Cost Insights
by PowerAdvocate

Intelligence for energy companies seeking a data-driven approach to cost management

Section 301 Tariffs: US-China Trade War Worsens

June 6, 2019 at 9:51 AM / by Amrit Naresh posted in Industry Insights, Oil & Gas, Power & Utilities

Summary

  • The US raised tariffs on $200 billion of imports from China from 10% to 25% in early May. China responded with retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion of imports from the US, effective June 1.
  • This is the third round of US tariffs on imports from China, which now affect $250 billion of imports. The US has threatened a fourth round of tariffs on $300 billion of imports, or nearly all remaining trade with China.
  • The new tariffs cover 1,200 chemical and 500 metal products. They are also the first to include consumer products, which raises the prospect of accelerating price increases for US consumers. Neither List 3 nor List 4 includes rare earth minerals.
  • Trade negotiations between Beijing and Washington remain underway. Slowing economic growth in either country would add pressure to advance the negotiations, but supply chain teams must prepare for potential price risks.
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Highlights from the 2019 Oil & Gas Executive Forum

May 31, 2019 at 2:28 PM / by PowerAdvocate posted in Cost Reduction, Industry Insights, Oil & Gas

We’re thrilled to share that over sixty industry executives across more than forty firms attended the 4th Annual Oil & Gas Executive Forum on May 22nd at the Petroleum Club of Downtown Houston for our best event yet.

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Higher Oilfield Costs to Continue in 2019

February 1, 2019 at 8:31 AM / by PowerAdvocate posted in Cost Reduction, Industry Insights, Oil & Gas

As the new year begins and E&Ps continue to face pressure to focus on returns, operators remain on the lookout for incisive market data and forecasts that provide greater visibility into potential risks and opportunities. 

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Wood Mackenzie Upstream Digitalization Report

November 20, 2018 at 4:29 PM / by PowerAdvocate posted in Cost Reduction, Industry Insights, Oil & Gas

WoodMac Report Hubspot Image

With cost volatility and a need to continue adapting to an evolving industry, Oil & Gas firms have increasingly turned to innovations such as "digitalizaton" as solutions, with many industry leaders citing it as a top of mind focus in 2018 and beyond. But what is digitalization, and how can firms think about leveraging it effectively to drive greater cost competitiveness and overall higher EBITDA?

To help answer these questions, PowerAdvocate's sister company Wood Mackenzie recently published a report outlining the digitalization landscape in Oil & Gas, including a case study of how one operator drove >$1B in savings and a 25% reduction in third party costs through digitalization and big data from PowerAdvocate.

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Potential Tariffs on European Automakers Create Savings Opportunity in Refining Catalysts

July 17, 2018 at 11:56 AM / by PowerAdvocate posted in Industry Insights, Oil & Gas

Platinum, a key input to critical refining catalysts, has already faced steep multi-year price declines and has recently hit a long-term low. However, recent hints at a price rebound point to substantial possible cost risks for downstream firms.

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What New Chinese Oil Futures Mean for Oil & Gas Supply Chains

May 18, 2018 at 4:35 PM / by PowerAdvocate posted in Oil & Gas

Summary: What Happened?

In late March China launched its first oil futures contract that may fully appeal to non-Chinese risk managers. Since oil field service (OFS) providers and other companies often peg contract pricing to oil benchmarks such as WTI and Brent, this introduces a new option for contracts. However, O&G supply chain teams should beware the new option: rather than entertaining the new Chinese oil futures, teams should consider less risky and more established alternatives to mitigate risk and avoid unnecessary costs.

Why Have I Not Heard of Chinese Futures Before Now?

Despite surging activity on China’s three main commodity exchanges (the Dalian Commodity Exchange, the Shanghai Futures Exchange, and the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange), until recently, several factors have precluded Chinese commodity futures markets from emerging as commonly referenced international price benchmarks:

  • Lack of cross border access: Foreigners have seldom been permitted to access and utilize Chinese commodity futures. Only a limited number of Chinese state-controlled enterprises have been granted licenses by the Chinese government to transact in commodity derivatives outside China.
  • Non-convertibility of the RMB: The Chinese government limits the convertibility of its currency, the RMB. This can make exchange rate transactions costlier to execute than those with other currencies. Market participants have expressed concerns that profits earned on Chinese commodity futures contracts may potentially be difficult to move out of China.

Both factors have contributed to large divergences between Chinese and foreign benchmark pricing across many commodities. These divergences make Chinese contracts unsuitable to hedge commodity exposure incurred outside of China and arguably make Chinese commodity derivative prices less reflective of global market conditions than their foreign equivalents. Traders and supply chain managers have thus been reluctant to use them. 

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Section 232 Threatens Steel and Aluminum

February 23, 2018 at 4:49 PM / by PowerAdvocate posted in Industry Insights, Oil & Gas, Power & Utilities

UPDATE: In a surprising move, President Trump announced on March 1 that he intends to impose sweeping 25% tariffs on steel imports and 10% tariffs on aluminum -- the most severe of the potential trade remedies recommended by the Department of Commerce. Details of the plan are still unknown, but the announcement has already driven dramatic steel and aluminum price increases and spooked equipment manufacturers. Register for our March 13 webinar for the latest updates on Section 232.  

Read on for our initial analysis of the Department of Commerce's recommendations.

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Navigating Harvey's Aftermath: How Supply Chain Can Manage Market Risks

September 22, 2017 at 4:42 PM / by PowerAdvocate posted in Cost Reduction, Oil & Gas, Power & Utilities

As the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast recovers from Hurricane Harvey, Supply Chain organizations face the challenge of navigating its effects, from chemicals to logistics to labor.

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Will New Sand Mines Crash the Proppant Market?

September 18, 2017 at 6:52 PM / by PowerAdvocate posted in Cost Reduction, Oil & Gas

Key Takeaways

  • Since last fall, a surge in drilling and completions activity in the Permian Basin has led to a dramatic increase in sand demand and, in turn, substantial sand price inflation.
  • In response, sand mining companies have begun investing in a slew of new mines in the area.
  • While new sand mines will deepen the market’s oversupply, prevailing logistical bottlenecks will likely prevent significant sand price deflation from occurring.

Sand Demand and Sand Price Inflation Since Last Fall

Demand for sand used in oil field operations plummeted after the oil-price crash in mid-2014 and the subsequent sharp drop-off in well completions activity. This trend, however, has recently reversed. Since late 2016, a surge in drilling activity in the Permian, coupled with the activation of drilled-but-uncompleted wells (DUCs), has led to a massive increase in sand demand in the basin (Figure 1). During the first half of 2017, total US sand proppant demand was 63 million tons per year, a 75% increase over 2016 levels.


Figure 1: Permian Basin Sand Demand

Figure 1a.png

Sources: United States Energy Information Administration, Baker Hughes, PowerAdvocate


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How Oil Price Spreads Have Changed Refiner Crude Sourcing Strategy

August 4, 2017 at 10:08 AM / by PowerAdvocate posted in Cost Reduction, Oil & Gas

Over the last five years, the United States has significantly increased its production of oil and natural gas, a phenomenon referred to as the Shale Revolution. US crude oil production has increased substantially, especially in the inland parts of the Gulf Coast and Midwestern states (Figure 1). This shift has impacted the economics of downstream operators; however, the benefits for specific refineries have varied depending on location and refinery crude slate.

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