WTI $97.65 +31c, Brent $105.02 -42c, Diff $7.37 -73c, NG $3.96 +9c

Oil price

After a week where crude oil held key levels and then rallied at the end, primarily on the developing military situation around Kurdistan the oil price, like most international markets has come down somewhat. Brent, having been  as high as $106.85 on Friday has opened this morning at $104.91 for a number of reasons. Friday saw some backing off by Putin as some troops were withdrawn from the Ukraine border and in Kurdistan there has been albeit modest progress in fortifying Erbil. Also this morning has seen another ceasefire in Gaza with talks due to start again today.

Fundamentals are still slightly negative for the oil price though, Opec production in July maintained supplies and even Saudi Arabia raised production slightly to keep targets met. Opec has cut its global demand for this year and next by a small amount and although 2H 2014 is likely to be quite tight it still has global GDP growth forecasts intact at the moment…


BvB’s spring and summer sale continues and the company appears close to selling a Haynesville, Louisiana field interest to Blackstone for $1.2bn. At this rate either the two year target will be hit within a year or the CEO will realise that there was more fat to cut than even he had first realised and up the target, either way the efficiency at Shell improves all the time.


The company has announced that operator Hess has secured and suspended operations in Kurdistan which includes the drilling of the Shireen-1 exploration well on the Dinarta licence. Like most other companies in the region they are evacuating non-essential personnel for the time being.


A new opinion poll carried out on behalf of UKOOG has found that 57% of Britons think that shale gas production should go ahead whilst 16% opposed the idea. The poll also found that 67% of Britons want an end to reliance on imported gas. There was even a 42% approval of the planned changes to underground land access, these are designed to bring geothermal energy into line with other essential services that already have rights to underground access which include water and sewerage pipelines and of course coal mines.

Former BG CEO Chris Finlayson has been appointed Chairman of InterOil the PNG explorer with significant LNG developments in the pipeline. I suspect that Chris will find fewer snakes in Papua New Guinea than he did at BG…

And Kinder Morgan has announced a massive deal whereby it plans to spend up to $44bn to buy out its outside investors.

And finally…

I have to admit that I didn’t stay up to watch it but the last round of the PGA tournament at Valhalla sounds like it was an amazing affair. Rory McIlroy seemed to be giving it away as he went from being in the lead by one shot to lagging by three at the turn, after that an eagle at the 10th was the trigger to an amazing win in the gathering gloom, helped it should be noted by fantastic sportsmanship by those finishing with him.

The football season is now formally under way as the charity Cup saw the Gooners see off the noisy neighbours who appeared to be playing a B team. Next week sees the premiership start but call me old fashioned, when there is still a test match going on its too early for football! The Championship in England is going to be very hard work, about 12 teams probably think they are in with a shout especially as promoted Wolves beat relegated Norwich yesterday, last season they were 2 leagues apart. In Scotland’s second division there is also unusual competition and yesterday Rangers must have thought that they were back in it equalising in injury time but Hearts went up the other end and made it 1-2…

Must mention MotoGP as the amazing run of victories by Honda rider Marc Marquez extended to ten yesterday.

Finally there is much going on in the world of chess at the moment. Although it wouldn’t normally feature in the sports round up it is being touted as an Olympic sport and there is a vote going on for the FIDE President for the next four years. Garry Kasparov is trying to unseat incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov who claims amongst other mad theories that some time ago he was abducted by aliens and taken to another planet. My expert source in the chess world is Michael Yeo, legendary former investment manager and he tells me that Kasparov has no chance and as for the other guy… the less said the better.

And I though chess was a game played by intelligent people…