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Oil plumbs depths as Opec hope fades

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All eyes are on Saudi Arabia and other big producers as the oil price hovers around $40 a barrel

Oil prices could be headed back below $40 a barrel, with a deal this week between the world’s top exporters looking increasingly remote.

Opec meets for three-day talks in Algiers tomorrow, with the cartel still divided on its response to oil’s price slump.

Brent crude fell sharply to under $46 a barrel on Friday, as hopes of a production cut faded. Analysts at Citigroup said the price could slide below $40 unless big producers led by Saudi Arabia can hammer out a deal to pump less crude. Forecasters at Macquarie Group, meanwhile, said that even if a production freeze can…

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Do what I say

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By Ed Crooks: September 23, 2016

One of the most reliable features of negotiations over oil production is a divergence between what countries say and what they do.

Three weeks ago, Russia and Saudi Arabia were discussing co-operation to stabilise the oil market. This week there was talk of a year-long agreement between Russia and Opec to cap production. At the same time, however, Russia has been stepping up its drilling in the mature fields of western Siberia, taking its oil output to new record highs. Its production is forecast by Goldman Sachs to grow a further 590,000 barrels per day over the next three years.

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5 Oil Majors, One Big Nigeria Lawsuit

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September 20, 2016, 4:48 P.M. ET

By Dimitra DeFotis

Allegedly illegal Nigerian oil exports valued at $12.7 billion are at the heart of a lawsuit the country has filed against units of Chevron (CVX), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA), Total (TOT) ENI (E) and Petroleo Brasileiro (PBR).

The case points to outsiders’ shipments to the United States between 2011 and 2014, but is likely to expose domestic corruption as well. Militants have crippled Nigeria’s oil production this year, a recurring theme over recent decades. Lagos hearings, which begin next week, come as the country struggles with the affects of policy stagnation, currency devaluation, inflation and low oil revenue.

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What Is Really Pushing Oil Prices Down?

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Gaurav Agnihotri: 19 Sept 2016

Oil prices fell last week after the IEA and OPEC reported in their respective oil market reports that the supply-demand rebalancing of oil will take longer than market expectations. The WTI (WTI) and Brent were down by almost 2% and were trading at $43.3 and $45.77 at the time of writing this article. Even the U.S rig count increased for the 12th week in a row. Oil prices are going down as markets have realized that global oil supplies are only going to increase in the coming time. “It really looks similar to the period of the early 1990s, when we were at $20 oil. Is $45 to $50 the new $20? I am not ready to say we are in this new equilibrium environment, but it sure does feel like we’re moving in that direction,” said the head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Jeff Curie. It must be noted that investment firms such as Goldman Sachs have started lowering their 2017 forecast for oil prices. Let us look at those factors that are putting downward pressure on oil.

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Oil drops below $46

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By Ed Crooks: September 16, 2016

The more positive mood in crude prices last week always looked fragile, based as it was on nebulous talk about a possible Opec production freeze and volatile US data that were heavily influenced by storm Hermine at the beginning of the month.

That vulnerability was exposed this week. Brent crude, which briefly hit $50 per barrel on September 8, dropped below $46 on Friday.

As prices fell, analysts took differing views on the outlook. Bloomberg focused on the chance of a rebound, as markets started to focus on the growing risk of shortages. On the other hand, the FT’s Neil Hume pointed out that there was still more crude production capacity set to come on stream as a result of the investment binge of 2011-14 – not least the much delayed Kashagan field in Kazakhstan – meaning that prices could remain depressed in the short term.

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FTSE 100 edges higher but BP and Shell slip on oil glut fears

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Nick FletcherTuesday 13 September 2016 11.18 BST

Oil shares are among the biggest fallers after crude prices slid further in the wake of a downbeat report from the International Energy Agency. The agency said the oil market would be oversupplied until at least the first six months of 2017, given a sharp slowdown in demand and rising stocks. A month ago it predicted suppy and demand would be broadly in balance for the rest of the year, and inventories would fall sharply.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, said:

The IEA has joined OPEC in pouring more cold water on the oil price this morning. After OPEC flipped its prediction of dwindling non-OPEC supply in 2017, instead warning that it was set to rise due to a major new oilfield in Kazakhstan coming online, the IEA has issued a stark warning that the pickup in demand seen in the first half of the year has completely evaporated. It has cut its demand forecasts for the second half and the whole of 2017 and is now predicting the glut will remain in the global market for the whole of next year. Oil prices are down this morning, although the real capitulation could come towards the end of the month if OPEC and Russia fail to agree a supply freeze

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No oil freeze yet

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Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 08.25.29By Ed Crooks: September 9, 2016

“Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet,” St Augustine wrote in his Confessions, remembering his prayer as an adolescent. Opec members are taking much the same attitude to restraining their oil production.

Saudi Arabia and Russia, the world’s two largest crude producers, said on Monday they would co-operate on ways to stabilise oil prices, but stopped short of agreeing to freeze production. There will be a working group to study ways to curb price volatility, and co-operation on production curbs was held out as a possibility. But Khalid al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, was clearly in no hurry to make any commitments.

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Why I’m expecting Royal Dutch Shell plc and BP plc to plummet!

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By Royston WildThe Motley Fool: Friday, 2 September, 2016

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Investor appetite for the oil segment has taken a knock in recent weeks as fears of a prolonged supply glut have weighed.

British majors Royal Dutch Shell(LSE: RDSB) and BP(LSE: BP) have seen their share prices slip 10% and 7% respectively during the past six weeks, for example. And I believe a sharper retracement could be just around the corner.

Stocks keep surging

Broker predictions that the oil market is set to balance later this year are being put under increased scrutiny as already-plentiful stockpiles continue to build.

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Speculation rises over Opec output freeze

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By Ed Crooks: September 2, 2016

Over the past month, the big stories in the oil market have been speculation about a possible production freeze from Opec, and the reality of rising activity in the US shale industry.

The rumours of Opec action have followed the pattern that has become wearingly familiar over the past couple of years, since the landmark meeting in November 2014 confirming that Saudi Arabia was not prepared to cut production to try to stabilise prices.

As the meeting – in this case, a gathering on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in Algiers on September 26-28 – grows nearer, suggestions that a freeze will be discussed grow louder. Venezuela, which has the most urgent need for a higher oil price, sounds the most enthusiastic about curbing production. Other countries make supportive statements and agree to meet, without promising any action themselves.

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Why I’ve sold all of my Shell and BP shares, by manager of £543 million

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Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 16.46.22Bailey concluded his comments with the remark that the Shell dividend is uncovered. That means the company is not generating enough cash to pay the dividend itself.

David Thorpe 25 Aug 2016

Stephen Bailey, who runs the Liontrust Macro Equity Income fund has revealed the reasons why he has sold all of his shares in Shell and BP.

He began selling his Shell shares about a year ago, and completed the sale, ‘during the month of August’ 2016.

Bailey commented, ‘A year ago we had 9 per cent of the fund in oil, now it’s zero. You have to look at the macro view on this, and be very concerned about the oil market. The big suppliers in the market can no longer be controlled by OPEC, the Saudis recently announced an initiative called project 2030 which is aimed at boosting other areas of the economy, and they are doing that because they expect to receive less revenue from fossil fuels in the future.’  

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Can OPEC save BP plc and Royal Dutch Shell plc?

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By Ian Pierce – Thursday, 25 August, 2016

Oil majors must long for the halcyon days when a sustained period of low crude prices could be expected to send OPEC riding to the rescue with sweeping production cuts and a promise to boost global prices. Now, two years into a global supply glut that shows few signs of lifting, do oil majors need an OPEC to finally take action?

BP (LSE: BP) wouldn’t say no to the help. Interim results released last month saw underlying replacement cost profits, its preferred metric of profitability, slump 67% year-on-year. Add in a $2bn statutory loss for the period and net debt leaping to $30.9bn and worries have rightly begun to proliferate that dividends will be slashed sooner rather than later.

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Nigeria recorded 1,600 cases of pipeline vandalism in eight months – Kachikwu

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By Daily Post Staff on August 18, 2016

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, says Nigeria has recorded 1,600 cases of pipeline vandalism since January.

Kachikwu made the disclosure at the 2016 Annual Conference of National Association of Energy Correspondents with the theme, “Low Oil Price: Impact and the Way Forward”, in Lagos on Thursday.

The minister also said that the country recorded over 3,000 pipeline vandalism cases from 2010 to 2015.

He said that the impact of attacks on oil and gas pipelines was that there was no money to fund the 2016 budget.

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Exclusive: Iraq, oil companies agree to restart investment, boost output

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Exclusive: Iraq, oil companies agree to restart investment, boost output

BAGHDAD/BASRA – | BY AHMED RASHEED AND AREF MOHAMMED: Business | Thu Aug 11, 2016 7:05am EDT

Iraq has reached agreement with BP, Shell and Lukoil to restart stalled investment in oil fields the firms are developing, allowing projects that were halted this year to resume and crude production to increase in 2017, Iraqi oil officials said.

The agreements, reached in July and August, effectively delay to the second half of the year projects that the three companies had planned to carry out in the first half, which had been suspended because of low oil prices.

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Shell Calls Force Majeure on Nigeria Gas Supply After Leak

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Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 09.29.20By Paul Burkhardt and Elisha Bala-Gbogbo: August 10, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc said its local unit has declared force majeure on supplies to a liquefied natural gas plant in Nigeria because of a leak in a pipeline as the OPEC member suffers from militant attacks on energy infrastructure that are hurting exports.

“The pipeline has been shut down for a joint investigation visit into the cause of the leak and repairs,” Natasha Obank, a Shell spokeswoman, said in a statement. The leak occurred on the Eastern Gas Gathering System, or EGGS-1, pipeline which supplies the bulk of Shell’s gas to the Nigeria LNG plant on Bonny Island. Some supply continues through other pipelines, Shell said.

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US oil reserves surpass those of Saudi Arabia and Russia

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Anjli Raval, Oil and Gas Correspondent: July 4, 2016

The US holds more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia and Russia, the first time it has surpassed those held by the world’s biggest exporting nations, according to a new study.

The US shale boom was a factor behind the recent oil price collapse that toppled the Brent crude benchmark from a mid-2014 high of $115 a barrel to below $30 earlier this year.

FULL FT ARTICLE

Oil Is Still Heading to $10 a Barrel

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By A. Gary Shilling:JUNE 28, 2016 12:00 PM EDT

Back in February 2015, the price of West Texas Intermediate stood at about $52 per barrel, half of its 2014 peak. I argued then that a renewed decline was coming that could drive it below $20, a scenario regarded by oil bulls as unthinkable. But prices did fall further, dropping all the way to a low of $26 in February. Since then, crude rallied to spend several weeks flirting with $50 per barrel, a level not seen since last year. But it won’t last; I’m sticking to my call for prices to decline anew to $10 to $20 per barrel.

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Royal Dutch Shell’s Recovery Will Strengthen The Rally

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Jun. 29, 2016 4:22 PM ET|

Summary

Royal Dutch Shell’s upstream business has struggled on account of lower oil price realizations, but this is about to change going forward.

With Brent now hovering around $50, the average price of oil has improved in the second quarter and this will help Shell improve its realizations in the upstream.

Shell’s upstream performance could improve further as higher inventory drawdown on the back of weakening production and stronger demand will lead to higher prices.

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Goldman Sachs Says Oil Isn’t Recovering

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By James Burgess – Jun 15, 2016

Goldman Sachs has rejected analysts’ opinions that the global oil market is recovering, noting that while it expects a “modest” deficit in the coming months based on the slight rebound in oil prices, the market will again be in a state of surplus by early next year.

It may seem as if oil is recovering on the back of supply disruptions that have helped to chip away at the global glut and push prices close to $50, but Goldman says that in the best-case scenario this isn’t a rebound—it’s just the first signs of one.

