Bullish oil prices look undermined by potential COVID-19 resurgence, oil and gas majors announce third-quarter results, the EU steel sector grapples with high energy costs, and gas markets watch for signs of a transit deal between Algeria and Morocco.
- Mixed signals for oil prices (00:13)
- Energy majors release Q3 results (00:33)
- EU steel sector grapples with high energy costs (01:32)
- Last-ditch gas transit deal for Algeria and Morocco? (02:00)
- Tankers delayed at Turkish Straits (02:49)
In this week's highlights: Oil and gas majors announce third-quarter results, the EU steel sector grapples with high energy costs, and gas markets watch for signs of a transit deal between Algeria and Morocco
But first, in oil, there is bullish talk from some US banks of oil prices rising over $90 per barrel in the coming months. But there are also some fears this could be undermined by a COVID-19 resurgence. Meanwhile, worries about China's energy crunch could ease as coal production ramps back up, limiting oil demand there.
Attention also turns to energy majors' third-quarter results, which may prove a mixed bag, as several companies are still hampered by the impact of Hurricane Ida in the US. High levels of maintenance have also held back the ability of some to benefit from soaring gas prices. Even so, the mood music may be good, with BP CEO Bernard Looney in recent days talking about "insatiable" energy demand.
Equinor, Shell, TotalEnergies and Italy's Eni all report their results this week, along with Chevron and ExxonMobil in the US. Results are also due from North Sea-focused Lundin Energy and Aker BP.
All this comes as the COP26 climate summit edges closer. The event, which gets underway in Glasgow on October 31, is intended to pin down strategies for reaching net-zero emissions in 2050. Inevitably, expectations for the outcome are mixed, with critics noting that several world leaders will be absent.
In metals, steel producer association Eurofer will hold a webinar on October 28 on the state of the European steel market. There are concerns over high energy costs and order cancellations from automakers due to semiconductor and aluminum alloy shortages.
That brings us to our social media question for the week. Should the EU or individual countries step in to support the steel sector amid high input costs? Tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #plattsmm
Meanwhile, the European gas market is watching for signs of a last-minute deal between Algeria and Morocco over transit to Spain via the GME pipeline, which you can see on the map.
The long-term transit contract expires at the end of October, and Spanish importers have so far nominated zero flows via the link for November. Gas at the Spanish PVB hub is currently the most expensive among the traded hubs in Europe, according to S&P Global Platts price assessments.
Algeria has repeatedly said it can meet Spanish gas demand using only its direct subsea Medgaz line, and LNG. Medgaz's capacity is being expanded to 10.5 billion cubic meters per year.
Algerian gas flows so far in 2021 via both pipelines exceed the expanded capacity of Medgaz, according to data from S&P Global Platts Analytics.
And moving from the western to the eastern Mediterranean, bad weather has resulted in increasing delays for oil tankers at the Turkish Straits and vessels are having to wait at least five and a half days to pass. Charterers are entering the market with cargoes with forward loading dates, which in turn will tighten tonnage availability in the Mediterranean Suezmax and Aframax markets, keeping freight rates strong.
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