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Josh Owens is the Content Director at Oilprice.com. An International Relations and Politics graduate from the University of Edinburgh, Josh specialized in Middle East and…

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OPEC+ Powerless As Oil Prices Near $20

With OPEC and its partners failing to inject some bullish sentiment into oil markets with their historic production cut deal, our analysts recently shared their forecasts on where oil will go from here. Keep up to date with a risk-free trial of Global Energy Alert.

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Chart of the Week

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-    The EIA’s latest Drilling Productivity Report estimates declines in production across all major shale basins next month.

-    The EIA’s latest Drilling Productivity Report estimates declines in production across all major shale basins next month. 

-    The Permian basin is on track to lose 76,000 bpd in May, month-on-month, ending a decade of nearly uninterrupted growth.

-    Natural gas production is also set to decline. The Permian will lose 32 million cubic feet per day. The much larger Appalachian basin will lose 326 mcf/d in May.

Market Movers

-    ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) sold $9.5 billion in debt this week, just a month after it sold $8.5 billion in debt. “The logic behind Exxon’s deal was to stock up further on cash while the market is still open to issuers of new debt,” Reuters reported

-    Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.A) ended force majeure on exports of Nigeria’s Forcados crude oil after a pipeline reopened. 

-    Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) and Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) both saw creditdowngrades by Wells Fargo and Scotiabank. 

Tuesday April 14, 2020

Oil has given up all the gains it had made since the start of the month as markets come to view the OPEC+ deal as inadequate. OPEC+ agreed to cut nearly 10 mb/d, and depending on who is doing the accounting, additional cuts from other non-OPEC countries take the reductions up close to 20 mb/d. In reality, however, the market-based cuts from the likes of the U.S. will occur anyways and won’t be switched off overnight. Oil showed little life after the historic deal was announced, highlighting the magnitude of the massive drop in global demand. 

Analysts say OPEC+ deal comes up short. Goldman Sachs said it was “too little and too late” for the oil market. JBC Energy said it was “just a plaster on an open wound.” The 9.7-mb/d OPEC+ cut is likely not going to be enough to halt the build in oil inventories. Goldman estimates that even with full compliance of the OPEC+ cuts, another 4.1 mb/d of shut-ins are likely by May.  Related: Why The OPEC+ Output Cut Is Irrelevant

Duration of OPEC+ deal questioned. OPEC+ agreed to a two-year deal in an attempt to inspire confidence about market stability. However, analysts also questioned the solidity of that commitment. “The current deal has been forged under duress and is much more likely to fall apart over time,” Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at SEB, said in a statement. “Saudi Arabia’s economic need for a production volume of 12-13m bl/day in a $50/bl world, and Russia’s strong distaste for production cuts as a means for achieving higher prices, are fundamentals which the current deal cannot circumvent.”

Saudis say more cuts might be needed. Saudi Arabia said that more cuts are possible. “Flexibility and pragmatism will enable us to continue to do more if we have to,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told reporters on a conference call yesterday. “We have to watch what's happening with demand destruction or demand improvement, depending on how things evolve.”

IMF: Worst downturn since 1930s depression. Oil fell back not only because of the OPEC+ deal coming up short, but also because the global economic outlook is dire. The IMF warned on Tuesday that global GDP will shrink by 3 percent in 2020, and that the economic shock would be worse than the recession a decade ago.

Texas RRC considers cuts. The Texas Railroad Commission held a hearing on Tuesday to weigh a proposed cut in production in the state. Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE: PXD) CEO Scott Sheffield said the state should order a 20 percent cut in production, which would amount to a 1-mb/d reduction. Odds are low, according to some analysts. “It’s a very small minority that wants to take action so it’s hard to imagine the commissioners will impose limits”, Regina Mayor, KPMG International’s global head of energy, told Bloomberg. “It’d not only be un-American but unimaginably un-Texan.”

China’s imports rise. China’s oil imports rose in March by 4.5 percent year-on-year, as refiners took advantage of cheap crude to stock up. 

Saudi Arabia says U.S. shale was not a target. Saudi Arabia said that U.S. oil producers were not the target of the recent price war. “I made it clear that it was not on our radar or our intention to create any type of damage to their industry,” Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said


Fracking company hires restructuring advisers. FTS International (NYSE: FTSI), a hydraulic fracturing company, hired advisers to plan for a debt restructuring. 

Gazprom: oil could hit $45 this year. If oil demand rebounds then oil prices could rebound to $45 per barrel by the end of the year, the chief executive of Gazprom said. 

Shell shuts production in Gulf on Exxon leak. Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.A)said that a leak at an offshore pipeline operated by ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) forced Shell to shut in production at its 100,000-bpd Perdido platform in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. 

Chevron suspends work at Tengiz site. The Chevron (NYSE: CVX) led Kazakhstan venture will suspend construction work at the $45 billion Tengiz expansion project due to the coronavirus outbreak. Dozens of cases of the virus have been reported at a workers’ camp near the field.  Related: Political Battle Could Jeopardize World’s Most Spectacular Oil Boom

Trump admin denies requests for royalty relief. The Interior Department said it would not issue blanket royalty relief for oil and gas companies, but would offer relief on a case-by-base basis. 

Saudis take $1 billion stake in European oil companies. Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund invested $1 billion in four European oil majors – Equinor (NYSE: EQNR), Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.A), Total (NYSE: TOT) and Eni (NYSE: E)

More than half of global licensing rounds could be canceled. The pandemic and the collapse of oil prices could lead to more than half of global licensing rounds for new oil and gas offerings getting canceled, according to Rystad Energy. “This year was slated to be another remarkable year for exploration with about 45 countries launching at least 52 lease rounds, about 60% of them in offshore areas,” Rystad said in a report. Half of those could be canceled. 

Argentina’s Vaca Muerta on life support. Argentina’s YPF (NYSE: YPF) cut production at its flagship Loma Campana field by 50 percent as demand collapses and pipelines clog up. The Vaca Muerta, one of the most exciting shale basins in the world outside of North America is in freefall due to low oil prices. 

By Josh Owens for Oilprice.com 

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on April 14 2020 said:
    Production cuts no matter how big they are will hardly have a positive impact on oil prices while the coronavirus outbreak is raging. It is oil down the drain.

    Wouldn't be far better for countries of the world to implement the most stringent measures to control the outbreak. This will enable them to reduce the duration of the lockdown and open their countries to business as soon as possible rather than wasting their time on negotiating production cuts that are futile in the current circumstances.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

Leave a comment

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