Trends
Oil hits three-month low
5 August 2008
Crude futures have fallen to a three-month low as better news for oil prices outweighed the negative news. But views are split on whether the trend is set to continue or will reverse. On Monday, Nymex's light, sweet crude futures contract for September delivery fell by $3.69/b to $121.41/b, while, in London, August Brent was down by $3.50/b, at $120.68/b, on Ice. This means crude futures have fallen around $27/b, or 18%, since Brent hit a record high of $147.50 on 11 July.
The downward correction continues
1 August 2008
The market price of anything is always a case of balancing the positives and negatives. But with the added impetus that an oil price of near $150/b was never considered to be fundamentally sound, the continued trending down of the price of crude has come as little surprise to many analysts.
Angola: First ultra-deep development starts
1 August 2008
SONANGOL has given BP the go-ahead for the country's first oil development in an ultra-deep-water block – and, in a new move for Angola, has extended the approval to a series of subsequent developments in the block. BP is to develop a four-field complex in the northeast of Block 31, covering the Plutão, Saturno, Vênus and Marte (PSVM) fields. Plans call for first oil in 2011, with the plateau production rate of 150,000 barrels a day (b/d) due to be reached the following year.
Nigeria: Output lifted by Agbami start-up
1 August 2008
THE CHEVRON-operated Agbami field – the country's largest deep-water discovery – came on stream at the end of July, providing an initial 100,000 barrels a day (b/d) lift to the country's troubled oil production. Output is expected to build quickly to 230,000 b/d and, by the end of next year, to have reached its plateau rate of 250,000 b/d of high-quality (43°-45°API) crude and natural gas liquids.
High prices dampening demand
1 August 2008
Oil prices have continued to drop as the bearish factors mount. By midday on Tuesday, Nymex's light, sweet crude futures contract for September delivery was down by $0.77/b to $112.10/b. The close-Monday price of $112.87/b was the first time crude had dipped below $113/b since 1 May. In London, October Brent futures were down to $111.86/b, on Tuesday afternoon, having settled at $111.94/b on Monday evening.
Hurricane Gustav blows to bulls rescue
1 August 2008
The weather, this time in the form of now-Hurricane Gustav, is keeping a floor under the oil price, though few are predicting it can reverse the downward trend that oil appears stuck in.
Biofuels: Next generation progressing
1 August 2008
Despite recent adverse publicity, the biofuels industry has a bright future, writes Ian Lewis
Opec on the attack
1 August 2008
Opec is annoyed. In interviews last month with Petroleum Economist, the group's secretary-general, Abdulla El-Badri, and its president, Chakib Khelil, explained why
Ecopetrol: Ready for Wall Street
1 July 2008
ECOPETROL plans to offer shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) by the end of the year, giving foreign investors their first chance to buy directly into Colombia's largest oil company.
Prices firm amid supply worries and dollar weakness
1 July 2008
Oil futures held firm above $145 a barrel on Tuesday as weakness in the US economy triggered another drop in the dollar's value, pushing crude prices up in its wake. News about supply disruptions added to the bullish momentum.
Challenged in the near term, but too early to write off
1 July 2008
GTL has the potential to be a viable alternative to LNG for monetising gas reserves, especially in today's high oil-price environment. But an essential prerequisite to rekindle interest in the industry will be to address the issue of technical risk. By Rajnish Goswami, vice-president, gas and power consulting, Asia and Middle East, and Alan Gelder, vice-president, downstream oil consulting, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Wood Mackenzie
Putting a premium on marketing
1 July 2008
GTL products have properties that make them more valuable than conventional refinery products. So how do you persuade customers that a premium price is worth paying, asks Petroleum Economist's Alex Forbes?
An enduring spectacle – with a serious side
1 July 2008
Le Mans has been described as a "24-hour party with one hell of a race attached". But there is more to it than that. For the companies behind the racing teams it's a chance to try out engineering and fuels in a gruelling and very public arena, writes Alex Forbes
Is the oil market's bull-run over?
1 July 2008
Less than two weeks ago, oil futures were setting records at close to $150 a barrel. Now they are trading almost $20/b below that level at comfortably under $130/b.
IEA: "Oil burden" threat to global slow-down
1 July 2008
OIL-PRICE inflation is in danger of triggering a global economic slow-down, with China and India at particular risk, the IEA's executive-director told the World Petroleum Congress last week.
Cap, trade, capture and store carbon, please – but no EU subsidies
1 July 2008
A COMBINATION of systems to cap and trade emissions, and to capture and store carbon, is the only sustainable way to meet the world's demand for energy over the next 50 years, but don't expect the European Commission to subsidise this, delegates at the World Petroleum Congress were told last week.
Opec: supply adequate; IEA lacks transparency
1 July 2008
OPEC went on the offensive last week, dismissing the IEA's claim that prices have brought the world into a "third oil shock" and saying the agency's figures lacked sufficient transparency to encourage producers to bring more oil on stream in the long term.
Alberta defends environmental record
1 July 2008
CANADA will employ the "best and latest technology and engineering available" to solve environmental problems arising from its development of the oil sands, and is to launch an aggressive programme to reduce emissions and air pollution.
Angola needs $100bn to keep output steady
1 July 2008
ANGOLA'S production will "soon" plateau at 2m barrels a day (b/d), but the country will need another $100bn of investment to keep it at that level in the medium term, according to Sonangol.
The subsidisers' dilemma
1 July 2008
Fuel subsidies around the world are distorting the oil market. But with oil prices now so high, something has to give. Derek Brower reports