbles over exact metrics used to measure and monitor production continue within OPEC; Iraq will be important to watch here as its monthly production has swung widely over the last six months as it moved from clashes in Kirkuk to bumper output
- TransCanada admits spill from the Keystone pipeline were more ‘severe than expected’ but has restarted pumping at reduced pressure
- US crude inventories fell, particularly in Cushing as the closure of the Keystone pipeline reduced inward shipments. Gasoline and distillate stockpiles rose slightly.
- Active US rig count up by 8, with 9 new oil sites offsetting loss of a single gas rig. Gains mainly focused in the Permian
- Crude price outlook: Crude prices to maintain holding pattern until OPEC meeting. Extension of supply freeze expected, but unlikely to be enough to satisfy aggressive expectations. Prices likely to move into December at US$61/b (Brent) and US$56/b (WTI)
Headlines of the week
- Iraq announced a new exploration bidding round, targeting international participation. Nine blocks are on offer; five near border areas with Iran, three near Iraq’s Kuwaiti border and a single offshore block.
- Despite a spill that may take ‘several weeks’ to fully clean up, TransCanada has restarted the Keystone pipeline at reduced pressure.
- BP continues its gradual pullout from the UK North Sea, selling its stakes in the Bruce, Keith and Rhum fields to Serica UK for £300 million.
- As Shell departs Iraq’s giant Majnoon field, the competition to be its replacement heats up with BP and Eni being the latest to express interest.
- Australia E&P player FAR announced that its offshore blocks A2 and A5 in West Africa’s Gambia potentially hold up to 1.1 billion recoverable barrels. Drilling at the blocks begins in late 2018.
- Colombia’s Ecopetrol announced a US$3.5-4 billion investment plan for 2018, focusing on maintaining domestic production at 715-725,000 b/d.
- India’s ONGC Videsh has acquired a 15% stake in Block 20212A offshore Namibia from Tullow Oil, after buying a 30% stake in Block PEL0037 (also from Tullow Oil Namibia) last month.
- Shell Canada and Syncrude have both issued warnings that their synthetic crude output will see drops over November and December. Little impact is expected as it comes during a quiet period for Canadian oil sands.
- Changes in the UK’s taxation scheme have been welcomed by the North Sea oil industry, particularly the sharp drop in North Sea corporate tax rate and adjustments to encourage redevelopment of older assets.
- South Africa has issued a request to its fellow BRICS nations to assist in building a new US$10 billion 400 kb/d refinery, as net imports rise.
- As PDVSA manages its (missed) debt payments to ONGC Videsh, IndianOil Corp is considering a plan to buy Venezulean crude for the first time in six years, fitting into the recent upgrade at IOC’s 300 kb/d Paradip refinery.
- Rosneft has inked a supply deal with Greece’s Motor Oil Hellas Corinth Refineries, supplying up to 150 kb/d of crude and fuels over five years.
- As the Gas Exporting Countries Form (GECF) gathers in Bolivia, Qatar issued a warning that it expects the current LNG glut to grow significantly over the next 2-3 years, tightening only after 2025.
- After purchasing spot US LNG cargos, Poland has signed its first mid-term US LNG deal. State-run PGNIG has signed up with Centrica for nine LNG shipments across five years, working out to roughly two cargos a year.
- UK fund Ancala Partners has acquired Apache’s interest in the North Sea SAGE System and Beryl gas pipelines for an undisclosed amount.
- The Hoegh LNG project in Pakistan has collapsed, after international partners ExxonMobil, Total and Mitsubishi pulled out of the plan to build and operate an FSRU over disagreements with Turkey’s GEI
- Gulf of Mexico-focused E&P Players Talos Energy and Stone Energy are planning a US$2.5 billion merger. To be named Talos Energy, the new company will be created from 1-for-1 exchange of Stone to Talos shares
- Thailand achieved its largest corporate IPO in over a decade, as Gulf Energy Development raised some US$733 million from its public sale
- Despite investment uncertainty over Saudi Arabia’s recent political crackdown, Adnoc is moving ahead with the planned IPO for its fuels distribution unit, seeking up to US$14 billion for a 20% share sale
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