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Saudi Arabia Dramatically Changing Oil Exports to China, US

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Ganiyu Obaaro, with Agency report

Saudi Arabia has seriously ramped up its oil exports to China in recent months.

The Saudi Kingdom’s crude shipments to China have doubled in the span of a year. During the same period, its oil exports to the U.S.

have dropped by nearly two-thirds.

According to TankerTrackers.

com, which tracks oil tankers and shipments based on satellite imagery and ships’ automatic identification systems, Saudi Arabia exported a whopping 1,802,788 barrels per day (bpd) to China in July, compared to 921,811 bpd in August of 2018.
By contrast, exports to the U.S. in July were 262,053 bpd, nearly 62 per cent down from 687,946 bpd in August of last year.

U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil have helped the shift. Major Asian energy importers like China have been forced to shift business away from the Islamic Republic -OPEC’s third-largest producer -and start buying more Saudi barrels to make up for that shortfall.

The U.S. is now more self-reliant than ever, thanks to its own Shale oil revolution, which helped it become the world’s largest oil producer by the end of last year.

But the numbers also signal a mix of short-term tactics and long-term strategy for the Saudis, industry experts told CNBC.

“Saudi Arabia learned from the last OPEC production cut in 2017 that they got the biggest bang for their buck by cutting flows to the largest, most transparent and most timely market — the U.S.,” said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at commodities analytics firm ClipperData, referring to the coordinated production cut that OPEC and its allies orchestrated to put a floor under falling oil prices.

“Choking back on flows to the U.S. was the best way to draw down inventories and turn around bearish sentiment, and they are employing the same tactic once again.”

ClipperData’s figures, which differ from that of TankerTrackers due to different tracking methods, still show U.S. imports of Saudi crude in July down over 60 per cent from last October.

Meanwhile, Smith said, as Saudi Arabia “slams on the brakes to the most transparent market, it is sending more crude into the most opaque one, China.”

This is where some industry analysts say Riyadh is employing short-term tactics: “impacting what remains the most visible and closely-watched market indicator, U.S. crude stocks,” Antoine Halff, co-founder of energy market analytics firm Kayrros, told CNBC.

The market has largely traded on weekly U.S. numbers, which — up until the growth of satellite imagery to provide greater transparency on global stocks — provided the best available picture of market conditions.

In spite of the greater availability of global market inventory thanks to satellite data, “the goal of impacting the U.S. stock metric seems to remain very real for OPEC in general and the Kingdom in particular,” Halff said. “Rightly or wrongly, this is the benchmark that everybody watches.”

China, oh the other hand, is not as forthcoming as OECD countries about its stocks, and its data isn’t as visible to the market. Halff notes that there is no established benchmark of Chinese stocks as there is for the U.S.

“Producers are far less concerned about building Chinese stocks than they are about building U.S. or OECD stocks in terms of what that may signal to the market,” he said.

TankerTrackers.com co-founder Samir Madani has described China as a sort of “black hole” for the world’s oil exports, having the ability to “easily absorb oil barrels from the market, especially when prices dip.” Looking at this, many analysts see a clear strategy from Beijing.

“The Chinese are very savvy and astute buyers, exporters who supply them have very good reasons to do so,” Halff said. In the current low oil price climate, the world’s largest oil importer is happy to up its Saudi crude purchases as its appetite increases, particularly given its launch of two new refineries which will grow its refining capacity by 800,000 bpd.

Locking in Asian market share is also a key long-term goal for Riyadh, as it is for other regional producers competing to capture downstream capacity across the continent. Saudi Aramco’s plan to acquire a 20 per cent stake in Indian refining and petrochemicals giant Reliance is the most recent example of this.

Conveniently for the Saudis, there’s also no risk of losing the U.S. as a customer, thanks to its giant Aramco-owned Motiva refinery in Texas. Therefore, “Aramco is willing to increase or decrease to the U.S. based on its own needs,” says Ellen Wald, President of Transversal Consulting and author of the book “Saudi, Inc.”

Business News

Tinubu Inaugurates Critical Gas Projects, Reassures Energy Sector Investors

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By Matthew Dadiya, Abuja

President Bola Tinubu has reassured investors in the energy sector of his administration’s resolve to further enhance the business environment and ensure investment convenience.

The President spoke Wednesday at the inauguration of three milestone projects, including the expanded AHL Gas Processing Plant; the ANOH Gas Processing Plant, and the 23.

3km ANOH – Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben (OB3) Custody Transfer Metering Station Gas Pipeline.

In a speech during the virtual inauguration of the projects at the State House, Tinubu also assured citizens that his administration is stepping up its coordination of other landmark projects and initiatives that will ensure the earliest realization of gas-fueled prosperity in the country.

 

The President, according to a statement by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, noted that the projects were fully in line with the Decade of Gas Initiative and his administration’s vision to grow value from the nation’s abundant gas assets, while concurrently eliminating gas flaring and accelerating industrialization. 

“This event is highly significant to our country as it demonstrates the administration’s concerted efforts to accelerate the development of critical gas infrastructure geared at significantly enhancing the supply of energy to boost industrial growth and create employment opportunities.

“It is pleasing that when these projects become fully operational, approximately 500MMscf of gas in aggregate will be supplied to the domestic market from these two gas processing plants, which represents over 25% incremental growth in gas supply. 

“In practical terms, this is more gas to the power sector, gas-based industries, and other critical segments of the economy. I, therefore, commend the strategic vision of the NNPC Limited and its partners, Sterling Oil Exploration & Energy Production Company Limited (SEEPCO) and Seplat Energy Plc, for this laudable and value-adding projects,” President Tinubu said.

