24 April Dealing with market volatility in the oil and gas industry April 24, 2020 By AMPLA Admin General, Industry, Oil and Gas Industry Updates, Oil & Gas 0 The oil and gas industry is experiencing unprecedented volatility since prices slumped in March following the collapse of the OPEC+ supply pact. In the past week alone oil prices have reached historical lows with West Texas crude reaching approximately -US$40 a barrel in future trades. Volatility has been driven by reduced output from Russia quickly followed by lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. This is impacting economic growth across the world, with the OECD already lowering its global economic growth estimate for 2020 from 2.9% to 2.4%. The longer the outbreak continues, the greater the decline in global growth and the corresponding fall in demand for energy. China’s lockdown has already had an impact on the industry, with the country accounting for over 80% of global oil demand growth last year. According to the IEA, the first quarter of this calendar year experienced a drop in demand of 2.5 million barrels per day compared to the same period last year, this is coupled with an increase in stocks. Adding global travel restrictions and industrial shutdowns, the demand for jet fuel, diesel and gas oil are all declining. As prices and demand drop, managing cashflow and balance sheets is paramount. Some things you can do to ensure your organisation is prepared for further volatility include: Review your capital structure: Make sure your liquidity, maturities and overall debt levels are able to weather the storm. Be prepared for assertions of force majeure: China’s largest natural gas and liquefied natural gas importers have already declared force majeure to excuse their contractual obligations. There is a high likelihood more organisations will do this, and the ripple effect will be felt across the entire supply chain. Reviewing what force majeures you have in place, how they may impact your business if they’re invoked and preparing for this will ensure you’re ready to respond. Understand your risks and put in place plans to mitigate them: For example, if you may require further debt funding in coming weeks and months start looking at restructuring strategies that you can implement them if required. Determine if you can review prices: Some agreements allow for prices to be reviewed in particular circumstances. It’s best to be on the front foot by identifying where you or another party could seek to review pricing and how you can address this. Review existing agreements: There is a strong possibility that buyers and suppliers may face bankruptcy in the coming months. By reviewing agreements you can determine what commercial risks you have and put in place processes or negotiate amendments to minimise your risk. For example, in some circumstances, it may be more efficient for you to breach a contract and pay the penalty than seek to meet contractual obligations. Knowing this in advance allows you to prepare and respond accordingly. Identify potential partnerships: When the volatility starts to settle down there may be opportunities to capitalise on undervalued assets or take advantage of arbitrage. Identifying these and being prepared will place your organisation at a competitive advantage when we start to come out of this. With the pandemic still escalating in many key regions, it’s unlikely we’ll see an end to market volatility for the remainder of the year. But it is possible to put in place contingency plans so that you can address issues swiftly as they arise and minimise the impact on your organisation. Related Articles Energy industry and government response to COVID-19 In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, government and industry have come together to ensure the community, economy and industry are supported. The Council of Australian Governments Energy Council (COAG Energy Council) has formed the Energy Coordination Mechanism (ECM) which is expected to have a complete plan by the end of April. The immediate focus of these efforts has been on four areas The impact of coronavirus on the energy and resources industry The last few weeks have seen the world face an unprecedented disruption with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). First reported in China, we’re now seeing many countries shutting down for periods of time to try to contain the spread of the virus. Australia is facing a particularly difficult year given the bushfires that ravaged the country recently. Now with COVID-19 adding to the pain, the energy and resources industry is being impacted in several ways outlined below. Why hydrogen is becoming an important energy source Hydrogen as an energy source continues to grow in popularity. Once confined to industrial processes such as refining crude oil, it is now being recognised as a potential solution to the problems of electricity generation, transportation and storage. Over the next thirty years, global energy demand is predicted to grow by at least 30-40%. At the same time, the share of energy generated from fossil fuels has stayed almost static at 81%. While renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind are getting cheaper, they can only be generated on an intermittent basis. To make them commercially practical to use, they must be combined with high-energy batteries and backed with other energy sources. How your organisation can benefit from government incentives now Eager to support business and protect jobs, governments at all levels have introduced measures and benefits for businesses. While there are many general benefits, like JobKeeper, that have been offered to many businesses, state governments are now offering opportunities to benefit specific industries and sectors including energy and resources. What law firms and in-house legal are doing to combat the threat of coronavirus The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is drastically changing how we live, work and even play. For law firms and in-house legal practitioners, that means balancing the concerns of your clients with safeguarding your own staff. In some ways, small firms have an advantage over their larger counterparts. Moving to remote or online work is simpler with fewer moving parts to accommodate. On the other hand, it can be challenging to meet the increased needs of your clients at this anxious time. For in-house legal services, the size of the challenge becomes one of risk management for their organisation. But even those with strong governance and business continuity plans in place are struggling to manage many of the unprecedented issues they’re facing today. COVID-19 AMPLA Update From the Chair and Executive Director Further to our update last week, AMPLA is pleased to confirm the following arrangements are now in place to support our staff and members in the coming months: Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.