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Oil prices plummeted in the international market on Friday, as markets largely remained worried about plunging demand due to the coronavirus outbreak. Brent crude slipped by 2%, to $32.55 a barrel. US WTI crude dropped 2.1%, to $30.84 a barrel. After OPEC+ meeting fell apart last week, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have opened the flood gates of low-priced oil into the market further intensifying the pressure on prices.
Oil prices toppled in the international market today, slumping over 25% on the looming concerns of a potential price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Brent crude plummeted 25%, to $33.96 a barrel. US WTI crude sunk by 26%, to $30.55 a barrel. Sources say that Saudi Arabia is looking to boost its crude output above 10 million bpd in an attempt to punish Russia for not supporting the production cuts.
The oil cartel, OPEC yesterday agreed to deepen output cuts by an additional 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in the second quarter of 2020 to regulate fuel prices amidst coronavirus outbreak. The cartel has, however, made its action conditional on Russia and others chipping in. The oil demand outlook has tumbled as countries take stringent measures to contain coronavirus spread, pushing OPEC to consider its deepest cut since 2008.
Washington on Tuesday imposed sanctions on the trading arm of Russia's Rosneft. This has created a difficult situation for Reliance Industries, a key buyer of Venezuelan oil. The Indian refiner said, "Reliance will continue its direct communications with the US Government to ensure that Reliance's purchases of Venezuelan oil after the RTSA sanctions are both compliant with US sanctions and consistent with US policies regarding Venezuelan oil sector".
The international market felt a sign of relief after Russia backed OPEC's recommendation to deepen output cuts. The coronavirus epidemic in China has led to a steep decline in the demand for crude. On Friday, oil prices rose on the back of Russia's support. Brent increased by 0.6% and was traded at $55.27 a barrel. WTI went up by 0.5% and was traded at $51.23 a barrel.
According to the sources, Rosneft has shown interest to bid for the acquisition of Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL). Under India's biggest privatisation plan, the country is selling all of its 53% stakes in the firm. In a meeting between Rosneft's CEO Sechin and Pradhan, the former was keen to expand in the world's third largest energy market.
Energy Ministry of Kazakhstan, KazTransOil has informed that it has reduced its exports to China and is changing the supply schedules to domestic refineries. Organic chloride contamination was found earlier this month in crude supplied by a Kazakh. This step has been taken to restrict the spread of contaminated oil. According to sources, oil transit via Russia has also been brought down by 100,000 tonnes for February.
While addressing a gathering of Russia's top businessmen on Wednesday, Putin said that Russia has a “pipe-laying vessel” to complete the construction of the Nord Stream 2. Russian President also informed that the construction of the pipeline will be delayed due to the sanctions. Pipe-laying vessel, Academic Cherskiy was bought by Gazprom to use if European companies denied service for Nord Stream 2.
Oil prices rose in the international market on Tuesday, pushed up by comments from Russian energy minister towards OPEC-led supply cut. Brent crude LCOc1 climbed to $66.44 a barrel. U.S. WTI CLc1 was traded higher at $60.53 a barrel. Russian energy minister, in an interview on Monday, said that cooperation with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would continue “until the market requires it”.
Russian news agencies reported on Saturday that Gazprom will pay $2.9 billion to Ukrainian energy firm, Naftogaz to put an end to a long-running dispute over transit fees for gas transferred to Europe. CEO, Gazprom said that in return for the payment Naftogaz had agreed to drop all other legal action. The existing transit contract between the two ex-Soviet nations elapses at the end of the year.
Russia and China, yesterday, kickstarted the 3,000-km-long Power of Siberia pipeline for the transportation of gas from Siberia to northeast China. The launch was overseen by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The pipeline is being seen as an attempt to boost economic and political ties between Moscow and Beijing. The move will fortify China’s spot as Russia’s top export market.
Poland's, PGNiG has decided not to renew the major contract with Russia's Gazprom after it ends in 2022. The company has already notified Gazprom about its "intent to terminate" the contract. This Yamal contract was started in 1996. Currently, two-third of the gas consumed in the nation is delivered by Russia under Yamal. Poland has been long wanting to seize its dependency on Russian gas.
Total, Novatek and other shareholders of the project have given an agreement on the final investment decision for Arctic LNG 2. This project is a major LNG development on the Gydan peninsula, Russia. The production capacity of the project is expected to be 19.8 MM tons per year. Total has 10% interest in Arctic LNG 2, Novatek 60%, CNOOC 10%, CNPC 10% and a Mitsui-Jogmec consortium, Japan Arctic LNG 10%.
Amidst a row of energy deals to strengthen the economic ties between the nations, India and Russia eye at $30 billion of annual trade by 2025. India aims at increasing the proportion of gas in its energy mix to 15% in the near future. "We are looking at investing in additional oilfields in Russia ... we are also looking at sourcing LNG", said India's Foreign secretary.
Russian gas producer Gazprom has reported a fall in non-CIS gas exports in the period of Jan-Aug this year. There has been a decline of 4.5% in natural gas exports outside the former Soviet Union. Although the output of the company has increased by 1.7% reaching 331 bcm in the same period. Gazprom also revealed that the company's gas exports to Europe and its prices will fall in 2019.
Russia is considering transferring operational management over oil input points to pipeline monopoly Transneft. Russian Prime Minister and Transneft's Chief Executive had a meeting to discuss about this matter. Transneft has assured that it is working towards improving the quality of contaminated water. In April, the discovery of contaminated crude through the Druzhba left the oil market in shock.
The tariff on the transportation of Russian oil via Belarus is set to increase by 3.7% in September this year. The tariff on the transit will be further raised on Jan. 1, 2020, informed Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak. Belarus has agreed with Russia on this decision to compensate for a drop in flows linked to oil contamination earlier this year.
India's state-owned GAIL in its recent report has announced about hiring a newly-built LNG ship from Japan's Mitsui OSK Lines. The ship will be used for transporting gas from nations like the US. GAIL is planning to charter hire additional vessels. The company has also informed about its recent long-term LNG contract with USA and Russia.