US to appoint Victoria Coates as special energy envoy to Saudi Arabia — Energy Department

Coates will be based in Saudi Arabia to ensure the Department of Energy has an added presence in the region. (AFP)
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Updated 25 March 2020

US to appoint Victoria Coates as special energy envoy to Saudi Arabia — Energy Department

  • Coates moved from the White House in February to become a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette.

WASHINGTON/RIYADH: The Trump administration will appoint Victoria Coates as special energy representative to Saudi Arabia as Washington struggles to deal with a global oil price crash that has been dragging on the economy and threatening US energy producers, an Energy Department official said on Monday.

Coates, who was one of President Donald Trump’s longest-serving security aides, moved from the White House in February to become a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette.

“Coates will be based in Saudi Arabia to ensure the Department of Energy has an added presence in the region,” the official said. “While her assignment comes at a pivotal time for global oil markets, it has been in the works for a while.” Coates’ start date is unknown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump, who is running for re-election in November, has said he wants to find a medium ground regarding the oil price crash. Earlier in March, he tweeted that low gasoline prices were good for drivers. 

US crude oil edged higher in after-hours trading on Monday to nearly $24 a barrel, after tumbling 29% last week in its steepest slide since the outset of the US-Iraq Gulf War in 1991.

An art historian and a former blogger for the conservative website RedState, Coates advised Senator Ted Cruz on foreign policy in his 2016 campaign for president. Under Trump, she was a deputy national security adviser on the national security council, and helped to implement his Middle East policy.

Coates will work in the kingdom for months at least alongside State Department officials and an existing energy attache, Scott Hutchins.


Oil falls as rising virus cases overshadow demand recovery

An oil tanker ship at a port in Burgas, Bulgaria. Most market participants expect more downward pressure on oil, with COVID-19 ravaging the landscape. (Shutterstock)
Updated 05 August 2020

Oil falls as rising virus cases overshadow demand recovery

  • Declines come after WTI rose 1.8% and Brent climbed 1.5% on Monday; renewed lockdowns weigh on prices

LONDON: Oil prices eased on Tuesday on concerns that a fresh wave of COVID-19 infections will hamper a global demand recovery just as major producers ramp up output.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 67 cents, or 1.6 percent, at $40.34 a barrel, while Brent crude dropped 71 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $43.44.
The declines come after WTI rose 1.8 percent and Brent climbed 1.5 percent on Monday on better than expected data on manufacturing activity in Asia, Europe and the United States.
News from Asia and Europe is adding to concerns that the infection crisis may be spreading in a global second wave, not just in the United States and Brazil, said Paola Rodriguez Masiu of Rystad Energy.

HIGHLIGHTS

• News from Asia and Europe is adding to concerns that the infection crisis may be spreading in a global second wave, not just in the United States and Brazil, said Paola Rodriguez Masiu of Rystad Energy.

• Producers in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, together known as OPEC+, are raising output this month, adding about 1.5 million barrels per day of supply.

• Analysts estimate that US refined product stockpiles rose last week, according to a preliminary poll ahead of data from the American Petroleum Institute and the US government on Wednesday.

Denting fuel demand, cities from Manila to Melbourne are tightening lockdowns to battle new infections, while Norway has stopped cruise ship traffic in the latest European travel alarm.
In a further sign of a patchy rebound in demand, analysts estimate that US refined product stockpiles rose last week, according to a preliminary Reuters poll ahead of data from the American Petroleum Institute and the US government on Wednesday.
At the same time, producers in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, together known as OPEC+, are raising output this month, adding about 1.5 million barrels per day of supply. US producers also plan to restart shut-in production.
“Most oil market participants expect more downward pressure on oil ... with COVID-19 ravaging the landscape and OPEC+ adding more barrels into play,” said Stephen Innes, Chief Global Markets Strategist at AxiCorp.