Sunday, March 8, 2009

P50. Pick Points

Iraq has taken a look at the current state of the world oil market and is becoming concerned to the point of suggesting that OPEC should cut production some more this month. Iraq is currently producing 2.4 mbd, of which 1.9 mbd are exported. They are looking to raise production by 0.5 mbd. (though some say that exports dropped to 1.8 mbd in February). 75% of this goes through Basra, and 25% up through the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Iran has looked at the same data and is suggesting that OPEC might want to get some help from the non-OPEC group in order to get production down to where everyone can go back to making money. They feel that the 4.2 mbd cut that OPEC has now achieved is still not enough. According to the latest figures however, with production cuts of 13%, world inventories of oil are dropping at a rate of 1.4 mbd around the world. A majority of Bloomberg analysts are expecting OPEC to continue to cut. The question is, how much further will demand drop, and the IEA is projecting about another 1 mbd.

Iran is threatening to sue Turkmenistan over the gas cut it received in January, when Turkmenistan cut off the 23 million cu . m. (812 million cu. ft) supply to Iran. This is normally about 5% of Iranian consumption and is used to supply areas of the Northeast of Iran that are difficult to get to from the South. It was particularly arduous for Iran because of the cold weather, this was the first time in a hundred years that it snowed in Baghdad, for example. At the same time Russia is trying to convince Iran to send natural gas to Europe, via Russia, rather than Turkey . For another view of Iran you might want to check here .

Russia is promising to work with Indonesia to find ways to resurrect abandoned oil fields. Perhaps if they can be brought back to life Gazprom will find some use for the ships that it is currently buying. Although with the anticipated drop in demand, due to the global recession, Gazprom is reducing the amount of gas that it is taking from some of its independent suppliers. Output, to meet demand, is down 20% over last February.

In these times when most fields are in decline, Brazil had its most productive day yet, producing just over 2 mbd last Wednesday, 12,420 bd over the previous record. In Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, Chevron is reported to be getting ready to start steam flooding as a way of enhancing oil recovery from some of the older reservoirs. (Hmm, wonder if that is what the Russians have in mind for Indonesia???) These are techniques that are already being adopted in Oman.

With the energy crisis biting as hard as it is in India, they have just taken out the first coal option for South African coal. Half-a-dozen or so stories of interest:

The price for the April call is $57 a tonne. A year ago coal was selling out of South Africa at $160 a tonne , but has settled back to around the $57 figure. But India needs around 10 million tonnes a year from South Africa, and ended up paying the higher figures for part of last year. They import a total of around 34 million tonnes and will soon need more
India is planning to build nine 4,000 megawatt capacity power stations to double coal-fired electricity production by 2017, according to Australia’s commodity forecaster. . . . Indian energy coal imports will more than triple to as much as 100 million metric tons by 2012 as new power plants are built, Coal and Oil Group, the country’s largest importer of the fuel, said last month.

The nine planned power stations will each consume as much as 15 million metric tons of coal annually, the Canberra-based Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics said in a report this week.
The country has been trying unsuccessfully to buy resources abroad, and is frequently outbid by the Chinese, but India has just gained success in Mozambique in being awarded mining blocks anticipated to hold over a billion tonnes of coal, which, it is anticipated, could be mined at around 5 million tonnes/year. Fifteen percent of the coal will be left in country for Mozambique to use.

More stories can be found at The Energy Bulletin and Drumbeat at The Oil Drum.

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