Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict
- ISIS is calling on its supporters to attack Westerners and oil pipelines and economic infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, based on a recorded message carried by the media but otherwise not confirmed as authentic. In the message, alleged ISIS spokesman Abu Hamza Al-Muhajir urges the targeting of Westerners in Saudi Arabia and attacks against the Kingdom’s economic infrastructure because of its support for the normalization of relations between Gulf countries and Israel. This is an attempt by forces (likely beyond ISIS) to ensure that Saudi Arabia does not openly follow the UAE’s move to officially and publicly normalize with Israel.
- In relation to that, Israeli state-owned pipeline company Europe Asia Pipeline Company (EAPC) has signed an MOU to store and transport oil and distillates from the UAE to Europe. Under the agreement between EAPC and MED-RED, a company with both Israeli and Emirati owners, a land bridge will be established between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, enabling a massive increase in the volume of oil that can be transported annually.
- The US has officially expanded sanctions on companies involved in building that last bit of the Russian-led NordStream2 pipeline. The expanded sanctions target companies providing series or facilities for upgrades or installation of equipment for those vessels, as well as funding for such initiatives.
- An official ceasefire has been declared in Libya, with two Libyan delegations on Friday signing the makings of a permanent ceasefire. Both sides in the dispute will evacuate fighters from the frontlines, and both will require their foreign mercs to leave the country within three months. In perhaps an even bigger show of solidarity, the two sides will create a joint military force under a single command, which will police any ceasefire violations.
COVID Market Update
- One of the last holdouts in the oil industry with regards to layoffs was ExxonMobil. But the giant is slashing jobs now in huge numbers. A couple of weeks ago, Exxon announced it would cut 1,600 jobs across Europe. This week, the company said it would add to that figure, this time cutting in the United States and Canada. Specific figures have not yet been shared, but are expected to be released soon.
Deals, Mergers & Acquisitions
- Calgary-based Suncor is said to be considering the sale of oil and gas fields in the North Sea, including Rosebank, Golden Eagle and a handful of smaller fields, as other companies have recently exited the area.
- The oil and gas M&A space continued to gain traction this week with Pioneer Natural Resources’ purchase of Parsley Energy for $4.5 billion (in stock). The merger comes on the heels of Chevron’s takeover of Noble and Conoco’s takeover of Concho.
- New Mexico-based Array Technologies is officially public in the first big solar IPO of 2020 for the United States. Array makes solar tracking systems and launched on the NASDAQ Thursday, with shares soaring right out of the gate. The ticker symbol is ARRY.
Discovery & Development
- French Total SA has successfully delivered its first cargo of carbon-neutral LNG to China’s CNOOC. Of course, we’re talking about carbon neutrality achieved through value chain offsets, not carbon-neutral LNG itself.
- Canada’s federal government has approved a 344km, $2.3-billion natural gas gathering and transportation expansion project in oil-rich Alberta. The project stands to contribute $1.2 billion to Alberta’s economy. The system transports nat gas from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin to markets in both Canada and the U.S. The intention here is to help phase out coal-fired electricity.
- Texas-based Talos Energy has successfully produced first oil and gas from its Bulleit field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Talos Energy’s partners, EnVen Energy and Otto Energy, hold 33.3% and 16.7% in the project, respectively. First oil and the first sales of that oil were achieved on October 15.
- 16 companies have pre-qualified for the third auction of oil and gas drilling rights in Colombia. Some of the pre qualifiers include Ecopetrol, GeoPark, CNE, Maurel & Prom Amerique Latine, Frontera, and Occidental. Three weeks ago, OXY sold its onshore assets in Colombia to the Carlyle Group for $825 million--this includes its working interests in Llanos Norte, Middle Magdalena, and Putumayo Basins.
- The Utah State Office of The Bureau of Land Management said it would offer up 21 parcels of land at its oil and gas lease sale on December 8th. The total acreage to be offered will be 23,648, all in the Iron, Grand, and Uintah counties.
- Sinopec has broken the directional drilling record in Asia--at 8,874 meters--in its Shunbei oil and gas field. The field is the deepest onshore oil and gas field in Asia. Shunbei is known for its ultra-deep wells (it has almost 40 of them), and boasts production of 1 million tonnes of crude and 400 million cubic meters of natural gas each year. It is aiming to increase its oil output to 1,7 million tonnes within five years.
Regulations and Legislation
- Alberta is handing out a generous three-year tax break on municipal property taxes for oil and gas companies for property on which they are drilling wells or building pipelines. The province will also lower property tax assessments on property that has less-productive wells and will discontinue the provincial tax on drills. For Alberta’s industry, it will mean a total tax break of about $61 million in the first year for the industry. The breaks will start in 2022.
- Norway’s Supreme Court is set to decide on November 4th whether the country can explore for Arctic Oil. The court will determine if the court has the ability to tell the government to stop issuing licenses for more oil exploration. Norway’s electricity comes mostly from renewable sources, but it exports large amounts of oil to other countries.
- Iran claims that it will operationalize 28 renewable energy power plans by the end of the current Iranian year, with 54 companies currently constructing renewable energy power plants, including wind, solar, and hydroelectric power plans with a combined total capacity of 229MW.
- Renewables giant Iberdrola’s U.S. subsidiary Avangrid is set to purchase New Mexico’s largest utility--PNM Resources--in a deal valued at an estimated $4.3 billion. The deal still has to be approved by regulators, but if approved, would create one of the largest renewable energy companies in the United States.
- The UK’s HS1 railway link to the Channel Tunnel has officially become the very first fully renewable-powered trail line in the UK. The railway will be powered with wind and solar energy.
- Renewable energy consumption in the United States continued to rise for the fourth year in a row in 2019, with wind energy and wood and waste energy each accounting for 24 percent of all renewable energy used in America