Taking back control

Opec used the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) meeting in Jeddah today to make a few things clear. It took back control, in the parlance of our time, of the message.

An observer this week may have been misled into thinking that Opec’s work was done. Various reports suggested the organisation’s attention was drifting away from the business of rebalancing the market and onto the bounteous rewards that come with higher prices. Today the organisation’s big hitters – among them Opec president Suhail Mohamed Faraj al-Mazrouei and Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih – lined up to rebut any suggestion of distraction. The latter, in fact, was strident in his insistence that the song remains the same.

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Waiting for Sverdrup

Whichever way you slice it, the giant Johan Sverdrup field in the Norwegian North Sea is proving a major success for its operator, state-controlled Statoil.

The firm now expects the project’s 440,000 b/d first phase to cost 28pc less than it estimated when phase 1 was approved in 2015. The field’s recoverable resources are now pegged at 2.1bn-3.1bn bl of oil equivalent (boe), up from previous guidance of 2bn-3bn boe and initial guidance of 1.7bn-3bn boe.

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The ghost of Chinguetti

Whatever your take was on the recent paper on peak oil demand and long-run oil prices, co-authored by BP chief economist Spencer Dale and Oxford Institute for Energy Studies director Bassam Fattouh, it was hard to find fault with this line:

[If] no new investments are made and existing levels of production decline at a rate of 3pc/yr… this implies a huge and ever widening gap between oil supply and the demand profiles. Under almost any scenario, the world is likely to require significant amounts of investment in new oil production for many years to come.

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