November 11, 2020 | oil and gas

Iraq Committed to Energy Projects, Minister Says: Adipec Update


Adipec, one of the biggest energy events in the Middle East and North Africa, is into its second day. Usually hosted in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, this year’s conference is virtual.

Energy ministers from Egypt, Jordan and Iraq were among those speaking on Tuesday. So was Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency.

The event, which runs until Nov. 12, opened on Monday with oil prices under under pressure from an acceleration on coronavirus cases in major economies and new lockdowns in Europe. But crude prices soared late Monday as Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE reported a potential Covid-19 vaccine breakthrough. Benchmark Brent oil is trading around 10% higher this week near $43 a barrel.

Here are the latest developments, updated throughout the day. (Time stamps are local in Abu Dhabi.)

Iraq Still Committed to Oil and Gas Projects, Oil Minister Says (6:48 p.m. Tuesday)

Iraq remains committed to progressing oil and gas projects with its international partners but it also wants to develop more solar power and renewable energy, the country’s oil minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar said. However, Raad Alkadiri, senior director at BCG Center for Energy Impact, added that Iraq is going to struggle to find the necessary investment -- and to form a stable environment for investors -- to develop these projects. Alkadiri said that OPEC, of which Iraq is a key member, should “stay the course” and extend its oil production cuts deal.

Biden’s Energy Policy ‘Will Be Workable for Us,’ Oxy CEO Says (6:11 p.m. Tuesday)

“I’m not as worried as some people are” about U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s prospective energy policy, Occidental Petroleum Corp. Chief Executive Officer Vicki Hollub said. Energy companies will need to work with Biden’s administration on solutions to challenges of climate change. His staff understand carbon capture, she said. Biden’s energy policy “will be workable for us.”

Jordan Expects to Double Natural Gas Output: Energy Minister (4:11 p.m.)

Jordan expects to double natural gas production within a year, Energy Minister Hala Zawati said, without specifying volumes. The country is also working to improve international electricity links, mainly with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq and the Palestinian Territories, she said.

IEA’s Faith Birol Says, Don’t Call Peak Oil Demand Yet (2:40 p.m.)

Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, said it was misleading for anyone to claim that oil demand had already peaked. If economies recover from the pandemic quickly, consumption of crude could rise above pre-Covid levels, he said. In a separate interview with Bloomberg TV, he said President-elect Joe Biden will strongly push renewable energy in the U.S. -- especially solar and wind. Solar is now the cheapest source of power in most of the world, according to Birol.

Vitol Sees ‘Difficult’ Months Ahead, Then Oil at as Much as $50: CEO (12:37 p.m.)

Vitol Group, the world’s largest independent oil trader, sees a “difficult few months ahead” for crude demand, but it expects prices to recover around the middle of next year to between the high $40s and $50 per barrel, Chief Executive Officer Russell Hardy said. Drawdowns of global oil inventories will quicken into the second quarter, assuming that OPEC+ delays its plan to ease output cuts in January. The Biden presidency will be bullish for oil, due to higher costs of capital and more regulation of fracking in the U.S. The potential return of Iranian crude to the market is an issue for the second half of 2021, he said.

Abu Dhabi’s Adnoc Sees $5 Billion of Investments from Chemicals Venture (11:20 a.m.)

Abu Dhabi’s state energy firm Adnoc and ADQ, one of the emirate’s investment vehicles, announced a joint venture to grow the chemicals industry in the United Arab Emirates. They will instigate projects in the planned Ruwais Derivatives Park that will potentially lead to more than $5 billion of investments, the firms said in a statement.

Egypt Seeks to Almost Double Cars Running on Natural Gas by 2023 (11 a.m.)

Egypt plans to increase the number of cars running on compressed natural gas by 260,000 in the next three years, Oil Minister Tarek El-Molla said. There are currently 330,000 vehicles in the North African country that use CNG, he said. The government’s previously said the push will not only reduce carbon emissions, but Egyptians' fuel bills too.

From Monday: Eni Sees Oil at $40-$45 in 2021; Prices May Spike in 2022, Oxy Says (6:23 p.m.)

Oil will probably range between $40 and $45 per barrel next year, Eni SpA Chief Executive Officer Claudio Deescalate said. Prices can improve as economies recover from the coronavirus. Occidental Petroleum Corp.’s CEO Vicki Hollub said improving demand could cause prices to spike from mid-2022.

World Oil Demand to Peak Around 2030, Total CEO Says (4:58 p.m.)

Total SE expects oil use to peak in or around 2030, Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne said. The timing of the transition away from crude oil will depend on energy demand. Some deepwater projects can still be approved and carried out in the current environment, in Brazil, for example. Total sees opportunities in the U.S. for both gas and renewables, he said.

Indian and Thai Energy Ministers Look to Cleaner-Fuel Future (4 p.m.)

Energy demand in India has almost recovered to pre-Covid levels, and that trend will continue in coming months, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. He also laid out plans for India to boost renewable energy use and become a “gas-less economy” in the coming decades. Thailand is sticking with and enhancing its use of natural gas for now, Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said. The Southeast Asian country is trying to secure better access to the fuel by enhancing trade networks with gas producers, he said.

OPEC+ Can Handle Changes in Supply, Including More Iran Oil: Saudi Minister (2:44 p.m.)

OPEC+ will be able to cope with an increase in Iranian supply, if U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden were to strike a deal with Tehran, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman said. The coalition has managed supply challenges before, as it has done with Libya’s rising output, he said. “It is a safe bet” to wager on the resilience of OPEC+, he said.

Oil Demand to Rise by 6.5 Million Barrels a Day in 2021, Barkindo Says (2:30 p.m.)

OPEC is continually revising upward its demand forecast for next year and currently sees consumption rising by 6.5 million barrels a day, the group’s secretary-general, Mohammad Barkindo, said.

All of OPEC+ Needs to Agree That Tweaking Is Needed: UAE Energy Minister (2:25 p.m.)

The OPEC+ group is able to adjust output cuts as needed, and all members of the group would need to agree to do so, UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said. The UAE is addressing past over-production; it’s committed to adhering 100% to the cuts deal, including in September and October, he said.

OPEC+ Could Extend Oil Cuts Through 2022, Saudi Oil Minister Says (2:21 p.m.)

OPEC and allied producers can tweak their output-cuts deal as needed, the Saudi energy minister said. They’re taking a pro-active role, staying flexible and watching the oil market, which is stable despite new coronavirus lockdowns, he said. “With the consensus of everybody, we could navigate with this agreement and tweak” it, depending on what they see in the future, he said.

Adnoc Sees Oil Use at 105 Million Barrels a Day by 2030 (2:14 p.m.)

Global oil demand will reach 105 million barrels a day by 2030, Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. Chief Executive Officer Sultan Al Jaber said. Adnoc will start trading a full range of refined products next month, and it aims to explore opportunities for hydrogen as a low-carbon energy source.

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