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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Latest Gulf of Mexico Auction Signals Offshore Return

© Mike Mareen / Adobe Stock

Major oil producers pushed up high bids at a Gulf of Mexico offshore auction to $121 million on Wednesday, a nearly seven-fold increase from a year ago, as their return to deep water exploration gained momentum. This compared with $18 million in high bids at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM) Outer Continental Shelf auction last summer. Winners will be announced after a 90-day review. Some producers have signaled that they expect Gulf of Mexico projects to become more profitable now that they have trimmed operations to adapt to low oil prices.

Tanker Shipping Rates to Remain Weak: Drewry

Graph: Drewry Shipping Consultants Limited

Rising long haul exports of crude oil from the US and Nigeria will not be sufficient to push tanker shipping freight rates higher given lower anticipated Middle East output and surging tonnage supply, according to the latest edition of the Tanker Forecaster, published by global shipping consultancy Drewry. Although a slight slowdown in global oil demand growth and inventory drawdown because of the ongoing production cut by OPEC is capping global the oil trade, the impact of lower OPEC output is partly counterbalanced by rising long-haul trade.

SBM Offshore Raises Outlook Buoyed by Deepwater Spending

File photo: SBM Offshore

SBM Offshore, a Dutch provider of floating oil and gas production vessels, raised its core earnings guidance on Wednesday citing clients slowly spending more on deepsea projects. "Deepwater is becoming attractive again. It's on a par from an economic standpoint with shale oil," said Chief Executive Bruno Chabas, in reference to a recovery in spending which fell after a sharp drop in oil prices in 2014. Due to low production costs, the shale oil market has attracted huge investments, especially in the United States, and outperformed investor interest elsewhere in the oil market.

Asia Traders Consider Diesel, Jet Fuel Trades to Europe

File Image: A typical SuexMax tanker in the Suez Canal (CREDIT: Suez Canal Authority)

Rise in enquiries on booking long-range vessels; shipping rates likely to go up. Traders in Asia are considering shipping diesel and jet fuel to Europe after a fire at that region's largest oil refinery disrupted supplies and boosted fuel margins, five traders and shipbrokers said on Tuesday. Two shipbrokers said they had seen a rise in enquiries on booking long-range vessels to ship the fuels to Europe after Royal Dutch Shell shut most of the units at its 404,000 barrels per day Pernis refinery in Rotterdam following a fire in the power supply system on July 29.

Transocean to Buy Songa Offshore

(File photo: Songa Offshore)

About 77 pct of Songa shareholders have so far accepted deal. Transocean, one of the world's biggest drilling rig operators, has agreed a deal to buy Norwegian competitor Songa Offshore for 9.1 billion Norwegian crowns ($1.1 bln), the two companies said on Tuesday. The deal, which would be mostly paid for in shares and convertible bonds, would strengthen Transocean's position in offshore drilling as Songa is Norwegian oil major Statoil's largest drilling service provider. The offer values Songa shares at 47.50 Norwegian crowns each, a 39.7 percent premium over Monday's closing price.

Indonesia, CNOOC Talks End in Deadlock

Early renegotiation of gas selling price with China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) has ended in deadlock as the ceiling price proposed by CNOOC was seen as too low, according to Asian Pulse. Indonesia has signed a long term contract to supply China's Fujian province with 2.6 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) annually from Tangguh, Papua. Under the agreement in 1992 the LNG price was tide with crude oil price or around $2.4 per MMBTU based on a ceiling price of $25 per barrel of crude oil. The ceiling price is no longer acceptable to Indonesia with the soaring crude oil price at present. Currently the LNG price is around $8 per MMBTU based on a crude oil price of $65 per barrel.

Asia Tankers-VLCCs Rates Ease as Tanker Jams Fade

file image: A VLCC transits the Suez Canal (Suez Canal Authority)

Port congestion eases at Basra and Chinese ports; tanker demand set to expand on lower oil prices. Freight rates for very large crude carriers (VLCCs), hurt by slower-than-usual release of cargo, could slip further next week as more tonnage becomes available with the easing of recent tanker traffic jams in China, ship brokers said on Friday. Charter rates from the Middle East to Japan slipped to a six-month low on Thursday, falling by 12 Worldscale points or almost $14,000 since April 21.

Asia: LPG Shipping and LNG Pricing

Image: Navigator Gas

While declining Asian LNG prices have reduced margins on the long-distance LNG trade, causing spot-charter rates for LNG vessels to fall, LPG shipping earnings are forecast to remain buoyant on the back of low oil prices and the absence of fuel substitution. According to LPG Forecaster, published by global shipping consultancy Drewry, low oil prices have not triggered the substitution of LPG as the fuel of industrial use, as feared by some analysts. As a result, LPG shipping demand has remained intact and low bunker prices have supported vessel earnings.

