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Drone Attacks And Invasion Fears Send Oil Prices Soaring

The geopolitical risk premium is soaring as fears of Russia invading Ukraine combine with recent reports of a Houthi drone attack on the UAE.

Chart of the Week

- Colombia’s presidential front-runner Gustavo Petro is likely to nudge Colombia away from hydrocarbon production, currently accounting for half of the Latin American country’s export revenues. 

- Petro pledged to replace oil and gas output with a knowledge-based, tourism-driven economy, arguing that there would be roughly 12 years to finish production at currently producing assets.

- These comments helped to make the Colombian peso last week’s worst-performing currency in emerging markets. 

- With crude reserves worth only 6.5 years of production at 2 billion barrels, Colombia remains an important supplier of heavy sour crude to complex refiners in the USGC, its largest market outlet. 

Market Movers

- UK oil major BP (NYSE:BP) signed a strategic agreement with Omani authorities, setting up a net-zero task force that would evaluate wind and solar data from 8,000 km2 of land and potentially kickstarting new renewable projects. 

- French oil major TotalEnergies (NYSE:TTE) sold its interest in Angola’s mature Block 14 to local firm Somoil, saying it wants its portfolio to include assets with low costs and low emissions.   

- London-headquartered energy firm Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) emerged as the main winner of the last offshore wind auction, landing the world’s first large-scale floating wind farms with Scottish Power Renewables. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The Houthi drone attack on the United Arab Emirates triggered a swift escalation in one of the most important oil-producing regions globally, adding a hefty geopolitical price premium to markets that are already on edge over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. With Omicron failing to significantly dent global crude demand and recent reports suggesting that it is less likely to damage lungs than previous variants, oil prices shot up in the first two trading sessions of this week.

UAE Attack Sends Regional Tensions Flying. A deadly missile attack on ADNOC’s storage area in the industrial Musaffah area close to the Abu Dhabi airport triggered a sudden deterioration in the Arabian Peninsula’s security climate, making further attacks likely. 

The US Mulls Europe Gas Contingency Plans. US authorities have held talks with several oil and gas majors on contingency plans for supplying natural gas to Europe in case a Russo-Ukrainian military conflict breaks out and disrupts pipeline flows from Russia. 

Libyan Oil Production Comes Back. Following last week’s restart of four crude and condensate fields in Libya’s western regions, the North African country has seen its production move to 1.2 million b/d. This brief respite doesn't change the fact that future disruptions remain likely as a general lack of funds makes proper maintenance difficult. 

OPEC Sees 2022 Oil Markets as Well Supported. The most recent issue of OPEC’s monthly report reiterated the oil group’s view that oil markets will remain well supported over 2022, with global demand rising 4.15 million b/d year-on-year, surpassing the 100 million b/d mark in Q3. 

UK Court Ruling Dismisses Climate Activists. A UK High Court dismissed claims from climate activists that the country’s oil and gas regulator unlawfully assessed oil and gas projects on a pre-tax basis, setting a precedent for further activist-driven cases vis-a-vis the UK government. 

Gazprom Still Doesn’t Supply Gas via Yamal Pipeline. After one month of reverse flows via the Yamal pipeline, Russian gas giant Gazprom sent shockwaves across Europe again by not booking any gas capacity to Europe through Yamal in February 2022. 

Japan Wants to Drill for Gas. Japan’s largest oil and gas explorer INPEX (TYO:1605)will carry out exploratory drilling off the country’s western coast from March to July, hoping to find natural gas deposits and alleviate Japan’s 98% import hydrocarbon dependency. 

Norway Awards 53 Oil Drilling Licences. In its most recent APA 2021 offshore license auction Norway allocated 53 blocks, with regional heavyweights Equinor (NYSE:EQNR), Aker BP (FRA:ARC), and Lundin Energy (STO:LUNE) taking stakes in 26, 15, and 10 licenses, respectively. 

Chinese Bunker Takes Over Singapore Hub. Chinese oil major Petrochina became the top marine fuel supplier in the world’s largest bunkering hub in Singapore, overtaking previous leader Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) and followed by leading trading firms Vitol, Trafigura and Glencore. 

Germany's Largest Power Producer Backs LNG Terminal. The head of Germany’s largest power producer RWE (FRA:RWE) stated that if the country’s security of supply would eventually narrow down to gas, it would need the proposed LNG terminal in Brunsbüttel. 

Chinese Coal Production Hits All-Time High. China’s coal output reached a record high in December at 384.67 million tons, 4% higher than the previous all-time high set in November, putting an end to a year when Beijing ordered miners to run at maximum capacity. 

India Draws Even Closer to Iraq. India’s state refiner Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL), on the verge of completing expansion works at its soon-to-be 300,000 b/d Vizag refinery, reportedly signed a supply deal with Iraqi state oil marketer SOMO that would see it buying more than 100,000 b/d of Basrah grades. 

US Bill Seeks China Rare Earths Ban. A bipartisan bill introduced in the US Senate would force American defense contractors to stop buying rare earths from China by 2026, trying to cut short a long-time dependence on Chinese minerals as the US currently has no capacity to refine rare earth minerals.

By Tom Kool for Oilprice.com 

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