Opinion

Your Weekly Update: 18 - 22 Sep




Last week in the world oil:

Prices

-       Oil prices got a boost, within striking distance of US$60/b, as major producers say that the global supply glut is shrinking as strong demand creates a rebalancing, as well as threats by Turkey to cut off Kurdistan's only pipeline outlet for its crude oil over its independence referendum.

Upstream

-       As Lebanon seeks to join Cyprus, Egypt and Israel in exploiting potential offshore oil and gas resources, its Parliament has approved a law outlining tax revenue structure for oil companies, as Lebanon prepares for its first offshore auction. Five offshore areas will be offered on October 12, to be taxed at 20% income tax under the new law; 46 companies have signed up for the auctions, including ExxonMobil, Shell, Eni and Total.

-       A third consecutive week of decline for US drillers, as the loss of five oil rigs was only partially offset by the gain of four gas rigs. Losses were mainly in Eagle Ford, while restarts begin in the Permian.

Downstream & Midstream

-       Phillips 66 Partners LP – the master limited partnership that operates pipelines in the Bakken basin – will buy midstream assets from its parent Phillips 66 in a US$2.4 billion deal. Under the deal, Phillips 66 Partners will acquire a 25% interest in the Dakota Access and Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company LLCs – totalling 530 kb/d of crude oil pipeline capacity. With both companies listed separately, this leaves Phillips 66 free to concentrate on refining operations, and the MLP on distribution.

-       After Harvey and Irma – and with Maria on its way – the resulting gap in Gulf refining production is proving to be a boon for European diesel exports to Latin America. Trade sources indicate that some 600,000 tons of diesel and heating oil will be heading to Brazil and Argentina from Europe, as the fuel hungry region finds volumes from its traditional sources in the US Gulf and Caribbean withdrawn. This is some three times the usual trade, and is expected to continue until end October.

Natural Gas and LNG

-       Cheniere has officially requested permission from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to place the fourth train at its Sabine Pass LNG export facility in Louisiana into service. First LNG was achieved at Train 4 in July, checking off all environmental and safety requirements. Cargo commissioning has already begun, bringing Cheniere close to its ambition of six trains at Sabine Pass, each with 4.5 mtpa capacity.

-       Algeria's Sonatrach is aiming to boost gas output at its Hassi Messaoud field by 10 mcm/d and at its Rhourde el Baguel oil field by 6 mcm/d. This attempt to up output comes as Sonatrach seeks buffer against fluctuating oil prices to stabilise government revenues. The additional volumes will come on by next year, targeted as exports to Europe.

-       Canada's Veresen is trying once again to gain US federal approval for its Jordan Cove LNG export plant in Oregon. The project has been rejected twice under the Obama administration, but the Trump presidency might be friendlier to the US$10 billion, 7.8 mtpa project targeting Asia. Meanwhile, the Eagle LNG Maxvillesmall-scale LNG facility in Florida has been approved, with capacity for some 21 mtpa of exports.

Last week in Asian oil:

Upstream

-       Saudi Aramco is moving ahead with the development of its Safaniyah, Marjan, Zuluf and Berri oilfields, handing out more than US$1.5 billion in three major offshore contracts as it continues on a US$300 billion investment plan through 2027. The technical contracts precede major development plans for the fields, which include the sixth phase of the giant Safaniyah field (with 37 billion barrels of heavy oil), a US$3 billion expansion of Marjan and a boost in production at Berri by 200 kb/d.

-       India's ONGC has announced a ‘good' offshore find near its Mumbai High offshore fields that could hold some 20 million tons of oil equivalent. Though small by international standards, it is a large discovery in India terms, with the WO 24-3 well in a different play than neighbouring Mumbai High fields, potentially opening up a new area of exploration.

Downstream & Midstream

-        Sri Lanka is in talks with the two Chinese companies to build a US$3 billion oil refinery in the new Chinese-build port of Hambantota. The proposed 115 kb/d is the second of two planned refineries in Sri Lanka, to ease pressure on the aging CPC refinery. The first, a 100 kb/d site planned with Indian Oil in Trincomalee is export-oriented, while the new Chinese site will serve both domestic needs and produce some exports.

-        A jet fuel crisis continues to brew in New Zealand, as over 200 flights have been cancelled from Auckland – the country's largest city – as the sole, private-owned pipeline delivering jet fuel to the airport from NZ's sole refinery was damaged for months without being fixed.

Natural Gas & LNG

-       The government of Papua New Guinea will be selling off its stake in Oil Search, as it seeks to pay off some US$1 billion in debt. With stakes in PNG's massive Elk and Antelope gas fields, Australia's Oil Search has a major presence in PNG, though it was beaten out by ExxonMobil to acquire InterOil earlier this year. The PNG government holds a 9.8% stake in the company, which will be sold by UBS and JP Morgan at a floor price of A$6.55 per share.

-       Bangladesh signed its fourth and fifth natural gas import deals last week, with Indonesia and Gunvor. Under the preliminary long-term agreement with Indonesia's Pertamina, Petrobangla will take in at least 1 million mtpa of LNG from Indonesia, while the contract with Gunvor is for a mixture of spot, short-term and medium-term volumes, beginning in 2018. Bangladesh has also signed a contract with Qatar to import some 2.5 mtpa of LNG from RasGas over a 15 year period for cooking fuel.

-       China's CNOOC is reviving a plan to build an LNG import terminal in Binhai, Jiangsu. Initially proposed in 2010, the US$1.7 billion project has been endorsed by CNOOC's investment committee as China's appetite for LNG continues to grow. The project has an initial capacity of 3 mtpa of LNG, with a potential phase doubling capacity to 6 mtpa. Associated power generation facility will be included in the project as well.

-       Japan's Mitsui OSK Lines is aiming to buy a stake of at least 26% in the Swan Energy FSRU off the coast of Jafrabad in Gujarat, Insia. With capacity for 5 mtpa and startup expected in 2020, the FSRU is being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries and chartered to Swan Energy by Mitsui OSK. The Japanese company will also be taking an 11% stake in Swan LNG, the Swan Energy subsidiary that will manage terminal and port facilities.



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