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Michael Kern

Michael Kern

Michael Kern is a newswriter and editor at Safehaven.com and Oilprice.com, 

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Oil Markets On Edge Ahead Of OPEC Meeting And U.S. Debt Deadline

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Oil markets are on edge as the next OPEC+ meeting and the "X date" when the U.S. government may default on its debt loom.

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Friday, May 26th, 2023

As debt ceiling negotiations seem to be entering the home stretch, fears of a US government shutdown have been subsiding this week, easing some of the pressure on oil prices. Russia and Saudi Arabia continue to confuse the market with conflicting messages, however. Consequently, WTI and Brent have been trending sideways, at $72 and $76 per barrel, respectively.

Russia Cools Down OPEC+ Expectations. Only a day after the Saudi energy minister warned market short-sellers they will be “ouching” soon, Russia’s deputy prime minister Alexander Novak poured some cold water on expectations of a production cut at the June 4 meeting of OPEC+, saying he doesn’t expect new steps. 

Solar Power Spending to Surpass Oil Investments. According to the IEA’s World Energy Investment 2023 report, global spending on renewable energy will surge to $1.7 trillion this year with solar investments rising to $650 billion and overtaking oil for the first time in history.  

US to Hold First Block Auction Since IRA Enactment. The US government will hold a sale of oil and gas drilling rights on federal lands in New Mexico and Kansas, covering more than 10,000 acres with two-thirds of acreage on offer in Cheyenne County, KS, marking the first auction since IRA was passed last year.  

Pressure Builds on COP28. More than 130 politicians from the European Union and the United States have called for the removal of the UAE’s Sultan al-Jaber, CEO of national oil company ADNOC and also President of the COP28 conference, arguing that the oil industry “obstructs” stronger climate action.

Norway Hails Major Oil Discovery. Norway-focused oil explorer AkerBP (OSL: AKRBP) has reported a new oil discovery in the Yggdrasil area of the Norwegian continental shelf, with a gross recoverable volume of up to 90 million barrels of oil, almost triple the pre-drilling estimate. 

Chevron to Quit Congo. US oil major Chevron (NYSE:CVX) has reportedly started a sale process for its oil and gas assets in Congo which could garner up to $1.5 billion, with the 31,000 boepd of production on stake becoming another part in the company’s divesting of African assets to focus on US shale. 

Canada Gas Exports Normalize. Exports of Canadian natural gas to the United States returned this week to levels seen before the onset of wildfires in Alberta, with daily volumes averaging 8.1 bcf per day, capping the upside for US natural gas futures that jumped 14% on Canada’s gas production cuts. 

Petrobras to Appeal Amazon Drilling Ban. Brazil’s national oil company Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) decided to appeal against the country’s environmental agency that banned exploration drilling in the mouth of the Amazon River, saying the company has fulfilled all technical needs for the project to be approved.  

Mozambique LNG Is Back on Track. More than 2 years after Islamic State-affiliated insurgents attacked the Mozambique LNG liquefaction plant operated by French oil major TotalEnergies (NYSE:TTE), the company is now restarting work on the project, first improving security conditions in the vicinity.  

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White House Extends Oil Services Waiver. The Biden administration extended a waiver on sanctions against Venezuela to allow four major oilfield services companies - amongst them Halliburton, Baker Hughes, and Schlumberger - to continue operations in the country with a restricted mandate.

Qatar Wants to Move into Iraqi Upstream. Qatar seems to be on the verge of contracting exploration blocks in Iraq according to Iraqi oil minister Hayan Abdul Ghani, with Baghdad introducing an annex to its 5th licensing round from 2018 and simultaneously launching its 6th licensing round.

Major Agriculture Traders Mull Merger. One of the world’s largest grain traders Bunge (NYSE:BG) is reportedly in talks to merge with rival trading company Viterra, part-owned by the Switzerland-based major Glencore (LON:GLEN), six years after a failed takeover attempt by the latter. 

Kenya Suffers Massive Outflow of Investors. Despite the discovery of 5 oil fields in the South Lokichar basin and contingent reserves of 461 MMboe, Africa-focused driller Tullow Oil (LON:TLW) will have to develop the project alone after both TotalEnergies (NYSE:TTE), and Africa Oil (TSE:AOI) withdrew from it this week.  

Billionaire Buys Into Mexico’s New Megafield. Once the richest man on earth, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim bought a 49.9% minority stake in Talos Energy’s (NYSE:TALO) Mexico unit for $125 million, seeking to tap into the hydrocarbon riches of the Zama field which is believed to contain up to 2 MMbbls.

By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com

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EXXON Mobil -0.35
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