ENERGY RECAP: All about Permian, not politics

A Port Authority officer points at the Bavand, one of two stranded Iranian vessels, anchored at the port in Paranagua, Brazil, Thursday, July 25, 2019. (AP)
Updated 28 July 2019

ENERGY RECAP: All about Permian, not politics

  • The EIA sees US oil production continuing to set records through 2027

Oil prices remain relatively stable and ended on Friday with slight losses, taking them close to where they started the week. Brent crude fell to $63.46 and WTI fell to $56.20 per barrel.
Continuing threats to supply from the Arabian Gulf and huge drawdowns in US crude oil inventories could not dampen doubts over future demand and fears about sluggish growth.
US oil inventories fell by a massive 10.8 million barrels to the lowest level in four months, according to the EIA. This decline was mostly attributed to the impact of Hurricane Barry on the Gulf of Mexico offshore oil fields.
The EIA reported that US oil production fell to its lowest level since October 2018. US oil output fell sharply by the most in almost two years to 11.3 million bpd.
But the market shrugged off that news and prices did not react. Traders continued to focus on the global oversupply situation rather than the latest OPEC+ cuts aimed at providing support to the oil price.
How can the surge in US oil production cause downward prices in oil while a sudden sharp decline in production keeps prices stable?
The growth in US oil production was always thought to outpace the growth in global oil demand since 2018. This was one of the main reasons for keeping  OPEC+ supply cuts for the third year in a row.
The EIA sees US oil production continuing to set records through 2027. But demand growth will swiftly absorb any additional barrels from shale producers in the medium term, and indeed that requires much more than 2.5 million bpd of incremental pipeline capacity that is expected to come into service from the Permian Basin between now and the end of 2020.
Until now, the limited US pipeline capacity to move crude oil out of the shale plays in the Permian has been the biggest challenge facing shale producers.
Though some shale producers raised capital expenditure during high oil prices in October 2018, oil prices subsequently fell and the pace of that spending slowed. That has raised questions over expanding export capacity in the near term.

Faisal Faeq is an energy and oil marketing adviser. He was formerly with OPEC and Saudi Aramco. Twitter:@faisalfaeq

Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

Updated 15 November 2019

Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

  • Others have also reduced headcount amid economic downturn and property market weakness

DUBAI: HSBC Holdings has laid off about 40 bankers in the UAE and Emirates NBD is cutting around 100 jobs, as banks in the Arab world’s second-biggest economy reduce costs.

The cuts come amid weak economic growth, especially in Dubai, which is suffering from a property downturn.

HSBC’s redundancies came after the London-based bank reported a sharp fall in earnings and warned of a costly restructuring, as interim CEO Noel Quinn seeks to tackle its problems head-on.

HSBC has about 3,000 staff in the UAE, part of a nearly 10,000-strong workforce in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

The cuts at Dubai’s largest lender Emirates NBD came in consumer sales and liabilities, one source said, while a second played down the significance of the move.

HSBC and Emirates NBD declined to comment.

“The cuts are part of cost cutting and rationalizing to drive efficiencies in a challenging market,” the second source said.

Other banks have also reduced staff this year. UAE central bank data shows local banks laid off 446 people in the 12 months until the end of September. Foreign banks added staff in the same period.

Staff at local banks account for over 80 percent of the 35,518 banking employees in the country.

The merger between Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union Commercial Bank and Al Hilal Bank saw hundreds of redundancies.

Commercial Bank International (CBI) said it would offer voluntary retirement to employees in September, which sources said saw over 100 departures. Standard Chartered, too, cut over 100 jobs in the UAE in September.

Rating agency Fitch warned in September a weakening property market would put more pressure on the UAE’s banking sector.