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Tom majored in International Business at Amsterdam’s Higher School of Economics, he is Oilprice.com's Head of Operations

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Cold Spell In Permian Sends Oil Prices Even Higher

Crude prices rallied on Friday morning as a result of small outages in America’s largest shale play and ongoing political tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

As if explosions in Nigeria or landslides in Ecuador were not enough, this week has brought another risk factor that was still yet to impact prices - cold. Indeed, a massive winter storm sweeping across the US reached the Permian Basin, triggering fears of potential supply disruptions in the largest American shale play. Add to this the rubber stamping of OPEC+ production increases into March 2022, completely ignoring the inability or unwillingness of the oil group to stick to its production targets, pepper it with still-ongoing Russia-Ukraine tensions and we have the ideal circumstances for oil prices to surpass the $100 per barrel mark. Oil prices have been on the rise, with Friday’s trading session seeing Brent trading around $93 per barrel, whilst the US benchmark WTI moved to near-parity, trending above $92 per barrel.

OPEC+ Maintains Additions for March ‘22. In a ministerial meeting that lasted a record low of 16 minutes, OPEC+ agreed to extend its 400,000 b/d supply additions into March 2022, brushing aside talks of continuous underperformance of production targets and shrinking spare capacity, strengthening the supertight market sentiment.

Iraq Flags Difficulties Ramping Up Output. Amidst increasing speculation about OPEC+ continuously underperforming its production targets, Iraqi oil company BOC stated that due to limited availability of water for injection, aggravated by the southern fields’ historically elevated water cut, it will not be able to ramp up production tangibly above current levels.

Russia and China Set to Boost Gas Links. As Russian President Vladimir Putin meets his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping this weekend, Russian gas giant Gazprom is set to sign a new 30-year gas supply contract with China’s CNPC (SHA:601857) for 10 billion cubic meters a year.

US Majors Defy Senate Hearings. Board members of all four major oil companies – namely, ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), Shell (NYSE:RDS), BP (NYSE:BP) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) - that were invited to participate at a US Congress hearing about their companies’ climate change plans all declined to appear.

Shell Delays Key Nigerian Project. According to media reports, UK-based major Shell (NYSE:RDS) decided to postpone its 150,000 b/d Bonga Southwest project by another two years into 2024, dealing a huge blow to Nigeria’s upstream prospects and potentially raising the prospect of leaving the country altogether.

Saudi Aramco Mulling $50 Billion Stake Sale. Saudi Aramco (TADAWUL:2222), the national oil company of Saudi Arabia, is reportedly targeting a stake sale worth $50 billion, possibly also eyeing a secondary listing in London or Singapore.

ADNOC Reports Offshore Gas Find. ADNOC, the national oil company of the UAE, announced its first-ever offshore gas discovery in the Block 2 concession that is operated by Italy’s ENI (BIT:ENI), with preliminary estimates indicating 1.5-2 TCf of raw gas in place.

Light Oil Find Opens Up Namibian Frontier. Oil major Shell (NYSE:RDS) made a light oil discovery with its Graff-1 deepwater exploration well off the Namibian coast, the first-ever in the country’s waters, with preliminary estimates putting the discovered reserves at a respectable 300 million barrels.

Gazprom Lands Court Win Over Critics. The European Union’s General Court upheld a 2018 ruling that settled Gazprom’s (MCX:GAZP) long-standing antitrust investigation with Brussels without paying a fine, a decision that was disputed by Poland’s oil company PGNiG. 

Nigerian FPSO Explodes. A 46-year old floating production and storage vessel exploded off the coast of Nigeria, having some 50,000 barrels in storage at the moment of the blaze – it used to handle light sweet Ukpokiti crude which has not been in production since early 2020.

US-EU Summit to Promote Further LNG Exports. The energy and foreign affairs commissioners of the European Union will travel to the US next week for a US-EU Energy Council meeting that will see American exporters pitching their potential deal offers to Brussels.

Honeywell Shows Interest in Southern Libya Refinery. According to Libya’s national oil company, US tech conglomerate Honeywell (NASDAQ:HON) indicated its interest in building an oil refinery in southern Libya, with direct talks on the issue coming up in the upcoming days.

China Wins Argentina Nuclear Tender. China’s state-owned nuclear firm CNNC signed a contract with Argentina to build the $8 billion Atucha III nuclear power plant, the second overseas utilization of its Hualong One third-generation technology after Pakistan. 

India Defies Climate Calls Amid Coal Bonanza. Coal India (NSE:COALINDIA), the world's largest coal producer, is eyeing bulk exports abroad for the first time as it works to bring its total production to 1 billion tons/year, brushing aside worries that India is still dependent on imports.

By Tom Kool for Oilprice.com

 


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