Crude rally rooted in geopolitics: Opec+ delegates

  • Spanish Market: Crude oil
  • 25/01/22

The recent rally in oil prices has been stoked by geopolitical risks and fuel switching, rather than demand-side improvements alone, some Opec+ delegates told Argus. This shift in focus away from demand could suggest that the coalition is leaning towards another monthly increase of just 400,000 b/d in crude quotas when it next meets on 2 February, after it failed to achieve its output target last month.

Some Opec+ delegates suggested that the current price surge has been led by geopolitics. Four incidents have rattled some of the group's largest producers in January alone, including protests in Kazakhstan and a 24-hour outage at the Iraq-Ceyhan pipeline. Abu Dhabi intercepted a missile in an attack claimed by the Houthis yesterday, after a similar event on 17 January killed three people and caused a fire at oil tanks in the UAE. Although the incidents did not cause any significant output losses, they threatened some of the few Opec+ producers with spare production capacity.

As Ice Brent futures with March delivery are nearing $88/bl today, questions are being raised over a prospective Opec+ response to curtail prices. The group has repeatedly taken the path of least resistance through 400,000 b/d monthly target increases to unwind its outstanding cuts by the end of this year.

The IEA last week signalled that Opec+ efforts to bring back 4.4mn b/d of crude output this year could tighten the group's spare capacity — mainly in Saudi Arabia and the UAE — to 2.6mn b/d in the second half of 2022.

Meanwhile, de facto non-Opec leader Russia — which is gradually nearing its 10.23mn b/d limit, as estimated by the IEA — only increased flows by 10,000 b/d in December, even though the country gained an extra 100,000 b/d in its quota volume. Output recovery can prove difficult after halting a well, even if quotas allow increases, said Pavel Zavalny, chairman of the energy committee in Russia's lower parliamentary house the Duma. Potential US and EU sanctions in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine could also weigh on the country's supply.

Argus estimated that Opec+ deal participants fell 650,000 b/d short of their collective December target, as a result of infrastructural issues, underinvestment and sabotage. But at the moment, most Opec+ countries would probably reject a mechanism that allowed other coalition members to raise their output and make up for the shortfalls, two delegates said. These objections would likely simmer down as the deal progresses and more countries in the group begin exhausting their capacity, one of the two sources added.

Some delegates pointed to the demand outlook being destabilised recently by fears that the Covid-19 Omicron variant could trigger a new wave of lockdowns. But the IEA recently raised its global oil demand estimates by 200,000 b/d for 2021 and 2022 — resulting in growth of 5.5mn b/d and 3.3mn b/d, respectively — as a result of softer-than-expected Covid restrictions. US bank Goldman Sachs and UK lender Barclays have raised their oil price forecasts for this year, both citing a lower-than-expected Omicron effect to date.

One Opec+ delegate suggested that some of this demand growth could be short-lived, warning that consumption could be buoyed by fuel switching, as was the case late last year in response to shortages in gas and other energy markets.

Demand growth could be partly met by rising production from those Opec members exempted from the output restraint deal. Libyan output recovered to 1.2mn b/d by 17 January, after the restart of four fields in the west of the country. Venezuelan production rose to a 22-month high of 750,000 b/d in December, thanks to higher imports of Iranian condensate and the use of domestic refinery products to dilute extra-heavy crude supply. Iranian production has largely plateaued near 2.46mn-2.47mn b/d in recent months, but remains at highs last seen in April 2019.

Key consumers are also attempting to make additional supply available through a US-led, six-nation co-ordinated draw from strategic petroleum reserves, although only Washington has so far released crude as part of the initiative. The US, India and Japan all urged Opec+ to consider accelerating its production increases in the fourth quarter last year.


