Government Instability In Several Oil, Gas Producing Countries Set to Rise

Government instability is set to rise over the next three years in oil and gas producing countries including Russia, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Kenya and Uganda, which could impact the upstream projects of major energy companies, a new report from global risk analysis company Verisk Maplecroft has revealed.

“We don’t see increasing instability necessarily ending in coups or significant political upheaval, but a less predictable above-ground-risk environment is likely to emerge,” Verisk Maplecroft’s head of financial risk, James Lockhart-Smith, said in an organization statement.

“Arbitrary decision making, possible measures to buy off key stakeholders or an inability to pass regulatory reforms will be the main risks to projects in these countries as their governments seek to stabilize and maintain their influence,” he added.

Turning its attention to oil markets in 2018, the report highlighted the stand-off on the Korean peninsula and the ongoing ‘cold war’ between Saudi Arabia and Iran as the only two geopolitical flashpoints with realistic potential to impact oil prices if they escalate this year.

Outright war in either region is unlikely, however, according to the organization’s Interstate Tensions Forecasting Model, despite an increase in the probability of some form of military incident or show of force between the US and North Korea, which Verisk says has increased from 36 percent to 56 percent since the start of 2017. The likelihood for a direct militarized dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran is lower at 26 percent.

“A slide into war is not in the interests of any of these countries, but the outlook highlights the aggressive posturing from all sides as intensifying the chances for tensions to escalate,” Verisk said in an organization statement.

“In the worst-case scenario, war between Saudi Arabia and Iran would hit oil supply and cause a spike in prices, while conflict on the Korean Peninsula would have serious negative consequences for the global oil and liquefied natural gas trade,” Verisk added.

SOURCE: Rigzone

 

Oil Prices: Rising Geopolitical Tensions In Middle East A Risk

Rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and Asia could have a major impact on oil prices in 2018, according to a new study.

Oil markets have been well supported recently, thanks to production curbs by Opec since the beginning of last year, as well as robust demand growth.

The weakness in the dollar has also supported oil prices, as it makes oil and other greenback-denominated commodities cheaper for countries using other currencies at home.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicts the price of Brent to average $64 a barrel this year, while Goldman Sachs forecasts it will rise to $75 a barrel in three months and average $75 in the next six to twelve months.

A report by risk analysis company Verisk Maplecroft points to a potential escalation in tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as the stand-off on the Korean Peninsula, as two major “geopolitical flashpoints” with the potential of impacting oil markets this year.

According to Verisk Maplecroft’s Interstate Tensions Forecasting Model, outright war in either region is unlikely. It puts the likelihood for a direct militarised dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran at 26%, but it expects a continuation of proxy conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

“Conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran isn’t our base case, but the assertive stance adopted by both sides has increased the risk of a direct confrontation – either as a result of miscalculation or overreaction,” Torbjorn Soltvedt, principal Mena analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, told The National. “Geopolitical tensions are rife across the region, and the Middle East’s political risk premium looks set to increase this year.”

The risk is higher on the Korean Peninsula. According to the report, the probability of some form of military incident or show of force between the US and North Korea has increased from 36% to 56% since the start of 2017.

A slide into war is not in the interests of any of these countries, but the report, entitled Political Risk Outlook: Oil & Gas, highlights the chances for tensions to escalate.

In the worst-case scenario, war between Saudi Arabia and Iran would hit oil supply and cause a spike in prices, while conflict on the Korean Peninsula would have serious negative consequences for the global oil and liquefied natural gas trade.

An analysis of data from the Government Stability Index also reveals that the stability of many oil producing countries is likely to worsen by 2021. These include Egypt, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kenya and Uganda.

Source: The National

Maldives Hosts Inaugural Island Renewable Energy Initiative With IRENA

Ministers and senior officials representing 30 countries and organizations from across the world met in Malé, Maldives, signalling the determination of small island developing states (SIDS) to strengthen global efforts to address climate change and accelerate renewable energy deployment.