The President said his government remains determined in its bid to leverage the nation’s vast gas capacity to drive economic growth. 

“Aside from the presidential CNG initiative which is aimed at moving the good people of Nigeria away from petrol and diesel as vehicular combustion fuel, significant progress has also been recorded in incentivizing gas development through Presidential Directives.

“The theme of this inauguration – ‘From Gas to Prosperity; Renewed Hope’, must be adopted by all gas-sector participants and would-be investors as a clarion call to ramp up efforts to accelerate investment and developments of projects in the gas sector on a win-win basis.

“I would once again commend the efforts of NNPC Ltd, alongside SEEPCO and Seplat Energy, on this business partnership initiative, and congratulate you all on the successful implementation of the three projects,” the President said.

President Tinubu also reiterated his government’s resolve to continue to provide support in deepening domestic gas utilization, increase national power generation capacity, revitalize industries, and create multiple job opportunities for economic growth.

“Today, I have the singular honour to inaugurate the expansion of the AHL Gas Processing Plant, the ANOH Gas Processing Plant, and the 23.3Km ANOH to Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben (OB3) Custody Transfer Metering Station Gas Pipeline Projects in line with my administration’s resolve to provide energy for Nigerians, and to use our vast natural gas resources to transform Nigeria,” the President stated.

May 15, 2024

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Oil & Gas

Why we are Recording Increased Oil Production – Edun

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The Federal Government says improved security in the Niger-Delta is responsible for the increased crude oil production to 1.65 million barrels per day as against the 1.25 million bpd previously recorded.

Mr Wale Edun, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, stated this in Abuja at a Podcast hosted by Bruit Costaud in collaboration with Ballard Partners of U.

S.A.

Reports says the immediate past Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed is the Managing Partner of Bruit Costard, a lobbyist and public relations firm and an affiliate of Ballard Partners.

According to Edun, the quickest way to get revenue for critical infrastructure is to shore up oil revenue.

“This is quickest way of giving the government the needed revenue to address our urgent needs.

“The government doesn’t have enough revenue for critical infrastructure and social services which are crucial to Nigerians now.

“The prices are still elevated and as you know in June 2023, the oil production and sales were roughly 1.25 million barrels per day.

“Now, it is up to 1.65 million barrels per day, that is one source of bringing in dollars and revenue into the government coffers that is non-inflationary,’’ Edun said.

Edun added that non-oil revenue as well as revenues from taxation were also critical to government.

“If you know about Mr President’s antecedent, the first thing he did in Lagos as governor was to get hold of the revenue.

“What he did was to deploy digitisation.  He used the latest technology to block the leakages and to improve the efficiency of monitoring and collection.

This is exactly the same thing we are doing at the federal level now.

“The revenue of the Federal government has been totally revamped.

“There has been application of technology to ensure what is due to the federal government, particularly from its various revenue-earning arms,  agencies,  companies, and enterprises is not taken,’’ he said.

The minister said that plans were ongoing to give incentives to small, medium and larger businesses. (NAN)

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Oil & Gas

Dangote Petroleum Refinery Begins Production of Diesel, Aviation Fuel – Official

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Dangote Petroleum Refinery has commenced production of diesel and aviation fuel.

Mr Anthony Chiejina, Group Head, Corporate Communications, Dangote Group, confirmed this in a statement to newsmen in Lagos.

Chiejina quoted the President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, to have elatedly thanked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his support, encouragement and thoughtful advice towards the actualisation of this project.

Dangote also thanked the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd.

, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) and Nigerians for their support and belief in the historic project.

According to him, “We thank President Tinubu for his support and for making our dream come true.

“This production, as witnessed today, would not have been possible without his visionary leadership and prompt attention to details.

“His intervention at various stages cleared all impediments, thereby accelerating the actualisation of the project.

“We also thank the NNPCL, NUPRC and NMDPRA for their support.

“These organisations have been our dependable partners in this historic journey.

“We also thank Nigerians for their belief and support in this project,” he said.

Dangote said: “We have started the production of diesel and aviation fuel, and the products will be in the market before the end of the month.

“This is a big day for Nigeria. We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone.

“This is an important achievement for our country as it demonstrates our ability to develop and deliver large capital projects.

“This is a game changer for our country, and I am very fulfilled with the actualisation of this project.

“The refinery has so far received six million barrels of crude oil at its two SPMs located 25 kilometres from the shore.

“The first crude delivery was done on Dec. 12, 2023, and the 6th cargo was delivered on Jan. 8, 2024,” he added.

He said that the refinery can load 2,900 trucks a day at its truck-loading gantries.

He added that the products from the refinery will conform to Euro V specifications.

Dangote boss said that the refinery design complies with the World Bank, US EPA, European emission norms, and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) emission/effluent norms. State-of-the-art technology.

“I must extend our sincere appreciation to our Bankers and financiers, both local and offshore, who demonstrated a great deal of patience, in seeing us through many difficult times.

“In the same vein, we thank the Government of Lagos State, under the leadership of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who has been incredibly proactive in ensuring that the many challenges we encountered in the course of executing this project were quickly resolved.

“I thank him immensely.

“I also sincerely thank our host communities and their traditional leaders for their sustained patience, forbearance, and admirable willingness to work with us to find amicable and win-win resolutions to the many issues we have had to deal with as the construction of this huge facility progressed.

“Our staff have also contributed so immensely to the success of this project. I thank them profusely,” Dangote added.(NAN)

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