Tag: oil

Source: BBC

The price of US oil has turned negative for the first time in history.

That means oil producers are paying buyers to take the commodity off their hands over fears that storage capacity could run out in May.

Demand for oil has all but dried up as lockdowns across the world have kept people inside.

As a result, oil firms have resorted to renting tankers to store the surplus supply and that has forced the price of US oil into negative territory.

The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the benchmark for US oil, fell as low as minus $37.63 a barrel.

“This is off-the-charts wacky,” said Stewart Glickman, an energy equity analyst at CFRA Research. “The demand shock was so massive that it’s overwhelmed anything that people could have expected.”

The severe drop on Monday was driven in part by a technicality of the global oil market. Oil is traded on its future price and May futures contracts are due to expire on Tuesday. Traders were keen to offload those holdings to avoid having to take delivery of the oil and incur storage costs.

June prices for WTI were also down, but trading at above $20 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent Crude – the benchmark used by Europe and the rest of the world, which is already trading based on June contracts – was also weaker, down 8.9% at less than $26 a barrel.

Mr Glickman said the historic reversal in pricing was a reminder of the strains facing the oil market and warned that June prices could also fall, if lockdowns remain in place. “I’m really not optimistic about the prospects for oil companies or oil prices,” he said.

OGUK, the business lobby for the UK’s offshore oil and gas sector, said the negative price of US oil would affect firms operating in the North Sea.

“The dynamics of this US market are different from those directly driving UK produced Brent but we will not escape the impact,” said OGUK boss Deirdre Michie.

“Ours is not just a trading market; every penny lost spells more uncertainty over jobs,” she said.

The oil industry has been struggling with both tumbling demand and in-fighting among producers about reducing output.

Earlier this month, Opec members and its allies finally agreed a record deal to slash global output by about 10%. The deal was the largest cut in oil production ever to have been agreed.

But many analysts say the cuts were not big enough to make a difference.

“It hasn’t taken long for the market to recognise that the Opec+ deal will not, in its present form, be enough to balance oil markets,” said Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axicorp.

The leading exporters – Opec and allies such as Russia – have already agreed to cut production by a record amount.

In the United States and elsewhere, oil-producing businesses have made commercial decisions to cut output. But still the world has more crude oil than it can use.

And it’s not just about whether we can use it. It’s also about whether we can store it until the lockdowns are eased enough to generate some additional demand for oil products.

Capacity is filling fast on land and at sea. As that process continues it’s likely to bear down further on prices.

It will take a recovery in demand to really turn the market round and that will depend on how the health crisis unfolds.

There will be further supply cuts as private sector producers respond to the low prices, but it’s hard to see that being on a sufficient scale to have a fundamental impact on the market.

For US drivers, the decline in oil prices – which have fallen by about two-thirds since the start of the year – has had an impact at the pumps, albeit not as dramatic as Monday’s decline might suggest.

“The silver lining is, if you for various reason actually need to be on the roads, you’re filling up for far less than you would have been even four months ago,” Mr Glickman said. “The problem for most of us is even if you could fill up, where are you going to go?”

US President Donald Trump has said the government will buy oil for the country’s national reserve. But concern continues to mount that storage facilities in the US will run out of capacity, with stockpiles at Cushing, the main delivery point in the US for oil, rising almost 50% since the start of March, according to ANZ Bank.

Mr Innes said: “It’s a dump at all cost as no one, and I mean no one, wants delivery of oil with Cushing storage facilities filling by the minute.”

By Tom Head for The South African

For the third month in a row, the petrol price has decreased in South Africa. March will see the following substantial changes to fuel costs.

A substantial drop for both the diesel and petrol price in South Africa has put our motorists in a good mood at the start of March.

