Editorial: A Song Of Ice And Fire In The Canadian Oil Sands As wildfire scorches its way across Canada's Wild Rose Country, oil prices rose on the disruption caused by the blaze. The Albertan inferno was the size of Mauritius and visible from space, causing oil prices to shoot up by almost three per cent as the oil sands’ capital of Fort McMurray was hastily evacuated. First settled in 1870 as a fur trading outpost of the Hudson’s Bay Company, Fort McMurray's proximity to Athabasca’s bituminous deposits made it a focal point of activity in the history of the oil sands, becoming the de facto population centre for heavy oil production in the 1970s. Swelling to more than 90,000 inhabitants and becoming the third most populous conurbation in the province of Alberta before the oil price crash in late 2014, the shutdown of the city led to a halt in the production of more than a million barrels of oil per day.
May 10, 2016
Editorial: Oil Price To Become A Victim Of Iranicide After a steady rally on the crude markets, oil dipped slightly after news of an increase in production coming out of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Output from the global oil cartel increased by 484,000 barrels a day (bpd) in April to 32.64 million bpd, caused mainly by expanded yields in OPEC’s second largest oil producer, The Republic of Iraq. According to the country’s oil ministry, Iraq exported a record high of 3.4 million bpd in April, some 100,000 barrels more than the previous month, excluding the average of 330,000 bpd exported by the Kurdistan Regional Government to Turkey via the Kirkuk–Ceyhan pipeline. This also comes at a time of constitutional crisis for an Iraqi government that declared a state of emergency on April 30th after anti-corruption protesters in Baghdad breached the Green Zone and stormed parliament.
May 3, 2016
Editorial: Dithering in Doha Breeds Market Misery As predicted last week, a dithering performance in Doha from the members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and esteemed guests, resulted in a dip in oil prices on the global market. At the beginning of this year, we said that tensions caused by persistently low oil prices and the simmering sectarian discontent of Sunni/Shia antagonism could threaten to rip OPEC in two. The aftermath of the Doha Witenaġemot, a 14-hour masterclass in Realpolitik standoffishness, has shown that this possibility is closer to the realms of probability than most would countenance.
April 19, 2016
Editorial: Hostage Crisis At The Crude Club This weekend, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and supernumerary members of “The Crude Club” meet in Doha to discuss a production freeze. The United States - the world’s third largest oil producer in 2015 - declined to attend the meeting in the Qatari capital, as has an embattled Libya. The struggling North African republic has recently seen a deepening of the civil strife that menaces to split the country into its three constituent parts: Cyrenaica, Fezzan and Tripolitania.
April 12, 2016
Editorial: The Ides That March On.... According to a statement out of Moscow, Russian forces in Syria will begin to ramp down operations and withdraw from the embattled Middle Eastern nation. Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, announced that: "The Russian air campaign in Syria has created all necessary conditions for internal political settlement of the Syrian conflict." The first bomber group to leave the Syrian theatre departed from Hmeymim airbase this morning on the 3,000 kilometre return flight to Russia.
March 14, 2016
Editorial: Foolhardy Rallies & Tanker-Sized Breaches In rapturous news, crude oil hit a 2016 price high as it peeked above $40 per barrel this Monday. A price rally of 40 per cent in the last four weeks has lifted the Black Gold from 12-year lows in January, igniting the hope amongst investors and industry that a tanking oil market had reached bottom and was pulling itself back from the brink. As many consider embarking on the diaphragmatic process involved in breathing a sigh of relief, the customary killjoys at Goldman Sachs have volunteered a warning. The prices of oil, gold and iron ore have shot up in previous weeks, fuelling expectations that the commodities markets were on the rebound and heading towards levels above "frightening".
March 7, 2016
Editorial: The Oil Glut Spills Into A Garden Near You "Every storage tank and swimming pool in the world will be filled with oil." - Bob Dudley, Group Chief Executive, BP As the global upstream industry winces under the continued pressure of low oil prices, parts of the hydrocarbons industry are making proverbial hay out of the Black Gold. As the eddies of the oil glut pool and gurgle from Aberdeen to Abu Dhabi, Stavanger to San Antonio, Texas, those in the storage industry are rubbing their hands together with glee.
February 29, 2016
Editorial: The Aberdonian Ailment & The Curse Of The Black Tin As Brent crude "rallied" to $35 a barrel in trading this week, news coming out of the North Sea served as little comfort for an embattled hydrocarbons sector. Investment is set to drop to a paltry twelve per cent of its estimated annual figure after an oil price rout that has seen the value of the Black Gold drop to a level on the metal scale somewhere between nickel and tin. Losing 70 per cent of its value from since the latter half of 2014, and sitting at one quarter of its 2008 all-time high, a 2016 recovery seems a decidedly nebulous possibility.
February 22, 2016
Editorial: Elephantine Decision For A Waning Star As the price of a barrel of Brent crude remains below $40 for the third month in succession, our eyes fix to the quiet pachyderm that has been waiting silently in the corner.
February 8, 2016
Editorial: That Secret Blend Of Nerves And Crisis As the price of a barrel of crude danced around the $30 mark in its now customary ceilidh, supermajor BP announced record yearly losses and 7,000 jobs ready for the axe. Even worse news awaits France’s Total, who are expected to confirm a 20 per cent fall in adjusted net profit for 2015. Could either company be snapped up by rivals smelling blood this year?
February 2, 2016