Saudi Arabia will remain top oil exporter, but ‘cannot ignore’ shale revolution, says IEA

The IEA's Fatih Birol said: ‘In the shale-revolution world, no country is an island. The established producers’ strategy in terms of cuts and limits will have to be reconsidered in light of the huge growth in shale.’ (Reuters)
Updated 05 March 2018
0

Saudi Arabia will remain top oil exporter, but ‘cannot ignore’ shale revolution, says IEA

HOUSTON: Saudi Arabia will remain the “most important oil exporting country for many years to come,” but its strategy and that of the rest of the OPEC countries will have to be reconsidered in light of the revolution in the energy world as a result of the boom in US shale production.
That was the message from Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) at the CERAWeek by IHS Markit meeting in Houston, Texas.
Birol, who unveiled the IEA’s global oil report at the event, said Saudi Arabia and other “established producers” had limited scope to affect global energy trends over the next five years, and would have to rethink their strategy to take account of the new energy environment.
“In the shale-revolution world, no country is an island. The established producers’ strategy in terms of cuts and limits will have to be reconsidered in light of the huge growth in shale,” he said.
Birol was asked if Saudi Arabia should try to coordinate strategy with shale producers in light of the US boom, with speculation in Houston that OPEC producers were in talks with their American rivals.
“Saudi Arabia will remain the largest and most important exporter, but is not the biggest producer, and there is an important difference. The market has its own dynamics and companies always will look to increase their financial returns. From that angle, the shale producers will continue to grow regardless of any agreement Saudi Arabia might reach with shale producers. That cannot ignore the growth coming from shale,” he said.
The IEA oil report forecast growing demand for crude over the next five years, but also predicted that US shale was on the brink of a “major second wave” that would see American producers supplying more than half of the increased global demand expected to come mainly from China and India. “America will put the stamp on global oil market developments over the next five years,” he said.
The IEA said that its bullish forecasts for shale output were conservative. “We will revise upward if the oil price goes much above $60,” Birol said.
However, Neil Atkinson, head of the IHS oil market team, said it was unlikely prices would head upward significantly in the near future. “It’s difficult to see how prices can move upward much, apart from geopolitical reasons,” he said.


Libya’s NOC declares force majeure on El Sharara oilfield

Updated 18 December 2018
0

Libya’s NOC declares force majeure on El Sharara oilfield

  • El Sharara — a 315,000 barrels a day field was taken over on Dec. 8 by groups of tribesmen, armed protesters and state guards demanding salary payments
  • Some government officials favor offering quick cash to the occupiers to make them leave, but NOC officials have warned that would set a precedent

TRIPOLI: Libya’s state oil firm NOC has declared force majeure on operations at the country’s largest oilfield, El Sharara, a week after it announced a contractual waiver on exports from the field following its seizure by protesters.

The 315,000 barrels a day field, located in the south of the North African OPEC member country, was taken over on Dec. 8 by groups of tribesmen, armed protesters and state guards demanding salary payments and development funds.

Officials have been unable to persuade the groups, who have been camping on the field, to leave the vast, partly unsecured site amid disagreements how best to proceed, workers on the field said.

Some government officials favor offering quick cash to the occupiers to make them leave, but NOC officials have warned that would set a precedent and encourage more blockades, workers at the oilfield say.

NOC has described the occupiers as militia trying to get on the payroll of field guards, a recurring theme in Libya where many see seizing NOC facilities as an easy way to get heard by the weak state authorities.

Production will only restart after “alternative security arrangements are put in place,” NOC said in a statement.

Operations at the smaller El Feel oilfield continued as normal, engineers said.

“Production at Sharara was forcibly shut down by an armed group — Battalion 30 and its civilian support company — that claimed to be providing security at the field, but which threatened violence against NOC employees,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanallah said in the statement.

His comments came after the chief of staff of the Tripoli-based government, Abdulrahman Attweel, criticized some of Sanalla’s previous comments about the protesters as “irresponsible.”

“These people (guards) were there to protect the field without salaries and without any attention to them and their daily needs, not in terms of accommodation, supply, transportation and communication,” Attweel told Al-Ahrar channel late on Monday.

Their demands were legitimate, he said, echoing comments by some southern lawmakers and mayors demanding more jobs and development for the neglected region.
The blockade has been complicated by the presence of tribesmen, who have argued against quick cash payments saying they want funds to improve hospitals and other services, which might take time to deliver.

The shutdown of the El Sharara has not affected the El Feel oilfield, also located in the south. It continued to pump around 70,000 barrels a day, field engineers said.
Its exports were being routed via the Melittah oil and gas port, which like El Feel belongs to a joint venture NOC has with Italian energy company Eni, another engineer said.

A spokesman for NOC did not respond to a request for comment.
El Sharara crude is normally transported to the Zawiya port, also home to a refinery. NOC runs the field with Spain’s Repsol , France’s Total, Austria’s OMV and Norway’s Equinor, formerly known as Statoil.