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Coronavirus: A timeline of how the deadly COVID-19 outbreak is evolving

10:24 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US crude stockpiles decline – Oil and gas deals peak during Q4

8 January

The crude oil stockpiles in US registered a steep fall last week while fuel inventories surged as 2020 ended with an overall fuel demand slump triggered by Covid-19 pandemic. The fuel output dropped to 11 million bpd last year compared with 12.9 million bpd in 2019, even as crude inventories dropped by eight million barrels last week to 485.5 million barrels, hitting a five-month low.

The ratification of deals among oil and gas producers hit a yearly high during the last quarter of 2020 as Covid-19 pandemic induced price drop triggered a slew of consolidations among exploration companies. O&G deals worth $27.1bn were signed during Q4, compared with $21bn in the previous quarter, driven by three multi-billion-dollar acquisitions in the fertile Permian basin in the southwestern part of the US.

The drilling activity restarted at Saipem-owned Coral Sul project located offshore Mozambique, after an eight-month suspension owing to coronavirus pandemic. The operators of the Coral South FLNG project will develop gas resources discovered in the Area 4 of the Rovuma Basin. The drilling operations initially commenced in September 2019 and once operational, the project is expected to produce 3.4Mt of LNG per year.

The fuel deliveries through road in Hebei province of north China were disrupted due to imposition of traffic curbs to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the region. However, the interruptions in fuel deliveries did not adversely affect the fuel demand and prices. The Hebei province was badly affected by Covid-19 outbreak as 53 positive cases were registered yesterday, taking the total cases in the region since the beginning of 2021 to 92.

9:55 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Traders expedite crude oil sales – India’s ethanol imports plunge 64%

7 January

Saudi Arabia vowed to reduce oil production by an additional one million bpd in the months of February and March as part of the OPEC+ deal, as the oil producers’ group plans to maintain output during the renewed Covid-19 lockdowns. The Middle East country is reducing oil output by more than what it promised to OPEC+, which is a sign of dwindling oil demand, as the global oil market is bracing for a tight market in the second quarter of 2021.

The oil traders expedited crude oil sales from floating storage last month to meet growing demand in Asia, as refineries in the region ramped up production to meet winter demand. The coronavirus vaccine rollout raised hopes of fuel demand bouncing back this year, pushing Brent’s market into backwardation. The floating storage levels dropped further to around 78 million barrels at the beginning of 2021, the lowest in nine months since the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the fuel demand.

Ethanol imports to India fell by 64% in October to 17,000t, compared with the same period in 2019 and 63% from September 2020. The domestic inventories also increased during the pandemic induced lockdowns and the activity in the industry did not recover to pre-Covid-19 levels in October, suppressing enthusiasm among buyers and deterring them from pursuing increasing prices. However, purchases from main supplier, the US, recovered to normal levels by end of 2020.

9:24 am

Coronavirus company news summary – IOC runs at full capacity in November – Qatar oil revenue to slump by 27.6%

11 December

India’s state-owned oil refiner India Oil Corporation’s production levels reached 100% capacity in November for the first time since the imposition of Covid-19 related lockdown restrictions by the government in March. The run rates increased from 88% in October and 99% in November in 2019 as the fuel demand recovered to pre-pandemic levels. With the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out in the offing, the refiner is expecting a V-shaped recovery in use of petroleum products.

Qatar’s oil revenue is projected to decline by $33.4bn in 2021, a 27.6% drop from the current year’s budget estimate. The oil price is expected to average at $40 per barrel, as they bounced back from plummeting to a near 20-year-low in 2020, due to the impact of coronavirus pandemic. Despite recovery, the prices are much lower compared to the 2019 levels. Crude prices act as the yardstick for gas prices, which have an effect on Qatar, since it is one of the largest LNG exporters in the world.

US net crude imports increase by a record of 2.7 million bpd, which expanded the country’s Gulf Coast stocks by 11.8 million barrels, the highest growth in a week. The growth in exports came as a surprise to the oil market, which is bearing the brunt of demand slump triggered by ongoing pandemic. The crude inventories increased by 15.2 million barrels last week, reaching 503.2 million barrels, the highest growth in seven months, beating analysts’ estimates of a 1.4-million-barrel plunge.

9:52 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Brazil’s crude processing rises 17% – W&T Offshore raises Q4 output guidance

10 December

US-based petroleum company PBF Energy shut down operations of the cat cracker and alkylation units at its Paulsboro refinery in New Jersey, which are part of the company’s East Coast reconfiguration project. The refinery will only produce partially refined products as gasoline refining margins have been down since the onset of Covid-19 pandemic and jet fuel demand slumped by 50% compared with 2019 levels.

