Blockchain technology may be approaching the business mainstream as its most well-known application – cryptocurrency — made the July cover of Forbes magazine, but the application is still closer to the back page for the oil and gas sector. Continue reading
The European Central Bank has signalled the end is nigh for its role as the stimulator of last resort. Seven years into ECB president Mario Draghi’s “whatever it takes” (more on that phrase later), and the eurozone economy is nearly deemed ready to stand unaided.
You can see why. GDP growth is strong, employment is up, and the bloc’s manufacturing sector expanded in August at the fastest rate since 2011, and the OECD leading indicators for the region are satisfactory.
Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden and his BP counterpart, Bob Dudley, were the star guests at the Offshore Europe conference in Aberdeen yesterday. To the surprise of no one, they used their keynote addresses in the spiritual home of the UK’s oil and gas industry to reaffirm their companies’ commitments to the North Sea.
This has become somewhat of a ritual for the European majors since oil prices began their sharp descent three years ago. Ironically, the chief executive best placed to offer soothing words was nowhere to be seen. Total boss Patrick Pouyanne would have cut a more reassuring figure on stage, given his firm’s surprise $7.45bn deal to buy Denmark’s Maersk Oil last month.
The market looks to the Opec monthly report for guidance. Over the years since it started at a few faxed pages, rather thin on content, that turned up when it turned up, it has acquired some gravitas, a counterpoint to the IEA report.
“We are a price taker. We are not a price maker, unfortunately. So, as we have just re-discovered, if you are not a price maker but a price taker, your job is to control breakeven,” Total chief executive Patrick Pouyanne told the World Petroleum Congress (WPC) this week.
He was referring to the past three years when oil and gas companies (aka price takers) have had no other choice but to introduce very strict financial discipline, boost the efficiency of their operations, defer or cancel quite a few development projects and in general learn again how to survive and thrive in a lower oil price environment.