Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Oil: Platts' CERAweek Blog

Can't get enough talk about all aspects of the viscous goo?
Platts' The Barrel is not-quite-liveblogging the big shindig:

CERA day 2...gas day: a running blog
Here's our running account of some of the more interesting aspects of the second full day of CERAWeek.
Changes across the Middle East, from the Arab Spring uprising to the "quiet revolution" of historic declines in birth rates, have the potential to remake the region and its economy.
"The wall of fear has been broken down" in the Arab world, Sophie Claudet, interim managing editor for Al-Monitor, said Wednesday morning during a panel discussion at CERAWeek 2012.

That change has brought freedom of speech like never before in counties like Egypt, Libya and Yemen, but has also helped put Islamists in charge, largely because they are the most organized and their message is the most "culturally indigenous," Claudet said.
Claudet said it is wrong to compare Islamists in the Middle East to the Taliban, or to the Iranian revolution of 1979.

Claudet said it's also wrong to assume that a more conservative government will also mean a more closed economy. The Muslim Brotherhood, which won nearly 50% of the seats in Egypt's post-revolutionary parliament and is also playing a role in Syrian unrest, favors free markets, she said.
Groups like the Muslim Brotherhood are also more diverse than usually described in the West, Claudet said, citing a growing rift between its younger and older members.

Changes in demographics are also remaking the Arab world in ways not widely recognized, said Nicholas Eberstadt, the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute.
The changes, which Eberstadt called the fastest in history, have dropped birth rates in several Middle Eastern countries by more than four children per family over a generation. In the 1980s, the average Iranian mother had more than seven children. Today, the average Iranian mother has 1.9 children, a birth rate comparable to the New England region of the US, and Tehran has a lower birth rate than any US city.
The changes will have a powerful effect on Arab economies, Eberstadt said.
The lower birth rate will create older societies over time, with several countries no longer having a birth rate above replacement, he said. That means that Middle Eastern countries - especially those that are not major oil powers - will increasingly have to deal with age-related issues like pensions on budgets much lower than the US and Western Europe.

Eberstadt also said it's possible that the lower birth rate may have political implications similar to Eastern Asia, where birth rates also fell before the economies there started to boom. He said those countries turned to export-based economies, putting an emphasis on developing its human capital.  There is "enormous untapped value" in human resources across the Middle East, he said, but the question is whether the countries there will be able to successfully tap it.
You can feel it. The issue of disclosing fracking fluids is just about over.

Here at the CERAWeek meeting, it's getting tough to count the number of times that somebody stood up on a podium and told the assembled audience that the future of fracking in the US is going to depend in part on meeting public fears about what's in fracking fluid. Full disclosure is necessary....MORE
Here's day one.
CERA 2012, oil day: a running blog
We'll be keeping a running blog of some of the discussions heard at this week's CERA meeting right here.
"What the hell are we doing?"
That was the question posed by Iain Conn, group managing director and chief executive of BP's worldwide refining and marketing group, at a session on the downstream segment of the industry.

The Wall Street Journal is doing a more-traditionally-bloggy format:
MARKET TALK ROUNDUP: Updates From IHS CERA Energy Conference 
Oil Industry Giddy With New Discoveries

5:45 pm ET (Dow Jones) These are happy times for the oil industry, which has shed talk of peak oil for the thrill of new discoveries. "We are reinventing ourselves again in our view," says Statoil's (STO) head for North America Bill Maloney, who pointed at the IHS CERA energy conference that a lot of the new oil and gas comes from places previously thought tapped out or overlooked. And with oil prices fostering innovation, what could be next? (
Tight Oil Output Could Reach 3 Mln B/D In 2020

5:42 pm ET (Dow Jones) IHS CERA analyst Peter Jackson says supply from tight oil to reach 3 million barrels a day by 2020--more than what Iraq produces now. It's a "significant add" that has put the US on the energy map, he says--and underscores the point that lack of resources is not the industry's biggest challenge. (
BP Exec Sees Shakeout On Horizon For Refining Biz

5:29 pm ET (Dow Jones) The refining business faces a shakeout that will leave "winners and losers" over the next 20 years, says BP's top refining official Iain Conn. Rising oil prices and falling demand are the biggest threats, as well as excess capacity. "The next big threat is the fall in demand from the Atlantic basin," he says at an IHS CERA energy conference in Houston. That means large volumes of capacity in this area will have to either shut down or ramp up exports of fuels to higher-demand areas. BP has shut down numerous refineries as it aims to cope with this long-term industry shift, he said. (
Iran, Israel, High Prices Ignored At Oil Conference

5:17 pm ET (Dow Jones) Conversations in the energy market have been fueled lately by Iran, Israel, weak demand and high gasoline prices. Those topics have so far received very little traction at Houston's IHS CERA energy conference. "Maybe people are just talking about things on the basis of whether they can have some impact," said Helge Lund, CEO of Norway's Statoil. The buzz is circling around growing US oil production-and trickiness of investing in the mercurial natural gas market. (
Keystone XL Rejection Bolsters Pipeline Opponents

4:52 pm ET (Dow Jones) The rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline earlier this year was discouraging, not just because Canada is the biggest oil supplier to the US, says former Alberta premier Ed Stelmach at the IHS CERA energy conference. He says the decision also gives fuel to opponents of other oil pipelines, including a pipeline set to bring oil from Alberta to the western Canadian coast. That pipeline is supposed to supply oil to Asian markets, though it faced opposition from environmentalist groups. Keystone XL was rejected by the Obama administration due to environmental concerns. (