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Royal Dutch Shell Set to sink?

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By Royston Wild – Saturday, 11 June, 2016

The possibility of protracted earnings pain also makes Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: RDSB) a gamble too far, in my opinion.

At face value, charging oil prices may be at odds with my bearish take on the state of the market. Indeed, the Brent index surged above the $52 per barrel marker for the first time since October this week, helped by supply disruptions in Nigeria and a weaker US dollar.

However, the long-term outlook for crude values remains on thin ice, in my opinion. Production from OPEC and Russia continues to blast higher, while patchy economic growth means that bloated inventory levels are likely to persist, a situation that could send black gold prices sinking again.

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Bad news for fossil fuels

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By Ed Crooks: June 10. 2016

Two of the most widely respected energy analysts – BP’s economics team and the International Energy Agency – published reports this week, and both brought bad news for fossil fuel producers. They differed, however, in the focus of their gloomy perspectives. For BP, publishing its 65th annual Statistical Review of World Energy, it was coal that came off worst. As Spencer Dale, BP’s chief economist, put it in his presentation, “2015 was undoubtedly an annus horribilis for coal”. The shift to natural gas for power generation in the US gathered pace, and there was a second consecutive year of declining consumption in China.

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The death of Opec?

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By Ed Crooks: 27 May 2016

“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” That widely-misattributed line, first published by the novelist Rita Mae Brown, has apparently been taken to heart in the oil market at last.

After a succession of Opec meetings that were preceded by fevered speculation about action to support crude prices – mostly recently the much-discussed plan for a production “freeze” that fell apart in Doha in April – no-one has any great expectations for the ministerial gathering in Vienna next week. “The freeze is finished,” one Opec delegate said.

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Shell eyes $700 million exit from Gabon – sources

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By Freya Berry and Ron Bousso

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell <RDSa.L> is working on selling out of its onshore assets in Gabon, according to two sources familiar with the matter, seeking to refocus its African presence.

Bids are due in June for the fields, which one source estimated could be worth around $700 million (488.55 million pound). However the second person said that price indications were currently below Shell’s expectations and that no sale may occur.

“Shell continuously evaluates opportunities for our global portfolio in line with our business strategy,” a company spokesman said on Thursday.

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Botched Doha deal undermines OPEC credibility, oil prices tumble

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By REUTERSPUBLISHED: 18 April 2016

By Henning Gloystein

SINGAPORE, April 18 (Reuters) – Oil prices tumbled on Monday after a meeting by major exporters in Qatar collapsed without an agreement to freeze output, leaving the credibility of the OPEC producer cartel in tatters and the world awash with unwanted fuel.

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran were blamed for the failure, which revived industry fears that major government-controlled producers will increase their battle for market share by offering ever-steeper discounts.

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Major Oil Exporters Fail to Agree on Production Freeze

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By STANLEY REED and ANDREW E. KRAMERA version of this article appears in print on April 18, 2016, on page B1 of the New York edition

DOHA, Qatar — Officials from 18 oil-producing nations failed on Sunday to reach a deal to freeze oil production at current levels.

The meeting of officials, representing most of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as well as Russia, had been intended to calm the markets and convince them that the two leading oil exporters, Russia and Saudi Arabia, were cooperating. But with officials coming up short on Sunday, the meeting may end up being a blow to confidence that could send oil prices tumbling.

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Eyes on Doha

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By Ed Crooks: April 15, 2016

All eyes in the oil market this weekend will be on Sunday’s meeting in Doha, which will bring together leading producers including Russia and most – although perhaps not all – of the members of Opec. Expectations that the countries will agree to freeze production, encouraged this week by statements from Russian and Iraqi representatives, have helped drive Brent crude prices up more than 60 per cent from about $27 per barrel in January to around $44 today.  The heads of some of the world’s largest trading houses have concluded that for oil producers, the worst is probably now over.

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Why I Wouldn’t Touch Royal Dutch Shell Plc & Tullow Oil plc With A Bargepole!