The inaugural meeting of the Initiative for Renewable Island Energy (IRIE) was hosted by the Government of the Maldives, in its capacity as Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), in partnership with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Small island developing states have been early and committed adopters of renewable energy, seeking to develop their economies with cost effective, renewables-based energy systems, while enhancing energy security, national resilience and climate adaptation.

Just over two gigawatts (GW) of renewable technologies are already deployed in SIDS, and at least six GW of additional capacity is envisaged under Nationally Determined Contributions. A number of countries have plans to achieve 100 per cent share of renewables in the electricity mix.

“In the wake of a deadly hurricane season in the Caribbean and at a time when the resolve to tackle the climate crisis has been called into question, small islands are sending the world a clear message: we are seizing the promise of renewable energy to grow our economies today and build a better future for tomorrow,” said Thoriq Ibrahim, Energy and Environment Minister for the Maldives and Chair of Alliance of Small Island States.

“As Chair of AOSIS, Maldives has made leaving a lasting legacy of renewable energy infrastructure in small islands a priority and IRIE is how we are fulfilling that vision.”

“Small island developing nations have been frontrunners in the global drive to scale-up renewables,” said Adnan Z Amin, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency, co-organisers of the event. “This meeting is further evidence of their collective commitment to strengthen the momentum of the global energy transition as they pursue economic growth, energy security and increased national resilience.

“This ministerial is also particularly timely as we are just a few weeks away from COP23 in Bonn, where the priorities of small island nations will take centre stage under Fiji’s Presidency,” added Mr. Amin.

“We are committed to supporting the renewable energy ambitions of our island partners, through the SIDS Lighthouses initiative, as they take their energy transformation to the next level.”

Despite progress, SIDS face financial and technical barriers as they transition their power, heating, cooling, and transportation sectors to renewable energy, many of which stem from their size, geography and limited capacity.

Greater international cooperation can help overcome these barriers by enhanced collaboration and knowledge sharing, leading to improved economies of scale, reduced transaction costs and better enabling environments for donors and investors.

IRIE works to enhance AOSIS political coordination and outreach to development partners with a view to mobilizing the resources – finance, technology, and capacity building – required for the transformation of energy systems in SIDS. IRIE also works to amplify the success of SIDS focused initiatives, such as IRENA’s SIDS Lighthouses.

“Small islands contribute a miniscule fraction of global emissions and yet we have taken the lead in committing to some of the most ambitious clean energy plans in the world,” continued Minister Ibrahim.

“IRIE is a testament to island leadership and the important role the Maldives has played in the international effort to tackle climate change for over three decades.”

AOSIS is an organization of 44 low-lying island and coastal nations from around the world that are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The IRIE meeting was made possible by support from Italy and the European Union.

Southeast Asia Eyes Renewable Energy To Fuel Economic Growth, Climate Resilience

Governments of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), have established a strategic partnership to accelerate the region’s transition to low-carbon, sustainable energy and build its climate resilience. 

In a joint statement released from the ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting and IRENA Dialogue by IRENA and ASEAN Member States including, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, the Energy Ministers of ASEAN and the Director-General of IRENA agreed to develop a Memorandum of Understanding on long-term co-operation between ASEAN and IRENA to harness the region’s vast renewable energy potential and support ASEAN scale up the energy transition process. 

“Increasing investment in renewable energy across Southeast Asia’s growing populations will have significant social and economic benefits across the region, liberating them from expensive fossil fuel imports, while boosting economic growth, supporting energy security, job creation and national resilience,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin, who co-chaired the Dialogue. 

“Southeast Asia is key for the global energy transition and we are fortunate to have an effective regional partner in ASEAN. We fully support its efforts to achieve its aspirational target of 23 per cent of primary energy from renewable sources by 2025, and stand ready to co-develop longer-term plans in pursuit of a sustainable energy future,” Mr. Amin added. 

IRENA has worked closely with the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) and ASEAN to find ways to accelerate renewable energy deployment across the region. An IRENA and ACE renewable energy roadmap report released late last year, shows that ASEAN’s renewables target is attainable, and found that renewable energy in the region can bring lower overall costs, contribute to cleaner cities, support a more secure and robust energy supply. 

