Ahmed Mehdi

Research Associate

Ahmed Mehdi is an energy consultant who advises oil companies and trading houses on oil and gas pricing, country strategy and energy economics. He previously acted as an advisor to BHP Petroleum’s strategy division and spent several years working with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in London. Ahmed comments widely on energy issues in the media, including the New York Times, Bloomberg, Foreign Affairs, Middle East Economic Survey (MEES), Petroleum Economist and S&P Global Platts. He is the founder of the London-based Commodities Intelligence Network. Ahmed was educated at the University of Oxford and University College London.

Contact

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                    [post_content] => The need for a new marker for East of Suez crude oil pricing has dominated debate in oil trading circles over the past several years. The latest opening salvo has been launched by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), currently in the process of laying out a roadmap to launch a light crude reference marker of its own – both to price its own exports and to develop a regional benchmark in the Middle East, to reflect shifting Asian fundamentals and shifts in global crude oil flows. Underpinning this ambition is the role of Murban – a light high-sulphur crude oil (40° API gravity and 0.7% sulphur) produced onshore in Abu Dhabi.

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                    [post_content] => Iraq has been a key contributor to OPEC liquids growth, with IOCs in southern Iraq having added approximately 1.7–1.8 mb/d (million barrels per day) in the period 2011–16. With renewed focus on medium-heavy sour markets in light of OPEC output policy, geopolitical supply-side disruptions and Asian refining dynamics, Iraq’s future role in oil markets is of critical importance. This paper provides a comprehensive assessment of Iraq’s short-medium term production outlook by assessing the interplay between upstream, midstream and downstream trends.  This interplay will take place against the backdrop of Iraq’s changing crude quality, delays to increasing onshore storage and pumping capacity, the growing need for water for oil injection needs, and the growing requirement for Iraq to upgrade existing refineries to meet both refined product demand and to manage the changing quality of crude feedstock as production growth gets heavier.
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As this Comment argues, the Middle East is not a region that changes its pricing system quickly: the road to establishing Murban as a viable benchmark is still long and many challenges lie ahead. Nevertheless, the desire to establish a Murban benchmark clearly shows that the pricing regimes in the Gulf and in Asia cannot be immune to the structural shift in trade flows and the rising power of Asia. Furthermore, if the Gulf producers want to avoid pricing power shifting to Asian consumers, they have no choice but to continue to innovate and offer attractive solutions to their key customers.
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Latest Publications by Ahmed Mehdi

Latest research by Ahmed Mehdi