Confirmed petrol price for March 2020
Petrol getting cheaper, but so is diesel and illuminating paraffin:

  • Petrol: Decrease of 19 cents per litre
  • Diesel: Decrease of 54 cents per litre
  • Paraffin:Decrease of 68 cents per litre

Subtracting these totals from February’s fuel price gives us the following average cost-per-litre for petrol and diesel. These prices will take effect from Wednesday 4 March:

  • Inland petrol price – R15.84
  • Coastal petrol price – R15.07
  • Inland diesel price – R13.49
  • Coastal diesel price – R14.03

Why is the petrol price dropping in March?
There are, as ever, two major factors at play. However, it’s the global oil price trends that have accounted for this slashing of fuel costs. The outbreak of the coronavirus has left international markets spooked, and the demand for oil has subsided. The decrease would have been more, if not for the Rand’s weak monthly performance against the US dollar. Despite a brief rally this week, ZAR is still floundering.
The honeymoon period is unlikely to last through to April, however. It was announced during February’s budget speech that taxes on fuel would be rising, making petrol prices more expensive.

Saudi oil attacks cause price wobble

Source: CNN

Investigators from Saudi Arabia and the United States of America have determined “with very high probability” that the weekend attack on the Saudi oil industry was launched from an Iranian base in Iran close to the border with Iraq.

What happened?
Ten drones performed co-ordinated strikes on key Saudi Arabian oil facilities knocked out half of the country’s oil capacity — more than 5-million barrels a day. This amounts to about 5% of the world’s supply. Saudi and US investigators have determined “with very high probability” that the attack came from an Iranian base, according to a source.

Who’s behind this?
Yemen’s Houthi rebels said they’re responsible for the attacks, but a spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said that Iranian weapons were used in the oil field attack.

Where the US stands
President Trump said it looks like Iran was behind the attack but suggested it was too early to say for sure. Trump also insisted that he does not want war with Iran.

How it’s affecting oil
On Monday, US oil prices spiked by more than 14%. It was the biggest spike since January 2009.
Oil prices dropped sharply Tuesday, following Monday’s surge that sent shock waves around the world.

US oil futures dropped 4.6% to $59.98 per barrel, following a Reuters report that Saudi Arabian oil production would return to normal within two to three weeks. Investors took that as a positive sign about the impact of the weekend’s attacks on global oil supply.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, is down 5.8% at $64.99 a barrel.

How it could affect South Africans
According to Fin24, a strong rand rally over the past week put the petrol price on track for a cut in the first week of October. This would mean petrol price cuts of between 11c an 24c a litre.

The Automobile Association spokesperson Layton Beard says the massive increase in the global oil price will likely cancel out the forecast price cut.

Petrol price to drop by as much as 90c

Source: AA

Retreating oil prices have painted a rosier picture for South African fuel users than has been the case for much of 2019. This is according to the unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund.

At this stage of the month, we are predicting a decrease of 91 cents/litre to the petrol to the petrol price, 70 cents to the diesel price, and 62 cents to illuminating paraffin.

The story of the month is definitely oil. Crude laboured above $70 a barrel for large portions of April and May, as the tug-of-war continued between the OPEC countries, which favour ongoing output restrictions, and the USA, where production is steaming ahead. There had been a remarkable drop in the price of oil since the end of May, with the commodity currently trading around $61 dollars a barrel.

South Africans are not getting full value though, thanks to Rand jitters in the wake of the ANC top leadership trading jibes over the future of the Reserve Bank. After a period of sustained price stability, the Rand weakened substantially against the US dollar, taking some of the shine off oil’s retreat.

The expected price drops are nonetheless substantial, with petrol showing a 91 cent-a-litre drop at month end, with reductions of 70 cents and 62 cents respectively for diesel and illuminating paraffin.

If stability returns to the Rand and oil settles at its lower level, there might yet be more good news in the pipeline. A lot will rely on politicians exercising restraint in their public statements. We urge government to decide on its economic policy clearly and unambiguously in private, before articulating it in public where investors are watching.

Total’s oil and gas discovery worth R1trn

By Paul Burkhardt, Bloomberg/Fin24

Total SA said it has opened up a new “world-class” oil and gas province off the coast of South Africa after making a significant gas-condensate discovery there will provide a boost for the economy of R1-trillion over the next 20 years.

