OPEC sees oil surplus falling in 2016

Updated 13 November 2015
0

OPEC sees oil surplus falling in 2016

LONDON: OPEC said its oil output fell in October and forecast supply from rival producers next year would decline for the first time since 2007 as low prices prompt investment cuts, reducing a global supply glut.
In a monthly report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said it pumped 31.38 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, down 256,000 bpd from September. That is the first decline since March, according to OPEC figures.
The forecast of a decline in supply outside OPEC, if realized, would be a further indication the group’s strategy is working.
OPEC last year abandoned a longstanding policy of propping up prices and instead raised output, seeking to recover market share taken by higher-cost rival production.
Oil is trading at around $45 a barrel, more than 50 percent below its price in June 2014.
“The recent decline in oil prices has encouraged additional oil demand,” OPEC said in the report.
“It has also provided a challenging market environment for some higher-cost crude oil production, which has already shown a slowdown.”
The group expects non-OPEC supply next year to fall by about 130,000 bpd, following growth of 720,000 bpd this year, “as nearly $200 billion of capex cutbacks this year and next create a gaping supply hole.”
Oil companies have canceled or put on hold projects around the world and OPEC expects output in the US, the biggest source of non-OPEC supply growth in recent years due to the shale boom, to be hit by reduced drilling activity.
OPEC production, which has surged since the policy shift of November 2014 led by record Saudi Arabian and Iraqi output, fell in October on export delays in Iraq and lower supply from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, said the report, citing secondary sources.
The report points to a 560,000-bpd supply surplus in the market next year if the group keeps pumping at October’s rate, down from 750,000 bpd indicated in last month’s report.
For 2015 though, the report implies a much larger surplus of almost 1.8 million bpd due to high OPEC production and the still-growing rival supplies that have boosted inventories.
Underlining the current glut, OPEC said the market is in the midst of only the second period in a decade when inventories in developed economies have exceeded the five-year average by more than an “excessive” level of 150 million barrels. The first followed the 2008 financial crisis.
Inventories in OECD economies are currently 210 million barrels above the five-year average, OPEC said, more than they 180 million barrels above that average they stood at in early 2009.
“The build in global inventories is mainly the result of the increase in total supply outpacing growth in world oil demand over the first nine months of this year,” OPEC said.
OPEC left its 2016 oil demand forecasts unchanged, predicting the world would need 30.82 million bpd of OPEC crude and global demand would grow by 1.25 million bpd, marking a slowdown from 1.50 million bpd in 2015.


‘Fuel of the future’ comes of age as Aramco opens first hydrogen filling station

Updated 17 June 2019
0

‘Fuel of the future’ comes of age as Aramco opens first hydrogen filling station

  • Fatih Birol’s comments were a deliberate poke at those experts who think that the sheer logistics of hydrogen make it always an unlikely solution to global energy challenges
  • Birol’s article was followed by a report from the IEA that put some meat on the bones of the argument that hydrogen is key to solving problems such as global warming

DUBAI: Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, cracked a joke in the Financial Times a couple of weeks ago.
“Hydrogen is the fuel of the future, and it always will be,” he wrote about the fuel that many experts agree could hold the key to the world’s energy problems.
It was a deliberate poke at those experts who think that the sheer logistics of hydrogen — generation, storage, and transportation — make it always an unlikely solution to global energy challenges.
Birol’s article was followed by a report from the IEA that put some meat on the bones of the argument that hydrogen is key to solving such problems as global warming and environmental degradation.
“The world has an important opportunity to tap into hydrogen’s vast potential to become a critical part of a more sustainable and secure energy future … The world should not miss this unique chance to make hydrogen an important part of our clean and secure energy future,” the report said.
That argument will get a critical boost today, when Saudi Aramco, the biggest oil company in the world, opens its first hydrogen fueling station in Dhahran Techno Valley, in the heart of the Kingdom’s oil producing region.
Aramco has partnered with Air Products, a US company that has been a pioneer in the use of industrial gases, to produce a filling station for hydrogen-fueled vehicles.

 

It is very much a test. “The collected data during this pilot phase of the project will provide valuable information for the assessment of future applications of this emerging transport technology in the local environment,” Aramco said when the project was first announced.
But it is something Aramco has been investigating for a long time. Ahmed Al-Khowaiter, Aramco’s chef technology officer, said: “The use of hydrogen derived from oil or gas to power fuel cell electric vehicles represents an exciting opportunity to expand the use of oil in clean transport.”
Hydrogen — essentially what is left when you take the oxygen out of water — has been recognized as a potential fuel source for many decades. Motor manufacturers developed a hydrogen motor engine 50 years ago, but the ease and accessibility of hydrocarbon fuels — oil, gas and coal — made it uneconomic to develop this technology beyond the prototype stage.
Now, as the debate over the role of hydrocarbons in the global environmental balance has become ever more intense, some experts, including Birol and other influential parts of the thought-leadership establishment, believe hydrogen is the next Big Thing in global energy trends.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) said recently that “green” hydrogen offers a solution to the world energy challenge, and that is the problem the theoreticians are struggling with: Hydrogen is released naturally in the process of burning hydrocarbons, but it is self-defeating, in an environmental sense. if you have to burn oil, gas or coal to produce it.
On the other hand, renewable sources, like sun, wind and water, do not produce enough hydrogen to be practically or commercially viable, and not at the right times, when people actually need it.
But, as the WEF noted recently “low-cost green hydrogen is coming”, as technology advances mean the cost of renewable energy falls dramatically each year. The Middle East already has a very big and very cost-efficient program for solar energy generation.
The other challenges lay in how to store and transport hydrogen. It can be loaded onto a tanker like LNG, or pushed through pipelines, but it would require a huge investment to change current logistics systems — essentially designed for oil and LNG — to handle hydrogen.
Many countries, including Saudi Arabia, already have the infrastructure associated with oil and gas refining and petrochemicals production to be able to equip “hydrogen hubs,” as long as there is government will and commercial incentive to do so.
For the Kingdom, it looks like a no-brainer for the future. As Birol said: “So, hydrogen offers tantalising promises of cleaner industry and emissions-free power. Turning it into energy produces only water, not greenhouse gases. It’s also the most abundant element in the universe. What’s not to like?”

FACTOID

Technological advances mean low-cost ‘green’ hydrogen offers a solution to the world energy challenge, according to the World Economic Forum.