The report also found that around half of the region’s renewable energy potential lies in power generation, especially in solar PV that could grow from two to almost 60 gigawatts. Furthermore, the region’s vast biomass endowment can progress end-use sectors, such as transport, buildings and industry and bring savings of up to USD 40 billion by 2025 from reduced fossil fuels expenditure, and up to USD 10 billion per year from reduced externalities caused by climate change and air pollution. 

As part of the joint statement, Ministers recognised IRENA as the global intergovernmental organisation mandated to promote the widespread and increased adoption of renewable energy, and thanked the Agency for its strong collaboration in the past in promoting and disseminating policies and measures on renewable energy in ASEAN. 

On the side lines of the meeting, the Secretary of Energy of the Philippines and the Director-General of IRENA launched Accelerating renewable mini-grid deployment: A study on the Philippines, which makes a number of key recommendations to accelerate the development of renewable mini-grids in the Philippines.

South America Plans For Its Renewable Energy Future

Energy policy makers and senior representatives from across South America met to identify steps required as they prepare to integrate increasing levels of renewable energy from variable sources, such as solar and wind, into their grids.

The four-day workshop, organised by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in partnership with the Argentinian Ministry of Energy and Mining, is taking place in the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires and gathered representatives from countries across the continent, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.

The workshop facilitated a dialogue involving IRENA and South American representatives, focused on exchanging best regional and global practice for planning and modelling variable renewable energy as the region looks to further develop its renewable energy generation capacity.

In recent years Latin America has seen impressive growth in non-hydropower renewables, whose installed capacity has more than tripled between 2006 and 2015, from 10 gigawatts (GW) to 36 GW. While in absolute terms most of that growth has been in bioenergy and onshore wind, solar PV has also grown significantly in Chile, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.

“It is an honour to welcome IRENA’s representative for the first time in Argentina, so as to promote the sharing of experiences on energy planning and the long-term incorporation of renewable energies between the different countries of South America,” remarked Mr. Sebastian Kind, Undersecretary of Renewable Energy at Argentina’s Ministry of Energy and Mining.

“South America has a dynamic renewable energy market, and in many countries throughout the region, scaling up the contribution of renewable energy to the future energy mix is a major policy priority,” said Mr. Dolf Gielen, Director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Centre.

“Solar and wind power generation have huge potential across the continent, but their unique characteristics require adjustments in the traditional planning processes and methodologies,” added Mr. Gielen. “Getting power sector planning right is critical to securing the investment required to realise that potential.”

Ambitious national commitments, international agreements and rapid technological progress have prompted countries to increasingly turn to renewable energy to expand their power infrastructure. However, the variability of solar and wind energy — two key sources for renewable power generation — presents distinct challenges to grid integration and stability.

To address the specific challenges in scaling up and integrating variable renewables, in 2013 IRENA initiated the Addressing Variable Renewable Energy in Long-Term Energy Planning (AVRIL) project.

Building on the expertise gained through various discussions and sessions held under the AVRIL project, in January 2017 IRENA released Planning for the Renewable Future: long-term modelling and tools to expand variable renewable power in emerging economies.

Along presentations of national planning experience, the report’s contents will serve as a major input to the ongoing workshop taking place in Buenos Aires. The report offers guidance to energy decision makers and planners with an overview of key long-term issues and concerns around the large-scale integration of variable renewables into the power grid, and further guidance to technical practitioners in the field of energy modelling.

Central Asian Countries Commit To Accelerate The Uptake Of Renewables

Countries of Central Asia and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) last week released a Communiqué on accelerating renewable energy deployment in the region.

The Communiqué was released in the framework of the Energy Ministerial, Meeting the Challenge of Sustainable Energy at the Astana EXPO-2017. The meeting identified six key areas to facilitate the up-take of renewables and help diversify the region’s energy mix, reflected in detail in a regional Action Plan.

“Covering over four million square kilometers, the countries of Central Asia are endowed with rich renewable energy sources that can drive sustainable economic development and growth,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.

“With renewable energy targets in place for 2020 and beyond, the region can now seize this transformative opportunity for a sustainable energy future, and the new Action Plan will help boost efforts of renewable energy uptake".

