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26 September 2015

Press review 26-09-2016 - The Petrobras jeopardy

The VW scandal with NOx emissions has taken over front pages this week. The climate community seems quite excited with it, as one of the world symbols of fossil fuel combustion falls in disgrace for a most damning cause - lying. It is hard to see at this moment the financial impact the company is to withstand, but it should be something unprecedented.

VW is likely to survive and combustion engines to last. But there are other signs - and far more worrying - pointing to a further declines in fossil fuel extraction in the short term. The present under priced petroleum market is putting a lot of pressure on Petrobras . If up to now it were mostly small companies ailing with 50 $/b, now it is the largest company of the southern hemisphere. Debt rating hawks are out on the prowl and investors scare away.

Petrobras is likely the largest debtor company in the world, with outstanding debt in the order of 200 G$. If it goes down, it will not go down alone.

24 September 2015

Portugal Parliamentary Elections 2015

Portugal is going for regular Parliamentary elections on the 4th of October. The international press wonders now and then why after five years of austerity the political landscape remains apparently unchanged, with the three parties that signed the agreement with the Troika in 2011 still harnessing more than two thirds of the votes in polls.

While it is true that political upheaval seen in Spain, Italy or Greece is yet to materialise in Portugal, the outcome of this election is not as straightforward as might appear on the surface.

This post provides an overview on the election method, the parties with possibilities of electing MPs and the prospects for a resulting government.

19 September 2015

Press review 19-09-2015 - The decline sets in

This Sunday, Greece is going for the third decisive election in less than one year. This time however, it is mostly decisive on a political level. A parliamentary status quo seems likely, without a clear government emerging from the election, but the austerity doctrine seems no longer in question. Portugal is having similar elections in two weeks, and even though harnessing little attention from the international media, a few surprises could be in the pipeline. Watch this space for details in the coming week.

The energy world is well alight in this reentrée. The decline of world petroleum is accelerating and the news meet grinder is in overdrive. The Supply destruction process settles in, with all petroleum exporting nations struggling. There are now hints of a 1 Mb/d decline in the US alone. And more is certainly to come.

12 September 2015

Press review 12-09-2015 - Back in business

A confluence of critical events in my professional life has meant an extended summer break for this review. I will be unemployed in a few days, which on the positive side means I might have more time to write. As always, the list of themes I would like to tackle is rather long.

Not much has changed during these past few weeks in the energy landscape. The economic slowdown in China is still dominating commodities markets with a dive in trade between the economies around the Indian ocean. Petroleum prices sank under the 2009 minimum for a few days in August, and the futures curve flattened considerably. Worldwide extracted volumes have been declining since the beginning of 2015 and look far from any bottom.

Petroleum exporting economies struggle: Venezuela, Angola, Canada, Russia... But the felling remains that the worst is still to come and the industry yet to take in the full impact of this under-priced market.