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.
European energy traders association Efet has called for more flexible Italian gas storage rules, and September could be a good time to test this idea.
Italy could struggle to meet consumption during planned Tag pipeline maintenance on 25-29 September, unless LNG imports are high or storage withdrawals are permitted.
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.
This is the third in a series of blogs using data from Argus Data and Downloads, which are available to Argus Direct subscribers here.
European LNG supply has risen to the highest in recent years, but when looking at the breakdown of sendout by country it is much too early to call it a “wave”.
The increase so far this summer has come from countries mostly outside the liquid hubs of northwest Europe. Instead of being dumped in northwest Europe, LNG has been competing with Algerian pipeline gas in Italy and Spain.