OPEC Is Betting Big On Robust Oil Demand Recovery

Last week’s surprise decision from OPEC+ to ease the production cuts by a cumulative 2 million barrels per day (bpd) by July relies on expectations of robust oil demand recovery in the second quarter. Yet, recent demand concerns suggest the alliance’s supply management policies could once again be more in the realm of guestimates.

The easing of the collective cuts by over 1 million bpd over the next three months, plus Saudi Arabia reversing gradually its extra 1 million bpd cut signal that OPEC+ expects demand to rebound strongly and justify supply increases, Reuters columnist Clyde Russell writes.

However, the unpredictability of the COVID resurgence in major economies lagging behind in vaccination programs could spoil the OPEC+ forecasts and supply management policies once again.

Last week, OPEC+ decided to gradually increase collective oil production by 350,000 bpd in each of May and June and by more than 400,000 bpd in … Read more

Iraq Moves To Exploit Its Massive Natural Gas Reserves

Official estimates are that Iraq’s proven reserves of conventional natural gas amount to at least 3.5 trillion cubic meters (tcm), or about 1.5 percent of the world’s total, placing Iraq 13th among global reserve-holders, with around three-quarters of this figure comprising associated gas that is found in the same reservoirs as oil. The International Energy Agency, though, estimates that ultimately recoverable resources will be considerably larger, at 8.0 tcm, of which around 30 percent is thought to be in the form of non-associated gas. Despite these huge potential gas resources, Iraq has made little substantial progress over the years on developing this potential either for associated or non-associated gas, mainly flaring the former and overlooking the latter. Last week, though, a heads-of-agreement deal was announced with French oil and gas giant, Total, to jointly work on four major projects that include developing the associated gas sector.

Part of the multi-billion … Read more

Air Canada Drops Offer To Buy Transat AT

Air Canada (TSX:AC) has withdrawn its takeover bid of vacation carrier Transat AT (TSX:TRZ) after it ran into resistance from European regulators.

Air Canada said it offered a “significant package of remedies” to satisfy the European Commission’s concerns that its merger with Transat would reduce competition on flights between the European Union and Canada.

The Montreal-based airline said in a written statement: “Providing additional, onerous remedies, which may still not secure a European approval, would significantly compromise Air Canada’s ability to compete internationally.”

Air Canada agreed to buy Transat, one of Canada’s biggest sellers of vacation flights and packages, in June 2019 and later raised its bid to $18 a share to win over recalcitrant shareholders and seal a friendly deal.

After the coronavirus pandemic struck, the companies agree to revise the deal to $5 a share in cash or Air Canada stock, valuing Transat at about $200 million.

The … Read more