Monday | June 17 | 2019
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  • According to Platts, in 2015, gas consumption in Europe grew by 4%, in 2016, it grew by 6%
    OMV’s CEO Rainer Seele believes that Nord Stream 2 deserves to be supported by national governments and the EU authorities and that Europe needs additional gas routes from Russia. As the demand for Russian gas in Europe is growing, the capacities of the future Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline may prove to be not enough. During the 21st St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Gazprom’s CEO Alexey Miller said that since Jan 1, 2017, Gazprom has enlarged its exports to Europe by 9.5bn c m or 13.3%. “Over the last 1.5 years, our exports to Europe have grown by 29.4bn c m,” Miller said. That this is 53% of the design capacity of Nord Stream 2: “We are to launch it in late 2019, that is, in some 2.5 years. If the demand for Russian gas continues to grow, the capacities of that pipeline may prove to be not enough.”The Europeans will have to continue cutting their own production and will need more and more cheap gas. After a certain decline in gas consumption in 2001-2014, Europe has begun to consume more. According to Platts, in 2015, gas consumption in Europe grew by 4%. In 2016, it grew by 6%. Last year, the EU consumed 447bn c m, of which 34% was Russian gas.The demand is expected to go even higher and the same will happen to gas imports.According to Uniper’s spokesman, in the next decade, Europe will run short of its gas reserves. So, Nord Stream 2 is one more guarantee of energy security and for Uniper it is a way to diversity its gas supplies.
  • What’s Next For OPEC?
    At its conference in Vienna, OPEC announced a nine-month extension of its November 2016 deal to cut production. Markets were singularly unimpressed with the decision, which had been baked into prices for at least week, following considerable speculation and positive rhetoric from Saudi Arabia, Russia and other major OPEC and non-OPEC producers. Rather than boost prices, the OPEC announcement precipitated a fall in the WTI back below $50. The general consensus is that the organization delivered what it had promised, agreeing to keep production cuts in place until March 2018 rather than mandating additional cuts or pushing the end of cuts to May 2018. Price fluctuations in the wake of the meeting don’t mean much in absolute terms, as the real impact of OPEC and non-OPEC cuts, totaling 1.8 million bpd, will be felt later in the year. Both Russian minister Alexander Novak and Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih dismissed the immediate drop as momentary changes, assuring reporters that prices would recover in time. Novak later hinted that deeper cuts could be on the table, depending on how the supply situation changed in the immediate future.

  • Oil going up on the eve of the OPEC summit
    Oil prices are rising ahead of the OPEC Summit to extend output cuts. However, oil reserves are not shrinking as rapidly as it was expected. It’s not just the shale oil that is the problem. According to Reuters, OPEC heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Iraq say they agreed on the need to extend curbs, which will not be implemented, in fact. Brent crude oil prices have overpassed $54 per barrel. Last time, such prices were registered in mid-April. The reason why oil prices are rising is the market, which is waiting for the cartel to extend curbs and Russia to support it. In a joint communique, energy ministers of Russia and Saudi Arabia, Alexander Novak and Khalid al Falih, said output cuts would be extended by nine months, not by six, as it was announced earlier. Riyadh’s representative told Bloomberg the new agreement is supported by all 9 members of OPEC. The current situation, when demand still exceeds supply, made Bank of America to lower its 2017 target for Brent crude by $7 a barrel to $54, last week. With U.S. shale oil production surging, it will be hard to achieve balance in the oil market. The export data published by the Joint Oil Data Initiative (JODI) on May 18 show the Saudis exported 7.23 million bpd in March, slightly up from February's 6.96 million bpd, and down from January's 7.71 million bpd. Actually, comparing to the last three months, output was cut by more than 600,000 pbd, which is by 200,000 more than Riyadh promised to cut. However, according to Reuters, vessel-tracking and port data show a different situation. “This data shows Saudi exports of crude averaged 7.67 million bpd in the first quarter, down only 180,000 bpd from the 7.85 million bpd in the last quarter of 2016,” Reuters says.
  • Bulgaria supports Gazprom
    Bulgaria has come out in support of Gazprom. The country’s Council of Ministers says it will accept Gazprom’s offer to settle the five-year-long anti-trust dispute with European Commission over the gas giant’s domination in eastern and central European countries. It may cost the Russian holding billions of euros. Gazprom agreed on cross-border gas flows to Baltic States, Poland and Bulgaria and promised to link gas price for those countries to spot prices with possible revision, as well as not to demand any compensation from Bulgaria for breaking the construction of South Stream pipeline. In addition, Gazprom has committed to give relevant customers in Hungary, Poland and Slovakia the possibility to ask for delivery of all or part of their contracted gas to entry points into the Baltic States and Bulgaria. EU has approved Gazprom’s offer, but it is waiting for the official response by EU members to adopt the final decision. Poland and Lithuania have already rejected Gazprom’s offer. They consider it insufficient. Bulgaria is so far the only country to support Gazprom, though with some conditions. For instance, it demands improvement of arbitration mechanisms in case of a dispute and additional guarantees for fair prices.