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Oil Prices Climb Despite Demand Destruction Claims

Despite reports from the IEA and OPEC that emphasized a decline in oil demand, oil prices jumped on Friday due to fears of Europe implementing a Russian oil ban.

Oilprice Alert: This week's Global Energy Alert breaks down Russia's latest strategy in Ukraine - namely its attempt to replicate its annexation of Crimea. Also, if you join Global Energy Alert today you will receive our 20-page research report ''5 Ways To Play The 2022 Oil Boom”

Friday, May 13th, 2022 

Falling demand has been the news of the week for oil markets, with several reports (most notably from the IEA and OPEC) slashing 2022 demand forecasts as soaring inflation and supply chain disruptions take their toll. Meanwhile, neither the EU oil ban on Russia nor China’s Covid lockdowns provided any new developments - both of which will continue to hang over oil markets in the coming days.

Saudi Aramco Becomes World's Most Valuable Company. Saudi Aramco (TADAWUL:2222) overtook Apple as the world’s most valuable company, with its market capitalization hitting $2.4 trillion this week, whilst that of its closest competitor Apple has dropped by nearly 20% since the beginning of the year. 

Hopes For Iran Nuclear Deal Fade. With the European Union’s designated negotiator Enrique Mora in Teheran this week, in a last-ditch effort trying to revive the 2015 JCPOA deal, hopes that a negotiated settlement can be found continue to wane as US Congress opposes the idea of lifting sanctions on the IRGC. 

Texas Readies for Heatwave Grid Test. The Texas power grid will be tested next week as this year's first major heatwave is set to hit the state, with daily high temperatures assumed to climb to 98° F and day-ahead power prices jumping to a six-month high of $195/MWh. 

OPEC+ Misses The Mark Yet Again. Dragged down by plummeting Russian production, continuous underperformance in Angola and Nigeria, and port disruptions impacting Kazakhstan, the collective output of OPEC+ countries was 2.7 million b/d below the targeted level, marking the worst month in terms of production discipline in the oil group’s post-pandemic history. 

Gazprom Sanctions Former Subsidiaries in Europe. Russia’s Gazprom (MCX:GAZP) has imposed sanctions on its former German unit as well as on the owner of the Polish part of the Yamal pipeline, in a move that might trigger another escalation of tensions in a segment that the EU has so far avoided sanctioning.  

Venture Global Supply Deals Make Second Terminal Reality. Having signed two LNG supply deals with ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) and Petronas, liquefied natural gas developer Venture Global LNG managed to secure buyers for 80% of the planned 20 mtpa Plaquemines liquefaction plant, bringing an FID closer. 

Petronas and Saudi Aramco Restart Refinery. Malaysia’s national oil company Petronas and Saudi Aramco (TADAWUL:2222) announced the 300,000 b/d jointly operated Pengerang refinery will resume operations soon, coming back from a 2-year hiatus caused by a deadly fire in March 2020. 

Bolsonaro Fires Energy Minister Amid Diesel Row. Only days after Brazil’s national oil company Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) hiked road fuel prices to stay in line with global levels, President Bolsonaro replaced his energy minister Bento Albuquerque, allegedly for failing to keep transportation fuel prices at bay. 

Alberta Court Moves Against Federal Environment Law. Alberta’s highest court ruled that the federal Canadian law assessing how major infrastructure projects like pipelines impact the environment is unconstitutional as it interferes with provincial powers, setting the scene for a protracted row with Ottawa.


IEA Maintains Renewable Growth Forecast. The International Energy Agency forecasts that despite energy security issues persisting globally, renewable additions in 2022 will still reach an all-time high of 320 GW capacity, driven primarily by solar power even though feedstock prices have soared this year. 

Libya’s Vying Governments Want Embargo to End. Libya’s Haftar-backed prime minister Fathi Bashagha stated that closed oil fields and ports might soon reopen after production in the country halved to 600,000 b/d in April, though there seems to be little progress in talks between the rival governments. 

PEMEX Might be In for Another Shared Field. Mexico’s authorities indicated that ENI’s (NYSE:E) Mizton well might be a part of a shared reservoir with PEMEX’s shallow-water Uchukil, potentially paving the way for a forced unitization deal along the lines of last year’s Zama agreement. 

India’s Rail Bottlenecks Aggravate Coal Shortage. India’s distributed coal stocks remain acutely low, with powergen companies’ inventories standing at a mere 8 days of consumption, as rising domestic production could not be shipped around swiftly – the number of coal trains India wields now is no different than a year ago. 

China Ramps Up Metals Exports as West Falters. China exported the highest monthly volume of aluminum since 2010 last month (45.3kt), with its Q1 zinc exports already eclipsing last year's total, in a sign that low-cost Chinese smelting has been getting a tangible competitive edge over its Atlantic Basin counterparts. 

By Josh Owens for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on May 13 2022 said:
    Oil prices don’t lie. The jump in oil prices today tells us three things. The first is that OPEC+ may have rushed to cut its forecast of global oil demand growth for 2022 based on concerns of China’s lockdown and also geopolitical and economic concerns.

    The second is that any projections by the IEA about a decline in Russia’s oil production are politically-motivated, biased and untrue. Therefore they can be ignored.

    The third thing is that oil prices are sensitive to an EU ban on Russian oil imports. However, judging by statements from the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Foreign Minister, the EU shouldn’t bank on it.

    After discussions on Monday in Budapest with the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the Hungarian Prime Minister said that he would not drop his opposition to a ban unless he receives hundreds of millions of dollars, necessary to replace Russian oil.

    His Foreign Minister echoed the sentiments of his boss by saying “we are expecting such a proposal not only concerning the transformation of our refineries which costs hundreds of millions of dollars, not only relating to the capacity increase at the Croatian pipeline which would cost several hundreds of millions of dollars, but also concerning the future of the Hungarian economy”.

    In plain English, it means that Hungary isn’t going to agree a ban on a Russian oil until it receives billions of dollars from the EU for the transformation of the country’s refineries without which these refineries can’t refine non-Russian oil and assistance for the Hungarian economy. That isn’t going to happen in a year or even two.

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

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