President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said that Russia and OPEC have ‘a common goal’ of keeping the oil market balanced and predictable, and Moscow will continue cooperation under the global supply curbs deal.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets on Dec. 5 in Vienna, followed by talks with a group of other exporters, including Russia, known as OPEC+.
“Our (common with OPEC) goal is for the market to be balanced, acceptable for producers and consumers and the most important – and I want to underline this – predictable,” Putin told a forum on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said on Wednesday that the kingdom’s oil policy aims to promote stability in global oil markets, and serves consumers and producers alike.
It plans to announce pricing for an initial public offering of its crown asset, Saudi Aramco, also on Dec. 5.
In October, Russia cut its oil output to 11.23 million barrels per day (bpd) from 11.25 million bpd in September but it was still higher than a 11.17 million bpd to11.18 million bpd cap set for Moscow under the existing global deal.
Putin told the forum that Russia’s oil production was growing slightly in spite of the supply curbs deal but Moscow was not aiming to be the world’s No. 1 crude producer.
Currently, the U.S. is the world’s top oil producer.
“Russia has a serious impact on the global energy market but the most impact we achieve (is) when working along with other key producers,” he said.
“There was a moment not that long ago when Russia was the world’s top oil producer – this is not our goal.”
Russia plans to produce between 556 million and 560 million tonnes of oil this year (11.17 million bpd to11.25 million bpd), Energy Minister Alexander Novak said separately on Wednesday, depending on the volume of gas condensate produced during cold months.
Russia will aim to stick to its commitments under the deal in November, Novak said.
Russia includes gas condensate – a side product also known as ‘light oil’ produced when companies extract natural gas – into its overall oil production statistics, which some other oil producing countries do not do.
As Russia is gradually increasing liquefied natural gas production (LNG), the share of gas condensate it is producing is also growing.
Gas condensate now accounts for around six per cent of Russian oil production.
Novak said that in winter, Russia traditionally produces more gas condensate as it is launching new gas fields in the freezing temperatures.
“We believe that gas condensate should not be taken into account (of overall oil production statistics), as this is an absolutely different area related to gas production and gas supplies,” he said.
Three sources on Tuesday said that Russia was unlikely to agree to deepen cuts in oil output at a meeting with fellow exporters next month, but could commit to extend existing curbs to support Saudi Arabia.
On Wednesday, Novak declined to say that Russia’s position would be at upcoming OPEC+ meeting.
Edited by Fatima Sule/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
BP posts second-quarter post-tax loss of $16.8bn
Global energy giant BP on Tuesday reported a post-tax loss of 16.8 billion dollars in the second quarter amid lower oil prices and writedowns.
The loss compared to a post-tax profit of 1.8 billion dollars in the April to June period a year ago.
The company said that costs for writedowns of inventories and exploration charges weighed heavily on the results.
“These headline results have been driven by another very challenging quarter, but also by the deliberate steps we have taken as we continue to reimagine energy and reinvent BP,” chief executive Bernard Looney said.
By the end of decade, Looney said BP would be investing around 5 billion dollars in low-carbon projects a year, and during the same period expected daily oil and gas production to drop by 40 per cent from 2019 levels.
The company said it would cut its dividend payout for the first time since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Shareholders were to receive 5.25 United States cents per share, compared with the previous quarter’s 10.5 United States cents per share.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Lobbying for Russian pipeline spikes in Washington
As United States lawmakers plot to stop one of Moscow’s most important projects in Europe, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, lobbyists supporting it are busier than ever but disclosing few details of their work, according to government filings and current and former United States officials.
The pipeline linking Russian gas fields to Western Europe has become a lightning rod of contention in United States-Russia relations.
This is as the Trump administration concerned it would dangerously expanding the region’s energy dependence on Moscow but backers, including in Europe, saying the gas is needed.
United States President Donald Trump has already signed a sanctions bill that delayed construction on the $11 billion project, wholly-owned by Russia’s state-run Gazprom and headed by Alexei Miller, a long-time ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
But lawmakers fearful the measures are not enough to prevent the pipeline’s completion are contemplating further action.
That is more than double the amount during the same period a year ago, and more than all of 2018, the first full year the project lobbied in Washington.
But exactly who the lobbyists meet with is a mystery because they have not registered with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), a law passed in 1938 to limit the influence of Nazi Germany and Communist Russia in United States politics.