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Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.34.57By The Motley Fool  Apr 8, 2016

Investor appetite for the fossil fuel sector has died down in recent days amid a fresh dip in crude prices.

After moving back above the $40 per barrel marker last month, Brent values have subsequently run out of steam as enduring fears over supply/demand imbalances have come to the fore again.

Oil producers like Shell (LSE: RDSB) and Tullow Oil(LSE: TLW) have been carried higher following Brent’s surge from January’s multi-year lows of $27.67. But with ‘black gold’ back on the defensive, I reckon oil companies big and small are back in danger of a huge share price reversal.

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Sideways moves

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By Ed Crooks: April 1, 2016

Oil prices went sideways all week, with Brent crude edging up above $40 on Thursday.  Hedge funds have made record bets on rising crude prices, but everyone is still watching prospects for the scheduled meeting of Opec and non-Opec oil producers in Doha, Qatar on April 17. Qatar’s oil minister said 12 countries had so far agreed to attend, including most Opec members and Russia. Reuters provided a useful factbox on the countries that could be present at the meeting.  Ecuador is one of the Opec members trying to persuade non-member countries to join in a commitment to freeze production.

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Is It Finally Time To Give Up On Royal Dutch Shell Plc?

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By Royston Wild – Thursday, 24 March, 2016

To suggest the game is up at Shell (LSE: RDSB) could be considered ludicrous given the investor stampede of recent weeks.

The fossil fuel giant has seen its share price explode 30% in the past two months, moving in lockstep with the Brent benchmark’s surge back above the $40 per barrel milestone.

But with data surrounding the oil sector still worsening, I see little reason for crude’s recent march higher, leaving Shell’s share price in danger of a massive reversal.

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Iraq Exports First Natural Gas Shipment in Its History

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By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: MARCH 20, 2016

BAGHDAD — Iraq on Sunday exported the first shipment of natural gas in its history, a key development for the OPEC member struggling to feed a cash-strapped economy amid an expensive fight against the Islamic State group.

The move revives a long-sought ambition by Iraq to be a gas exporter, thanks to a joint venture with Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. Iraq first planned to begin exporting gas in the late 1970s, but that timeline was delayed by the Iraq-Iran war when Iraqi export ports were bombed.

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Better news for oil

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Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 22.36.32By Ed Crooks: Friday 18 March 2016

Oil continued to creep up this week with Brent going past $42 per barrel, its highest level since early December. Crude was a beneficiary of the wider upturn in markets, which pushed the S&P 500 index briefly back up above its level at the start of the year. The positive correlation between share prices and oil prices seems to be alive and well.

Suggestions that the US Federal Reserve is in no hurry to raise interest rates gave a boost to crude and other markets. Oil was also helped by reports that Opec ministers had at last agreed to hold a meeting with leading non-Opec producers such as Russia, in an attempt to make some progress with their much-discussed, little-implemented production freeze.

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Is Royal Dutch Shell Plc In Danger Of A Colossal Correction?

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Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 08.47.47By Royston Wild – Thursday, 17 March, 2016

Shares across the mining and energy sectors have leapt broadly higher in recent weeks thanks to a robust recovery in commodity prices.

Fossil fuel leviathan Shell (LSE: RDSB) has been one of these beneficiaries. Since striking a 12-year trough of 1,277p per share back in January, the stock has leapt 33% to claw back above the 1,700p marker just this week.

Shell’s resurgence has been underpinned by a bounceback in the oil price. The Brent benchmark reclaimed the $40 per barrel marker earlier this month,  up from the multi-year lows of $27.67 hit at the start of 2016.

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How Saudi Arabia Turned Its Greatest Weapon on Itself

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By ANDREW SCOTT COOPER: A version of this op-ed appears in print on March 13, 2016

FOR the past half-century, the world economy has been held hostage by just one country: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Vast petroleum reserves and untapped production allowed the kingdom to play an outsize role as swing producer, filling or draining the global system at will.