The total crude oil processed by Brazilian government-owned Petrobras in October stood at 1.85bpd, a 17% increase from the same period in 2019 despite the slump in global oil demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, especially in US and Europe. Demand in the Asian oil market, however, recovered as activity in most of the countries returned to normal after lifting of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Canadian Natural Resources is planning to increase natural gas production by 11% in 2021, while capital spending is projected to reach $2.51bn, higher than the 2020 estimate of $2.1bn. The company is bullish on gas prices and demand bouncing back from lows witnessed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Oil companies across Canada are restarting production after they were forced to shut operations as the ongoing pandemic ravaged fuel demand.

US-based W&T Offshore increased its production guidance for the fourth quarter of the year, as it resumed production after closing down operations due to the storm in Gulf of Mexico. The company’s Q4 output is projected to reach around 34,700 and 36,000bpd, comprising 34% oil, 11% natural gas liquids and the remaining natural gas. W&T managed to maintain output at optimum level in 2020 despite Covid-19 pandemic and a slew of disruptions caused by hurricanes.

10:04 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Covid-19 affects jobs in US oilfield industry – Oil and gas sector comes to a standstill

9 December

More than 90,000 workers in the US oilfield services industry lost their jobs as pandemic induced oil demand plunge forced companies to cut their workforce. However, hiring in the industry increased in November by 0.4% as 2,665 new employees were added to the workforce. The demand for drilling services slumped as oil prices plummeted earlier in the year, which pushed many oilfield services companies into bankruptcy as they incurred huge losses.

The drastic fall of prices and the panic triggered by coronavirus pandemic has led to a global oversupply and a demand drop all through the year. The crisis is the worst seen by the industry and the price drop is one of the steepest since World War II. Oil demand is expected to struggle to return to pre-pandemic levels as travel demand declines and work from home arrangements continue.

The crude oil production in the US is projected to fall to 11.34 million bpd, declining by 910,000bpd, which is sharper than the previous estimate of an 860,000bpd drop due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The crude oil production, however, recovered from the record lows of May, on the back of news of a potential vaccine for coronavirus.

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted refinery margins as demand for refined products continues to fall. Oil majors across the world have reduced refinery operations leading to approximately 1.4 million barrels per day of refining capacity closures. Refinery utilisation rates are expected to continue to remain low at least until late 2021.

10:11 am

Coronavirus company news summary – FID on Marigold oil field postponed – Covid-19 slumps oil futures prices

8 December

Malaysian oil and gas producer Hibiscus has deferred the final investment decision (FID) on its Marigold oil field located in UK Central North Sea due to global slump in oil prices caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. While the FID has been postponed to next year, the first oil from the field is expected in 2023.

The US oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange and the Brent contract on the International Exchange declined on Monday as various states including California imposed restrictions on travel and commercial activity due to surge in coronavirus cases over the past few weeks. The implied gasoline demand in US hit a five-month low at 7.973 million bpd last week during the Thanksgiving holiday.

The oil prices in North Sea are recovering after a prolonged slump, thanks to the rise in crude demand in Asia as activity is returning to normal across the continent after lifting of Covid-19 pandemic induced restrictions. The Asian refineries have been purchasing crude from US, Russia and Middle East over the past few weeks, even as the demand for North Sea barrels increased gradually.

9:54 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Chevron’s Tengiz project progresses – UAE to spend $122bn on oil output expansion

7 December

Chevron is continuing with its multi-billion-dollar expansion programme at Tengiz oilfield in Kazakhstan despite rise in coronavirus cases at the project site. The local authorities posted medical personnel at the field to curb the spread of coronavirus as 140 new cases were reported in November, while scores of new cases were registered at the site last week.

OPEC and its allies agreed to expand the oil production cuts until January, after which the member countries will increase output by a marginal 500,000bpd. However Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia and UAE are wary about going ahead with expansion projects and investment in oil sector as they are waiting for the pandemic induced global oil demand slump to recover sizeably.

Oil companies in Russia are gearing up to expand their output by 125,000bpd from next month in the light of OPEC members agreeing to increase oil production by 500,000bpd from the same month. The surge in production is not expected to have a huge effect on the oil market, even as the country’s November output remained stable at 10 million bpd.

10:20 am

Coronavirus company news summary – ConocoPhillips to lay off 500 jobs – Dorado oil field FID plans deferred to 2022

3 December

US oil producer ConocoPhillips is planning to retrench around 500 employees at its headquarters in Houston, to ensure staffing is commensurate with the operations. The company registered $2.93bn in losses from January to September, against $6.47bn profit made in the same period in 2019. Oil and gas companies across the globe have cut thousands of jobs as the Covid-19 pandemic impacted oil demand and prices.

