WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: IEA sees oil demand rebound in second half of 2021

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: IEA sees oil demand rebound in second half of 2021
Motorists fill their cars at one of the few remaining gas stations that still has fuel in Arlington, Virgina, on May 13, 2021. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 16 May 2021

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: IEA sees oil demand rebound in second half of 2021

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: IEA sees oil demand rebound in second half of 2021

Oil prices continue the weekly upward momentum for the third week in a row with flat fluctuations. At the end of the week, both benchmarks moved up with the same magnitude, trading in the upper $60s. Brent crude price rose by $0.43 to $68.71 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate rose by $0.47 to $65.37 per barrel.

OPEC’s monthly oil market report came with two surprises, one bearish and one bullish. The bearish surprise was that the organization reported a surprising surge in commercial oil inventories, increasing by 10 million barrels month-on-month in March 2021 — 13.5 million barrels higher than the same time a year ago and 37.8 million barrels above the latest five-year average.

The bullish surprise was that OPEC reported a huge drop in non-OPEC oil and gas investments in exploration and production in 2020. At $311 billion, it is the lowest seen for 15 years and is expected to remain unchanged in 2021. This is compared to the high level of $718 billion seen in 2014.

OPEC’s oil demand outlook was unchanged from last month’s estimate, averaging 96.5 million barrels per day (bpd) despite indications of a global economic recovery, central banks’ assertion of an environment of low interest rates and the continuing program of asset purchases. On the supply side, OPEC crude oil production rose by 70,000 bpd in April and hit a three-month high of 24.96 million bpd.

On the other hand, the International Energy Agency (IEA) monthly oil market report predicted a slight downward adjustment to oil demand outlook, down from 96.7 million bpd to 96.4 million bpd. The downward revision was due to lower global refining throughput amid weaker consumption in Europe and North America in the first quarter and the lower oil demand in India in the second quarter as a result of the surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

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


Italy’s Enel to launch renewable power project in Australia

Italy’s Enel to launch renewable power project in Australia
Updated 14 sec ago

Italy’s Enel to launch renewable power project in Australia

Italy’s Enel to launch renewable power project in Australia

RIYADH: Enel SpA is the latest European energy giant to announce plans to expand its renewable electricity sales in Australia. 

The Rome-based company will launch a “greentailer” offering 100 percent renewable power to help customers meet sustainability objectives, Bloomberg reported citing a statement by Enel.

The offering initially targets commercial and industrial users but plans to expand to residential users.

This will happen after Enel is issued a retail license this week by the Australian Energy Regulator, the statement said.

The move comes less than a month after the Royal Dutch Shell bought one of Australia’s largest household providers of renewable power.

Enel plans to switch from coal by 2027 and gas by 2040, toward clean energy. It already has 55 GW of renewable energy in its 90-GW global portfolio, Bloomberg said.


Egyptian business sector debt dropped by 77% in 3 years

Egyptian business sector debt dropped by 77% in 3 years
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 06 December 2021

Egyptian business sector debt dropped by 77% in 3 years

Egyptian business sector debt dropped by 77% in 3 years

RIYADH: Companies in the Egyptian business sector have managed to decrease their debts by a notable 77 percent in three years.

Hisham Tawfik, minister of Public Business Sector said the debts dropped from 44 billion Egyptian pounds ($2.8 billion) to 10 billion Egyptian pounds, with the remainder mostly consisting of taxes.

Tawfik said that a settlement had been reached on the debt with only taxes outstanding.

He added that the original value of the debt in 2018 also included costs such as electricity and petroleum. 


Oil gains after Saudi price hike indicating confidence in the demand outlook

Oil gains after Saudi price hike indicating confidence in the demand outlook
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 06 December 2021

Oil gains after Saudi price hike indicating confidence in the demand outlook

Oil gains after Saudi price hike indicating confidence in the demand outlook
  • The price hikes were implemented just days after OPEC+ had agreed to boost output in January

RIYADH: Oil prices rose after top exporter Saudi Arabia raised prices for its crude sold to Asia and the US, shrugging off worries around the omicron variant and suggesting confidence in the demand outlook. 

Bloomberg reported that oil giant, Saudi Aramco, raised its key Arab Light grade for customers in Asia by 60 cents from December to $3.30 a barrel above a benchmark, according to a statement.

The price hikes were implemented just days after OPEC+ had agreed to boost output in January.

"The Saudi move to increase pricing is driving the market,” said Warren Patterson, Singapore-based head of commodities strategy at ING Groep NV.

“A bit of an odd move, given the supply hike in January, the omicron uncertainty and the expectation of a better supplied market in the first quarter of 2022.”


US’s Lockheed Martin to design NASA space station

US’s Lockheed Martin to design NASA space station
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 06 December 2021

US’s Lockheed Martin to design NASA space station

US’s Lockheed Martin to design NASA space station
  • The company will be working on the Starlab project along with Nanoracks and Voyager Space

RIYADH: Lockheed Martin, the US-based aerospace company has confirmed it is one of three partners awarded a $160 million contract by NASA. 

As per the contract, the company is to design NASA’s Starlab commercial space station as part of the US agency’s Commercial Low-Earth Orbit Development program, Cobb County Courier reported. 

The company will be working on the Starlab project along with Nanoracks and Voyager Space. 

“Starlab is the confluence of Lockheed Martin’s rich space expertise and history, Nanoracks’ innovation, and Voyager’s financial savvy,” said Lisa Callahan, vice president and general manager at Lockheed Martin.

“This team is equipped to aid NASA on its mission to expand access to LEO and to enable a transformative commercial space economy,” she added. 

Last month, the company appointed Robert Lightfoot as the new executive vice president of the Space business area as of Jan.1 2022. 


China’s economy expected to grow 5.3 percent in 2022, says govt think tank

China’s economy expected to grow 5.3 percent in 2022, says govt think tank
The main shopping street in Shanghai. Shutterstock.
Updated 06 December 2021

China’s economy expected to grow 5.3 percent in 2022, says govt think tank

China’s economy expected to grow 5.3 percent in 2022, says govt think tank
  • The world’s second-largest economy is expected to have expanded by about 8 percent this year

China’s economy expected to grow 5.3 percent in 2022, says govt think tank

China’s economy is expected to grow around 5.3 percent in 2022, bringing the average annual growth rate forecast for 2020-2022 to 5.2 percent, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), a top government think tank, said on Monday.


Advisers to the government will recommend that authorities set a 2022 economic growth target lower than the target set for 2021 of “above 6 percent,” Reuters reported, amid growing headwinds from a property downturn, weakening exports and strict COVID-19 curbs that have impeded consumption.


The world’s second-largest economy is expected to have expanded by about 8 percent this year, according to the annual blue book on the economy from CASS.

The think tank warned that the property downturn was likely to persist and weigh on the expenditures of local governments next year.


It urged the central government to proactively engineer a soft landing for the property sector, to avoid failed land auctions in big cities and to fend off risks of quickly falling property prices in smaller cities, the report said.