Best in Energy – 31 May 2022

EU/Russia oil embargo agreed in principle

(see also press statement from the EU)

EU/Russia oil ban on seaborne imports ($FT)

(see also background on negotiations ($FT))

Global refiners cannot keep up with demand

India boosts discounted oil imports from Russia

Greece advises tankers to avoid Iran waters ($FT)

Russia/Ukraine war focuses on rail system ($WSJ)

China plans big increase in wind and solar (trans.)

BRENT spot prices and calendar spreads have surged as traders anticipate EU sanctions on Russia’s exports will increase the shortage of oil.  Both have returned to levels last seen in March in the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The six-month calendar spread is at a near-record backwardation of $16 per barrel, signalling inventories are expected to fall further in the rest of the year, leaving the market critically tight:

BRENT’s inter-month spreads for the rest of 2022 and 2023 have moved into an increasingly large backwardation over the last two months as the prospect of EU sanctions is expected to tighten the market and leave it short of both crude and fuels:

CHINA’s manufacturers reported a continued contraction in business activity in May but the downturn was less widespread than in April. The official purchasing managers’ index increased to 49.6 (10th percentile) up from 47.4 (1st percentile) the previous month:

CHINA’shydro-electric generation increased to a record 313 TWh in the first four months of the year, surpassing the previous peak of 299 TWh in 2019, and sharply reducing coal consumption:

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Best in Energy – 16 May 2022

China’s coal output rises sharply in Jan-Apr

China utilities to rebuild coal stocks ($BBG)

U.K. gasoline and diesel sales start to fall

EU hurries to rebuild depleted gas inventories

EU explores emergency price cap on gas ($BBG)

Climate pressure tempered by energy security

EU/Ukraine steel trade disrupted by war ($FT)

Texas grid appeals for electricity conservation

South Africa increases load-shedding blackouts

EU backs down on rouble gas payments ($BBG)

Remote workers balk at return to office ($WSJ)

CHINA’s coal production climbed by almost +12% in the first four months of the year compared with the same period in 2021, as the government ordered miners to maximise output to reduce the risk of electricity shortages and cut dependence on imports from Australia:

U.S. TRANSPORTATION SERVICES (freight, post and passengers) prices increased at an annualised rate of almost +47% in the three months from January to April – as the supply chain remained under pressure and fuel costs surged after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed in response:

U.S. CONSUMER SENTIMENT has weakened sharply this month and has fallen to levels consistent with a recession in the past:

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Best in Energy – 11 May 2022

India’s railways struggle to transport enough coal

India relaxes coal mine environmental rules ($BBG)

Ukraine cuts Russian pipeline gas flows to Europe

Global mining is central to future energy system

BlackRock updates energy-climate investor principles

Germany plans for disruption of Russian gas supply

U.S. ammonia prices increase with global gas prices

Nigeria subsidises fuel to keep aircraft flying ($BBG)

China forecasts record rain along south coast (trans.)

China issues flood warnings along the Yangtze (trans.)

China hydro generation rises on heavy rains ($BBG)

U.K. threatens energy majors with windfall tax ($FT)

U.S. inflation – how prices are really measured ($WSJ)

CHINA generated a record 221 TWh of hydro electricity in the first three months of the year, up from 196 TWh in the same period in 2021, relieving pressure on coal and gas inventories and prices:

U.S. EQUITY PRICES signal investors expect an imminent business cyclical slowdown – either a mid-cycle soft patch or an end-of-cycle recession. The S&P 500 index is down by almost 5% compared with the end of May 2021 and down by more than 11% in real terms:

Best in Energy – 25 March 2022

Brent futures margin requirements raised further

Europe’s diesel shortage threatens output growth

U.S. refiners source more fuel oil from Middle East

EU diesel supply vulnerable to Russia ban ($BBG)

EU faces high costs for filling gas storage ($BBG)

China economy disrupted by new epidemic ($BBG)

Russia/Ukraine war cuts fertiliser supply ($WSJ)

Mexico follows Fed in raising interest rates

UAE/Saudi seek to reset U.S. relationship ($FT)

EUROPEAN gas oil and Brent twelve-month calendar spreads are both trading in the 99.9th percentile for all trading days since 2000 as traders anticipate possible severe shortages of both crude and products stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and U.S./EU sanctions imposed in response:

EUROZONE manufacturers reported a less widespread expansion this month as war in Ukraine and inflation pushes the region’s economy towards a cyclical slowdown. Preliminary readings put the purchasing managers’ index at 57.0, down from 58.2 in February, and the lowest since January 2021, when economy was still gripped by pandemic:

GERMANY’s IFO business expectations index fell to 85.1 in March from 98.4 in February, a level only normally seen during a recession, as employers prepare for the impact of the war and sanctions to be felt on the domestic economy:

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Best in Energy – 21 March 2022

EU divided on whether to embargo Russian oil

India experiences run on retail diesel outlets

EU’s plan to refill gas storage risks price surge

EU’s short-term reliance on Russian gas ($FT)

Saudi Aramco says global oil market is very tight

U.K./Saudi summit and wider political relations

China civilian aircraft crashes with 132 on board

Economic sanctions – measuring effectiveness

Russia/Ukraine war enters attrition phase ($FT)

Russia/Ukraine war enters attrition phase ($WSJ)

China’s epidemic control in rural areas (trans.)

Sri Lanka’s rising energy bill risks default ($BBG)

BRENT futures open interest fell by a record 352 million barrels over the three weeks spanning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from February 22 to March 15, tumbling to the lowest level since August 2015, as prices spiked higher, volatility increased, margins rose and liquidity dried up:

COAL went from a marginal fuel used in a handful of local areas to become an essential part of England’s pre-industrial economy between 1500 and 1700 – well before the commonly accepted start of the industrial revolution in the later 18th century. By 1700, coal had replaced wood as the dominant fuel for domestic heating in London and most urban centres, and was the main fuel for all manufacturing, including glass-making, salt production, brewing, dyeing, and nonferrous smelting, with the notable exception of iron making:

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