The 1973-74 oil embargo was the first demonstration that the House of Saud was willing to weaponize the oil markets. In October 1973, a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia abruptly halted oil shipments in retaliation for America’s support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The price of a barrel of oil quickly quadrupled; the resulting shock to the oil-dependent economies of the West led to a sharp rise in the cost of living, mass unemployment and growing social discontent.

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Oil’s upwards rally

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By Ed Crooks: 11 March 2016

Oil this week continued its recent rally, with Brent crude clinging on above $40, but there was speculation that most of the gains of the past two months could be undone if Opec members and Russia failed to finalise their earlier conditional agreement to freeze production.

Reuters reported Opec sources as saying that a suggested meeting in Moscow on March 20 to confirm the deal was unlikely to take place. The critical factor is Iran; other countries say they will not meet to discuss joining the freeze unless Tehran agrees to sign up for it too. President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff told a conference in London that his country wanted to increase exports to regain its pre-sanctions market share before it would start talking about cuts. The same official, Mohammad Nahavandian, also sought to reassure international companies that the country would soon unveil new and improved contracts for investors in its oil and gas industry, even though the issue has raised concerns about attempts by foreign businesses to “loot Iran’s natural resources”.

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Another Oil Crash Is Coming, and There May Be No Recovery

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Tom Randall: Bloomberg.com: 24 FEB 2016

It’s time for oil investors to start taking electric cars seriously.

In the next two years, Tesla and Chevy plan to start selling electric cars with a range of more than 200 miles priced in the $30,000 range. Ford is investing billions, Volkswagen is investing billions, and Nissan and BMW are investing billions. Nearly every major carmaker—as well as Apple and Google—is working on the next generation of plug-in cars.

This is a problem for oil markets. OPEC still contends that electric vehicles will make up just 1 percent of global car sales in 2040. Exxon’s forecast is similarly dismissive. 

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OPEC’s Freeze Backfires

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The punchline? The joke’s on OPEC.

There are several glaring problems inherent to the freeze, whereby members of OPEC and other large producers such as Russia are supposed to not raise their oil output from current levels, not least that they are already producing too much oil for the market to absorb.

But there is a more subtle effect that actually works against the likes of Saudi Arabia: The freeze raises hope. In particular, it raises hope in the otherwise largely despondent world of energy financing.

Monday night, before those oil ministers iced the freeze, Cabot Oil & Gas, a U.S. exploration and production company, announced it had sold an upsized offering of new shares that should ultimately raise roughly $1 billion.

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Russia Saudi pact

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By Ed Crooks: February 19, 2016

This week the story of the oil price crash took a genuinely unexpected turn with the conditional agreement from Saudi Arabia and Russia that they would not increase their production, provided other countries made the same commitment. It was the first real co-operation between Opec and non-Opec countries for 15 years, and although its true significance is probably rather less than that makes it sound, the pact nevertheless provided grist for extensive interpretation.

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Opinion: Will oil be so cheap that it won’t pay to pump it out of the ground?

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By Paul Spedding: Published: Feb 9, 2016

The conventional wisdom regarding the recent plunge in the price of oil CLH6, -0.50%   is that we are seeing a repeat of the 1985-1986 collapse, when Saudi Arabia ramped up production as part of a dispute with other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries cartel. This time, the thinking goes, Saudi Arabia is doing the same in response to its loss of market share to shale-oil production in the United States.

But there is another parallel that is even more relevant — with important implications for the long-term price of oil. The recent collapse is reminiscent of a similar dive in the price of coal — which crashed from a brief high of $140 a ton in 2008 to about $40 a ton today — which led some deposits to become “financially stranded,” meaning that the cost of developing them outweighs potential returns.

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Royal Dutch Shell: Here’s Why S&P Downgraded Credit Rating

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By Muhammad Ali Khawar on Feb 2, 2016 at 6:49 am EST

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) recently downgraded Royal Dutch Shell’s (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) credit rating from “AA-” to “A+,” as a result of the depressed crude environment. Since June 2014, crude oil prices have fallen more than 70%.

