Friday , January 17 2020
Home / The Barrel Blog

The Barrel Blog

Reading the tea leaves: China and commodities in 2020

China’s voracious demand for commodities and energy continued unabated in 2019 despite a slowing economy and uncertain external environment. But what will be on the agenda in 2020 as the economy, environment and energy security come into greater focus? Here are are some key trends to watch over the coming year and what they mean for commodities. Slower growth The recent signing of the first phase of a trade deal between China and the US may herald a truce between the world’s two largest...

Read More »

US battery storage prospects lifted by policy progress, cost reduction

Battery storage deployment in the US is set for a rapid acceleration from 2020. That is one of the key takeaways from the latest S&P Global Platts Analytics’ US Power Storage Outlook, released to clients on December 18. In addition, while megawatt deployments in 2019 were at 2018 levels, the storage duration of battery storage assets increased in the past years, pointing to new usages. State policies and peaking capacity needs will remain the major drivers of near to medium-term battery...

Read More »

As Maduro hangs on, US may rethink Venezuela oil sector waivers: Fuel for Thought

After nearly a year of sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports have failed to force President Nicolas Maduro from office, the US may effectively remove Chevron and other US companies from the South American nation, potentially quickening the collapse of the country’s oil sector. The Trump administration may let a waiver allowing Chevron, Halliburton, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes and Weatherford International to continue certain work with PDVSA, outside of US sanctions, expire on January 22. In...

Read More »

Commodity Tracker: 5 charts to watch this week

In this week’s pick of energy and commodities trends, European wind generation storms into 2020 and oil refiners in Asia and Europe feel the impact of US-Iran tensions. Plus, S&P GSCI index performance in 2019 reveals investors’ darlings among commodities.  1. European wind charge sweeps away nuclear concerns     What’s happening? Wind generation records tumbled across Europe last year and 2020 got off to a flying start in week 1 with fresh output highs across...

Read More »

The crude oil spectrum: Platts periodic table of oil

The global oil market is brimming with a smorgasbord of crudes, from the Canadian tar sands extracted with the help of steam and sand, to the lightest US condensates whose color mirrors a glass of fine white wine. Each crude stream possesses its own unique characteristics, and when refined yields varying proportions of different refined products. Understanding crude quality has never been more important, following the dramatic rise in US shale output, which has transformed the composition of...

Read More »

So close: Nord Stream 2 gas link completion trips at last hurdle

160km. That is all that is left to lay of the much-maligned Nord Stream 2 offshore gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. But those last few kilometers – less than 7% of the total length of the 2,460km two-string line – won’t be laid anytime soon, much to the frustration of Moscow. It could have been very different. If the authorities in Denmark had not waited until the end of October to award a permit for construction of Nord Stream 2 in its waters, the pipeline would likely already be...

Read More »

Commodity Tracker: Middle East special edition

Geopolitical risk has heightened in the wake of the US killing of Iran’s General Qassim Soleimani, with shockwaves being felt across commodities. S&P Global Platts news editors present the latest in this special edition of the Commodity Tracker 1. Business as usual in the Strait of Hormuz S&P Global Platts Analytics cFlow showed vessels continuing to move through the Strait of Hormuz normally during the morning in Europe. But the fallout from Soleimani’s killing continues, with Iran...

Read More »

Oil markets weigh Soleimani strike as Trump hits Iran

The killing of Major General Qassim Soleimani, Iran’s top hardline military leader, has put oil prices and the fragile stability of the Middle East once again on tenterhooks. Crude jumped 4.9% to almost $69.50/b on Friday after a US drone strike in Baghdad killed Soleimani on foreign soil. Oil traders are now weighing the scale and ferocity of Tehran’s inevitable response. Higher prices reflect the fear that Iran will lash out immediately at the oil facilities of its enemies in the region,...

Read More »

Commodities and energy in 2019, in infographics

In a volatile year for commodities and energy, S&P Global Platts’ news, pricing and analytics teams explored many of the biggest themes and trends through infographics. Here are a selection. Tariff disputes weigh on commodities trade After around two years of trade tensions between the US and China, S&P Global Platts analyzed the impact on global product flows. Click for full-size infographic   How to replace Iranian oil? After US sanctions on Iran tightened with the...

Read More »

Russia dominates global wheat trade. Will its exports continue to grow?

Over the past two decades Russia has managed to move from a net importer of wheat to a net exporter, displacing the EU to become the largest exporter in the 2016-17 marketing season, and continuing to lead since. Increasing planted area and higher quality of the grain produced ought to support exports. But from January the start of the IMO 2020 regime for marine fuels could be an obstacle, pushing up freight costs and threatening Russia’s recent gains in Southeast Asia, even as other...

Read More »