Editorial calendar 2019
Petroleum Economist writes features each month based on news from the ground. However, we also plan in-depth features and reports each year to give you a picture of the energy industry beyond the headlines. Take a look at our editorial calendar to see what's coming up.
GCC politics makes for bad energy business
Tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and its allies the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, have roiled the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC). Qatar has already left Opec, prompting speculation over its continued GCC membership. The neighbours have energy ties, including cross-border gas pipelines and electricity interconnectors, which are threatened by the discord. But, more than that, the spat introduces another layer of geo-political uncertainty into a region that is not short of existing headaches. Markets and capital dislike uncertainty—the adages may be old, but they remain true. Petroleum Economist will look at the fallout of the row on the investment environment and the oil and LNG markets.
The Egyptian gas market is booming again with the start-up of the giant Zohr field and further hot exploration prospects exciting drillers. The new volumes will have a transformational effect on the Egyptian downstream and feedstocks markets, as well as offering the prospect of the country re-entering the international LNG liquefaction club. PE will speak to the government and industry to drill down into the fast-moving evolution of a newly dynamic sector.
The Mid-East Gulf's hub ambitions
The Mid-East Gulf's position as one of the leading centres of hydrocarbons production has been established for many decades. But it has always remained a price-setter only in terms of official selling prices (OSPs) that are intrinsically linked to market movements in trading venues distant to, and often divorced from the fundamentals of, the region itself. We will look at initiatives to evolve the Gulf from being a price taker of levels in its delivery markets to a more pro-active price maker based on its production profile.
Even if it was technically a third name change in little over a decade, Statoil's decision in 2018 to change its name to Equinor was rather more radical than just adding and then removing a Hydro. No other international oil company has given such a strong nod to a future where its core hydrocarbons business must integrate a new, much lower carbon economy. With the help of senior executives and analysts, PE will look down the bumpy road from the returns offered by a purely extractive industry business model to a more diversified future firm.
In oil, the two most important benchmarks are evolving. Dated Brent continues to grapple with declining volumes of its traditional grades and ways to integrate new crude streams to boost the available barrels. While in the US, the export boom is seeing a number of contenders jostle to establish a WTI Houston marker. The products space must evolve to take account of new fuel oil specs as the IMO 2020 implementation looms, but other initiatives, such as moving Mid-East Gulf trade to regional benchmarks rather than Singapore-linked, seem to have stalled. In LNG, the East Asian JKM price has seen rapid growth, but anomalies like European gas trading in GBP and EUR remain. PE will shine a light on the most important issues in this space.
Chinese unconventional gas
Chinese shale has seen three recent boosts to a sector that had become something of a by-word for disappointment. A promising discovery by BP in Sichuan, a bullish statement on reserves in Hubei, by the China Geological Survey, and CNPC increasing its exploration spend five-fold with shale gas have driven a surge of optimism. But will targets that have already been downgraded be met? We will look both at shale and its more obscure cousin, coal-bed methane.
Global refining investment
While majors and IOCs tout their new ventures into renewable energy and the debate on peak demand rages, the need for continuing investment in conventional oil and gas to maintain and increase supply is in danger of being overlooked. A number of respected analysts argue that the industry's capital plans are below minimum requirements over the coming years. PE will investigate the credibility of these forecasts and examine in detail the adequacy of planned spending.
With little scope of growth in its core domestic production business, the state-owned Malaysian firm must make more of a splash internationally. We will asses its progress so far and look ahead to how successful its international growth strategy might be in the coming years.
The shale oil boom and the development of the global oil market into an arena dominated by three key actors has served to overshadow the globe's less high-profile oil provinces, such as Central Asia. PE will move the region out of the shadows, looking at the future of crude in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan and some of its challenges, including financing. Gas export options both out of the region and, crucially, across the Caspian will also go under the spotlight.
The ARA market
Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA), as well as satellites such as Flushing, remains one of the most vibrant oil patches on the planet, both in terms of volumes and trading activity. How is it responding to challenges such as Europe's relative maturity and the rise of Asia, and opportunities such as US light oil, condensate and ethane flooding across the Atlantic? This special report will talk to the key actors and reveal the answers.
In an industry environment where cost consciousness and a fiercely competitive global investment picture are not going away, the future of highly capital intensive and complex deep-water projects that offer none of the almost instant cashflow promised by alternatives such as shale seems unclear at best, and questionable at worst. But these projects continue to move forward, both in established and frontier provinces. We will discover the key drivers for making these investments work and the pitfalls that lurk for poorly executed, over-ambitious or non-economic developments.
While it may be best known for its oil sands involvement, the Canadian firm has a diverse asset base that also encompasses Canada's east coast and offshore, as well as the North Sea, substantial production and an extensive downstream presence. Clearly, the gyrations in the value of Canadian crude have impacted the firm, but the issues it is facing and opportunities it could pursue are myriad. PE will dig into its strategy and analyse what is next for the company.
Middle distillate demand
Coal's place in the future energy mix
Singapore and Asian energy trading
New LNG club entrants — exporters and importers
Future of the North Sea
Geopolitics and energy
Decade ahead forecasts