The downgrade came just weeks after the S&P lowered Brent crude expectations for the year. Initially, it expected the global crude oil benchmark to trade at around $55 per barrel. However, only last month the firm cut its price forecast to $40 per barrel, when the market conditions failed to recover.

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Why Royal Dutch Shell Plc Shares Could Easily Topple Another 15%!

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By Royston Wild | Fool.co.uk: Friday 29 JAN 2016

Shares in fossil fuel giant Shell (LSE: RDSB) have enjoyed a solid bump higher in recent days following a meaty bounce in the oil price.

Crude values have shot skywards following chatter that an accord could be struck between OPEC and Russia to curtail production. The Brent benchmark has gained $5 since Monday and is now back above $35 per barrel, reaching levels not seen since the start of January.

Shell has subsequently seen its stock price appreciate 7% during the course of the week, adding to chunky gains seen in the prior 7-day period.

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What goes down

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By Ed Crooks: January 29, 2016

The week has been a reminder that oil prices can go up as well as down. By Thursday night, Brent crude was 25 per cent higher than its low point eight days earlier. At a little under $34 per barrel, though, oil is still at a level that makes the great majority of US shale developments uneconomic. As I wrote in the FT on Saturday, it is pointing towards a radical shake-out in the shale industry.

Concerns about the huge financial strain that $30 crude imposes on oil producers and oilfield services companies has driven the value of junk-rated US energy debt down to its lowest level for more than two decades, at an average of just 56 cents on the dollar.  Markets have also become increasingly concerned about the domino effect from weak oil prices hitting other sectors, such as manufacturing. On balance, however, David Sheppard and Neil Hume argued in the FT, cheap oil is still better for the world economy than expensive oil.

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Oil price falls again as Shell shareholders prepare to vote on mega-merger with BG Group

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The price tumbled as much as 3 per cent during trading yesterday when it emerged Iraq had produced a record high of oil and may even raise output further.

The news comes as the market is already braced for more supply from Iran after sanctions were lifted. 

Tankers have begun to leave Iran’s ports and it agreed its first deal with a European company last week with Greece’s refinery Hellenic Petroleum. 

Some analysts expect Iran to increase production to between 3million and 4million barrels a day. Iraq’s fields produced more than 4.1million barrels a day.

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Oil prices in reverse amid Opec call

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Oil prices tumbled again on Monday, eroding last week’s gains, as Opec called for co-operation from oil-producing nations outside the cartel.

Brent crude fell 4.1% to $30.86 a barrel following a 10% rise on Friday, while US oil shed 4.7% to $30.68.

The slide came as the head of Opec called for all oil-producing nations to work together.

Abdullah al-Badri said both Opec and non-Opec oil producers needed to tackle oversupply to help prices rise.

“It is vital the market addresses the issue of the stock overhang. As you can see from previous cycles, once this overhang starts falling then prices start to rise,” he told a conference in London.

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Oil plumbs new lows below $27 as rout persists

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U.S. oil is now flowing unfettered to Europe for the first time, “so it’s a battle royale.”

Markets | Wed Jan 20, 2016: 3:29pm EST: New York

U.S. oil prices crashed below $27 dollars a barrel on Wednesday for the first time since 2003, caught in a broad slump across world financial markets with traders also worried that the crude supply glut could last longer.

Oil has fallen more than 25 percent so far this year, the steepest such slide since the financial crisis, piling more pain on oil drillers and producing nations alike. Yet they keep pumping more oil into an oversupplied market.

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Why Buying BP plc & Royal Dutch Shell Plc Is Utter Madness!

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By Royston Wild – Friday, 15 January 2016

Another day, another chance for further harrowing weakness across stock markets and commodity classes. And so it has come to pass.

Brent values fell even further below the $30 per barrel marker during Friday trade, marking fresh nadirs not seen since 2004. The benchmark has dropped more than 10% since the start of the week, and levels of $60 per barrel seen just six months ago seem a very, very long way away.

While fossil fuel plays (LSE: BP) and Shell (LSE: RDSB) have suffered fresh weakness as a result — the operators’ share prices are down 5% and 12% respectively since 2016 kicked off — I believe investors should resist attempting to pick up a bargain.

