Mexico’s liberalized natural gas market in an era of nationalism

In December, Mexico’s energy market reform turned five years old. The event was unceremoniously marked by the inauguration of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, or AMLO—a nationalist, left-leaning presidential candidate elected partly on a promise to dismantle it. While the recent growth of Mexico’s reformed gas market has surpassed the expectations of many, it now faces new challenges ahead. In an early move that rattled investors, president-elect Lopez Obrador in October

IMO 2020 could create fierce competition for scarce water resources

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations set to take effect in 2020 have sparked mountains of research on the expected costs for the energy and maritime sectors. Less thought has been given to IMO 2020’s environmental consequences, especially on water demand. The US refining complex will need more water than ever before after IMO 2020 comes into effect. This conclusion is based primarily on forecasting from S&P Global Platts Analytics

US war with Iran unlikely, but would devastate oil markets: Fuel for Thought

Drone attacks on pipelines in Saudi Arabia and the mysterious alleged sabotage of tankers near Fujairah sent pulses racing, but a phony war in the Persian Gulf failed to trigger a feared triple-digit surge in crude prices. A hot war, however, between the US and Iran could be an entirely different matter. Tehran has repeatedly threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz in the event of an outright conflict

Energy and commodities highlights: Middle East tensions, Panama Canal, global EV sales

The past week was marked by heightened geopolitical tensions as attacks on ships and oil infrastructure in the Middle East spread jitters through oil markets. On May 12, the UAE government said that four commercial vessels suffered “sabotage” in the Gulf of Oman, without giving more specific details about the nature of the attack. The following day, a drone attack halted flows through Saudi Arabia’s main oil transport pipeline to

Evolving battery technology will alter demand for raw materials

Ahead of the S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards in London, on May 16, The Barrel presents a special series of articles looking at the global metals trade. Emmanuel Latham and Felix Maire take a look at how changing battery chemistries will affect markets for metals like cobalt, nickel and lithium. As the automotive sector hits difficult times, electric vehicles are proving to be one area in which horizons seem bright.

Increased trade tensions could squelch US crude flow to China

Escalation of trade tensions between the US and China is likely to further dampen US crude flows to China, at time when China was seen stepping back into the US market following a cooling-off period. Although crude oil imports are not included in the latest round of China’s tariff increases to US goods announced on May 13, the heightened tensions between the two countries has been enough to put the

African swine flu impact spreads over Chinese economy, global commodity prices

Bacon could soon be off the fried breakfast menu. African swine flu is sweeping across South East Asia and threatening to spread even further after decimating some pig farmers in China, which consumes more pork than any other country. The virulent disease is now creating a domino effect for commodities markets, farmers and consumers. HSBC’s closely watched aggregated commodity price index of 20 key resources gained 2% last month, with

Iron ore markets digest impact of Vale tailings dam disaster

Ahead of the S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards in London, on May 16, The Barrel presents a special series of articles looking at the global metals trade. Here, Jun Kai Heng looks at how iron ore buyers and sellers are adapting to tightened supply of specific products, following the accident at one of Vale’s Brazilian operations in January. On January 25, a Vale tailings dam in Brumadinho, part of its

Insight Conversation: Carole Nakhle, Crystol Energy

Carole Nakhle, CEO of independent consultancy Crystol Energy and founder of Access for Women in Energy, spoke to Paul Hickin about energy transitions and shifting oil and gas politics. How do you see the energy mix changing in the next decade? The global energy mix is unlikely to look much different from today. The lion’s share will continue to be provided by fossil fuels – that is coal, oil and

Chinese steel output rises relentlessly despite plant closures

Ahead of the S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards in London, on May 16, The Barrel presents a special series of articles looking at the global metals trade. Paul Bartholomew and Jing Zhang take an in-depth look at China’s steel production in recent years, and the likely trajectory in 2019. Just a few years ago, market updates from major iron ore producers Rio Tinto and BHP routinely stated that they expected