Oil Prices Dip as OPEC Oil Exports Rise

© Björn Wylezich / Adobe Stock

Oil prices edged lower on Friday and were on track for weekly losses, weighed down by rising OPEC exports and strong output from the United States. Brent crude futures, the international benchmark, were trading at $51.76 a barrel at 1141 GMT, 25 cents below the last close and heading for a fall of close to 1.5 percent on the week. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were 30 cents lower at $48.73 per barrel and were set to drop by around 2 percent for the week. Analysts said prices were pressured by rising output, although strong demand limited the losses.

As IOC Books Cargoes, Nigerian October Liftings Mixed

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Carabay)

India's IOC booked a total of 4 million barrels from traders Shell and Total, while Nigeria's initial October export plans mostly showed slipping levels. Export plans for Forcados, Qua Iboe, Bonny Light, Bonga Erha, Amenam and Usan nearly all showed lower figures compared with September. Forcados exports were scheduled to rise to 256,000 bpd, and Erha also showed an increase. But Qua Iboe, the largest export stream, and the other grades released were all set to slip month-on-month. There were roughly 10-15 cargoes left from the September loading plan.

U.S. Crude Imports To Continue To Rise

Due to declining domestic crude oil production and rising oil demand, crude imports will continue to increase over the next two decades accounting for 64 percent of U.S. oil supplies by 2020, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its annual long-term energy outlook. Currently, the U.S. imports 52 percent, or 8.6 million bpd of its oil and domestic oil output at 6 million bpd is at its lowest level since the early 1950s. U.S. petroleum consumption is projected to rise an average 1.3 percent annually over the next two decades, growing from the current 19.4 million bpd to 25.1 million bpd by 2020, EIA said. Although world crude oil prices have more than doubled since the beginning of 1999…

Vanishing Volatility Signals Oil Market Shift

Source: Reuters / J. Kemp

The oil market has rarely been so quiet. Benchmark Brent has traded in a narrow range of $5 either side of $110 per barrel since the summer of 2012. Price volatility has fallen to some of the lowest levels since crude futures markets were established in the early 1980s. Oil prices have rarely been so stable for so long since the 1973 oil shock ended the long period of calm in the 1950s and 1960s and ushered in the era of OPEC dominance. Measured volatility in front-month Brent futures prices has been below average continuously for almost two years.

Two-month Global LNG Rally Ends, Weak Oil Tempts Buyers

Asian spot liquefied natural gas prices ended their 2-month rally this week, interrupted by weak demand in Japan and South Korea as falling crude oil prices push importers to turn to oil-linked long-term LNG supplies. Spot LNG prices for November delivery lost ground to $14.60 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), versus $15 per mmBtu last week, amid still scarce demand from end-users in Asia. Most LNG trade takes place via 20-year supply deals offered by major oil companies and producer countries such as Qatar, where buyers pay a price linked to the cost of crude oil. With the benchmark Brent crude price slipping nearly as far as $92 a barrel, from $105/barrel several weeks ago, oil-linked LNG for delivery in January is becoming increasingly competitive against spot priced cargoes.

Oil Below $40/bbl After Rise in US Oil Rigs

U.S. crude oil prices on Friday dove below $40 a barrel for the first time since the 2009 financial crisis, notching their longest weekly losing streak in 29 years after a further rise in U.S. drilling and a drop in Chinese manufacturing. Oil prices pushed briefly below the $40-pivot mark following weekly data that showed U.S. energy firms added two oil drilling rigs last week, the fifth increase in a row. The rise in rigs, which is emerging now after a second quarter lull in prices, is adding to concerns U.S. shale production is proving slow to respond to falling prices, prolonging a global glut. "Everyone is still looking at it saying 'Wow, you still don't have production coming down,'" said Tariq Zahir, founder at Tyche Capital in Laurel Hollow, New York.

Brent Slips below $105

HFO: File image

Brent crude slipped under $105 a barrel on Monday, dropping from a one-week high hit on Friday, as U.S. intervention in Iraq eased concerns over the risk of disruption to supply from OPEC's second-largest producer. * U.S. Analysts have said that U.S. air strikes on Islamic State targets in northern Iraq over the weekend could help enforce stability in the country, curbing the risk of supply disruptions. Iraqi Kurdistan said on Friday that its oil output remained unaffected. "For this week…

Oil Price Crash Claims First US LNG Project Casualty

Excelerate Energy's Texan liquefied natural gas terminal plan has become the first victim of an oil price slump threatening the economics of U.S. LNG export projects. A halving in the oil price since June has upended assumptions by developers that cheap U.S. LNG would muscle into high-value Asian energy markets, which relied on oil prices staying high to make the U.S. supply affordable. The floating 8 million tonne per annum (mtpa) export plant moored at Lavaca Bay, Texas advanced by Houston-based Excelerate has been put on hold, according to regulatory filings obtained by Reuters. The project was initially due to begin exports in 2018. Excelerate's move bodes ill for thirteen other U.S.

