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Tom Kool

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 Tank On Worrying Economic Data From China


Oil prices continued to sell off on Tuesday morning, with WTI losing more than 3.5% after China's PMI data for April came in lower than expected.

Chart of the Week

Last Hurrah for the US Gulf of Mexico

- Ever since Pure Oil drilled its first well approximately a mile offshore in the US Gulf of Mexico back in 1938, the region has defined deepwater drilling in the country even as the Deepwater Horizon spill has tarnished its reputation.

- Production of oil and natural gas in the US Gulf is set for an almost 20% increase over the next three years, moving from its current level of 2.2 mboepd to an all-time high of 2.6 mboepd by 2025.

- This year has already seen two new producing platforms, Shell’s 100,000 b/d Vito and BP’s 140,000 b/d Argos, to be boosted in 2024-2025 with the launches of Whale, Anchor and Salamanca that are to add a further 235,000 b/d in capacity.

- Carbon capture and storage projects will become the next thrust of offshore developments in the US Gulf of Mexico as this year’s Offshore Technology Conference is dominated by CCS panels and renewable energy.

Market Movers

- UK-based energy major BP (NYSE:BP) agreed to buy out Shell’s (LON:SHEL) 27% stake in the $20 billion Browse gas project, taking its overall ownership to 44%, overtaking operator Woodside Energy.

- US oil major ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) is seeking to recoup some of its investments into fracking projects in Colombia as the government of that Latin American country is expected to ban fracking soon.

- Surpassing analysts’ expectations, US refiner Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC) pulled off a 71% quarter-on-quarter surge in refining margins to $26/bbl in Q1 2023 and boosted its share buyback plans by $5 billion.

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

The Q1 earnings reports of oil and gas companies have so far sent mixed signals to investors – US refiners have been enjoying particularly strong results while upstream-focused players tended to stagnate – however the market was evidently not ready for Chinese economic data to come in so low. China’s PMI decline from 51.9 in March to 49.2 in April has shaken the last bastion of the oil bulls, the prospect of Chinese demand lifting oil prices out of their current apathy, and set the pace for a sizable weekly loss.

Saudi Arabia Courts Chinese Investment. According to Bloomberg, Saudi national oil company Saudi Aramco (TADAWUL:2222) is in talks with Sinopec and TotalEnergies for a $10 billion that would seek to develop the unconventional gas resources of the Jafurah gas field.   Related: BP Has Paid $1 Billion In UK Windfall Taxes

LNG Prices Remain Stubbornly Low. Imports of LNG into key Asian consumption hubs have dropped to the lowest this year according to Kpler data, coming in at 20.9 million tonnes in April, as subdued buying from China and Japan lowered JKM LNG prices to $11.5 per mmBtu.

France Signs Up for UAE Gas. French oil major TotalEnergies (NYSE:TTE) agreed to purchase LNG from Emirati national oil company ADNOC worth $1.2 billion, without disclosing the volumes for the three-year contract, securing liquefied gas supplies for the upcoming winter.

California Bans Diesel-Powered Trucks. California’s energy regulator voted to approve new emission rules that would require all medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sold in the state to be zero-mission by 2036, expecting to save $48 billion in trucking operating costs.

Japan Inks Deal on Calcasieu Pass LNG. US LNG exporter Venture Global LNG announced a deal to supply 1 million tonnes of liquefied gas per year to Japan’s JERA for a period of 20 years, only two months after it allocated 2 mtpa from the same CP2 project to China Gas Holdings.

Pool of Venezuelan Buyers in US Expands. US oil major Chevron (NYSE:CVX) has increased sales of its equity Venezuelan barrels to rival US refiners, recently delivering crude to PBF Energy (NYSE:PBF) and Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC) alongside flows to its own Pascagoula refinery.

Mexico Penalizes Pemex Dissenters. According to Reuters, employees that rejected a plan presented by national oil company Pemex to develop the giant Quesqui field last year were forced out of national energy regulator CNH, leading to a November 24 approval by the same commission.


Tanker Confiscations Back on the Agenda. Following initial reports last week that Iran seized a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker bound to the US, it turned out the escalation was a tit-for-tat response to the US’ confiscation of an Iranian cargo aboard the Suezmax vessel Suez Rajan earlier last week.

Norway to Nationalize Gas Pipelines After Concessions Run Out. Norway intends to nationalize most of its gas pipelines once their existing concessions expire in 2028 in a bid to tighten security around its key objects of infrastructure, winding down the Gassled partnership established in 2003.

Nigeria’s Refinery Restart Delayed Again. Nigeria’s 210,000 b/d Port Harcourt refinery, subject to extended rehabilitation works after a more than 3-year long standstill, indefinitely delayed the deadline of the first phase of its upgrading, keeping the African country without an operational refinery.

US Court Urges Expedited Citgo Sale. The US federal court in Delaware proposed fast-tracking the sale of the parent company of US refiner Citgo, still nominally owned by Venezuela’s PDVSA, to take advantage of high refining margins and garner at least $2.3 billion for Citgo’s creditors.

Industry Laments of Brazil Export Tax. Leading oil producers in Brazil such as Shell (LON:SHEL), TotalEnergies (NYSE:TTE) and Equinor (NYSE:EQNR) have warned that if the temporary four-month tax on oil exports (at a 9.2% rate) gets prolonged, such a move would seriously damage investment.

World Bank Expects Metals to Decline in 2023. In its latest Commodity Markets Outlook, the World Bank warned that metal prices are projected to fall by 8% in 2023 and a further 3% in 2024 on the back of weaker demand and increased supplies, especially with nickel and aluminium.

By Tom Kool for Oilprice.com\

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Leave a comment
  • M G on May 02 2023 said:
    China will release the information that best helps them game the oil markets to their benefit. It is a ruse, plain and simple. Ain't falling for it!
  • Mike Lewicki on May 02 2023 said:
    too much sensationalizing

  • Mamdouh Salameh on May 02 2023 said:
    The global oil market isn’t worried about China's PMI data for April coming lower than expected.

    The market is worried stiff about a global banking or financial crisis resulting from a collapse of three American commercial banks and also about the health of both US banking and financial systems.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

Leave a comment

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