Under FARA, lobbyists must disclose every meeting with United States officials, along with the materials they distribute.
Instead, the Nord Stream 2 lobbyists have registered under the 1995 Lobbying Disclosure Act, a law that amended FARA by allowing lobbyists for foreign companies or individuals to report much less information as long as their work is not intended to benefit a foreign government.
Representatives for Nord Stream 2 and the lobbying companies did not respond to requests for comment.
But Nord Stream 2 has characterised itself as a commercial, not political, project.
A senior Trump administration official took issue with that, saying the lobbyists are seeking to further Moscow’s national interests.
“The fact that you’ve got people working for Gazprom, which is essentially the Russian state, you know to manipulate our processes … it’s crazy,’’ the official said, asking not to be named discussing the issue.
Danielle Nichols, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, which handles FARA registrations, said the department had no comment at this time.
Lobbyists for Nord Stream 2’s foreign opponents, by contrast, have registered under FARA.
Andriy Kobolyev, Naftogaz’s Chief Executive told Reuters in an email that company representatives travel to Washington about once a month to provide updates on the status of Nord Stream 2 and discuss how to stop the pipeline.
Nord Stream 2 will double the capacity of an existing line to Germany under the Baltic Sea to 110 billion cubic meters of gas per year, enough to supply 26 million households.
It would circumvent United States ally Ukraine, depriving it of potentially billions of dollars in transit fees, and compete with United States efforts to sell liquefied natural gas into Europe.
United States senators Ted Cruz, a Republican, and Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, are among the pipeline’s biggest opponents in Congress.
Both are pushing new sanctions measures that would target insurers of Gazprom vessels that would lay the last 100 miles (160 km) of pipe in Danish waters, where unexploded bombs from World War II lie in the pipeline’s path.
Neither senator responded to a request for comment.
Nord Stream 2 backers say Germany and other European countries need Russian gas and Germany has threatened retaliatory action if United States sanctions stop the project.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Oil prices fall as rising coronavirus case numbers cast shadow over fuel demand pickup
This is just as major producers ramp up output.
The slide comes after WTI rose 1.8 per cent and Brent climbed 1.5 per cent on Monday on better-than-expected data on manufacturing activity in Asia, Europe and the United States.
“On the demand side, we had quite encouraging global manufacturing (data) … but there’s still quite a bit of evidence of the oil demand recovery stalling in quite a few markets with a resurgence of COVID-19,’’ said Lachlan Shaw, Head of commodity research at National Australia Bank (NAB).
Denting fuel demand, cities from Manila to Melbourne are tightening lockdowns to battle new infections, while Norway has stopped cruise ship traffic in the latest European travel alarm.
In a further sign of a patchy rebound in demand, analysts estimate United States refined product stockpiles rose last week, according to a preliminary Reuters’ poll ahead of data due from the American Petroleum Institute industry group later on Tuesday and the United States government on Wednesday.
Five analysts estimated, on average, that United States inventories of gasoline rose by 600,000 barrels.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, likely grew by 800,000 barrels, while crude stocks fell by 3.3 million barrels in the week to July 31.
At the same time producers in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, together known as OPEC+, are stepping up output this month, adding around 1.5 million barrels a day of supply.
United States producers also plan to restart shut-in production and inventories remain near historical highs.
“I think it is fair to say that most oil market participants expected more downward pressure on oil to start the week with COVID-19 ravaging the landscape and OPEC+ adding more barrels into play,’’ said Stephen Innes, Chief Global Markets Strategist at AxiCorp, in a daily note.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
15 countries purchase Russia’s Avifavir COVID-19 medication – Direct Investment Fund
Russia says it is delivering its Avifavir medication against COVID-19 to 15 countries already.
Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which took part in the creation of the remedy, disclosed this to Russia-24 broadcaster in an interview.
“We can boast great achievements in this area, as the medication has been delivered to over 15 countries,” Dmitriev said.
“This is really important, as there are in fact only two international antiviral drugs that are delivered to a certain number of countries: the United States’ Remdesivir and the Russian Avifavir.
“Ninety per cent of the produced Remdesivir have been purchased by the United States
Earlier on Monday, Kromis — a joint venture of the RDIF and the ChemRar pharmaceutical company — announced it had reached agreement on Avifavir deliveries to South Africa and seven countries in Latin America.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)