US oil firms tell OPEC their growth will slow

The logo of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is seen at OPEC's headquarters in Vienna, Austria, December 5, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 23 January 2019
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US oil firms tell OPEC their growth will slow

  • The United States has overtaken Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s biggest crude producer
  • OPEC’s forecasts and even US government predictions have repeatedly underestimated US output growth

DAVOS: US oil producers sought on Wednesday to soothe OPEC’s worries about losing market share, telling the group that investors in the US firms wanted a reduction in growth and higher payouts.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC allies such as Russia have cut output since 2017 to support oil prices, while watching producers in the United States, which is not party to the cuts, drive up production.
The United States has overtaken Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s biggest crude producer. Output is approaching 12 million barrels per day (bpd).
OPEC’s forecasts and even US government predictions have repeatedly underestimated US output growth.
The bosses of US firms Occidental Petroleum and Hess Corp, attending a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, said that growth of US shale oil output would slow.
The session was a rare occasion when US producers and an OPEC representative, OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo, sat on the same panel.
“I believe not as much money will be pouring into the Permian basin this time. I believe investors will hold companies accountable for returns and a lot of this didn’t happen previously,” Occidental Chief Executive Vicki Hollub said.
Echoing her comments, Hess Corp. founder and Chief Executive John Hess said shale production now accounted for about 6 percent of global production. “It will probably go up to 10 percent by mid-decade but then it flattens out,” he said.
But he added that US resources would start to degrade. “Shale is not the next Saudi Arabia. It is an important short-cycle component,” he said.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized OPEC for manipulating prices and demanded several times last year that the group bring them down. He has also praised OPEC, and its de facto leader Saudi Arabia, when prices have fallen.
Oil prices surged above $86 a barrel in October, but have since slipped back. On Wednesday, Brent was about $62.
Barkindo said OPEC aimed to balance supply and demand and had helped the United States by rescuing its oil industry from ultra-low oil prices.
“The oil industry is under siege globally,” Barkindo said, adding that OPEC wanted to talk more regularly to US producers to understand their industry better even if they could not participate in any OPEC-led production cuts.
In response, Hess said: “OPEC plays a very important role in stabilising the market and those efforts need to be recognized.”
Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency, which represents industrialized nations, said most forecasts were still underestimating US oil production growth.
“There is a huge potential in the US,” Birol told Reuters, adding that the United States could raise output by another 10 million bpd in the next decade.


Saudization to continue brisk pace, pay hikes of professionals in Kingdom highest in region

Updated 1 min 32 sec ago
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Saudization to continue brisk pace, pay hikes of professionals in Kingdom highest in region

  • ‘Saudi national hiring has doubled in 2018 and we expect this trend will continue into 2019’
  • Jobs in Saudi Arabia were up 111 percent year-on-year, the report’s job index noted
DUBAI: The Kingdom’s Saudization scheme will continue its brisk pace with professionals set to receive the highest pay hikes in the Middle East this year, a survey report from recruitment specialist Robert Walters said on Tuesday.
“Saudi national hiring has doubled in 2018 and we expect this trend will continue into 2019,” the survey added, with firms – encouraged by Saudi Arabia’s increase in total spend for the year – looking to hire locals who already have international experience.
The increased career mobility of job candidates, especially in Saudi Arabia, should also bode well for professionals in the Kingdom, according to Robert Walters, with an expected 2 percent increase in their salaries this year.
Middle East salaries meanwhile will rise by 1 per cent on average, the recruitment specialist’s Middle East Salary Survey 2019 said.
Jobs in Saudi Arabia were up 111 percent year-on-year, the report’s job index noted, while jobs in the UAE rose 38 percent over the previous year.
“Saudi Arabia went through a period of huge change, due to the implementation of the Saudi government’s 2030 visionary plan.
“Two years into this plan and we have already seen huge momentum in the recruitment market, with particular focus on the public health sector. As part of this plan, a large part of the population was mobilised for work and for the first time in some regions and sectors, we saw women in the workplace,” Robert Walters said in the report.
Jason Grundy, Robert Walters country head for the Middle East, meanwhile, commented that “The growing demand for nationals will continue to dominate the market as many companies aim to comply with nationalisation legislation. As a result, local market knowledge will be a key differentiator for all professionals across the region,”
“The job market in Saudi Arabia will continue to be busy for government roles; we expect the private sector to follow suit and recover in 2019. Sectors such as IT, manufacturing, logistics, finance, banking and education will be key benefactors.”
Grundy however cautioned job candidates to be wary of quick career moves “to avoid permanent damage to their career prospects.