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18/06/24

Tropical storm warning for South Texas coast: Update

Tropical storm warning for South Texas coast: Update

Updates with closure of Galveston, Texas City ports. New York, 18 June (Argus) — A tropical storm warning has been issued for parts of South Texas and northeastern Mexico, bringing with it the risk of heavy rainfall and flooding. The warning is in effect for the Texas coast from Port O'Connor south to the mouth of the Rio Grande, as well as the northeastern coast of Mexico, according to the National Hurricane Center. "The disturbance is very large with rainfall, coastal flooding, and wind impacts likely to occur far from the center along the coasts of Texas and northeastern Mexico," the center said overnight. Maximum sustained winds this morning remained near 40 mph and the disturbance is forecast to become a tropical storm by Wednesday. The system has been classified as a potential tropical cyclone by the center since it has not yet become better organized, but is expected to become the first named storm system of the year by early Wednesday. The port of Corpus Christi in South Texas and the Houston Ship Channel remained open as of Tuesday morning, but the nearby ports of Galveston and Texas City closed to inbound and outbound shipping traffic at 10pm ET Monday due to heavy weather, the US Coast Guard said. The system was expected to disrupt ship-to-ship transfer operations off the Texas coast as of Monday evening because of heavy seas. In the Gulf of Mexico, the transfer typically is from an Aframax or Suezmax onto a very large crude carrier (VLCC) at designated lightering zones near Corpus Christi, Galveston and Beaumont-Port Arthur. Prolonged lightering delays can prevent crude tanker tonnage from becoming available and exert upward pressure on freight rates, while also adding to demurrage fees. The storm is expected to turn towards the west-northwest and west tonight and Wednesday, with the system forecast to approach the western Gulf coast late Wednesday, the NHC said. Rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches are seen across northeast Mexico into South Texas, with maximum totals of 15 inches possible. Flash and urban flooding are likely to follow with river flooding. By Stephen Cunningham and Tray Swanson Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Tropical storm warning for South Texas coast


18/06/24
18/06/24

Tropical storm warning for South Texas coast

New York, 18 June (Argus) — A tropical storm warning has been issued for parts of South Texas and northeastern Mexico, bringing with it the risk of heavy rainfall and flooding. The warning is in effect for the Texas coast from Port O'Connor south to the mouth of the Rio Grande, as well as the northeastern coast of Mexico, according to the National Hurricane Center. "The disturbance is very large with rainfall, coastal flooding, and wind impacts likely to occur far from the center along the coasts of Texas and northeastern Mexico," the center said overnight. Maximum sustained winds this morning remained near 40 mph and the disturbance is forecast to become a tropical storm by Wednesday. The system has been classified as a potential tropical cyclone by the center since it has not yet become better organized, but is expected to become the first named storm system of the year by early Wednesday. The system was expected to disrupt ship-to-ship transfer operations off the Texas coast as of Monday evening because of heavy seas. In the Gulf of Mexico, the transfer typically is from an Aframax or Suezmax onto a very large crude carrier (VLCC) at designated lightering zones near Corpus Christi, Galveston and Beaumont-Port Arthur. Prolonged lightering delays can prevent crude tanker tonnage from becoming available and exert upward pressure on freight rates, while also adding to demurrage fees. The storm is expected to turn towards the west-northwest and west tonight and Wednesday, with the system forecast to approach the western Gulf coast late Wednesday, the NHC said. Rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches are seen across northeast Mexico into South Texas, with maximum totals of 15 inches possible. Flash and urban flooding are likely to follow with river flooding. By Stephen Cunningham Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Iran rebukes G7 over nuclear warning: Update


