A three-member arbitration panel has started hearing validity of the Government’s demand of $1.55 billion as compensation from Reliance Industries for “unfairly” producing ONGC’s gas. The panel, headed by Singapore-based arbitrator Prof Lawrence Boo, had its first hearing on March 3 where the timetable was drawn, sources privy to the development said.
RIL will first file its statement of claim, followed by a statement of defence by the Government. This will be followed by rejoinders, counter-rejoinders and oral hearing, sources said, adding that the panel plans to wind up the hearing in a year.
The Central Government has named former Supreme Court judge G S Singhvi as its nominee on the three-member arbitration panel while RIL and its partners BP Plc of the UK and Canada’s Niko Resources have named former UK High Court Judge Bernard Eder to the panel.
RIL-BP-Niko had slapped an arbitration notice on November 11 last year.
This was against the oil ministry’s November 3, 2016 notice to RIL, Niko and UK’s BP seeking $1.47 billion for producing about 338.332 million British thermal units of gas in the seven years ended March 31, 2016 that had seeped or migrated from the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) blocks into their adjoining KG-D6 in the Bay of Bengal.
Asian companies are increasing their presence in oil concessions in the United Arab Emirates.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. has solicited new bids for the onshore concessions held by the Abu Dhabi Co. for Onshore Petroleum Operations (ADCO), which expired in 2014. Four Western oil majors — BP, Total, Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil — each held a 9.5% of interest in the ADCO concessions, which produce 1.6 million barrels per day of oil.
Total became the first company to renew its interest in January 2015, followed by Japanese company Inpex’s 5% acquisition in April the same year. South Korea’s GS Energy then acquired a 3% interest in May 2015 and BP acquired 10% in December 2016.
Earlier this year, ADNOC awarded concessions to two Chinese companies. On Feb. 19, it signed an agreement with state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. for an 8% interest. The next day, it struck a deal with private energy company CEFC China Energy for a 4% interest. The agreements cover a 40-year term backdated to January 2015.
“Our agreement with CNPC strengthens and deepens the strategic and economic relationship between the United Arab Emirates and China,” ADNOC chief executive Sultan al-Jaber said. To enter into the concession, CNPC contributed a sign-up bonus of 6.5 billion dirhams ($1.76 billion), according to ADNOC. CEFC paid 3.3 billion dirhams.
Natural gas price in India is likely to be hiked by 8 per cent from April 1 driven by an increase in rates in reference markets including US Henry Hub. Price of natural gas, used for generating power and making fertiliser and petrochemicals as well as CNG for automobiles, is likely to rise to USD 2.7 per million British thermal unit for the period from April 1, 2017 to September 30, 2017 from current USD 2.5 per mmBtu, industry sources said. This will be the first increase in domestic gas prices in two years. Rates may further rise to USD 3.1 per mmBtu in second half of 2017-18 fiscal (April to March). As per the mechanism approved in October 2014, the price of domestically produced natural gas is to be revised every six months — April 1 and October 1 — using weighted average or rates prevalent in gas-surplus economies at Henry Hub of US, National Balancing Point of the UK, rates in Alberta (Canada) and Russia with a lag of one quarter. So, the rates for April 1, 2017 to September 30, 2017 period will be based on average price at the international hubs during January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.
Sources said prices in the reference markets for 2016 are known and so the rates in first half of fiscal year beginning April 1 can be calculated. Rates were last changed on October 1, 2016 when they were cut by 18 per cent to USD 2.5 per mmBtu from USD 3.06. This was the fourth six-monthly reduction.
A rate hike will provide relief to upstream gas producers who have been getting rates below the cost of production. But at the same time, an increase in natural gas prices would mean higher raw material cost for compressed natural gas (CNG) and natural gas piped to households (PNG) and would translate into hike in retail prices.
Even as Reliance Industries is creating ripples in the telecom industry, the net worth of Mukesh Ambani owned, Reliance Gas and Transportation Infrastructure Ltd (RGTIL) has eroded by a massive Rs 7,966 crore as on September 2016 as low gas supply from RIL’s Krishna Godavari basin hit the pipeline company’s financials. The company owns and operates a 1400 kilometers gas pipeline connecting Krishna Godavari basin to Gujarat and depends on gas production from RIL’s KG basin to earn revenues.
According to Reliance Gas filings, for the financial year 2016 its net worth was negative Rs 2,641 crore (see chart). Reliance Gas said the net worth erosion statement is prepared in compliance with Indian accounting standards and is subject to further transition adjustment as may be required under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ guidelines and interpretations.
Reliance Gas, which made profit only once since 2010, said it plans to Rs 4,000 crore by issuing Cumulative Optionally Convertible Preference Shares, the company said on October 25th filings with the stock exchanges.
The oil ministers of Iran and Qatar have suggested that OPEC’s production cut agreement may have to be extended beyond the June deadline, despite an almost 100-percent compliance rate.
The comments come a day after the American Petroleum Institute reported the second-largest crude oil inventory increase in history, at 14.227 million barrels, which added fuel to worries that production cut efforts are not enough to rebalance the market.
Saudi Arabia’s oil minister has said President Donald Trump’s election will be good for the oil industry, playing down concerns over the impact of his “America First” policies for the export-reliant kingdom.
