Friday August 30, 2019
1. BP exits Alaska, ending 6 decades of operations
- BP (NYSE: BP) agreed to sell its Alaska operations to privately-held Hilcorp Energy Co. for $5.6 billion. The deal comes a year after BP bought up $10 billion worth of U.S. shale assets from BHP Billiton.
- The move is seen as a pivot away from mature, conventional operations to shale drilling. It is also the latest in a series of moves by the oil majors to exit such operations, including in Canada’s oil sands and the UK and Norwegian North Sea.
- Going forward, the majors are betting on the growth of shale. Risks abound, however. Unlike conventional assets, which see annual decline rates on the order of 5 percent, shale wells can decline by 70 percent in their first few years, which means that spending must remain elevated to keep production growing.
- By the mid-2020s, shale could make up as much as 50 percent of BP’s production, up from 15 percent in 2018 and just 10 percent in 2012.
2. Nickel sees supply gap opening up
- Nickel prices are up 35 percent since June over concerns about an ore export ban in Indonesia.
- Indonesia has shipped around 180kt year-to-date, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, or about 8 percent of global supply.
- But the bullish case for nickel is also based on long-term fundamentals. “The nickel market is in deficit after a long period of surpluses and we remain structurally bullish…