Nigeria, Libya, Argentina, and Canada All Poised to Further Exacerbate Global Glut

Friday June 9, 2017

While by all counts it simply means yet more oil in a world market where demand is less than stellar, reports of rising production in Nigeria and Libya have prompted ClipperData to speculate that this could put a lid on U.S. crude exports.

Noting that Nigeria's production capacity this week returned to normal after prolonged militant attacks on energy infrastructure and that Libya's output has recently recovered above 800,000 barrels per day for the first time since 2014, Matt Smith, head of commodity research at ClipperData, said that the two countries threaten to put a downward pressure on the price of Brent, which in turn would erode the U.S. oil discount and dissuade overseas buyers from dealing with the Americans.

He told CNBC's Squawk Box, "If we see those come closer to parity then that will stop those exports, that will keep more crude in the U.S. and then we keep prices around these kind of mid-$40s levels."

Nigeria also plans to raise $1.2 billion to upgrade its oil refineries, with the ultimate goal of ending its reliance on imports by 2019; Ibe Kachikwu, that country's minister of state for petroleum resources, stated that "The technical committee is still working on it and it has to go to the Federal Executive Council for approval before we move into throwing it open for interested parties."

On the other side of the world but in a similar vein, Marcelo Mindlin, founding partner and chairman of Pampa Energia, told CNBC that his company's expansion plans "are very aggressive: we're going to grow in more power generation....and we're also going to be very aggressive in more gas production" in order for Argentina to become more energy independent.

Mindlin also has high hopes that his country will develop the second largest shale reserve in the world, located in Argentina.

Meanwhile, in the northern hemisphere, Canada is hoping to bolster its nascent potential as an international energy provider with the federal government inviting Chinese investment in its oil sands.

The move is intended to counter concerns about the future of the resource after companies such as Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips sold off billions in assets to Canadian producers earlier this year.

Jim Carr, natural resources minister for the feds, told media, "We think there are opportunities and we laid out, along with experts from industry, what we believe to be opportunities for them.

"We would welcome investment from any nation that's interested in the oil sands," he added, refusing to give details about investment levels and stating only that Ottawa will examine proposals individually.

Although individually these countries would impact the global market minimally, cumulatively they represent an unwelcome contribution to stockpiles that have already swollen far more than expected, as evidenced earlier this week when the U.S. Energy Information Administration revealed that crude stocks have grown by 3.3 million barrels to 513 million barrels, contrary to the 3.5 million drop many forecasters had predicted.