During the Energy Ministerial at the Astana EXPO-2017, countries agreed that renewable energy plays a critical role in addressing the major regional challenges identified in IRENA’s analysis, including: rising electricity demand; ageing power infrastructure; limited energy access for remote areas; and the impact of climate change on the energy systems.

“The collaboration between Kazakhstan and IRENA continues to be fruitful, and together we have made significant strides in assessing the future development of renewable energy in the region.

We recognise that renewable energy can help the region with the imperative to modernise its energy system and to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Kazakhstan welcomes the efforts made today. I believe the EXPO, over the next couple of months, will provide the international community with a platform for valuable discussions on expertise, innovative solutions and promising projects in the renewable energy field,” said Bozumbayev Kanat Aldabergenovich, Kazakhstan’s Energy Minister at the Energy Ministerial.

Recently, the region has made strides in diversifying its energy mix, and installed 500 megawatts of new non-hydro renewable power capacity over the last two years. However, remote areas still lack reliable power and heat, issues which renewable energy and energy efficiency together can help address.

Speaking at the Ministerial, Mohamed El-Farnawany, Director of Strategic Management and Executive Direction at IRENA said, “The Action Plan reflects the commitment of the countries of Central Asia to further their economic development, through accelerating the uptake of renewable energy. It also enables them to reduce carbon emissions and fulfil their international objectives and national ambitions in this regard.”

Countries identified the following areas for IRENA collaboration to facilitate the deployment of renewable energy in the region: resource assessments, integration of variable renewable energy into power grids, policies and regulations for renewable energy deployment, renewable energy statistics and data collection, project facilitation, and awareness raising.

IRENA will work closely with countries of the region as well as partners and stakeholders to support ongoing work to advance renewable energy development in Central Asia.

Shell Shareholders Approve Merger With BG Group

 

More than 80 percent of shareholders in Royal Dutch Shell voted in favor of combining with British energy company BG Group, the Dutch supermajor said.

"I am delighted with the positive shareholder vote and the confidence that shareholders have shown in the strategic logic of the combination of Shell and BG," Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said in a statement.

Shell shareholders were asked to approve the acquisition of BG Group by the company. The Dutch supermajor said just over 83 percent of its shareholders voted in favor of the deal.

Shell said combining with BG Group would mark the start of a new chapter for the company. Costs will move lower by about $4 billion for 2016, but also result in widespread redundancies. About 10,000 staff and director contractor positions will be eliminated across both companies.

The $7 billion tie-up with BG Group will be one of the largest mergers of its kind since Exxon and Mobil joined in the 1990s. For the combined group, Shell in a prospectus last year said capital investments for 2016 would be around $33 billion, lower than previously forecast by $2 billion, or 5.7 percent.

Crude oil prices are trading at or near low levels not seen in a decade, leaving energy companies without capital needed for strong investments.

Shell through the deal takes on a larger footprint in the liquefied natural gas sector, a sector less dependent on the geopolitical constraints in the midstream, or transit, part of energy. Economic and political disputes between Russia and Ukraine, for example, pose threats to European energy security.

BG shareholders vote on the measure Thursday. If approved, the transaction would be finalized Feb. 15.

SOURCE: UPI.COM

Halliburton Reports $28m Revenue Loss

 

Steep declines in the North American market were in part behind the 9 percent decline in revenue, oil field services company Halliburton said.

Halliburton, which provides services to the drilling and production side of the energy sector, reported a $28 million loss for the fourth quarter, against a profit from the previous year's quarter of $901 million. Total revenue was down 9 percent.

"North America revenue declined 39 percent compared to 2014, as a result of unprecedented declines in activity, with the U.S. land rig count ending the year down 64 percent from the 2014 peak," Halliburton President Jeff Miller said in a statement.

Halliburton is the second-largest company of its kind behind Schlumberger, which last week reported a 9 percent decline in fourth quarter revenue. North American operations accounted for the bulk of the drop for Schlumberger, with land-based revenue falling off in the region by 45 percent.

Halliburton's international business saw fourth quarter revenue decline 5 percent. Year-end equipment sales for the company did not bring in the expected late surge in revenue either because some of Halliburton's customers are also facing budget constraints.