Success in the nation’s first deep-water well is a potential boon for a country that imports most of its oil, processing the remainder of its fuels from coal and natural gas.

“We are very pleased to announce the Brulpadda discovery, which was drilled in a challenging deep-water environment,” Kevin McLachlan, senior vice president of exploration at Total, said in a statement on Thursday.

“Total has opened a new world-class gas and oil play and is well-positioned to test several follow-on prospects on the same block.”

Total, the operator, now plans to acquire 3D seismic data before drilling as many as four more exploration wells at the license.

“It’s a catalytic find,” Niall Kramer, chief executive officer of the South African Oil & Gas Alliance, an industry lobby group, said by phone. The country has only drilled in shallow waters before, with little to show for it, he said. “There’s nothing that has been on this kind of scale.”

Exxon, Eni

The new oil and gas region, with estimated volumes of around 1 billion barrels according to consultant Wood Mackenzie, has drawn interest from explorers including Exxon Mobil and Eni SpA, which also hold stakes in the waters.

“It’s probably quite big,” Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne said Thursday on a conference call. “Having said that, the region is quite difficult to operate: huge waves, the weather isn’t very easy.”

Total was drilling about 175 kilometers (109 miles) offshore in the Outeniqua Basin to a final depth of 3 633 meters (11 900 feet). The discovery, which also includes some light oil, could prompt a rush of activity offshore by other companies, especially since South Africa is due to introduce new oil and gas legislation later this year aimed at spurring exploration.

Africa as a whole has seen an increase in drilling, with oil and gas rigs around the continent topping 100 in recent months, according to Baker Hughes data. The count was as low as 77 in 2017.

Total has a 45% working interest in Block 11b/12B, Qatar Petroleum holds 25%, CNR International 20% and Main Street, a South African consortium, 10%.

Meanwhile, Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe told delegates on the last day of the 2019 Investing in African Mining Indaba on Thursday that his department’s plan to separate oil and gas from the Mining Charter and develop separate legislation for the extraction method would yield immediate impact.

He lauded Total’s discovery as one of the outcomes.

Source: BusinessDay

South Africans must expect another substantial petrol price increase at the beginning of November‚ the Automobile Association (AA) says.

Commenting on unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund‚ the AA said: “International oil prices remain stubbornly high and it is possible that current tensions involving Saudi Arabia‚ one of the world’s biggest oil producers‚ could place more pressure on fuel prices. More welcome news is that the rand is working in SA’s favour‚ and the recent firming of our currency against the dollar has taken some of the bite out of oil’s rally.”

“However‚ the potential price hikes are still daunting‚ especially for diesel users,” the AA said.

Petrol prices are currently set for a 40c a litre increase‚ while diesel and illuminating paraffin could spike 70c and 65c a litre, respectively‚ the AA said.

The association said the predicted increase in the price of petrol must‚ for the moment‚ be seen against the backdrop of the department of energy’s proposal to set a maximum price for the sale of 93 octane unleaded petrol (ULP) and lead-replacement petrol (LRP) fuels.

“Should this happen‚ it will allow fuel retailers to set their own prices below the maximum amount indicated by government‚ and may‚ depending on the margins‚ ease the burden on users of the two identified fuels. It must be stressed‚ however‚ that we did not participate in the drafting of the proposal‚ so details on its possible implementation remain unclear to us‚” the AA commented.

However‚ the association said it welcomed the government’s efforts to tackle rising fuel prices‚ and that the department of energy had requested input from industry stakeholders. It said the proposal looked to be consumer-friendly‚ and that the detail would clarify how this would work once all the feedback was received.

The AA said the country could not continue to be hammered by large fuel price hikes without severe economic knock-on effects. Earlier in October, the price of unleaded 93 petrol increased by 99c a litre‚ unleaded 95 by R1 and diesel by R1.24.

“The effect on bus and taxi operations could lead to fare hikes that exceed commuters’ ability to pay‚” the AA noted. “We again call on government to prioritise economic policies that inspire investor confidence. A stronger and more stable rand is the country’s only defence against the vagaries of the international oil price.”

