Oil prices get boost from rebound in global stock markets

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said on Monday it expected world oil demand to climb by 1.59 million barrels per day this year. (Reuters)
Updated 13 February 2018
0

Oil prices get boost from rebound in global stock markets

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose on Tuesday, lifted by a rebound in global stock markets that followed sharp falls last week.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $59.65 a barrel at 0724 GMT. That was up 36 cents, or 0.6 percent, from their last settlement.
Brent crude futures were at $62.99 per barrel, up 40 cents, or 0.6 percent, from the previous close.
“Oil markets attempted a half-hearted recovery overnight on little more than an equity market correlated bounce,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore.
Stock markets were roiled last week by some of the sharpest falls on record, shaking confidence across markets.
With markets seemingly returning to calmer waters, oil traders said attention was turning to inventory levels to gauge crude supply levels.
“The change in inventories this week will be crucial for determining whether further declines in the oil price are on the cards,” said William O’Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia’s Rivkin Securities.
The private American Petroleum Institute is due to publish crude inventory estimates on Tuesday, while the government US Energy Information Administration (EIA) is set to release its fuel storage and crude production data on Wednesday.
On the demand side, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said on Monday it expected world oil demand to climb by 1.59 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, an increase of 60,000 bpd from the previous forecast, reaching 98.6 million bpd.
The rising consumption is being met by increased output from outside OPEC, the Middle East dominated producer club said.
OPEC said the United States and other outside producers would boost supply by 1.4 million bpd this year, up 250,000 bpd from last month and the third consecutive rise from 870,000 bpd in November.
OPEC said because of non-OPEC production growth, oil markets would only return to a supply and demand balance “toward the end of this year.”
In an effort to tighten markets and prop up prices, OPEC and a group of other producer including Russia have been withholding supplies since 2017. The cuts are scheduled to last through 2018.
EIA data shows that world oil markets were in a supply deficit in 2017, due in large part to the OPEC-led supply cuts, but the data shows an expected return of a surplus for large parts of this year.
Sukrit Vijayakar, director of consultancy Trifecta Energy, said that his view on oil prices was “decidedly bearish” given all the market fundamentals.


UK’s Quercus pulls plug on $570 mln Iran solar plant as sanctions bite

Updated 14 August 2018
0

UK’s Quercus pulls plug on $570 mln Iran solar plant as sanctions bite

  • Quercus said it will halt the construction of a 500 million euro ($570 million) solar power plant in Iran
  • Iran has been trying to increase the share of renewable-produced electricity in its energy mix

OSLO: A British renewable energy investor Quercus said it will halt the construction of a 500 million euro ($570 million) solar power plant in Iran due to recently imposed US sanctions on Tehran.
The solar plant in Iran would have been the first renewable energy investment outside Europe by Quercus and the world’s sixth largest, with a 600 megawatt (MW) capacity.
Iran has been trying to increase the share of renewable-produced electricity in its energy mix, partly due to air pollution and to meet international commitments, hoping to have about 5 gigawatt in renewables installed by 2022.
In June, before the US-imposed sanctions, more than 250 companies had signed agreements to add and sell power from about 4 gigawatt of new renewables in the country, which has only 602 MW installed, Iranian energy ministry data showed.
Washington reimposed sanctions last week after pulling out of a 2015 international deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions.
US president Donald Trump has also threatened to penalize companies that continue to operate in Iran, which led banks and many companies around the world to scale back their dealings with Tehran.
“Following the US sanctions on Iran, we have decided to cease all activities in the country, including our 600 MW project. We will continue to monitor the situation closely,” Quercus chief executive Diego Biasi said in an email on Tuesday.
The firm will continue to monitor the situation closely, said Biasi, who declined to comment further.
Last year Quercus said it would set up a project company and sell shares via a private placement after attracting interest from private and institutional investors, including sovereign wealth funds.
Construction was expected to take three years, with each 100 MW standalone lot becoming operational and connecting to the grid every six months.

SANCTIONS BITE
Independently-owned Quercus has a portfolio of around 28 renewable energy plants and 235 MW of installed capacity.
The firm, founded by Biasi and Simone Borla in 2010, controls five investment funds and has a network of “highly regarded external partners,” it says on its website.
The 600 MW plant it aimed to construct in Iran would be the firm’s largest investment. Quercus declined to comment on the details of its decision to cease the plan and on any financial losses that could result from it.
Fearing the consequences of the US embargo, a string of European companies have recently announced they would scale back their business in Iran.
On Tuesday, German engineering group Bilfinger, said it did not plan to sign any new business in the country, while automotive supplier Duerr on Aug. 11 said it had halted activities in Iran.
Another project, planned by Norway’s Saga Energy, which said last October it aimed to build 2 GW of new solar energy capacity in Iran and to start construction by the end of 2018, has also stalled.
Saga Energy’s chief of operations Rune Haaland told Reuters it was still working on getting the funding, which is more complicated since recent developments, and although it aimed to push on with its plans, construction could be delayed. ($1 = 0.8773 euros)