As uncertainty over new Covid outbreaks combined with a strengthening U.S. dollar, oil prices came under pressure this week and are on course to finish the week 7 percent down.
Friday, August 20th, 2021
Oil prices continued their downward slide on Friday, bringing the total weekly decline to 7%. With COVID fears still running high, crude also felt the pinch from the U.S. dollar strengthening as the Federal Reserve mooted cuts to its stimulus measures this year. ICE Brent fell below $66 per barrel on Friday morning, with WTI prices dropping to $63 per barrel.
OPEC Compliance Stands at 109% in July. OPEC’s Joint Technical Committee reports that OPEC+ compliance with production quotas last month stood at 109%, down 3% from June. Compliance among OPEC members also dropped to 116% as Saudi Aramco rolled back its unilateral supply cut.
Marathon Forms Renewables JV with ADM. U.S. refiner Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC) formed a key renewables-focused partnership with Archer-Daniels-Midland (NYSE:ADM), with the latter owning 75%, producing soybean oil that would be exclusively sold to Marathon’s renewable diesel plant.
Related: What Happens If We Stop Pumping Oil Tomorrow?
ConocoPhillips is Selling its Williston Assets. U.S. major ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) is marketing its oil-producing assets in the Williston Basin of North Dakota for approximately $200 million, Bloomberg reports, in a development that might be connected to Conoco’s interest in Shell’s (NYSE:RDS.A) Permian portfolio that is up for grabs.
Tin Prices Soar to Prominence in August. LME three-month tin prices rose to almost $36,000 per metric ton this week, an all-time high after exchange stocks have dropped to a record low of 3,250 metric tonnes as main producers (Indonesia, Malaysia, China) globally failed to ramp up production despite the price signals.
Tesla Penetrates Japan’s Energy Storage Market. U.S.-based carmaker Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) signed a deal with Japanese firms to build 6.1 MWh energy storage facility using its Megapack battery technology, in a bid to absorb electricity fluctuations and stabilizing grid output, Reuters writes.
Maersk Signs Up for First Carbon-Neutral Ship. Danish shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk (CPH:MAERSK) signed a contract for green methanol supply for its first-ever carbon-neutral ship, assumed to start operations in 2023. If the methanol-fueled vessel meets expectations, the prototype can be scaled up relatively quickly, Reuters writes.
TotalEnergies Exercises Suriname Drilling Right. French oil and gas major TotalEnergies (NYSE:TTE) exercised an option to extend its use of the Maersk Developer drilling rig in Suriname, adding another appraisal well to its scope, hinting at further discoveries to come.
Sinopec Marks Another Gas Find. China’s state-owned energy firm Sinopec (SHA:600028) reported another gas discovery in Sichuan province, adding 1.2 TCf (34 BCm) of additional reserves to the Zhongjiang pool of fields. Once again, the gas find is low permeability and would be classified as tight.
Chevron Invests in Waste-to-Hydrogen Tech. U.S. major Chevron (NYSE:CVX) invested in Raven SR, a waste-to-hydrogen firm seeking to produce hydrogen and biofuels by applying steam and CO2 reformation to biomethane from waste, presumably to be used at an undisclosed US downstream asset of theirs.
Norway Confronts Activist Disruption. The Sture crude terminal in Norway, operated by Equinor (NYSE:EQNR), was forced to halt operations on an Oseberg cargo as activists from Extinction Rebellion breached the site’s security perimeter and disrupted the loading procedure.
Exxon Lauds Brazil Opportunities. ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) officials have praisedthe low-carbon crude production opportunities that Brazil offers, with pre-salt fields emitting less CO2, insinuating that the US major might want to increase its current portfolio of more than 20 blocks in the two upcoming licensing rounds of 2021.
Nord Stream-2 Gas Pipe is 99% Complete. The contentious Nord Stream-2 pipeline that would bring Russian gas along the Baltic Sea to Germany, is reportedly 99% and set to meet its end-August construction deadline. The Russian gas giant Gazprom (MCX:GAZ) reiterated its aim to bring NS2 onstream this year still.
SQM Sees Profits Soar on Lithium Prices. The world’s second-largest lithium producer, the Chilean SQM (NYSE:SQM), saw its H1 earnings rise 65% year-on-year on the back of rising lithium prices and tight supply, estimating that its average sales price would move beyond 10,000 per metric tonne by Q4 2021, Reuters reports.
Denmark Seeks to Store CO2 in Empty Oil Reservoirs. Denmark’s landmark Greensand project, aiming to capture CO2 in subsea reservoirs formerly containing oil, reached another signpost after it saw another 29 companies and research institutes join it for the forthcoming testing phase.
Nigeria Wants Money Again. Nigeria’s minister of state for Niger Delta Affairs Tayo Alasoadura stated that the Nigerian government is ramping up efforts to claim outstanding payments from international oil and gas majors up to a total of $4 billion, for allegedly failing to pay 3% of their annual budget to the Niger Delta Development Commission. Increasing government rapaciousness might expedite the departure of majors like Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) or Chevron (NYSE:CVX).
By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com
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That is why one would expect the global oil demand to overwhelm these concerns shortly and resume its surge with oil prices recouping all their recent losses.
So let no one jump the gun and rush into wrong and premature conclusions.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
Commercial vehicle platform demand looks really weak as well...but at least there is some demand.