SA faces ‘biggest ever’ fuel hike in October

By Tom Head for The South African

You might have heard a few horror stories about the petrol price in South Africa soaring by R1 for next month. Well, we’re here to tell you it all seems completely true.

The AA forecast a rise of R1.12 per litre of petrol, and a whopping increase of R1.38 for diesel in October – a devastating blow that has been described as “the biggest single hike” in our country’s history. But what’s fuelling this crisis, and why are costs spiralling so dramatically? We’ve got answers.

Oil prices are nearing $100 a barrel
There’s a very bleak outlook for oil prices on a global scale. This is by no means a consolation, but it goes some way to explaining why it’s getting ridiculous in South Africa. It’s not just internal factors that have ramped up the petrol price. Some commentators believe oil prices will hit a 10-year high of $100 a barrel soon.

Tension between the US and Iran
It’s hard to accept, but the world tends to revolve around America at this point. While President Trump is taking a more hostile approach to foreign policy, Iran has become one of his targets. Now, the country is one of the biggest exporters of oil in the world, but there’s trouble on the horizon.

The US government are set to impose further sanctions on Iran while pulling out of an agreement regarding a nuclear deal achieved by the Obama Administration. Production is already dropping in the Middle-Eastern country, and further financial turmoil will have a negative effect on oil costs.

Countries not producing the goods
Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has highlighted that Libya produced 1.5 million barrels of oil a day before the regime collapsed in 2011. That number is now almost at a third of what it used to be.

Venezuela’s current crisis also got a mention. They are a member of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), but the oil industry has all but collapsed in the South American state. To put it in laymen’s terms, production is down and the cost has gone up.

A weak rand value to the dollar
It’s been a nightmare month for the rand, which has had to battle against the fierce knockout blow delivered by the recession. With the financial crisis coming as something of a surprise, the rand plummeted against the greenback and has struggled to find its feet ever since.

It soared above the R15 mark, and only recently came back down to R14.40. Most recently, Turkey’s currency tanked as a result of Trump’s intense import tariffs, aimed at stimulating industrial growth within the US.

In a global market, for every action, there is a reaction, and all emerging economies felt the knock-on effect of Turkey’s wobble.

Government subsidy backfires
Have you ever tried to help a situation but only gone and made things worse? Well, that’s effectively what happened to Jeff Radebe last month. The minister announced that the government would subsidise fuel costs for the month of September, meaning that an increase in the petrol price was smaller than forecast.

However, what were we just saying about actions and reactions? The slight relief felt this month will be compounded by the misery said to be coming our way next week.

For petrol prices to rise by a rand within a 30-day period is sharp, shocking rise. Had there been no government intervention, there’d be less of a knock-on effect. October’s rise could have been as “little” as 50 cents per litre, had South Africans been allowed to pay the full whack in September.

Rand drops as oil prices slump

The rand weakened in early trade on Tuesday as an oil price plunge swung global markets away from riskier assets.

Stocks were also weaker in early trade, with the broader All-share index down 0,81% and the blue-chip Top 40 slipping 1,06%.

The rand was changing hands at R16.6100/$ by 08:52, 0,45% weaker than its 16.5400 Monday close in New York.

A renewed bout of negative sentiment concerning emerging markets ensured that the rand’s recovery came to a halt on Monday, filtering into early Tuesday trade as crude oil dropped below $30 a barrel.

“Considering this morning’s softness in commodity prices and fall in Asian equity markets, commodity-based currencies, including the rand, are likely to remain under pressure today,” said Barclays Africa currency strategist Mike Keenan in a note.

In fixed income, government bonds tracked the rand lower as investors waited for clear signs of both the US Federal Reserve monetary trajectory as well as that of the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb).

The yield on paper due in 2026 ticked up five basis points to 9,658%.

Investors will be cautious ahead of the Sarb’s monetary policy committee meeting beginning on Tuesday to determine its rate decision and an update on the bank’s inflation and growth outlook on Thursday.

Source: www.fin24.com

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