17/06/24
17/06/24

Iran rebukes G7 over nuclear warning: Update

Adds quotes from IAEA director general Dubai, 17 June (Argus) — Iran's foreign ministry has called on the G7 to distance itself from "destructive policies of the past" after the group issued a statement condemning Tehran's recent nuclear programme escalation. "Unfortunately, some countries, driven by political motives and by resorting to baseless and unproven claims, attempt to continue their failed and ineffective policy of imposing and maintaining sanctions against the Iranian nation," the foreign ministry's spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said on 16 June. Kanaani advised the G7 "to learn from past experiences and distance itself from destructive past policies". His comments were in response to a joint statement from G7 leaders on 14 June warning Iran against advancing its nuclear enrichment programme. The leaders said they would be ready to enforce new measures if Tehran were to transfer ballistic missiles to Russia. The G7's reference to Iran comes on the heels of a new resolution passed by the board of governors of the UN's nuclear watchdog the IAEA . The resolution calls on Iran to step up co-operation and reverse its decision to restrict the agency access to nuclear facilities by de-designating inspectors. Kanaani said "any attempt to link the war in Ukraine to the bilateral co-operation between Iran and Russia is an act with only biased political goals", adding that some countries are "resorting to false claims to continue sanctions" against Iran. Tehran will continue its "constructive interaction and technical co-operation" with the IAEA, Kanaani said. But the agency's resolution is "politically biased", he said. Not an "anti-Iran" policy In an interview with the Russian daily newspaper Izvestia published today, IAEA director general Rafael Grossi refused claims of political bias. "We do co-operate with Iran. I don't deny this. This is important for inspection. My Iranian colleagues often say that Iran is the most inspected country in the world. Well, it is, and for good reason. But this is not enough," Grossi said, adding that the IAEA does not adhere to an "anti-Iran policy". Grossi also stressed the need for countries to return to diplomacy with Iran, while expressing concerns over the expansion of its nuclear programme. "Russia plays a very important role in this diplomacy, trying to keep the Iranian programme within a predictable and peaceful framework. But again, everything needs to be controlled," he said. The IAEA's new resolution and the reference to Iran in the G7 statement could be the start of a more concerted effort to raise pressure on Tehran over its nuclear programme. "What is happening right now is the process of accumulation of resolutions, so that when the day comes and the IAEA makes a referral to the UN Security Council, there will be enough resolutions to make a case for action at the security council level," a diplomatic source told Argus . Iran is enriching uranium to as high as 60pc purity. Near 90pc is considered to be weapons grade, according to the IAEA. By Bachar Halabi Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Japex takes control of Norway-focused upstream venture


17/06/24
17/06/24

Japex takes control of Norway-focused upstream venture

Tokyo, 17 June (Argus) — Japanese upstream firm Japex has acquired a majority stake in Longboat Japex from London-listed independent Longboat Energy to take full control of the Norwegian oil and gas joint venture. Japex spent $2.5mn to buy the 50.1pc stake, which will completed during July-September this year, Japex said. It bought a 49.9pc stake in Longboat Japex from Longboat Energy in May last year, with the UK firm last year looking to raise extra funds through asset sales, farm-down deals or issuing new equity. By Reina Maeda Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Iran rebukes G7 after warning over nuclear escalation


17/06/24
17/06/24

Iran rebukes G7 after warning over nuclear escalation

Dubai, 17 June (Argus) — Iran's foreign ministry has called on the G7 to distance itself from "destructive policies of the past" after the group issued a statement condemning Tehran's recent nuclear programme escalation. "Unfortunately, some countries, driven by political motives and by resorting to baseless and unproven claims, attempt to continue their failed and ineffective policy of imposing and maintaining sanctions against the Iranian nation," the foreign ministry's spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said on 16 June. Kanaani advised the G7 "to learn from past experiences and distance itself from destructive past policies". His comments were in response to a joint statement from G7 leaders on 14 June warning Iran against advancing its nuclear enrichment programme. The leaders said they would be ready to enforce new measures if Tehran were to transfer ballistic missiles to Russia. The G7's reference to Iran comes on the heels of a new resolution passed by the board of governors of the UN's nuclear watchdog the IAEA . The resolution calls on Iran to step up co-operation and reverse its decision to restrict the agency access to nuclear facilities by de-designating inspectors. Kanaani said "any attempt to link the war in Ukraine to the bilateral co-operation between Iran and Russia is an act with only biased political goals", adding that some countries are "resorting to false claims to continue sanctions" against Iran. Tehran will continue its "constructive interaction and technical co-operation" with the IAEA, Kanaani said. But the agency's resolution is "politically biased", he said. The IAEA's new resolution and the reference to Iran in the G7 statement could be the start of a more concerted effort to raise pressure on Tehran over its nuclear programme. "What is happening right now is the process of accumulation of resolutions, so that when the day comes and the IAEA makes a referral to the UN Security Council, there will be enough resolutions to make a case for action at the security council level," a diplomatic source told Argus . Iran is enriching uranium to as high as 60pc purity. Near 90pc is considered to be weapons grade, according to the IAEA. By Bachar Halabi Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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