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Oil Updates — Crude falls; Indian refiners to cut Saudi oil, Russian exit to cost Shell up to $5bn


RIYADH: Oil prices clawed back some losses on Thursday after tumbling more than 5 percent to a three-week low in the previous session after consuming nations announced a huge release of oil from emergency reserves to offset supply lost from Russia.

Brent crude is now $102.75 a barrel, and US benchmark West Texas Intermediate is at $97.63 a barrel, as of 8:00 a.m Saudi time.

Shell raises Russia writedown to as much as $5 billion

Shell will write down up to $5 billion following its decision to exit Russia, more than previously disclosed while soaring oil and gas prices boosted trading activities in the first quarter, the company said on Thursday.

The post-tax impairments of between $4 billion and $5 billion in the first quarter will not impact the company’s earnings, Shell said in an update ahead of its earnings announcement on May 5.

Shell, whose market capitalization is around $210 billion, had previously said the Russia writedowns would reach around $3.4 billion. The increase was due to additional potential impacts around contracts, writedowns of receivables, and credit losses in Russia, a Shell spokesperson said.

Shell shares were down 1.2 percent at the start of London trading.

The start of 2022 marked one of the most turbulent periods in decades for the oil and gas industry as Western companies including Shell rapidly pulled out of Russia, severing trading ties and winding down joint ventures following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Shell said it will exit all its Russian operations, including a major liquefied natural gas plant in the Sakhalin peninsula on the eastern flank of the country.

Oil Updates — Crude falls; Indian refiners to cut Saudi oil, Russian exit to cost Shell up to $5bn

Indian refiners set to cut May Saudi oil

At least two Indian refiners plan to buy less Saudi oil than usual in May, after the kingdom raised the official selling price to record highs for Asia, two sources told Reuters on Wednesday, as India increases purchases of cheap Russian crude.

State oil producer Saudi Aramco, the world’s top oil exporter, has raised crude prices for all regions, with those to Asia hitting all-time highs.

The Middle East accounts for the bulk of India’s oil imports, with Iraq and Saudi Arabia the top two suppliers to Asia’s third-largest economy.

The sources at the two Indian refiners declined to be named, citing confidentiality.

They did not disclose the volumes refiners would buy, and said the reductions in May would be marginal because they have to lift the amount they have committed to under annual contracts.

To mitigate the rising cost of oil imports, India has turned to Russian barrels that are available at a deep discount to the dated Brent benchmark, citing “national interests.”

Oil Updates — Crude falls; Indian refiners to cut Saudi oil, Russian exit to cost Shell up to $5bn

Zelensky urges Russian oil embargo

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday called on Western politicians to quickly agree on an embargo on Russian oil, complaining that their failure to do so was costing Ukrainians their lives.

In an early morning video address, Zelensky also said he would continue to insist Russian banks be completely blocked from the international finance system.

Zelensky said Moscow was making so much money from oil exports that it did not need to take peace talks seriously and called on the “democratic world” to shun Russian crude.

“Some politicians are still unable to decide how to limit the flow of petrodollars and oil euros to Russia so as not to put their own economies at risk,” Zelensky said, predicting that an oil embargo would nevertheless be imposed.

“The only question is how many more Ukrainian men, how many more Ukrainian women, the Russian military will have time to kill in order for you, certain politicians — and we know who you are — to find some determination,” he said.

Oil Updates — Crude falls; Indian refiners to cut Saudi oil, Russian exit to cost Shell up to $5bn

China to control exports of high carbon petchem products

Meanwhile, China has decided to “steadily control” exports of some high carbon petrochemical products and will draw up a list of such goods, its industry ministry said on Thursday, as the country strives to deal with climate change.

China, the world’s biggest greenhouse gases emitter, has cut export quotas of refined oil products such as gasoline and diesel to discourage plants from over-processing, as it has vowed to bring its carbon emissions to a peak by 2030.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) did not elaborate on the details of high carbon-intensive products export restrictions.

It said the country will strictly control new capacity in its oil refining industry and will accelerate the elimination of inefficient and outdated production capacity.

“We will promote refining and chemical projects to reduce the output of refined oil products and increase chemical products, and extend the petrochemical industry chain,” the ministry said in a statement. 

Oil Updates — Crude falls; Indian refiners to cut Saudi oil, Russian exit to cost Shell up to $5bn

Jose Mauro Coelho is Petrobras’ next CEO

Brazil’s government has appointed Jose Mauro Coelho as the next chief executive at state-run oil company Petrobras.

In a note, the government also appointed Marcio Andrade Weber as Petrobras’ next chairman of the board.


(With inputs from Reuters) 


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