Khalid al-Falih said Saudi Arabia is considering increasing its investment in the US encouraged by the new White House administration’s pro-industry and pro-oil and gas stance.
The minister, a former head of Saudi’s state oil company Aramco, said in an interview with BBC, the Trump administration looked like adopting policies “which are good for the oil industry” while steering “away from excessively anti fossil fuel, unrealistic policies by some well intentioned environment proponents”.
He dismissed as over exaggerated the worries Mr Trump’s policy statements during the campaign and “America First” claims would hurt Saudi Arabia’s export reliant energy-based economy.
But Mr al-Falih said what the US wanted was a “mixed energy portfolio that includes oil, gas, renewables and make sure that the American economy is competitive. We want the same in Saudi Arabia”.
Eight core industries register a growth of 5.6% in December 2016 on the back of healthy output recorded by refinery products and steel.
The growth rate of eight infrastructure sectors — coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity — was 2.9% in December 2015.
It stood at 4.9% in November 2016.
The core sectors, which contribute 38% to the total industrial production, expanded 5% in April – December 2016 compared to 2.6% growth in the same period last financial year, according to data released by the commerce and industry ministry today.
Refinery products and steel production jumped 6.4% and 14.9%, respectively during the month under review. However, crude oil, fertliser, natural gas and cement output reported contraction.
Coal output declined by 4.4% in December 2016 from 5.3% in the same month previous year. Similarly, electricity generation too dipped by 6% as compared to 8.8% in December 2015.
US oil production has turned a corner after a long period of weak petroleum prices, the government said, with volumes rising for the first time since early 2015.
The Energy Information Administration forecast that oil output from the US will increase 1.3 per cent to 9m barrels per day in 2017, abandoning an earlier prediction of a 0.9 per cent fall.
In the first forecast for 2018 in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook, the statistical agency said US crude production will rise another 3.3 per cent, or 300,000 b/d, to 9.3m b/d. Production hit bottom last September, EIA said.
“The general decline in US crude oil production that began almost two years ago is likely over, as higher average oil prices and improvements in drilling efficiency are giving a boost to output,” said Adam Sieminski, the EIA’s administrator.
In a special report by Barclays’ Michael Cohen, the analyst lays out what he believes are the 13 commodity “black swan threats” for the current year, divided into two “shock” categories: supply and demand, split evenly between bearish and bullish.
Investors, Barclays warns, will have to balance the risks of unforeseen macroeconomic shocks and their effect on demand (bearish price) with potential geopolitical shocks disrupting the supply side of the market (bullish price). A tightening commodity inventory picture, especially in oil, will likely exacerbate how the market prices supply risks even if no physical supply disruption occurs.
The potential threats, which range from a trade war with China, to a default in Venezuela, to riots in Chile, all have a common denominator: politics: “we assess several black swan threats to the supply, demand, and transit of commodities that could potentially move markets in 2017. Our analysis illustrates an important point: politics are likely to matter just as much as economics” and not just any politics: “in particular, the new politics of populism and protectionist trade policies have the potential to disrupt global supply and demand assumptions for various commodities.”
Those who have been following Trump’s twitter feed are all too aware of this.
While we realize the futility of “identifying” black swans in advance, something which is by definition impossible, nonetheless here is what Cohen warns:
In 2016, few people predicted a Trump election or Brexit, not to mention that the Chicago Cubs would win the World Series or that Leicester City would take the Premier League title. And commodities markets were not without their own set of surprises as well. OPEC cut production with non-OPEC countries for the first time in 10 years. Weather whipsawed natural gas, and Trump’s election inspired a late metals complex rally on the basis of hopes for new infrastructure spending. In fact, when all was said and done, 2016 was a pretty good year for commodities, with the asset class posting its first annual advance since 2010.
Commodity market black swan events come in many forms, and the market may take years or an instant to price them in. Technological innovation caused the US shale gas revolution, the Great Recession caused structural demand destruction, while geopolitical strife has disrupted commodity supplies overnight. We all know that markets will surprise in some fashion in 2017, so we attempt this review to shine a spotlight on the specific commodity market risks that clients should watch.
Where could the surprises come from: “Watch these spaces: China, Russia, the Middle East and Turkey are likely to surprise the commodity complex in 2017.”
Below is the summary list of the proposed “black swans”
Breaking down the list, Barclays says that generally “it sees risks skewed to the upside in 2017, based on several supply-side risks.”
Given the scenarios laid out below we view supply driven disruptions in 2017 as being more likely than demand side Black Swan events. Although commodity price disruptions may mean higher prices in the short-term there is a risk they result in lower medium-long-term prices. A supply disruption that results in a higher futures curve could result in the sanctioning of new projects or increased producer hedging activity, eventually putting downward pressure on prices in the long-dated contracts. There are, of course, supply-side risks that would be bearish for the market as well, such as higher production from Libya or the Neutral Zone.”
Demand events less likely but more structurally impactful. Given the relative liquidity in global commodity markets we see supply related outages being shorter in duration compared to potential demand side risks. We see demand side events, such as those driven by economic weakness, as less likely but events that would have a longer term structural impact on commodity prices to the downside.
As noted above, the two big categories laid out by Barclays are as follows: