Offshore Technology lists the top five terms tweeted by Covid-19 Oil & Gas Influencers in Q4 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 – 1823 mentions

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) being used to maintain storage temperatures of Covid-19 vaccine, retrenchment of workers in the US oil industry due to the coronavirus pandemic and New Mexico’s oil and gas income surging despite Covid-19 were some popular topics discussed in the fourth quarter. According to an article shared by Susan Sakmar, an energy author, Korea Superfreeze, a South Korean firm is using LNG to keep its warehouse cold for storing Covid-19 vaccine.

The coronavirus vaccine, manufactured by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech will be stored at the storage facility in Seoul in Antarctica-like ultra-cold temperatures of -700C. The warehouse is harnessing LNG instead of electricity to maintain the ultra-cold temperatures at the facility, the article highlighted.

Further, Giovanni Staunovo, a commodity analyst, shared an article about more than 90,000 employees in the oilfield sector in the US being retrenched due to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. The oil price collapse led to the reduction of demand for drilling services in the country in 2020. Oil firms went bankrupt after incurring huge losses forcing them to cut jobs. The companies which provide support services for oil and gas extraction were the worst affected by the pandemic, as the accounted for 85% of the industry’s overall job cuts, the article noted.

Covid-19 also trended in discussions shared by Steve Everley, managing director at FTI Consulting, a business advisory firm, about the US state of New Mexico generating a revenue of $2.8bn in 2020, notwithstanding the impact of ongoing pandemic. The state managed to earn huge income from oil and gas development despite the ongoing international oil price war and coronavirus induced demand slump. The sector’s revenue made up around one-third of New Mexico’s spending and was driven mainly through the uninterrupted production at the Permian Basin located in southwestern part of the state, the article highlighted.

2. Pricing – 571 mentions

Plummeting oil prices impacting millions of Iraqis, Petrobras cutting spending plan in view of declining oil prices and resurgence of Covid-19 impacting oil prices were some widely discussed topics in Q4 2020. David M. Witty, a retired US Army Colonel, shared an article about the double whammy of Covid-19 pandemic and plunging oil prices pushing millions of Iraqi citizens to the brink of poverty.

With oil price slumping to a five-year low, the Middle East nation’s non-oil GDP contracted by 9.2% in the first half of 2020. The economic recovery of Iraq is subject to resurgence of oil markets and how the healthcare sector will adapt itself to the ongoing pandemic, the article highlighted.

Sudheer Pal Singh, editor at ETEnergyWorld, further, shared an article about Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras reducing its five-year investment plan in view of coronavirus induced slump in oil demand and prices. The firm slashed its spending plan by 27% from the previous year to $55bn, as it is considering investing $46bn or 84% of overall investment in exploration and production. Petrobras will focus on the fertile deep-water oil fields in the Atlantic Ocean’s pre-salt area as it is disposing off its non-core assets to reduce debt, the article noted.

Other discussions surrounding pricing included oil price drop, triggered by a resurgence of Covid-19 cases across the globe, according to an article shared by Chuck Mikolajczak, a Reuters correspondent. The Brent crude declined by 14 cents to $44.20 per barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude settled at $41.74 a barrel, slipping by eight cents. The stocks of distillates, including diesel and heating oil, plunged by 5.2 million barrels, as apprehensions about demand outlook continue amid Covid-19, the article highlighted.

3. OPEC – 453 mentions

Saudi Arabia’s request to fellow OPEC+ members, OPEC+ urges US not to disrupt its output expansion plans and OPEC’s prediction on global crude consumption were some extensively discussed topics in the quarter. According to an article shared by Alex Lawler, energy correspondent at Reuters, Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, is hinting at a tighter oil production policy in 2021, in view of resurgence of Covid-19 cases. The OPEC+ group, which includes Russia, is contemplating postponing its plan to expand oil output by two million bpd in January to bolster the global market.

The oil major is seeking the support of OPEC+ members, asking them to accommodate its oil cut extension policy. The oil producer is already dealing with the pandemic related demand slump by reducing its swelling inventories, the article highlighted.

Further, Sara Vakshouri, founder of SVB Energy International, a strategic energy consulting firm, shared an article about Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak requesting the incoming US President Joe Biden to not disturb OPEC+’s plans to sustain the global oil market. OPEC+ nations are coming together to decrease oil output and boost global market, as the pandemic impacted fuel demand. The producers group plans to expand its output by two million bpd by April 2021, even as oil demand recovery was slower than expected, the article noted.

Another discussion related to OPEC was shared by Paul Ebeling, analyst at Ebeling Heffernan, a public markets consultancy firm, about OPEC expecting the crude consumption to expand over the next two to three decades. The pace at which global economy rebounds from Covid-19 induced slump will have a bearing on global oil demand recovery, with China and India expected to account for 50% of demand growth. The oil demand is projected to expand by roughly ten million bpd, increasing from 99.7 million bpd to 109.1 million bpd in 2045. According to the OPEC, the impact of coronavirus pandemic on the global oil demand will be negligible in the long run, the article highlighted.

4. Fracking – 74 mentions

US Covid-19 aid diverted towards fracking businesses owned by billionaires and fracking companies being impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic were some broadly discussed topics in Q4 2020. Michael W. Hudson, editor at ICIJ, a non-profit news website, shared an article about US Republican senator Ted Cruz misusing federal government’s Covid-19 aid to support the businesses of Texas-based fracking business owned by billionaire brothers Dan and Farris Wilks. Cruz got a $35m loan from the Covid-19 economic stimulus package for the fracking business, through which they purchased stakes in six different fracking firms.

BailoutWatch, a non-profit organisation, exposed Cruz’s actions and accused him of giving paybacks to Wilks brothers for their contribution to his presidential campaign in 2016. The office of Cruz asserted that his efforts for Wilks and other fossil fuel companies secured 300,000 jobs during the pandemic, but did not provide proof to substantiate their claim, the article highlighted.

Fracking was also discussed in an article shared by Terrence Daniels, a technology activist, about the coronavirus pandemic reducing the value of fracking companies by half in 2020. With the number of drilling rigs coming down substantially and deals becoming sparse, consolidation was touted to increase in the industry. Barring Chevron’s $5bn offer to purchase Noble Energy in July, the deals in the fracking industry were few and far between. Many companies are refraining from buying as they are cynical about overpaying for low value companies, while target companies are cautious about selling as the pandemic sent oil industry into a tailspin, the article highlighted.

5. Petroleum – 62 mentions

US petroleum consumption declining to decades-low levels due to Covid-19 and India’s plans to increase tax on petrol to mobilise funds for Covid-19 relief were some trending topics in the fourth quarter of the year. According to an article shared by EIA, The US Energy Information Administration, a US government agency, the petroleum consumption in the US in 2020 plunged to the lowest in decades, due to Covid-19 induced travel restrictions and economic downturn.

The total petroleum demand in April third week was 14.1 million bpd, hitting the lowest numbers since early 1990s. The most recent value of petroleum is 31% less than the 2020 average from January to March, the period before the imposition of Covid-19 related travel restrictions across the country, the article highlighted.

Another discussion surrounding petroleum was shared by Sudheer Pal Singh, about the Indian government’s plans to increase taxes levied on petrol and diesel to generate revenue for funding Covid-19 relief efforts. The government could increase $0.04 to $0.06 excise duty on petrol and diesel, which would generate an additional revenue of $8.2bn for the exchequer. The revenue generated can be used to fund further economic recovery packages to overcome the pandemic induced crisis. Experts noted that excise on petrol and diesel should be increased immediately as their prices remained the same for around a month, the article highlighted.