WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: If oil prices were below $70, would IEA still tell OPEC to open taps?

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: If oil prices were below $70, would IEA still tell OPEC to open taps?
pipeline used to carry crude oil is shown at the Superior, Wis., terminal of Enbridge Energy. (AP/File)
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Updated 13 June 2021

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: If oil prices were below $70, would IEA still tell OPEC to open taps?

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: If oil prices were below $70, would IEA still tell OPEC to open taps?
  • OPEC+ has done a tremendous job and has successfully managed to contain the largest oil demand shock in history

Oil prices continued their rally for the third week in a row, amid confidence in the strong oil demand outlook and accelerating vaccinations allowing people to travel more.

On the week closing, Brent crude rose to $72.69 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) rose to $70.91 per barrel.

International benchmarks’ futures forward curves are further tightening, and the Arabian Gulf Dubai benchmark is trading at its steepest backwardation market structure for almost a year, which indicates supply tightness.

Brent crude seems to have settled above the $70 mark since the beginning of June. WTI closed the week above $70 for the first since October 2018, but back then it had moved steeply downward and ended that year at $45 per barrel even though oil inventories from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) were at 19 million barrels above their five-year average.

The June monthly oil market report of the Organization for the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) kept the second half of 2021 oil demand growth unchanged at 96.58 million barrels per day (bpd), up 5.95 million from 2020 when demand was at 90.63 million bpd.

OPEC reported that OECD April commercial oil inventories fell to 25 million barrels below the latest five-year average, around 34 million barrels higher than the pre-pandemic 2015–2019 average, and 160 million barrels lower than the same month a year ago. This means that OPEC+ has done a tremendous job just one year on from the largest oil output cuts in history, and has successfully managed to contain the largest oil demand shock in history.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) June Short-Term Energy Outlook came with bearish notes that the market remains subject to heightened levels of uncertainty related to the ongoing economic recovery from COVID-19.

However, the EIA sees the global crude oil market balancing in the third quarter of this year. It predicts a decline in oil prices, and expects Brent crude to average $68 per barrel this year and $60 in 2022 as global oil production increases.

The EIA expects US oil output to rise to 11.8 million bpd in 2022. Though WTI has breached the $70 mark for the first time since October 2018, the US still produces 10.8 million bpd through the Permian Basin, where the rig count rose to its highest level since April 2020.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) June report came with huge contrasts as it forecast that global oil demand is set to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, but reported that OECD oil inventories fell 1.6 million barrels below the pre-pandemic 2015-2019 average for the first time in more than a year.

How can the IEA suggest to OPEC to open the taps while it forecasts oil demand to surpass pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022? If prices were below the $70-per-barrel mark, would the IEA still suggest to OPEC to loosen oil output cuts?

The latest figures from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on June 8 showed that long positions on crude oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange numbered 661,994 contracts, up 15,477 from the previous week (1,000 barrels for each contract).

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


Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale transactions increase by 1.2% in October 

Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale transactions increase by 1.2% in October 
Updated 28 November 2021

Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale transactions increase by 1.2% in October 

Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale transactions increase by 1.2% in October 

RIYADH: The value of point-of-sale transactions in Saudi Arabia reached SR40.5 billion ($10.8 billion) in October, up by 1.2 percent compared to the previous month, the Saudi Central Bank reported.

Some of the sectors that helped drive the increase were restaurants and cafes, hotels, food and beverages, clothing and footwear. 

For example, sales in restaurants and cafes reached their highest level since at least January 2016.

The number of transactions rose markedly to over 495 million in October from the previous month’s 469 million transactions.

Some of the point-of-sale transactions could be conducted using mobile phones and cards, otherwise referred to as near-field communication technology.

The number of mobile phone transactions continued its expansionary trend, recording a monthly increase of 1.9 percent to hit 179 million transactions in October. Meanwhile, the number of transactions using cards was up by 8 percent to stand at 293 million transactions.

The value of transactions using mobile phones witnessed a 2.5 percent drop to SR11.5 billion in October while those performed using cards recorded an increase of 3.2 percent with the value reaching SR25.7 billion.


Saudi Tadawul Group sets IPO offer price at SR105 per share

Saudi Tadawul Group sets IPO offer price at SR105 per share
Updated 28 November 2021

Saudi Tadawul Group sets IPO offer price at SR105 per share

Saudi Tadawul Group sets IPO offer price at SR105 per share

RIYADH: Saudi Tadawul Group Holding Co. on Sunday set the final offer price for its initial public offering at the top of the range i.e. SR105 per share. 

The market capitalization of the exchange stands at SR 12.6 billion as on the listing date, a statement issued by Tadawul said. 

The IPO order book was 121 times oversubscribed with the book-building process generating an order book of SR458 billion. 

The individual investor subscription period is scheduled to commence on Nov. 30 and ends on Dec. 2. 


