Exclusives

Saudi Arabia production OPEC oil

The increase will heighten tensions when OPEC meets in June.

Analysts say the lifting of sanctions won’t spell an immediate ramp-up in Iranian production during the next six months but Iran’s Oil Minister said it could produce 3.8 MMbbl/d.

Iran is seeking a final agreement with international powers by June that would curb its nuclear program in exchange for phasing out sanctions that have cut its crude exports, choked cash flow and halted most oil investment. 

In a series of letters sent to companies such as Shell, BP and Exxon Mobil since January, seen by Reuters, Iraq's oil ministry set out the need for change in response to “the rapid drastic decrease in crude oil prices.”

The country aims to increase production and hopefully revenue.

Exploration

Beach Energy Ltd. might sell Egyptian oil and gas holdings and focus on Cooper Basin, Gippsland Basin and Otway Basin acquisitions. Australian east coast gas demand drives effort, Bloomberg said.  

Japan’s state-backed E&P Inpex Corp. joined Total SA in developing the main onshore oil deposits in United Arab Emirates, Bloomberg said. 

Abu Dhabi holds about 6% of global oil reserves. 

Average gross production in Turkmenistan’s Cheleken contract area was about 88,700 bbl/d in the first quarter. This was a 23% increase over the corresponding 2014 level.

TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Co. signed a LOA with Polarcus DMCC to acquire 3M sq km of 3-D seismic data in northwest Europe. It could potentially extend to 7M sq km.

The annexation of additional acreage, from the southern portion of Zion’s former Jordan Valley license, was approved by Israel’s minister of infrastructure, energy and water resources.

Production

In January Eni signed a new concession agreement to operate in the Melehia Southwest Block, where exploration and other activities will begin later this year.

Apache Egypt and Khalda Petroleum Co. are drilling for oil and gas in the country’s western desert. The Berenice and Ptah fields are in the Fagur Basin.

Saudi Arabia won’t balance global crude markets by itself even as prices fall “too low for everybody” and threaten investment needed to satisfy long-term demand, the head of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. said.

The Saudis are keeping an eye on investments in fuel efficiency and renewable energy, according to Francisco Blanch, Bank of America Corp.’s head of global commodity research.

Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd., another oil producer in the semi-autonomous region, last month raised output by 60% to 40,000 bbl/d and sees 70,000 bbl/d in 2017.

Technology

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman appointed Khalid A. Al-Falih chairman of Saudi Arabian Oil Co., replacing Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi, Bloomberg said state television reported. Al-Falih was Aramco’s president and CEO. 

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said oil market is “excellent,” Bloomberg said. Although kingdom lost 300,000 bbl/d on Khafji offshore fields shutdown, March output was raised to 10.1 Bbbl/d.  

Bloomberg said Middle East and North African countries are keen for sea transport of LNG—cargoes carrying LNG increased 31% last year. Geopolitical strife makes cheaper pipelines targets for sabotage.

Currently, Dustin L. Guinn is CEO of service company Viking Services BV, handling operational and strategic management for assets in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

The sides now have until the end of June to bridge gaps and draft a detailed technical agreement that would ease the international sanctions imposed on Iran, including oil exports.