In Energy Source:
Deadline nears for Gazprom’s deal with Eni
Signs of life in China’s oil market…
…and the North Sea industry
Eni and Enel plan to sell assets to Gazprom for $5.5bn, including 20 per cent of Gazprom’s oil company and some gas fields formerly owned by Yukos. Russia’s state-backed banks will provide the finance (Moscow Times)
Poland attempts to by-pass the Ukrainian middle-man in its gas purchases from Russia (Kyiv Post)
Vedomosti, the Russian newspaper, reports that state banks will help Gazprom finance its purchase of 20 per cent of Gazprom Neft from Eni, the Italian oil company that aquired the asset in the state auction of Yukos two years ago. But even if this is true, there are still a few things left to sort out before the April 6 deadline: Will Gazprom pay the agreed $4.2bn, or will the sum be closer to $2.2bn, the current value of the stake? What does Eni want? Will it let Gazprom slow the payments? Stay tuned…
China‘s engine seems to be sputtering back to life. If true, it will come as a relief to oil producers, for whom China has become the most important customer save the US.
The chart below – emailed in by Morgan Downey, author of Oil 101 – uses that data released by China’s General Administration of Customs to illustrate that country’s implied total oil demand grew by 0.5 per cent in February 2009 compared to February the previous year. It is the first year on year growth figure after three months of negative oil demand growth.
Mr Downey notes the Chinese data shows the lag between the bottoming of US total oil demand (the first week of October 2008) and Chinese demand growth was four months. This appears in sync with market anecdotes of the wave length of the economic slowdown (and possible recovery) moving across the globe, he says.
But two points of caution: The Lunar New Year fell in January this year and February last year, which distorts the numbers somewhat. And secondly, Chinese data are notoriously unreliable, so take the summer’s first swallow and bury it in a barrel of salt.
Leo Drollas, of the Centre for Global Energy Studies, predicted at the consulting firm’s seminar on oil demand this week, that the world would not again see the rapid growth Bric countries managed in recent years.”The story that China and India can consume ever more oil is a dangerous assumption,” he said.
The North Sea business of Oilexco, which was put into administration by its parent company at the beginning of the year, has been bought by Premier Oil, the London-listed E&P company that is active in Asia. The deal raises the chance that the Huntington field, which looks like one of the biggest finds in the North Sea this decade, will now get developed. The deal is a sign of how oil’s recovery to over $50 is encouraging a little more confidence in the industry.
Energy news from elsewhere:
- State intervention vital if Britain to meet green energy targets, says BP’s Browne (Guardian)
- Automakers say US funding for hydrogen, battery R&D still needed (Platts)
- Brazil’s Petrobas maintains output as strike enters second day (Reuters)
- Kabul opens bidding by foreign energy firms (WSJ)
- UBS cuts first-half Asian refining margin forecast on start-ups (Bloomberg)
Energy news from the FT:
- Suncor chief urges fiscal discipline in Canadian oil sands investment
First test to come with Suncor’s Fort Hills project
- BG succeeds in bid for Pure Energy
Arrow Energy sells stake to give BG bigger Australia footprint
- Rio Tinto bows to inevitable on iron ore prices
First global miner to publicly acknowledge prices to fall
- Lex: Carbon prices show recession has silver lining