Breakingviews

OPEC freeze failure could hasten oil’s recovery

April 18, 2016

Producers failed to agree a deal to freeze supply at a meeting in Doha. The failure was largely due to Saudi Arabia’s refusal to allow Iran to be exempted from an agreement. Prices will drop initially, but if OPEC disintegrates the stalemate could hasten crude’s recovery.

Iran more red herring than black swan for oil

March 29, 2016

Despite lifted sanctions and a more moderate government, Tehran lacks the investment to deliver a boost to supply. Next month’s unofficial OPEC meeting may produce an output freeze. With Russia also less liable to increase its flows, pressure on prices looks more up than down.

The Exchange podcast: Lord Browne of L1 Energy

By Rob Cox
March 24, 2016

The former BP chief swings by Times Square to discuss his new book on how companies can radically engage with the wider world and become more inclusive to the benefit of owners. He also talks about the potential for M&A in the energy business, the oil market and Brexit.

Iran election is key driver of oil price recovery

February 25, 2016

Iranians will on Feb. 26 vote in the first election held since a deal with the U.S. to lift sanctions. Elect moderates and Iran could increase output, keeping global oil prices low. Go for hardliners, and the gush could be a trickle – and help OPEC reverse the slump.

Saudi-Russia oil deal is full of holes

February 16, 2016

The crude producers have agreed to freeze production at January levels. But both Russia and the OPEC kingpin are already pumping nearly flat out. And Iran, which wants to raise output after years of sanctions, may not agree. At best, it may lead to a more ambitious deal later.

Cox: Argentina, Aramco are deals for tricky times

By Rob Cox
January 26, 2016

Two big transactions dominated Davos. One would open up a democracy to capital markets after years of feckless governance and isolation. The other is designed to help a repressive regime retain power. In the world’s current parlous state, it’s to be hoped that both get done.

BHP Billiton plays catch-up with $7 bln shale hit

January 15, 2016

Plunging energy prices forced the miner to write down its U.S. oil and gas assets again. The non-cash charge is large but just brings BHP’s balance sheet closer to the outside world’s estimation. A bigger step would be to follow the market’s lead once more and slash the dividend.

Saudi Aramco IPO carries big investor risks

January 8, 2016

Saudi Arabia has whetted the appetite of potential shareholders with the prospect of listing shares in its state oil company. A sale would give investors access to 18 pct of the world’s oil reserves but little say in how the company is run. The risks could outweigh the rewards.

Oil will blow past $80 a barrel in 2016

December 30, 2015

Low-cost OPEC producers will win the hydrocarbon price war because they can fight harder for longer. For now, OPEC is flooding the market with cheap crude. But it is building power over prices by making rival output uneconomic. The next big move in the oil price will be up.

Cheap batteries will give utilities electric shock

December 28, 2015

Local power suppliers have long enjoyed a natural monopoly. But the arrival of low-cost home energy storage from the likes of Tesla makes consumers less dependent on electricity networks. Batteries may even let some developing countries skip the grid altogether.