Shell confirms final go-ahead for new N. Sea gas field as crude oil prices dip on OPEC production cuts

Oil giant Shell has given the final go-ahead to develop the Fram gas field in the North Sea.

The field, 100 miles east of Aberdeen, is expected to produce about 41 million cubic feet of gas a day.

It will be connected using subsea infrastructure to the neighbouring Shearwater platform.

Steve Phimister, Shell’s North vice-president, said that cutting costs had allowed investment in new projects.

In January, Shell announced hundreds of jobs would be created during the construction of a vessel which will be used to redevelop the Penguins oil and gas field off Shetland.

Meanwhile, the price Brent crude oil fell yesterday as investors prepared for an extra 1 million barrels per day (bpd) in output to hit the markets after OPEC and its partners agreed to raise production.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 fell $1.15 to $74.40 a barrel by 1448 GMT, while U.S. light crude CLc1 rose 20 cents to $68.78 a barrel, supported in part by a Canadian supply outage.

Prices initially jumped after an OPEC deal to increase output was announced late last week, as it was not seen boosting supply by as much as some had expected.

OPEC and non-OPEC partners including Russia have since 2017 cut output by 1.8 million bpd to tighten the market and prop up prices.

After officially meeting on Friday, OPEC gave a press conference over the weekend that implied a bigger increase in supply.

Largely because of unplanned disruptions in Venezuela and Angola, OPEC output has been below the targeted cuts, which it now says will be reversed by supply increases, especially from OPEC leader Saudi Arabia.

Analysts warn however there is little spare capacity for large-scale output increases.

John Moore, Senior Investment Manager at Brewin Dolphin Edinburgh, said: “Although Opec agreed a production increase of one million boe a day, the reality is that some of its members, particularly Iran, won’t be able to meet this target.

“While the group insisted it would aim for 100% compliance, the figure is much likely to be closer to 600,000 boe.

“Oil traded higher on the back of the news, which suggests the market feared a higher production increase. Many analysts remain bullish on oil in the short term, with targets of more than $80-barrel.”

26 Jun 2018

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