Surge in global oil supply may overtake demand in 2018

The sun sets over the Total refinery on the Loire River off Donges, western France. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 13 February 2018
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Surge in global oil supply may overtake demand in 2018

LONDON: The rise in global oil production, led by the US, is likely to outpace growth in demand this year, the International Energy Agency said yesterday.
The Paris-based IEA raised its forecast for oil demand growth in 2018 to 1.4 million barrels per day, from a previous projection of 1.3 million bpd, after the International Monetary Fund upped its estimate of global economic growth for this year and next.
Oil demand grew at a rate of 1.6 million bpd in 2017, the IEA said in its monthly market report.
However, the rapid rise in output, particularly in the US, could well outweigh any pick-up in demand and begin to push up global oil inventories, which are now within sight of their five-year average.
“Today, having cut costs dramatically, US producers are enjoying a second wave of growth so extraordinary that in 2018 their increase in liquids production could equal global demand growth,” the IEA said.
“In just three months to November, (US) crude output increased by a colossal 846,000 bpd and will soon overtake that of Saudi Arabia. By the end of this year, it might also overtake Russia to become the global leader.”
US crude output could reach 11 million bpd by the end of the year, according to estimates from the US Energy Information Administration.
OPEC, along with other exporters such as Russia, have agreed to maintain a joint restriction on crude supply for a second year running in 2018, to force inventories to drain and support prices.
Oil inventories across the world’s richest nations fell by 55.6 million barrels in December to 2.851 billion barrels, their steepest one-month drop since February 2011, the IEA said.
For 2017 as a whole, inventories fell by 154 million barrels, or at a rate of 420,000 bpd. By the year-end they were only 52 million barrels above the five-year average, with stocks of oil products below that benchmark, the IEA said.
“With the surplus having shrunk so dramatically, the success of the output agreement might be close to hand. This, however, is not necessarily the case: Oil price rises have come to a halt and gone into reverse, and, according to our supply/demand balance, so might the decline in oil stocks, at least in the early part of this year.”
Oil production outside OPEC nations fell by 175,000 bpd in January to 58.6 million bpd, but was still 1.3 million bpd higher than January last year, predominantly because of the 1.3-million-bpd year-on-year increase in US output.
OPEC output was largely steady at 32.16 million bpd in January and compliance with the supply deal reached 137 percent, due in part to declines in Venezuela, where economic crisis has paralyzed much of the country’s oil production capacity.
The IEA estimates demand for OPEC’s crude in 2018 will average 32.3 million bpd, after dropping to 32.0 million in the first quarter of the year.
The IEA said oil prices, which briefly touched a high of $71 a barrel in January, could be supported even if US production rises, provided global growth remains strong, or if unplanned supply outages persist.
“If so, most producers will be happy, but if not, history might be repeating itself,” the IEA said.


Indonesia’s Go-Jek close to profits in all segments

Updated 18 August 2018
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Indonesia’s Go-Jek close to profits in all segments

  • Go-Jek is Indonesia's first billio-dollar startup
  • Ride haling app evolves into online payment platform

JAKARTA: Go-Jek, Indonesia’s first billion-dollar startup, is “extremely close” to achieving profitability in all its segments, except transportation, its founder and CEO Nadiem Makarim told Reuters.

Launched in 2011 in Jakarta, Go-Jek — a play on the local word for motorbike taxis — has evolved from a ride-hailing service to a one-stop app allowing clients in Southeast Asia’s largest economy to make online payments and order everything from food, groceries to massages.

“We’re seeing enormous online to offline traction for all of our businesses and are close to being profitable, outside of transportation,” said the 34-year old CEO.
The startup is expected to be fully profitable “probably” within the next few years, Makarim added.

Already a market leader in Indonesia, where it processes more than 100 million transactions for its 20-25 million monthly users, Go-Jek is now looking to expand in Southeast Asia.

Ride hailing services in Southeast Asia are expected to surge to $20.1 billion in gross merchandise value by 2025 from $5.1 billion in 2017, according to a Google-Temasek report.

Go-Jek said in May it would invest $500 million to enter Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, after Uber struck a deal to sell its Southeast Asian operations to Grab — the bigger player in the region.

Go-Jek is seeing strong funding interest from its backers as it targets an aggressive expansion, Makarim said.

“Since its Aug. 1 launch, the app has already grabbed 15 percent of market share in Ho Chi Minh,” Makarim said. The firm this week opened recruitment for motorcycle drivers in Thailand.

The startup expects anti-monopoly concerns swirling around the Grab-Uber deal, which Singapore said had substantially hurt competition, to help clear a path for its expansion.

“We’re bringing back choice. The Singapore government is particularly eager to bring back competition,” Makarim said, adding that the order of overseas rollouts had not been set.

Go-Jek’s offshore push comes at a time when Singapore-based Grab is stepping up funding to expand in Indonesia and transform itself into a consumer technology company, starting with a partnership with online grocer HappyFresh.

“Mimicking Go-Jek’s strategy is the highest form of flattery,” laughed Makarim.

Grab told Reuters in a statement, “The super app strategy has been around for a while now and no Southeast Asian player can claim to have pioneered it.” The company also said Grab has not lost market share in Ho Chi Minh since August, but declined to provide market share data.

Makarim believes Go-Jek’s understanding of food merchants will give it an edge over Grab, which counts investors such as Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. among its backers.

Makarim, who sees food delivery as Go-Jek’s core business, said he was not concerned about funding, without giving details.

Go-Jek was reported in June as being in talks to raise $1.5 billion in a new funding round and was valued at about $5 billion in a prior fundraising, sources have told Reuters. The firm had said in March it was considering a domestic IPO.

Makarim noted Go-Jek’s backers were sharing both capital and expertise. The company is collaborating with Alphabet Inc’s Google on platform mobility, Tencent on payments strategy, JD.com on logistics operations, and Meituan Dianping on merchant transactions and deliveries.

Go-Jek has set up a venture capital arm, Go-Ventures, to invest in startups in Southeast Asia “with strategic importance to our business,” the CEO said.