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Oil price crash means petrol could become cheaper than bottled water

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By Mehreen Khan: 14 Jan 2016

Petrol will soon cost less than bottled water as the relentless decline in oil prices sends fuel down to 86p a litre, it has been claimed.

Brent crude fell to below $30 a barrel for the first time since 2004 on Wednesday evening – and has fallen by more 73pc since reaching highs of $115 last summer.

Motoring group RAC said pump prices now could fall back to levels last seen in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2009, if the commodity plunges to as low as $10, a forecast made by Standard Chartered bank earlier this week.

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Oil could crash to $10 a barrel, warn investment bank bears

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Oil prices have crashed to below $30-a-barrel amid warnings the rout could reach as low as $10 and bring down petrol prices to levels last seen in 2009.

Standard Chartered became the latest major bank to downgrade its oil outlook to $10, joining the likes of Goldman Sachs, RBS and Morgan Stanley in making ultra-bearish calls as prices have collapsed by 15pc this year.

Brent crude has now slipped to a fresh 12-year low of $30.41 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate – the US benchmark – is trading at $29.93 – a level last seen in December 2013. Analysts warned the oil market remains fundamentally out of balance as record over-supply and stagnant demand weighs on traders.

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Worst oil bust in 45 years brings US crude below $31 a barrel

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HOUSTON — The oil bust that has cost the United States roughly 70,000 energy jobs has become more severe than any downturn in 45 years, Morgan Stanley said Monday, as crude prices fell a sixth day.

Crude prices tumbled below $32 a barrel on Monday, and over the past 19 months have plunged further and for a longer time than even the 1986 oil bust that deeply bruised the Texas economy. Morgan Stanley says the five major downturns since 1970 no longer can be a credible guide as the oil market enters “uncharted territory.”

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Oil Prices Decline More Than 5 Percent as Stockpiles Increase

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By CLIFFORD KRAUSSA version of this article appears in print on January 7, 2016, on page B2 of the New York edition

HOUSTON — Oil prices plunged again on Wednesday by more than 5 percent as investors paid more attention to signs that global stockpiles are growing than to increasing instability in the Middle East and North Africa.

The decline in the global Brent oil benchmark price to below $35 a barrel, the lowest level since the depths of the 2008-9 economic downturn and a decline of nearly two-thirds since summer 2014, helped push stock markets lower.

The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, the main benchmark for the United States stock market, declined 1.3 percent Wednesday and breached the psychologically important 2,000 level to close at 1,990.26.

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Major shareholder sheds BG stake as merger vote looms

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The fund management company cut its holding from 2.2 percent to 0.9 percent and continued offloading shares even after Shell published the deal prospectus, in which the Anglo-Dutch oil major revealed further capex and opex cuts that would boost the merger’s appeal.

Although the mega-merger was announced at a time when oil was pushing multi-year lows, prices have continued sliding since, eroding the immediate financial appeal of the combination.

Shell said last month that it expects the acquisition to break even with Brent crude prices in the low $60s in 2016, while the deal would add to operating cash flow per share at $50 a barrel.

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Royal Dutch Shell: Cheap Oil Makes BG Group Path Slippery

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Ahead of the final vote for the deal, crude oil prices have dropped significantly, presenting one last threat to the merger – by far, the biggest one of all the hurdles it has faced. Further declines in oil prices could be a deal breaker for Shell and BG.

By Mushhood Khan on Dec 28, 2015 at 6:46 am EST

Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A), one of the largest integrated oil companies in the world, has been in pursuit of UK-based BG Group plc (OTCMKTS:BRGYY) for its valuable LNG assets and its deepwater acreage. Announced in April this year, the $70 billion deal is the biggest of its kind in the energy sector in more than a decade.

Completion of such a grand deal faces several challenges; companies might not be able to meet the conditions of merger, antitrust laws may pose legal hindrances, shareholders might vote against it, or the change in core business conditions might make the deal unviable over the course of time.

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