Oil Companies Lose $1 Trillion As Prices Crash – OilPrice Report

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Oil prices fell in early trading on Tuesday on persistent fears of oversupply. OPEC+ could cut output in two weeks’ time, but for now, volatility is here to stay. “The name of the game in the oil market is volatility,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol said at a conference in Oslo. “And with the increasing pressure of geopolitics on oil markets that we are seeing, we believe that we are entering an unprecedented period of uncertainty.”

Middle East crucial to long-term conventional growth. Major oil-producing countries in the Middle East will add 2.7 mb/d of capacity through 2025, according to Rystad Energy. Iraq will add the most at 1.5 mb/d, and an additional 1.2 mb/d will come from the UAE, Iran, and the Neutral Zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Global output from conventional fields outside the Middle East peaked in 2010, Rystad says, and will fall by another 2.3 mb/d by 2025.

Hedge funds eliminate bullish bets. The bull market has now fully unwound after hedge funds and other money managers have sold off all the bullish positions they had accumulated since the second half of 2017, according to Reuters. The last seven weeks has seen the largest liquidation of long positions since 2013. Long positions are now at their lowest level since January 2016 – a period of time that coincided with the very bottom of the oil market cycle. Fund managers now have a roughly neutral position towards the market.

Japan and South Korea could resume importing from Iran. Reuters reports that Japan and South Korea may begin importing oil from Iran again in January, having obtained waivers from the U.S. government. The two countries had virtually eliminated imports from Iran in recent months, but now feel that they have some space for buying oil once again. The waivers last until May.

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Oil majors focus on shale, but questions remain. The world’s largest companies continue to step up their bets on short cycle shale. BP (NYSE: BP) purchased shale assets from BHP Billiton (NYSE: BBL) earlier this year for $10 billion, while Royal DutchShell (NYSE: RDS.A)Chevron (NYSE: CVX)ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) and ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) have all previously announced aggressive plans to scale up production in the U.S. shale. But some of them have encountered problems, including write-downs in recent years. Medium-sized shale companies question whether or not the oil majors are equipped to perform well in short-cycle shale projects, a problem that S&P Global Platts explored.

Energy companies lost $1 trillion in oil price slide. The global oil and gas sector has lost $1 trillion in value over a 40-day period since October after crude prices fell by about $20 per barrel. U.S.-listed companies in the S&P 500 shed $240 billion. ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), for instance, lost $35 billion in value. Some analysts are warning that OPEC+ will need to cut output to balance the market. “If they don’t cut, I guarantee you it’s going to be 2014 all over again,” Mike Bradley, managing director at the energy investment firm Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., told the Houston Chronicle.

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Aramco abandons bond sale. Saudi Aramco abandoned plans to launch the world’s largest corporate bond sale, the proceeds for which would have funded a $70 billion stake in SABIC, the Saudi petrochemical firm. Previously, Aramco had considered a $40 billion bond sale for the acquisition but has rejected the idea because of the financial disclosures that would be required for the sale, while officials are also worried about another market downturn that would affect interested in the debt sale.

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UK shale gas may not be economic. Cuadrilla Resources has begun drilling for shale gas in the UK after years of regulatory delays but has struggled with stoppages after seismic activity. The FT warns that Cuadrilla has another problem: Producing shale gas in the UK may not ever be economic because of ample supplies on the continent and a growing source of supply in the form of LNG from Qatar, Norway and the UK. Beyond that, renewables are steadily falling in cost, down 50 percent since 2013.

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Natural gas volatility bankrupts trader. Commodity-trading firm OptionSellers.com has fallen apart because of the violent swings in oil and natural gas prices. The firm apparently suffered a “catastrophic loss” by wrong-way bets on prices. Oil fell by 7 percent on November 13 and natural gas spiked by 18 percent on November 14. Individual investors, which apparently had to have made a minimum investment of $250,000, are set to lose their money.

Cimarex Energy to buy Resolute Energy for $1 billion. Cimarex Energy (NYSE: XEC) is set to buy Resolute Energy (NYSE: REN) for $1 billion, combining two Permian drillers. The deal is illustrative of a wave of a consolidation underway in the Permian.

Petrobras rules out privatization. The new head of Brazil’s Petrobras ruled out a privatization effort, although he supports ongoing asset sales to help trim the company’s debt.

Protests in France over diesel taxes. The French government has hiked taxes on diesel in order to bring them up to parity with gasoline, which has been taxed at higher rate for years. However, diesel prices have been climbing around the world, in part because of the pending IMO regulations set to begin in 2020, which are putting a premium on diesel. The taxes are sparking outrage in France.

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Alberta considers refinery as WCS plunges. Prices for Western Canada Select have dropped as low as $14 per barrel, as pipelines carrying oil from Alberta are full. Alberta’s Premier suggested that they could build oil refineries in the province to help alleviate the glut. Some oil companies have already curtailed output because of plunging prices, and some executives have proposed the province issue mandatory production curbs.

EVs to dominate the battery market. By 2030, eight out of ten batteries sold worldwide will be used for electric vehicles, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. By 2040, about 55 percent of all vehicles sold will be EVs, BNEF estimates.

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