Hit by Oil Price Drop, Algeria Turns to China for Funds
Algeria is turning to China to finance several infrastructure projects, including a new $3.2 billion port, as the North African OPEC member looks for ways to weather the collapse in global oil prices. Algeria, where oil and gas production account for 60 percent of the state budget, saw energy earnings collapse 40 percent last year, forcing the government to slash spending, raise some subsidised fuel prices and freeze major projects. With little foreign debt and more than $130 billion in reserves, Algeria's government says its economy can manage the fall in crude prices. Nevertheless, it appears Algiers is willing to move out of its comfort zone to help it cope. The Chinese funding represents the first time it has sought external funding in a decade.
Norway's Offshore Shipping Sector Faces Bleak Year
Norwegian companies that provide supply ships and drilling rigs to the global oil industry face a bleak year ahead as contracts disappear and financing options dwindle in the face of weak global crude prices. They could increasingly be forced to sell or write down the value of assets, cut jobs and tap shareholders for cash to weather the downturn, according to industry experts. This would herald more pain for Norway, where the overall oil sector accounts for about a fifth of the economy and unemployment is rising, especially in the oil capital Stavanger and its environs on the west coast. Oil firms like Statoil, which offshore shipping companies rely on for business, have slashed costs and projects to cope with a 60-percent plunge in crude prices since June last year.
Aker Solutions Post 4Q 2014 Results
*EBIT margin ex. Aker Solutions revenue rose 21 percent to NOK 9.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014 from a year earlier, helped by strong progress on major projects across the global business. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) climbed to NOK 557 million in the quarter from NOK 486 million a year earlier. The EBIT margin narrowed to 6.1 percent from 6.4 percent amid a slowdown in the Norwegian maintenance, modifications and operations (MMO) market and as some major subsea projects are still in a start-up phase. This was partly offset by strong project execution at the U.S.
Tanker Markets See Storage Boon from Oil Price Collapse
The oil price drop will hand tanker markets an unexpected bonus next year, boosting demand for oil storage at sea while distant eastern markets also bargain-hunt fuel and need shipping. Supertanker rates are already close to five-year highs of over $83,000 a day - helped by a drop in shipping fuel bunker prices. Overcapacity, which has dogged owners for years, is also receding. Herbjorn Hansson, chairman and chief executive of Nordic American Tankers, told shareholders recently that lower oil prices "may trigger stockpiling or have a more general positive impact".
Oil Prices will Produce BP Job Cuts
BP is to axe middle managers and could freeze projects as it grapples with the plummeting oil price, The Sunday Times reported, citing finance director Brian Gilvary. "What you'll see with this simplification plan is that headcounts are starting to come down across all of our activities in upstream, downstream and in the corporate centres -- essentially the layers above operations," the newspaper quotes Gilvary as saying. On Wednesday, BP will update on its exploration and production plans until 2010. Gilvary told the newspaper the oil price drop was not likely to affect its long-term plans but some projects could be delayed or scrapped. "We have got flexibility to trim into next year if that's what we need in a new world of oil at $70 or $60 (a barrel)," he said.
Weak Oil Threatens US Export of LNG
Plunging global oil prices may turn hopes for cheap liquefied natural gas supplies from the United States into a costly disappointment for Asian buyers who have already invested billions of dollars in long-term contracts. The 26 percent price slide since June to $85 a barrel exposes cracks in the assumption by utilities and industrial companies from Japan to India that cheap U.S. LNG would muscle into high-value Asian energy markets from 2016. Oil prices form the backbone of LNG trade to Asia, because exporters outside the United States typically tie 25-year supply deals to crude oil prices. If prices continue to fall, these suppliers from Qatar to Australia will regain their edge over upstart U.S. producers. "From the buyer's view, $80 oil makes oil-linked supplies less expensive ...
Brent Oil Hits 26-month Low Under US$97
Brent crude oil on Monday slumped to its lowest in over two years, below $97 per barrel as lacklustre economic data from China, the world's top energy consumer, cast a shadow over the outlook for oil demand at a time of abundant supply. * U.S. China's factory output grew at the weakest pace in nearly six years in August, while growth in other key sectors also cooled, raising fears the world's second-largest economy may be at risk of a sharp slowdown. October Brent, which was due to expire later on Monday, fell to as low as $96.21 a barrel, its weakest since July 2, 2012.
Statoil - Terminating Rig Tender Process
StatoilHydro is terminating its procurement process for rig hire for operations on the Norwegian continental shelf due to high rig rates. ”We focus on reducing costs and making strict priorities,” says Anders Opedal, head of procurements in StatoilHydro. The invitation to submit tenders for rig hire was distributed during the summer of 2008, and covered both semi-submersible mobile rigs and jack-up drilling rigs with contract start at the end of 2012. When the deadline for submitting tenders expired on 25 August StatoilHydro had received tenders for a total of 28 rigs from 15 suppliers.