What to Watch

 EU Support Grows for New Iran Sanctions

 Officials from the European Union said there is growing support forimposing new sanctions on Iran as they seek to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump to stick by the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers, writes The Wall Street Journal’s Laurence Norman.

“I think there’s a very broad majority among the European countries that we should look into the possibilities of going further regarding sanctions,” said Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen, following a discussion in Luxembourg on Monday.

EU officials are trying to come up with a solution that would persuade Mr. Trump to forgo his threat to nullify the nuclear deal on May 12.

If the U.S. were to exit the deal, it would likely result in the re-imposition of economic sanctions on Iran that would limit its oil exports and reduce global supply, analysts said.

Meanwhile, oil prices edged down slightly Tuesday morning, as investors weighed ongoing geopolitical risks to supply but mainly held on to last week’s robust gains.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 0.14% at $71.34 a barrel on London’s Intercontinental Exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading down 0.08% at $66.16 a barrel.

Energy News

Australia’s Outback Northern Territory Lifts Gas Moratorium  

 Australia’s Northern Territory has removed a freeze on shale gas fracking in a move that will benefit firms such as Australia’s Santos Ltd. and Origin Energy that have operations in the area, writes the WSJ’s Rob Taylor.

Venezuela’s Oil Workers Are Leaving the State Oil Firm

As many as 25,000 Venezuelan oil workers left their jobs with the state-runoil firm PDVSA in the 13 months after January 2017, Reuters reports. The workers left amid a change in leadership that antagonized employees, according to sources.

“While we do not expect a Chinese shale gas boom anytime soon, the [national oil companies] will no doubt continue to push on and innovate, driven by the need to secure and develop energy resources for strategic reasons.”

– Tingyun Yang, consultant at Wood Mackenzie

 Canada’s Fight Over Oil Pipeline Escalates

The oil-producing province of Alberta vowed to cut off fuel shipments to neighboring British Columbia over the latter’s objections to the completion of Kinder Morgan Inc.’s Trans Mountain pipeline project.

Big Number

12.1 million

China’s refinery sector handled a peak amount  of oil in March of more than 12.1 million barrels per day, Reuters reports.


April 18–19: IQPC hosts the Oil & Fuel Theft Summit in Geneva. Speakers include Mahmoud Al-Bayati, the director general for counter-terrorism for Iraq, William J. Waggoner, the chief executive of the Mexico Petroleum Company and Daniel Gianfalla, a member of the national maritime security advisory committee at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Reporter’s Notebook

The WSJ’s Kenan Machado on how American gas exports may keep India out of the U.S. Treasury’s crosshairs. While India was the new member of the Treasury Department’s currency-manipulation watch list, Smartkarma’s Vinay Patel said natural-gas imports from the U.S. could change that. India met two of the three criteria used by Treasury to be deemed a currency manipulator–a trade surplus of more than $20 billion with America and noted currency-market intervention. India received its first shipment of U.S. shale oil in late 2017, and the first LNG shipment was loaded just last month. Some $2 billion each of LNG and oil imports should help get India’s trade surplus with the U.S. below $20 billion.

WSJ reporter Mike Cherney on oil firm’s production forecasts. Oil Search cut its production forecast more than RBC expected in the wake of February’s earthquake in Papua New Guinea. The investment bank’s forecast is the high end of Oil Search’s new range, and RBC thinks the potential of recent equipment upgrades may not yet be baked into Oil Search’s figures. RBC is at sector perform on the stock, which is down 0.5% today to underperform Australia’s energy sector.