Offshore Technology lists the top five terms tweeted by Covid-19 Oil & Gas Influencers in October 2020, based on data from GlobalData’s Influencer Platform. The top tweeted terms are the trending industry discussions happening on Twitter by key individuals (influencers) as tracked by the platform.

1. Covid-19 – 629 mentions

Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical bailing out their joint venture, oil prices hitting a five-month low and weak demand forcing oil majors to cut spending were some of the popular topics discussed in October. According to an article shared by Anjli Raval, an energy correspondent at Financial Times, Saudi Arabia’s Aramco and Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical will support their petrochemicals and refinery joint venture (JV), which is facing a capital shortage. The two companies will lend $2bn to the JV to help overcome the Covid-19 pandemic induced financial crisis. While Sumitomo Chemical will provide $750m, the remaining amount will be lent by Aramco, the article highlighted.

Further, David Gaffen, an energy editor at Reuters, shared an article about reimposition of Covid-19 lockdowns triggering slump in oil demand and prices. The crude futures stood at $36.17 per barrel, hitting its lowest since June. Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, which are contemplating reducing output cuts from 7.7 million bpd to 5.7 million bpd in January 2021, are closely monitoring the declining demand of the commodity, the article noted.

Another discussion related to Covid-19 was shared by Chad Terhune, a reporter at Reuters, about US oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron decreasing spending in September quarter to counterbalance diminishing fuel demand. The two companies are retrenching employees to cut losses incurred due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to 41% decline in oil prices in 2020, the article highlighted.

2. Pricing – 190 mentions

Lower prices leading to delay in Iraq’s oil projects, decline in oil prices and US production shutdown triggering price rise were some widely discussed topics during the month. Nader Itayim, an oil and gas correspondent at Argus Media, shared an article about current oil market environment and declining prices leading to the delay in Iraq’s oil projects. However, the country’s oil minister emphasised that they are not contemplating shutting down the ongoing projects due to the pandemic. The restoration of normalcy in the market and oil demand is expected in the next three years, the article noted.

Harry Tchilinguirian, head of commodity research at BNP Paribas, further, shared an article about oil price in London plunging to a four-month low. The Brent Futures slid to lowest price since June even as New York futures declined by 5.5%. The price declined as Covid-19 cases continued to increase and stricter lockdowns threatened to impact global economic revival, the article highlighted.

Pricing also trended in discussions shared by Sudheer Pal Singh, editor at ETEnergyWorld, about oil prices increasing on the back of potential interim supply cuts as 70% of US production was halted. The West Texas Intermediate crude prices increased by 0.8% to $37.68% per barrel after the looming prospect of global supply surfeit and resurgence of coronavirus cases slumped the prices in the last session, the article noted.

3. OPEC – 137 mentions

Russia and Saudi Arabia’s OPEC+ agreements, OPEC’s projections on oil demand, and OPEC and BP’s differing views on demand peak were some popularly discussed topics in October. According to an article shared by Giovanni Staunovo, a commodity analyst, Russian President and Saudi Crown Prince deliberated on executing oil producer group OPEC+’s deals, the article highlighted.

Further, Marc N. Ayoub, content researcher at Lebanon Gas and Oil, shared an article about the outlook of OPEC on global oil demand over the next two decades. OPEC projected that worldwide demand will hit 107.2 million bpd by the end of decade and 109.3 million bpd by 2040, going by the current scenario. The demand declined globally due to ongoing pandemic but is expected to make a complete recovery once it rebounds to 100 million bpd, the article noted.

OPEC was also discussed in an article shared by Julia Vaingurt, a commodities trader, about experts’ opinion on global oil demand peaking, contrasting with OPEC outlook. The oil producers’ group forecast that crude use will increase further reaching around ten million bpd by 2045, as use of cars is expected to increase across the developing world. Oil majors like BP differ with OPEC’s stand as the former contends that oil demand has peaked due to rapid rise in use of renewable energy and Covid-19 pandemic impact, the article highlighted.

4. Fracking – 37 mentions

North Dakota redirecting Covid-19 relief aid to fracking, coronavirus pandemic substantially diminishing value of fracking companies and Biden’s flip-flops on fracking ban were widely discussed last month. Amy R. Sisk, an oil reporter with The Bismarck Tribune, shared an article about North Dakota policymakers diverting $16m from the US federal government’s coronavirus pandemic relief aid for supporting oil fields in the state.

The state passed a law to provide allowances to oil firms to refund around $200,000 per well, which will be completed by the end of year. The amount will be used to support the acquisition and disposing of water used in the fracking, while advocates of the law claim that this move will help sustain oil production and provide employment opportunities for retrenched workers.

Terrence Daniels, a technology activist, further, shared an article about ongoing pandemic reducing the value of fracking companies by half in 2020. With the number of drilling rigs coming down substantially and deals becoming sparse, many firms are opting for consolidation. Companies are hesitating to buy as they are sceptical about overpaying for low value companies, while target companies are cautious about selling as oil prices are taking a nosedive, the article highlighted.

Other discussions surrounding fracking included US President Donald Trump accusing presidential candidate Joe Biden on taking a volt-face on fracking ban, according to an article shared by Thomas Falcon, an erstwhile contractor for the US Military. Biden never proposed a blanket ban on fracking if he comes to power, but alluded to do away with it during his speeches, the article noted.

5. Petroleum – 32 mentions

US oil refiner’s plans to retrench 12% of its workforce, petroleum demand in India returning to pre-pandemic levels and a petroleum major filing for bankruptcy were some popularly discussed topics in October 2020. According to an article shared by Stormwatch, a Democratic party loyalist, Marathon Petroleum decided to cut 2,050 jobs at its US refineries as ongoing pandemic slumped fuel demand worldwide. The company arrived at the decision due to prolonged lack of activity at its California, New Mexico, Martinez and Gallup sites. Marathon will distribute $125m to $175m in severance pay and other benefits to its retrenched staff, the article highlighted.

Further, Sudheer Pal Singh, shared an article about demand for petroleum surging to pre-corona levels in India, with September sales witnessing a 2% increase. Sales of petroleum went up by 10.5% y-o-y in September, even as diesel sales continued to be low despite registering a monthly growth. The petrol sales surged for the first time in India since the imposition of Covid-19 related lockdown in March, the article noted.

Another discussion surrounding petroleum was shared by Stanley Suen, a media industry expert, about Oasis Petroleum, a Houston-based petroleum company, filing for bankruptcy at a Texas bankruptcy court. The company took this measure to substantially lower its debt and better its financial position, the article highlighted.