WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Oil sees big weekly loss as Iran struggles to store crude

Oil prices ended last week with the biggest weekly losses of the year. Brent fell below the $70 psychological barrier to $68.69 a barrel. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 25 May 2019
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WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Oil sees big weekly loss as Iran struggles to store crude

  • The market remained under pressure from US stock-build for the third week in a row

RIYADH: Oil prices ended last week with the biggest weekly losses of the year. Brent fell below the $70 psychological barrier to $68.69 a barrel, while WTI dropped under $60 to $58.63.
The market remained under pressure from US stock-build for the third week in a row. But what mostly pushed prices lower was the low speculator activity, amid hesitation to add bets on almost flat price fluctuations.
The direction of oil prices has apparently ignored the tight physical market, amid signs that OPEC+ may extend its output cuts extensions, US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, and slower Russian exports due to a contamination of some of its crude.
While Iran said it has already resumed oil sales to China, its biggest buyer, tanker tracker data suggests its total exports have plummeted. Iranian exports fell to 500,000 barrels per day or lower in May, more than half the level seen in April, the data suggest. However, Iran needs to keep oil flowing as any suspension would damage its future operations at its aging oil fields.
To keep its operations going as exports slump and sanctions block purchases, Iran has been forced to store more oil on land and at sea.
But that brings myriad problems. Iran’s land storage is very limited due to poor oil infrastructure and logistics that haven’t been developed since the mid-1970s. At sea, it has an aging fleet of ships, and it will face difficulties with insurance and in striking agreements with shipping companies.


Lufthansa announces overhaul of budget carrier Eurowings

Updated 24 June 2019
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Lufthansa announces overhaul of budget carrier Eurowings

  • Lufthansa cited falling revenues at Eurowings as a major reason for its warning on full-year profits on June 16
  • Eurowings’ long-haul business would be managed by Lufthansa in the future

BERLIN: Lufthansa on Monday announced a turnaround plan for Eurowings in which the budget carrier will focus on short-haul flights and seek a 15 percent cut in costs by 2022 in the hope of returning to profit.
The German airline cited falling revenues at Eurowings as a major reason for its warning on full-year profits on June 16. Eurowings’ revenue was also forecast to fall sharply in the second quarter.
Lufthansa said its Eurowings fleet would be standardized on the Airbus A320 family and it would seek to boost productivity at Eurowings by limiting itself in Germany to one air operator’s certificate.
Brussels Airlines — the Belgian national flag carrier which Lufthansa took control of in 2016 — would not be integrated into Eurowings, Lufthansa said. A turnaround plan for Brussels Airlines will be announced in the third quarter.
Lufthansa also said it would start pegging its dividend payout ratio to net profit in the future to give the group more flexibility. It would pay out a regular dividend of 20 percent-40 percent of net profit, adjusted for one-off gains and losses.
Lufthansa said Eurowings’ long-haul business would be managed by Lufthansa in the future.
Carsten Spohr, Chief Executive Officer of Lufthansa, said Monday’s announcements sent “a clear signal that this company cares about its shareholders and tries to create value for them.”
Lufthansa said its Network Airlines — made up of Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines — would aim to use innovations in sales and distribution to make a contribution to increasing unit revenues by 3 percent by 2022.
Network Airlines will aim to reduce unit costs continuously by 1 to 2 percent annually, the airline said.