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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 Surges Towards $60

Brent is closing in on $60 per barrel for the first time since January 2020, fueled by declining inventories in the U.S. and China and production constraints

Friday, 5 February, 2021

Brent is closing in on $60 per barrel for the first time since January 2020. Crude inventories in both China and the U.S. declined this week, offering more evidence of a tightening market. “The physical market is also looking increasingly tight,” said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodities research at Commerzbank AG.

Shell profits drop, but boosts dividend. Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.A) reported a $4.8 billion profit for 2020, down 71% from the year before. The oil major hiked its dividend for the first quarter, following a sharp cut last year. “We are coming out of 2020 with a stronger balance sheet,” Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said in a statement.

Shell sees oil demand back to “normal” in 2022. “I believe 2022 is going to be sort of back to normal” regarding global oil demand, CEO Ben van Beurden said. However, that depends on the aviation sector experiencing a full recovery.

Oil surges as OPEC+ keep cuts in place. Saudi Arabia kept oil shipments to Asia unchanged even as the market has tightened, sending oil prices higher this week. “It looks like, at every turn, Saudi seems to want to support the market,” Michael Hiley, energy trader with LPS Futures, told Bloomberg. “If demand really picks up, we could be short oil pretty quickly, because U.S. production isn’t going to come back fast.” At the same time, division may increase between OPEC+ members as prices continue to rise.

Engine No. 1 pans Exxon strategy. Engine No. 1, an investment firm that has taken a large stake in ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) and has sought changes to the board and to corporate strategy, criticized the oil giant’s leadership and issued a statement lambasting the company’s latest moves as insufficient. “A Board that has underperformed this dramatically and defied shareholder sentiment for this long has not earned the right to choose its own new members or pack itself in the face of calls for change,” Engine No. 1 said. The firm said that Exxon’s current course ensures “continued value destruction.” Related: South Korea To Build World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm

Supreme Court to hear pipeline case. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a high-profile case involving the use of eminent domain. The PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC is looking to condemn land in Pennsylvania from private citizens in order to build the project that would carry shale gas to refineries on the east coast. The case could have broad repercussions over how energy companies can use eminent domain.

Biden restarts Vineyard wind. The Biden administration said on Wednesday it would restart permitting for the first major U.S. offshore wind farm, after the Trump administration froze the process.

Biden DOE nominee advances. Jennifer Granholm, nominated to head the Department of Energy, easily cleared a committee vote, suggesting she will have little trouble earning confirmation. She voiced support for U.S. LNG exports even as she championed climate action.

Ford to double EV investment. Ford (NYSE: F) said it would spend $22 billion on EVs through 2025, twice its earlier plan.

Apple to invest $3.6 billion into Kia Motors. Kia Motors (KRX: 000270) surged nearly 15% after local media reported that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) would invest $3.6 billion in the company to build out EVs.

Chesapeake Energy cuts 15% of staff. Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) said it would cut 15% of its staff as it prepares to exit bankruptcy.

China’s coal plants 3x more than rest of world. China added 38.4 GW of new coal capacity in 2020, more than three times built in all of the rest of the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended global energy investment trends. The pandemic has not broken but intensified global energy trends that emerged on the eve of COVID-19, whether it be the collapse of coal-fired power generation, the growing surplus of oil production, or the booming interest in renewables. Related: Trading Giant Gunvor: $60 Could Be The Ceiling For Oil Prices

The green industries minting billionaires. Want to get rich quick while playing a part in fighting climate change? Here are the clean energy sectors that have been creating billionaires.

$1 trillion in stranded assets for pipelines. A new report from Global Energy Monitor finds that 212,000 kilometers worth of pipeline is under construction or on the drawing board, roughly equivalent to the entire length of the U.S. highway system. The report says that could result in $1 trillion getting stranded as the energy transition accelerates.

Chevron bids $1.13 billion for Noble Midstream Partners. Chevron (NYSE: CVX) said on Friday it had offered to buy Noble Midstream Partners LP in a deal valuing the company at $1.13 billion. The decision comes just a few months after Chevron bought the upstream operator, Noble Energy.

Interior cancels offshore Alaska lease sale. The U.S. Department of Interior canceled work on a propose lease sale off Alaska’s southcentral coast, following President Biden’s executive order pausing leasing on federal lands.

South Korea to build $43 billion offshore wind. South Korea unveiled $43.2 billion plan to build the world’s largest wind power plant by 2030.

Canada oil and gas deals surge 468%. M&A transactions in Canada in the fourth quarter last year were worth US$10.01 billion, up by 468.3 percent from the previous quarter and a surge of 504.2 percent compared to the last four quarter average of US$1.66 billion, according to data from GlobalData cited by World Pipelines.

By Tom Kool for Oilprice.com

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Leave a comment
  • George Doolittle on February 06 2021 said:
    The USA remains by far the World's largest exporter of energy product to include being the World's largest energy product so why prices have surged to such an extent still remains very much a mystery.

    The most simple explanation is that there is a massive US economic boom well underway and this is being reflected in a much higher price for oil.

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