Oil up on ongoing OPEC cuts, but rising US output weighs

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Updated 21 November 2017
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Oil up on ongoing OPEC cuts, but rising US output weighs

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose on Tuesday, supported by expectations of an extended OPEC-led production cut, although rising output in the United States capped gains.
Brent crude futures were at $62.51 per barrel at 0807 GMT, 29 cents, or 0.5 percent above their last close.
US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $56.60 a barrel, up 18 cents, or 0.3 percent.
Traders said markets were generally supported by ongoing production cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
OPEC, together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russia, has been restraining output since the start of this year in a bid to end a global supply overhang and buoy prices.
The deal to curb output is due to expire in March 2018, but OPEC will meet on Nov. 30 to discuss the outlook for the policy.
OPEC is expected to agree to extend cuts as storage levels remain high despite recent drawdowns, although there are doubts about the willingness of some participants to continue to restrict their production.
“If the OPEC/non-OPEC cuts continue, the stocks surplus will reduce to just some 50 million barrels above the five-year average in Q3 2018 (down from 140 million barrels above that average now) and prices will hit $65-70 per barrel,” energy consultancy FGE said.
The biggest headache for OPEC has been rising US drilling activity, led by shale oil producers.
Energy consultancy Westwood Global Energy Group said US output would climb even faster than implied by the rising rig count, which has jumped from 316 rigs in mid-2016 to 738 last week, as producers get more productive per well.
“Westwood Global Energy forecasts an 18 percent increase in active rigs in 2018, but more rapid demand growth in certain service areas as operators focus on efficiency and delivering more for less,” the consultancy said.
For 2018, FGE warned potential supply disruptions during an already tighter market could trigger oil price spikes. But it said the market could slump again toward 2019 as US output continues to soar and OPEC and its allies at some point will stop withholding output.
“We see another big rush with (US) production growth of some 1-1.5 million bpd in 2018 and 2019,” FGE said. It added that OPEC also “has some 1.5 million bpd of spare capacity (while) Russia and Kazakhstan could also add another 500,000 bpd.”
Reflecting rising US oil exports to Asia, US commodity exchange CME Group said it will list a new futures contract that prices the spread between US WTI futures and Middle East benchmark Dubai, starting Dec. 18.


Meet the Dubai ad men who pay you to sit in traffic

Updated 20 August 2018
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Meet the Dubai ad men who pay you to sit in traffic

  • Blockchain technology challenges traditional outdoor media
  • Adverts connect to driver mobile phone

LONDON: A new startup founded by UAE-based entrepreneurs is in the process of test-running a blockchain-based technology that could help people turn their cars into mobile advertising vehicles.
It could challenge the use of traditional advertising methods such as outdoor billboards, the founders of The Elo Network claim.
The platform — which has been set up by Mohammed Khammas and Mohammed Bafaqih and incorporated in the Cayman Islands — will enable people to be paid for displaying adverts on the side or back of their vehicles while they go about their daily routines of driving to work, the mall or doing the school run.
The adverts will feature low-frequency bluetooth ‘beacons’ that connect to the drivers' mobile phone which will be able to monitor when the driver is in the car and where the car is being driven.
There is a minimum threshold for the number of miles being driven a day, but the main prerequisite is that the driver is in the car. Drivers will still be paid even if stuck in a traffic jam.
Advertising clients will be able to put out requests that drivers head to a particular area — for instance to be close to a new brand launch — with drivers being paid up to 4 or 5 times more than their standard rate if they accept.
While the concept of paying people to use their cars for advertising is not new, it is the use of blockchain technology that will make The Elo Network particularly grounding-breaking in the advertising world, its founders said.
“Billboards are very expensive and static and don’t give you the KPIs and insightful information that brands want these days. You solve that by getting them that data,” Bafaqih said.
The Elo Network collates detailed data by tracking the movements of the drivers and their day-to-day activities. Data points such as a particular area’s population density can been collected.
The information will be encrypted ensuring that the brand will never know the identity of the driver, said Bafaqih.
“It creates data sets that didn’t exist before. You don’t have to worry about privacy but at the same time the brand can know about your patterns. They can know where you go in mornings, where you drive, what normal patterns are created in certain areas and countries,” he said.
This level of detail is increasingly important for brands looking to run targeted campaigns, and it is something that traditional billboards are unable to offer.
The technology will also be used to overcome the payment problems that other similar car advertising schemes have faced.
“Historically what happens, where there is a authority that is issuing payments, it causes a lot of problems. There can be disputes on how much they (the drivers) are owed or how many miles were driven or what campaign someone has done,” he said.
Under the Elo Network program, the blockchain technology allows you to create so-called “Smart Contracts” — which is a software protocol that enforces and verifies the performance of a contract.
“It says driver A is going to be paid — for example — a dollar per mile — so as the person drives he starts receives ‘IOUs’. Those IOUs are convertible at any time,” he said.
With no ‘middle man’ involved, the driver is able to redeem their IOUs and get paid as and when they want.
The network is currently at ‘proof of concept’ stage and is test-running the platform with a number of brands. It is anticipated that the network will be rolled out to the public toward the end of this year and early 2019.