The worldwide oil demand is expected to recover to pre-corona levels reaching 100 million bpd in the next two years, according to US-based shale operator Pioneer CEO. He added that OPEC needs to bail out the oil sector by enforcing production cuts of between three and five million bpd next year. Pioneer is also planning to increase oil output by 5% in 2021 subject to global demand recovery.

Australian energy major Santos has postponed its plans for making final investment decision on its Dorado oil field to 2022, due to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. The production from the oil field, which has a capacity of 75,000 to 100,000bpd, is expected to commence in 2025. The FEED work on the Dorado field is expected to start in the first half of 2021, while the development cost on the project is estimated at $2bn.

The oil production in the US state of Colorado declined by 13% from the corresponding period in 2019, registering the sharpest four-month fall in 19 years. The state currently has a mere four oil and gas rigs in operation, against a minimum of 16 rigs operating simultaneously before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. The employment in the sector also fell by 18% in September, compared with the same period last year.

9:26 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Norway to lift oil output curbs in January – India registers rise in diesel sale

2 December

Norway’s curbs on oil production imposed in June will end on December 31. The output restrictions were imposed after crude prices declined earlier in the year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Norway decided to impose curbs in support of OPEC+, which also enforced output curbs in view of lower demand.

The production of crude oil in the US increased by 286,000 bpd in September, reaching 10.86 million bpd, owing to rise in output in North Dakota and US Gulf of Mexico. The overall demand is still low due to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, as production increased from the lows experienced during the spring season. The September output is slightly lower than July’s figures of 10.97 million bpd.

India’s diesel sales increased by 8% in November from the previous month, a reflection of resurgence of economic activity after lifting of pandemic induced lockdown restrictions. However, the sale of diesel dropped by 7% in November compared with the same period in 2019. The total diesel consumption in November stood at 6.21Mt.

The leading energy firms globally reduced the value of their oil and gas assets by roughly $80bn in the past few months, after the long-term outlook for fuel prices was revised as a result of ongoing pandemic and energy transition. While Exxon Mobil decided to write down its natural gas assets by $17bn to $20bn, companies like Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and BP started reducing their asset values even before the pandemic struck.

For the oil and gas firms operating in the North Sea, recovery from the pandemic remains uncertain and could take years before the industry bounces back. However, oil prices surged in the past few weeks amid news of a potential vaccine for coronavirus crisis in the offing. Around 8,000 workers in the industry were removed from employment in 2020, which could rise to 30,000 next year.

9:25 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Gazprom Q3 net loss crosses $3bn – Velesto Energy Q3 revenue plunges

1 December

Russian gas producer Gazprom posted a net loss of $3.3bn in the September quarter owing to weak rouble, even as it increased its gas exports outlook to Europe. Russian firms have been affected by the depreciation of the Russian rouble, which declined in value due to the Covid-19 pandemic induced economic slump. Gazprom reported its net foreign currency-related loss was $6bn in Q3, against a profit made in the same period in 2019.

Offshore drilling contractor Borr Drilling is facing financial hurdles in the fourth quarter which will extend into 2021, due to hostile market environment coupled with payment delays for rigs operating for Mexican oil major Pemex. Borr is optimistic about rig demand increasing as oil demand bounced back, following news of potential vaccine for Covid-19 and OPEC+ decision to extend production cuts

Malaysian offshore drilling firm Velesto Energy registered a 37.3% drop in revenue in September quarter, compared with $51.2m posted in Q3 2019. The company’s Q3 net profit dropped 98.6% from $8.18m profit registered in corresponding period last year. Velesto attributed the revenue drop to reduced income from drilling services due to fall in jack-up rig utilisation levels from the previous quarter.

Neste announced that it is closing operations at its refinery in Finland and also retrench 370 employees as part of its cost cutting measures. The company is seeking savings of $59.9m owing to a slump in demand for fossil oil products. Neste is planning to revamp its refinery operations in Porvoo and Naantali, even as Covid-19 caused irreversible damage to the global oil sector.

Malaysian oil company Petronas will recommence operations at its Pengerang refinery in Q1 2021. The 300,000bpd capacity refinery was closed in March due to a fire at the site. The restart of the refinery, however, is expected to place additional burden on the east Asian refinery industry, which is already facing issues of oversupply owing to lower demand caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

10:04 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Petronas Q3 revenue crosses $10bn – Brazil to hold oil exploration bidding in October 2021

30 November

Malaysian oil and gas major Petronas posted a net loss of $835m in September quarter, from the $1.81bn profit it recorded in the same period in 2019. The company posted losses in the January-September period owing to slump in oil prices and global demand triggered by Covid-19 pandemic. Petronas’s revenue in the third quarter was $10.1bn, declining 25% from the corresponding period last year.

