• Iraq has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world’s top crude exporter to India for the third time this year. This is based on Reuters tanker data. There is a constant back and forth battle between these two largest OPEC producers in terms of Asian market share. This is bad news for Saudi Arabia, which also saw Russia beat it out for the top exporter to China in September. Iraq continues to expand its market share in India because while the Saudis sell oil at OSP under term deals, Iraqi oil is also sold in the spot market so can be found at discounts. India shipped in about a fifth of its imports from Iraq in September, while Saudi Arabia's share dropped to 17% from about 22% in August. Keep an eye out for Saudi Arabia’s attempts to break further into new markets to make up for this loss in Asian market share.
• Syrian officials say the oil and gas industry has now suffered more than $50 billion in industry losses since 2011 due to terrorist attacks and US-led air strikes—both of which are blamed for seriously damaging infrastructure. Syria was producing some 385,000 bpd before the conflict broke out. Officials now put production at under 9,700 bpd and 14.8 million cubic meters of natural gas per day.
• The energy industry is banking on a victory in Argentina’s presidential elections for Conservative pro-business candidate Mauricio Macri who made an unexpectedly strong showing in 25 October elections, setting the stage for a run-off vote on 22 November. Macri is the leading candidate now, and will run against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s chosen successor, Buenos Aires province governor Daniel Scioli in the run-off. Macri—a former Shell president--is the leading candidate now in this race. Macri’s party, Cambiemos, has called for the continuation of the fixed price initiative in Argentina, which has kept oil prices at around $77 per barrel—defying the market. These fixed oil prices under the current government were set to expire at the end of this year.
Deals, Mergers & Acquisitions
• Santos has rejected a $5.2 billion takeover bid from Scepter Partners--an Arab-Asian investment syndicate. According to Santos, among other things, the bid did not fairly reflect its underlying asset value. Santos has $6.2 billion in debt largely associated with its 30% stake in the $15.5 billion GLNG project in Gladstone, but also has a high-value asset collection. The…