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Tom Kool

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

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Oil Prices Bounce Back As Market Demand Recovers

Oil Prices

President Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure bill did a lot to counter fears of Covid sweeping through China, with oil prices beginning to bounce back.

Chart of the Week

-     July fuel demand in India rebounded to its highest since April as New Delhi cleared restrictions and lockdowns, netting a 3% month-on-month increase to a total of 16.83 million tons. 

- The rebound might have been even more pronounced, were it not for fuel prices rising to all-time highs, triggered by a chaotic taxation regime. 

- In India, petroleum products are not included in the goods and services tax regime, meaning every state can set its own fuel tax levies and they have been on the rise throughout 2021, up 20% year-on-year already. 

- Analysts anticipate India surpassing its pre-pandemic consumption readings in Q4-2021, with fuel pricing remaining the primary factor in the extent of demand recovery. 

- Crude imports in June-July dropped to average 2014-2015 levels of 3.5 mbpd, but August loadings have surged to a healthy 4.2 mbpd on the back of demand recovery. 

Market Movers

- Saudi Aramco (TADAWUL:2222) saw its Q2 results surge as higher oil prices brought its net profit to $25.5 billion, quadrupling year-on-year. Aramco’s capex infrastructure has been increasing q-o-q as the Saudi NOC seeks to ramp up offshore spare production capacity. 

- Australian miner BHP (NYSE:BHP) managed to stave off a union strike at the Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world’s largest, though negotiations are still yet to yield results. With copper prices almost 25% up on the year, the strike would see copper skyrocket. 

- US electric vehicle producer Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) saw its July sales in China plunge by almost 70% month-on-month, despite having dropped the starting price for Model 3 sedans, sapping confidence in future prospects.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Oil prices rebounded from last week’s losses as the market seemed to shrug off fears of Chinese lockdowns, with demand strength across the Atlantic overshadowing COVID-related concerns. It is assumed President Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill will boost oil product demand and lift US economic performance in the short-to-mid term, providing much-needed support for prices. 

IPCC Report Targets Methane. The landmark report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change calls on the global community to make “strong, rapid and sustained reductions” in methane emissions alongside CO2-related initiatives. Having 80 times the warming power of CO2 per unit of mass, methane nevertheless has a much shorter atmospheric lifetime of some 20 years. 

Iran Cuts Electricity Supply to Iraq. Facing unprecedentedly high domestic power demand, Iran has cut electricity exports to Iraq, despite there being a US waiver allowing it. Iran routinely exports some 2GW to its neighbors, but this August its exports dropped more than tenfold, to 150MW.

US Refiner Seeks EV Battery Move. The US’ fourth-largest refiner, Philips 66 (NYSE:PSX), is mulling a larger move towards electric vehicle batteries and EV storage systems as it seeks to leverage its graphite know-how and existing non-fossil retailing solutions.

Cargill Reports Largest-Ever Profit. The largest privately-held US company, the agriculture giant Cargill, recorded the highest-ever net income in its 156-year history with its 2021 fiscal year results, amounting to $4.93 billion. Following a brief one-year pause in COVID-stricken 2020, Cargill resumed making its results public. 

China cutting runs as Delta variant hits refining. China’s state-owned oil refiner Sinopec (NYSE:SHI) is cutting run rates by 5-10% across China as strict government-mandated mobility curtailments and restrictive measures slacken its demand nationwide. 

Petrobras Wants to Emulate Guyana. The Brazilian state oil company Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) plans to drill two wildcats in the Foz do Amazonas offshore basin, seeking to replicate the drilling success of Guyana and Suriname. Petrobras controls all six blocks in the basin after BP and Total bailed out of the project. Related: Do Lithium Batteries Pose A Major Fire Hazard?

Rio Tinto Mismanages Supergiant Mongolian Mine. The WSJ reports that an expert group found that the main reason why Rio Tinto’s (NYSE:RIO) largest copper project, the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia, has seen its initial $5.3 billion budget expand by another $1.5 billion, lies in the mismanagement of the asset. Rio Tinto shares dropped 3% over the week. 

ExxonMobil Suspended from US Climate Group. US oil major ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) was unseated from the Climate Leadership Council, a group promoting a US federal carbon price, following a leaked recording of a company lobbyist stating the firm is watering down climate measures with the White House. 

Billionaire-Backed Startup to Search Greenland for EV Metals. KoBold Metals, a mineral exploration company backed by Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, signed an agreement with Bluejay Mining (LON:JAY) to join the search for nickel, copper, cobalt and other metals in Greenland’s Disko-Nuussuaq acreage, Reuters reports.  

Canada Eyes Asia Pacific Exports. Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, with a throughput capacity of 590kbpd, shall be ready by December 2022, allowing Canadian oil producers to export crude to East Asian markets. CNR (TSE:CNR), Suncor (NYSE:SU), Imperial Oil (TSE:IMO), and others have already claimed their stake in the pipeline’s offtake. 

Mozambique Retakes Key LNG Port with Rwandan Help. The strategically located Mocimboa da Praia port town was retaken by joint Mozambique-Rwandan forces, presumably taking the first step in restarting the halted 13 mtpa Mozambique LNG project operated by TotalEnergies (NYSE:TTE)

Russia Raises Metals Taxation. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his government would increase the mineral extraction tax on metals in 2022, the third time since the start of this year that the Kremlin hikes taxes on metals as it seeks to fill its deficit budget. 

Japan Ends 300 Years of Trading Rice Futures. The first commodity exchange in the world, the Japanese Dojima Exchange trading rice futures, will end trading in June 2022 as Japan’s agriculture ministry refused to reissue its license, arguing the traded volumes were too small to maintain trades.

By Tom Kool for Oilprice.com 

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