Energy Comments Publications

The results of OIES research is published as working papers, energy comments, presentations and articles as well as commercially published books and monographs. The views expressed in all OIES publications are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies or any of its Members.

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  • Four misconceptions about China’s oil demand in 2019

    By: Michal Meidan

    In 2019, markets were bracing for a slowdown in China’s oil product demand growth, but grappling to quantify it given the uncertainty surrounding the US-China trade negotiations. At the same time, with the start of two new mega-refineries, markets were expecting strong crude demand, alongside a deluge of product output and exports. In this comment, […]

  • The Dilemma Continues: OPEC choices amid high uncertainty

    By: Bassam Fattouh , Andreas Economou

    OPEC is faced with a wide range of uncertainties, which are perhaps best reflected in the gulf in narratives between the bulls and the bears. For the bulls, OPEC is in a strong position: the declines in non-OPEC supply are structural while the slowdown in global economic growth is temporary. Based on this view, a […]

  • Saudi Arabia’s Oil Productive Capacity – The Trade-Offs

    By: Bassam Fattouh , Andreas Economou

    In a series of recent speeches and interviews, a consistent message coming from Saudi Aramco is that ‘future profit growth will be more from diversification into integrated oil refining and petrochemicals, besides natural gas production and supply for both the domestic and international markets’. But what about opportunities in the upstream oil sector and the […]

  • Could we see $2 gas in Europe in 2020?

    By: Mike Fulwood

    Europe has long been regarded as the balancing market for global LNG and has performed this function extremely well in the last twelve months, with total imports of 105 bcm – a 75 per cent rise year on year. In this period spot prices collapsed averaging less than $4 in the third quarter of this […]

  • Sanctions, Shipping, and Oil Markets

    By: Adi Imsirovic , Michal Meidan

    In just over a week, the theoretical cost of taking a barrel of oil from the Gulf to Asia, in the cheapest possible way, rose by $6 per barrel. At a time when refinery margins are in single digits, this is a major blow to refinery profitability. The US administration’s decision to sanction two subsidiaries […]

  • China’s energy security at 70

    By: Michal Meidan

    As China celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on 1 October 2019, it seems to have gone full circle back to its 1949 assessments of the US: “a greedy and violent nation, struggling to remain the wealthiest and strongest on earth”. For the first two decades of […]

  • Murban: A benchmark for the Middle East?

    By: Ahmed Mehdi , Eesha Muneeb , Adi Imsirovic , Bassam Fattouh

    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 […]

  • Glimpses of China’s energy future

    By: Michal Meidan

    China’s largest oil and gas major, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), released its 2050 outlook in late August. This coincides with preliminary work currently being undertaken by domestic think tanks, state-owned enterprises, and ministries ahead of the 14th Five-Year Plan (FYP, which will run from 2021 to 2025). While the CNPC report is by no […]

  • The Future of Gas Networks – Key Issues for Debate

    By: Chris N Le Fevre

    The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies held a Work​shop on “The Future of Gas Networks” to examine decarbonisation plans and the impact of the potential growth in the use of renewable and decarbonised gases in Europe. Participants included representatives from nine European gas network companies (both transmission and distribution), technical experts in decarbonisation, regulators, government […]

  • Saudi Arabia’s Next Oil Move

    By: Bassam Fattouh , Andreas Economou

    The sharp decline in the Brent price to below $60/barrel and the weakening of the oil demand outlook due to the US-China trade war has brought to the fore the issue of Saudi Arabia’s next move. There have been multiple media reports indicating that Saudi Arabia would not tolerate the latest price slide and that […]

  • Why China will keep importing Iranian crude, but volumes will remain limited

    By: Michal Meidan

    On 22 July, 2019, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the US’s decision to impose sanctions on a Chinese trader, Zhuhai Zhenrong, and its chief executive for ‘knowingly purchasing or acquiring oil from Iran, contrary to US sanctions’. While the US State Department’s decision to designate a Chinese entity may be seen as a sign […]

  • US-China Trade Tensions: Here we go again

    By: Michal Meidan

    The brief reprieve in the US-China tariff tit-for-tat seems to be coming to an end following Donald Trump’s tweet on 1 August, threatening to impose 10 per cent tariffs on $300 billion-worth of Chinese imports effective 1 September 2019. The announcement led to a steep fall in oil prices, as markets fear that the escalating […]