Oil Price Depends Less on Supply & Demand Says OAPEC Chief

The selling price of crude oil is more likely to be determined by geopolitical considerations, speculations, status of global oil reserves, rate of the US dollar, conditions at global financial markets, major shares, weather forecast and production and exports, opined Secretary General of OAPEC Abbas Al-Naqqi. Al-Naqqi whose remarks came in a statement issued before the Gulf Petroleum Conference and Exhibition (2012) expressed his belief that events that had prevailed across the Arab world over the past months did not result in significant effects on the prices of oil. Price of crude oil rose from USD 90 per barrel in at the end of 2010 to become USD 12 by the end of April 2011…

Economy, Demand Data Drives Oil Down

World oil prices resumed a months-long rout on Tuesday to close at their lowest in more than two years, pressured by reduced economic and demand growth forecasts. U.S. crude oil prices fell faster than European Brent, reversing a weeks-long compression in the Brent/WTI spread amid signs that U.S. refiners are starting to buy cut-priced West African or Mediterranean crudes, re-opening a once common arbitrage. The International Monetary Fund cut its global economic growth forecasts for the third time this year, warning of weaker growth in core euro zone countries, Japan and Brazil. And German industrial output fell in August at its steepest rate since January 2009. "The IMF forecast is weighing on (demand) sentiment," said Phil Flynn, an analyst for the Price Futures Group in Chicago.

New Player Enters the Decommissioning Market

Executive Director of Well-Safe Solutions, Mark Patterson (Photo: Well-Safe Solutions)

A new entrant to North Sea decommissioning, Well-Safe Solutions was established by a group of oil industry stalwarts Alasdair Locke, Mark Patterson and Paul Warwick, setting out to provide a new approach to the safe and cost-efficient decommissioning of subsea wells. The new start company, which aims to attract £200 million ($260 million) in investment and create 400 new jobs, will offer a specialist well abandonment service. Well-Safe has secured funding from Scottish Enterprise…

Asia Tankers-VLCC Rates to Remain Low on Tonnage Glut

File Image: A VLCC Underway in the Suez Canala (CREDIT: Suez Canal)

Around 90 ships charter free for early September loading. Freight rates for very large crude carriers (VLCCs) on Asian routes will remain under pressure for at least the next month, facing strong headwinds from a glut of tonnage, brokers said. "There are around 80 to 90 ships available for charter in the first 10 days in September - that's about three ships for every cargo," a Singapore-based supertanker broker said on Friday. "There are about six or seven VLCCs free for charter now, but the earliest they'll see any cargo is early September," he said.

DNV GL's Tørstad Talks Energy Trends

Elisabeth Tørstad (Photo: DNV GL)

When Elisabeth Tørstad took the helm as CEO of DNV GL - Oil & Gas in late 2013, the price of a barrel of NYMEX (WTI) crude oil was more than $100. Today, that price has been halved, and the 40-month period between her ascension to the top post and our meeting with her in Houston in May 2017 has been arguably the most tumultuous in the oil industry’s history. Tørstad shares with Maritime Reporter & Engineering News her insights on the market going forward. With the energy slump entering its fourth year…

Fog Lifts as Maersk CEO Remains Upbeat

File Image: The Madrid Maersk, one of Maersk's largest boxships. CREDIT: Maersk

Container shipping fundamentals at best since 2010 - CEO. Denmark's A.P. Moller Maersk gave an upbeat outlook for container shipping on Wednesday, lifting its shares by more than 4.5 percent as investors looked beyond one-off second-quarter charges. Maersk has been hit by low oil prices at its energy arm and sliding prices in its shipping business in recent years due to lacklustre global trade and a glut of available ships for hire. But its chief executive Soren Skou, who has staked his future on Maersk as a transport business…

US LNG Shipments Point to Global Gas Price Convergence

Image by East-West Center

The emergence of US liquefied natural gas as a competitive alternative for European and Asian customers, combined with an oversupplied market, should drive more convergence between natural gas prices at major hubs and weaken the link between gas and oil prices, Fitch Ratings says. The first shipment of US liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass facility to Europe arrived in Portugal at the end of April. It is unclear how many more shipments will arrive in Europe in the near term…

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Aug 2017 - The Shipyard Edition

Maritime Reporter and Engineering News’ first edition was published in New York City in 1883 and became our flagship publication in 1939. It is the world’s largest audited circulation magazine serving the global maritime industry, delivering more insightful editorial and news to more industry decision makers than any other source.

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