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Energy and commodities highlights: All eyes on India, US trade talks, Nord Stream 2

Summary:
India and Pakistan’s tense relationship returned to the headlines recently, and while the latest incident had little impact on commodity markets, it brought into focus India’s role as a fast-growing market for raw materials. Saudi Arabia quickly set diplomatic wheels in motion to defuse the situation. Aside from the clear interest in preventing fresh conflict from erupting close to home, Saudi Arabia expects India to become an increasingly important export market for its oil, and is also planning huge refining and petrochemicals investments in India. Meanwhile the US is eyeing India as a potential sink for its rising oil output, with Indian refiners apparently keen to make regular purchases of American crude. Fluctuations in India’s agricultural production could

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India and Pakistan’s tense relationship returned to the headlines recently, and while the latest incident had little impact on commodity markets, it brought into focus India’s role as a fast-growing market for raw materials.

Saudi Arabia quickly set diplomatic wheels in motion to defuse the situation. Aside from the clear interest in preventing fresh conflict from erupting close to home, Saudi Arabia expects India to become an increasingly important export market for its oil, and is also planning huge refining and petrochemicals investments in India.

Meanwhile the US is eyeing India as a potential sink for its rising oil output, with Indian refiners apparently keen to make regular purchases of American crude.

Fluctuations in India’s agricultural production could provide opportunities for other global producers. This year an expected lower corn crop means the country is likely to need an additional 1.5 million mt to meet demand.

Markets were watching for signs of progress in US-China trade discussions in the past week. Playing down expectations of a quick resolution, a member of a key government advisory committee laid out in stark terms the extent of the US’ requirements to come to an agreement with China.

And in another twist in the US trade war saga, the Japanese sponge titanium industry was surprised to find itself the subject of a new section 232 investigation. The US International Trade Commission had previously cleared Japanese products in 2017.

NORD STREAM 2

Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas link to Germany is set to have to reveal data on its costs and tariffs under a draft accord to apply EU market rules to it. In this podcast, S&P Global Platts editors Siobhan Hall and Stuart Elliott analyze the main drivers and likely outcomes of this change in EU gas policy:

GRAPHIC OF THE WEEK

Click for full-size infographic

OIL

OPEC Feb crude oil output falls 60,000 b/d to 30.80 mil b/d: Platts survey

Saudi Arabia’s continued output discipline and Venezuela’s struggles under US sanctions led OPEC’s crude oil production in February modestly lower to 30.80 million b/d, an S&P Global Platts survey of industry officials, analysts and shipping data found.

RENEWABLES

UK offshore wind sector to invest GBP250 million in supply chain

The offshore wind industry is to invest GBP250 million ($329 million) in the UK supply chain as the sector targets a fivefold increase in exports to GBP2.6 billion by 2030, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said Thursday.

PETCHEMS

Cracker outages in Europe to have mixed impact on Asian petrochemical market

Recent cracker outages in Europe resulted in an uptick in European prices of benzene and styrene, which market sources said could have some effect on trade flows and prices in Asia. Market sources said Dow Chemical shut down its steam cracker in Boehlen, Germany, due to some problems.

SHIPPING

Feature: Japan supports open-loop scrubbers, discourages bans on discharge

Japan has decided it will support the use of open-loop scrubbers aboard ships and discourage other jurisdictions from banning the discharge of water from such units as the deadline for the International Maritime Organization’s global sulfur limit rule for marine fuels draws nearer.

THE LAST WORD

“As far as we’re concerned there’s plenty more barrels in the sea.” 

– Andrew Austin, executive chair of UK independent upstream company, RockRose, discussing the company’s recent North Sea asset purchases with S&P Global Platts.

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