Outside of operating costs, the company recorded $79 million in costs related to the pending acquisition of rival services company Baker Hughes, compared to $62 million during the fourth quarter.

"We remain fully committed to closing the pending acquisition of Baker Hughes," Halliburton Chairman and CEO Dave Lesar said.

The planned merger between the services companies has faced anti-trust scrutiny. The European Commission found last week that only Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Schlumberger were able to provide necessary services to the industry, adding the merger of the former two would grossly inhibit competition from smaller potential market players.

Despite the industry headwinds, President Miller said the company was laying the groundwork for a strong recovery once the energy sector rebounds.

SOURCE: upi.com

ENI Boss Says OPEC Losing Clout

 

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is fading, though Middle East producers may reign supreme, the CEO of Italian energy company ENI said.

Claudio Descalzi, ENI's top executive, told delegates at a Middle East and North African energy conference in London current weakness in the crude oil market was driven by near-sighted focus on certain data sets that may not correlate with long-term fundamentals

"The lack of a regulator -- the role played before by OPEC -- which balanced oil prices and gave a long-term perspective, has resulted in the market being handed over to short-term positions," he said in his remarks.

OPEC members have pushed a robust production policy even as crude oil prices drift further away from mid-2014 peaks above $100 per barrel. OPEC, led tacitly by Saudi Arabia, said it needed to defend a market share against the increase in rival producers outside the 13-member group.

OPEC Secretary General Abdalla El-Badri said from London the crude oil market is going through a "significant readjustment" as free capital vanishes and supplies build in a weakened global economy.

"Given how this developed, it should be viewed as something OPEC and non-OPEC tackle together," he said. "Yes, OPEC provided some of the additional supply last year, but the majority of this has come from non-OPEC countries."

ENI's chief said that, despite the market influence, it will be member states Iraq and Saudi Arabia that are expected to lead in production growth moving forward.

Descalzi, meanwhile, said the short-term focus on data releases, like weekly figures on oil stockpiles in the United States from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is putting more negative pressure on crude oil prices that actual fundamentals warrant.

"Every time the U.S. Energy Information Administration publishes U.S. stock figures, there is an immediate and sensitive reaction on the Brent price," he said.

This tendency comes as lower crude oil prices are pressuring investments necessary to sustain robust production in key non-OPEC producers like the United States. Between 2013 and 2014, OPEC supply declined by 1 million barrels per day, while non-OPEC output grew by 3.7 million bpd.

Most analysts expect balance will return to the global energy market by late 2016 or early 2017 as U.S. production diminishes. Decreased spending, meanwhile, means about 1.5 million bpd will be deferred within five years.

SOURCE: upi.com

OPEC Pumped 32.28m Barrels Of Crude Oil Per Day In December

 

Oil production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) fell by 130,000 barrels per day (b/d) in December on lower volumes from Iraq, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, according to the latest Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials and analysts.

The latest survey -- which expands the estimate for Iraq to bring in volumes from the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region and also includes an estimate for Indonesia -- shows December output fell to 32.28 million b/d from 32.41 million b/d in November. For comparison purposes, the November table has been adjusted to include Kurdistan and Indonesia.

'Collapsing oil prices and oversupply used to be a recipe for, at the very least, an emergency OPEC meeting,' said Margaret McQuaile, senior correspondent for Platts, a leading global provider of energy and commodities information.

'That is no longer the case, however, and Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies appear to be as committed to their laissez-faire production policy as they ever were. Without the support of these countries for an emergency meeting, it seems unlikely that one will take place - in the very short term, at any rate.'

Volumes from kingpin producer Saudi Arabia dipped last month by 50,000 b/d to 10.1 million b/d. The kingdom is facing an unprecedented budget crunch amid the steep drop in oil prices since mid-2014.

Despite sliding oil prices, however, it has given no indication that it is ready to abandon the market share strategy that it persuaded OPEC to adopt in November 2014. Indeed, although the December volume was down from that of November, Saudi output remains above the 10 million b/d it has consistently exceeded since March last year.

SOURCE: www.oilvoice.com

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