July 20, 2024
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Oil Prices Under Pressure But Sentiment Could Soon Shift

Oil prices continued to tumble this week as demand concerns and inventory build-ups added to bearish sentiment, but with an OPEC+ meeting at the end of the month and the potential of an escalation in the Gaza war things could change rapidly.

Friday, November 10th, 2023

Battered by inventory build-ups, weaker-than-expected Chinese economic data, and slackening physical demand coming from skyrocketing freight costs, oil prices have struggled this week and ICE Brent is set for a $5 per barrel week-on-week drop, settling around the $80 per barrel mark. With sentiment shifting towards a much more bearish outlook, all eyes will be on OPEC+ which, after a protracted hiatus, meets again on November 26 in Vienna.

Saudi Arabia Blames Speculators, Again. Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman claimed the recent decline in oil prices is a “ploy” that hides the real strength of the oil markets, adding that speculators are abusing export figures as they fail to distinguish them from production numbers.

US Seeks to Derail Russia’s LNG Project. The US State Department has been seeking to sanction Russia’s new large-scale LNG project Arctic LNG-2 developed by Novatek, giving companies three months until the end of January 2024 to wind down transactions with the liquefaction plant.

Venezuela Welcomes Returning Investors. French upstream company Maurel & Prom agreed to return to Venezuela with its JV partner, the national oil company PDVSA, as it entered the ownership of the Urdaneta Oeste field back in 2018 only to halt operations when sanctions were introduced.

Mexico’s First LNG Cargoes Gets Delayed. The commissioning of Mexico’s first-ever LNG export plant developed by New Fortress Energy (NASDAQ:NFE) will be delayed to December due to delays in receiving the infrastructure, even though the gas pipeline from Texas is already running.

Brimming EU Gas Stocks Depress Prices. European TTF gas prices have been gradually sliding lower to €47 per MWh amidst record gas stocks across the continent, at 189 TWh up 20% compared to the 10-year seasonal average, with a warm autumn so far delaying the start of heating season.

Oil Producers in Kurdistan Moot Export Resumption. International oil producers active in Iraqi Kurdistan – DNO, Genel Energy, Gulf Keystone, or ShaMaran – have started direct talks with Baghdad’s oil marketer SOMO in view of resuming production and selling it directly to the federal authorities.

Environmentalists Turn Against Driftwood LNG. The Sierra Club environmental group has urged the US energy regulator FERC to reject Tellurian’s request for a three-year extension to complete the construction of the $25 billion Driftwood LNG facility, citing emissions and contamination.

Nigeria Launches New Oil Grade. Buoyed by rebounding production across the country, Nigeria’s NNPC and Aiteo have launched a new grade called Nembe, previously fed into the Bonny Light stream through the frequently sabotaged Nembe Creek Trunk Line, eyeing European customers.

Chile Becomes New Battlefield for EV Dominance. Less than a month after China’s BYD presented its expansion into the Chilean market, US carmaker Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has registered its subsidiary in the country and has been looking into direct-extraction lithium projects across the country.

Small Nuclear Reactor Pioneers Give Up the Ghost. The first US company with an approved design for a small-scale nuclear reactor NuScale Power (NYSE:SMR) has cancelled its Carbon Free Power Project in Idaho due to cost overruns and generation breakeven levels surging to almost $90 per MWh.

Weak Demand Drops Palladium Below Key Threshold. Faced with slower car sales and a structural shift towards cheaper platinum, palladium prices have fallen below the $1,000 per ounce mark for the first time in five years, currently at $972/oz, shedding a hefty 42% since the beginning of this year.

Suriname Offers New Offshore Acreage. The government of Suriname is preparing 11 blocks in the nearshore and shallow offshore areas of its territorial waters for a competitive bidding round, to be finalized by May 2024, as it seeks to build on the success of TotalEnergies’ (NYSE:TTE) big oil finds.

North American Homes Confront Power Shortages. As winter approaches, the North American Electric Reliability Corp warned that more than half of the US and parts of Canada, home to some 180 million people, could experience power shortages over the upcoming months due to a lack of gas infrastructure.

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