Impact of Covid-19 crisis and weakened oil prices on Latin American NOCs

GlobalData Energy 30 June 2020 (Last Updated June 30th, 2020 10:06)

Impact of Covid-19 crisis and weakened oil prices on Latin American NOCs

The GlobalData Upstream Impact Scorecard considers a number of factors that determine a company’s upstream business impact from Covid-19 and weakened oil prices in comparison to industry peers. The main oil and gas peer group analysed is a sample of Latin American NOCs, consisting of Ecopetrol SA, Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) and YPF SA. Other three operators considered in the analysis are Petroecuador EP, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) and Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB), but these companies were included in the analysis only when data is available.

Oil and gas sector in Latin America has faced unprecedented challenges caused by collapsed commodity prices and weak crude oil demand due to Covid-19 pandemic. Most of Latin American oil and gas companies are state-owned and there are limited opportunities for these companies to establish successful partnerships with other operators. Because most projects in the region are capital expenditure (CapEx)-intensive, capital inflows from private investors would provide relief to the cash-strapped NOCs.

Pemex has been rated as the most impacted company in the selected sample due to high debt of approximately $107bn and very low participation from private investors. Indeed, only 6% of 2019 production in fields, in which Pemex has an interest, include other partners. Moreover, future production from pre-FID fields expected to come online in the next five to seven years represents only 8% of the current company’s production. Petrobras has the highest reported debt-to-equity ratio in the group, but growing production, international footprint and a large number of planned and announced fields (22) has established the company as one of the least impacted by Covid-19 in the group.

Similarly, the associated impact of a low case oil price (Brent=$30 per barrel) scenario on upstream cashflow is significant for selected Latin American NOCs. Ecopetrol has the highest reduction of 2020 post-tax cashflow in the low case oil price scenario of more than $12 per barrel of oil equivalent (boe). The company has the highest CapEx and operating costs (OpEx) per boe among its peers in the group, averaging at approximately $31.9 per boe combined. Colombia has one of the highest transportation costs in the region that could reach $33 per barrel of oil (bbl), depending on the area and resource type.

Petrobras and Pemex have less than $6 per boe reduction of 2020 post-tax cashflow in the low case oil price scenario as the companies have a significant level of base production, exceeding 2,400 mboed in 2019 each, which make their cashflow less sensitive to oil price changes.