Saudi Arabia oil exports fall as trade fears keep prices in check

OPEC and its allies have agreed to limit output to support oil prices. (Reuters)
Updated 18 April 2019

Saudi Arabia oil exports fall as trade fears keep prices in check

  • The world’s top oil exporter shipped 6.977 million bpd in February, down from 7.254 million bpd in January
  • Prices have been supported this year by an agreement reached by the OPEC and its allies, including Russia, to limit their oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd)

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports fell by 277,000 barrels per day (bpd) in February from the month before, official data showed on Thursday.
The world’s top oil exporter shipped 6.977 million bpd in February, down from 7.254 million bpd in January, according to data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI).
The Kingdom pumped 10.136 million bpd in February, down from 10.243 million bpd in January.
Saudi crude inventories rose to 204.567 million barrels in February from 200.834 million in January, the JODI data showed.
Refineries in the Kingdom processed 2.767 million bpd in February, up from 2.758 million bpd in January, according to JODI.
Prices have been supported this year by an agreement reached by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, including Russia, to limit their oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd).
Global supply has been tightened further by US sanctions on OPEC members Venezuela and Iran.
Iran’s crude exports have dropped in April to their lowest daily level this year, tanker data showed and industry sources said, suggesting a reduction in buyer interest ahead of expected further pressure from Washington.
Indian refiners are turning to other OPEC members, Mexico and the US to make up for any loss of Iranian oil.
Spain’s Repsol has suspended its swaps of refined products for crude with Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA, people familiar with the matter said, as US officials weigh penalties for foreign firms doing business with Venezuela.
Growing US oil production and concerns over the US-China trade dispute are keeping prices in check.
US crude oil output from seven major shale formations
was expected to rise by about 80,000 bpd in May to a record 8.46 million bpd, the EIA said in its monthly report on Monday. Surging US production has filled some of the gap in supplies, although not all of the lost production can be immediately replaced by US shale oil due to refinery configurations.
Saudi exports of refined oil products in February fell to 1.461 million bpd, from 1.616 million bpd the month before, the data showed.
The OPEC heavyweight used 259,000 bpd of crude oil to generate power in February, down from 377,000 bpd the month before, while Saudi demand for oil products in February was 2.157 million bpd, up slightly from 2.073 million bpd in January.
Monthly export figures are provided by Riyadh and other members of OPEC to JODI, which publishes them on its website.


Electric luxury vehicles, SUVs ‘more likely to cause accidents’

Updated 23 August 2019

Electric luxury vehicles, SUVs ‘more likely to cause accidents’

  • As EV sales rise, French insurer AXA warns that drivers are struggling to adapt to cars’ rapid acceleration

LONDON: Electric luxury cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) may be 40 percent more likely to cause accidents than their standard engine counterparts, possibly because drivers are still getting used to their quick acceleration, French insurer AXA said.

The numbers, based on initial trends from claims data and not statistically significant, also suggest small and micro electric cars are slightly less likely to cause accidents than their combustion engine counterparts, AXA said at a crash test demonstration on Thursday.

AXA regularly carries out crash tests for vehicles. This year’s tests, which took place at a disused airport, focused on electric cars.

Overall accident rates for electric vehicles are about the same as for regular cars, according to liability insurance claims data for “7,000 year risks” — on 1,000 autos on the road for seven years — said Bettina Zahnd, head of accident research and prevention at AXA Switzerland.

“We saw that in the micro and small-car classes slightly fewer accidents are caused by electric autos. If you look at the luxury and SUV classes, however, we see 40 percent more accidents with electric vehicles,” Zahnd said.

“We, of course, have thought about what causes this and acceleration is certainly a topic.”

Electric cars accelerate not only quickly, but also equally strongly no matter how high the revolutions per minute, which means drivers can find themselves going faster than they intended.

FASTFACT

Accident rates among luxury and SUV electric vehicles are 40 percent higher than for their combustion engine counterparts.

Half of electric car drivers in a survey this year by AXA had to adjust their driving to reflect the new acceleration and braking characteristics.

“Maximum acceleration is available immediately, while it takes a moment for internal combustion engines with even strong horsepower to reach maximum acceleration. That places new demands on drivers,” Zahnd said.

Sales of electric cars are on the rise as charging infrastructure improves and prices come down.

Electric vehicles accounted for less than 1 percent of cars on the road in Switzerland and Germany last year, but made up 1.8 percent of Swiss new car sales, or 6.6 percent including hybrids, AXA said.

Accidents with electric cars are just about as dangerous for people inside as with standard vehicles, AXA said. The cars are subject to the same tests and have the same passive safety features such as airbags and seatbelts.

But another AXA survey showed most people do not know how to react if they come across an electric vehicle crash scene.

While most factors are the same — securing the scene, alerting rescue teams and providing first aid — it said helpers should also try to ensure the electric motor is turned off. This is particularly important because unlike an internal combustion engine the motor makes no noise. In serious crashes, electric autos’ high-voltage power plants automatically shut down, AXA noted, but damaged batteries can catch fire up to 48 hours after a crash, making it more difficult to deal with the aftermath of
an accident.

For one head-on crash test on Thursday, AXA teams removed an electric car’s batteries to reduce the risk of them catching fire, which could create intense heat and toxic fumes.

Zahnd said that studies in Europe had not replicated US findings that silent electric vehicles are as much as two-thirds more likely to cause accidents with pedestrians or cyclists.

She said the jury was still out on how crash data would affect the cost of insuring electric versus standard vehicles, noting this always reflected factors around both driver and car.

“If I look around Switzerland, there are lots of insurers that even give discounts for electric autos because one would like to promote electric cars,” she said.