Jordan’s draft 2022 budget forecasts $15 billion in state spending

Jordan’s draft 2022 budget forecasts $15 billion in state spending
Updated 28 November 2021

Jordan’s draft 2022 budget forecasts $15 billion in state spending

Jordan’s draft 2022 budget forecasts $15 billion in state spending
  • The government foresaw total revenues next year at 8.9 billion dinars, with 848 million in foreign grants
  • It has raised capital spending to 1.5 billion dinars, a 43 percent rise from the previous year

AMMAN: Jordan’s Finance Minister Mohamad Al-Ississ said on Sunday that the draft 2022 budget forecasts 10.6 billion dinars ($15 billion) in state expenditure and paves the way for a rebound in growth to 2.7 percent after the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Al-Ississ told a media briefing that Jordan had also last week successfully concluded the third review of a four-year program of International Monetary Fund (IMF) backed reforms to help it restore fiscal prudence for a sustained recovery.
Al-Ississ said that the government had increased its local revenues last year without raising taxes through a rare campaign to combat tax evasion and by a major restructuring of the tax and customs administration that ended exemptions.
It foresaw total revenues next year at 8.9 billion dinars, with 848 million in foreign grants.
Jordan’s economy was particularly hard hit last year by the shutdowns aimed at containing the virus, with unemployment at a record 24 percent amid the worst contraction in decades.
Inflation was, however, expected to rise to 2.5 percent next year from a projected 1.6 percent this year, Al-Ississ said.
Most state expenditure goes on salaries and pensions in a country which has among the highest government spending relative to the size of its $45 billion economy.
The government has raised capital spending to 1.5 billion dinars, a 43 percent rise from the previous year to help spur growth and improve infrastructure to help attract more investment, the finance minister said
Jordan’s commitment to IMF reforms and investor confidence in the country’s improved outlook helped it to maintain stable sovereign ratings at a time when other emerging markets were being downgraded, Al-Ississ said.
Al-Ississ said debt servicing on 29.4 billion dinars of public debt would drop next year with a push to expand preferential loans and grants away from more expensive commercial lending.


Saudi Arabia registers the new Bahri-owned oil tanker Rayah

Saudi Public Transport Authority raises the Kingdom’s flag on the new Rayah marine tanker in Dammam in the Eastern Province. (SPA)
Saudi Public Transport Authority raises the Kingdom’s flag on the new Rayah marine tanker in Dammam in the Eastern Province. (SPA)
Updated 28 November 2021

Saudi Arabia registers the new Bahri-owned oil tanker Rayah

Saudi Public Transport Authority raises the Kingdom’s flag on the new Rayah marine tanker in Dammam in the Eastern Province. (SPA)
  • The Rayah raises the total number of oil tankers owned by Bahri to 57
  • The tanker is made by Hyundai with a tonnage of 110,706 metric tons

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s transport authority raised the Kingdom’s flag on a new marine tanker in Dammam in the Eastern Province.
The Rayah tanker, which has been registered under the Saudi flag, is one of the national carriers owned and operated by Bahri, the Saudi National Shipping Company.
It raises the total number of national ships carrying the Saudi flag to 408 ships to date, with a tonnage exceeding 100 tons, increasing the carrying capacity of the Saudi merchant marine fleet.
The Kingdom’s fleet is experiencing rapid growth, and the addition of the new tanker is an important step in supporting business growth through developing marine capabilities and expanding shipping lanes in energy supplies to global markets.

The Rayah, made by Hyundai with a tonnage of 110,706 metric tons, raises the total number of oil tankers owned by Bahri to 57, and was registered by the regulatory and legislative authority for the Kingdom’s maritime transport sector.
Saudi Arabia’s marine fleet was ranked first regionally and 21st globally in terms of tonnage, according to the annual report of the UN Conference on Trade and Development last year.
“The Public Transport Authority will continue its endeavors and exert more efforts to enhance the logistics sector and national transport, especially maritime, and contribute to consolidating the Kingdom’s leading position on the map of shipping and global marine supply chains,” the body said in a statement.


OPEC+ delays technical meetings to review market conditions

OPEC+ delays technical meetings to review market conditions
Updated 28 November 2021

OPEC+ delays technical meetings to review market conditions

OPEC+ delays technical meetings to review market conditions

RIYADH: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a grouping known as OPEC+, is moving two technical meetings to later this week after oil’s rout last Friday, Bloomberg reported on Sunday.

The move seeks to allow its committees more time to evaluate the impact of a new strain of the coronavirus.

A joint technical committee meeting will now be held on Wednesday, instead of the planned date Monday, according to delegates from some member countries. 

The joint ministerial monitoring committee, which comprises representatives of the broader group, will meet on Thursday instead of on Tuesday.

The OPEC and broader OPEC+ meetings will go ahead as planned on Wednesday and Thursday with ministers set to decide on whether to go ahead with planned output increases.

The delay will allow time for the group to analyze the market after a more than 10 percent drop in prices on Friday after the emergence of new coronavirus variant spooked traders. 

OPEC will also weigh the potential impact of a planned release of strategic petroleum reserves by the US and other oil consuming nations.