Kazakhstan’s state-owned oil company KazMunaigaz recorded a net income of $280m in the September quarter, improving from $115m net loss posted in the previous quarter. The company’s overall performance in the first nine months, however, remained subdued as the ongoing pandemic wreaked havoc on the global oil sector. KazMunaigaz recorded a 7% fall in oil output, while the gas output stood at 6.2 billion cubic meters.

Brazil’s oil regulator ANP announced that the bidding for oil exploration blocks will be held in October 2021. The bidding was originally supposed to be held in April but suspended due to Covid-19 outbreak. The upcoming bidding round will not include the country’s sought-after pre-salt offshore formation.

10:08 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Outbreak at LNG Canada operations – Petrobras cuts investment plan by 27% – ExxonMobil to retrench hundreds of workers

27 November

LNG Canada reported a coronavirus outbreak at its site in Kitimat municipality in Western Canada affecting more than 40 employees. 16 workers are in self-quarantine at the site, and the project owners are working with local health authorities to trace contacts. LNG Canada is also disinfecting and sanitising the site to stop the further spread of the virus and ensure safety of the workers.

The slump in oil demand and prices has pushed Brazil’s Petrobras to reduce its five-year investment plan by 27% to $55bn. The oil company cut its spending plan to preserve cash, as it considers investing $46bn, accounting for 84% of its overall investment, in oil exploration and production.

US oil major ExxonMobil is planning to slash roughly 300 jobs to cut losses triggered by the decline in oil demand owing to the ongoing pandemic. Earlier in the year, the company reduced its budget by more than $10bn as part of its cost cutting measures. Investments in upcoming projects also contributed to Exxon Mobil’s losses.

Genel Energy’s Sarta oil field located in Kurdistan region of Iraq has started producing oil. The first phase entails tying of two oil wells to a 20,000bpd early production plant, while the second phase is expected to go online in January 2021. The oil field was originally scheduled to commence production in the third quarter of 2020 but delayed due to challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic including the closure of borders.

10:09 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Covid-19 disrupts UK oil and gas sector – India’s crude oil output declines – Ireland’s residential gas use rises by 29%

26 November

The decline in activity, shut down of projects and retrenchments of jobs owing to the coronavirus pandemic has led to a slump in confidence for businesses across Britain’s oil and gas industry. According to the Oil & Gas Survey, conducted by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Fraser of Allander Institute and KPMG UK, a mere 1% of businesses are confident about the future in the post-pandemic world, while 78% expressed fear of uncertainty. Only 13% of contractors are operating at optimum level in the UK, compared with 47% in 2019.

Crude oil production in India stood at 2.568Mt in October, dropping 6.24% from the same period in 2019. The total crude oil processed last month was 18.389Mt, a 16.13% fall from October last year. The output plunge is predominantly attributed to transportation hurdles and obstructions in installation of platforms due to Covid-19 pandemic related lockdown restrictions.

Residential gas use in Ireland increased by 29% in October from the previous month, while the demand from businesses surged 106%. The overall gas demand is not on par with 2019 as the Covid-19 pandemic induced curbs that affected various sectors. Industries including travel, education, hotels and leisure witnessed a decline in gas demand in October. The overall demand dropped by 6% in October from the same period in 2019.

9:51 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Total to temporarily shut down Donges refinery – Goldman Sachs expects OPEC+ to extend output curbs – Enquest Group output averages 60,777bpd

25 November

Multinational oil company Shell may close its refinery in Convent, Louisiana next week, according to a Reuters report. The refinery produces 211,146bpd of oil and is reportedly planned to be shut down as Shell was unable to find a buyer during the pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic reduced fuel demand by roughly 30% compared with 2019, while the worldwide demand is expected to decline by 4.7 million bpd by 2025.

Operations at Total’s Donges refinery located near France’s Atlantic coast will be halted for several months, until refining economics bounce back after being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Total incurred losses during the pandemic, as margins continue to dwindle due to the drop in oil demand.

OPEC+ members are scheduled to meet soon to consider extension of oil production curbs into 2021 owing to weak demand as coronavirus cases are increasing across the globe. Goldman Sachs is predicting OPEC+ will defer boosting output by three months, considering high levels of crude stockpiles, Libya’s output recovery and the reimplementation of Covid-19 related lockdowns.

Oil company Enquest reported minimal impact due to Covid-19 pandemic as its production averaged 60,777bpd year to date. Full year output is expected to be slightly lower than the yearly guidance of 57,000 to 63,000bpd. The group production declined in the second half of 2020, compared with the first half, due to maintenance closedown schedule and the unexpected outage at PM8/Seligi field in Malaysia.

9:49 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Seadrill could decommission more oil rigs – China set to dethrone US as top oil refiner – Oil and gas rig count in the US drops

23 November

Drilling contractor Seadrill may retire more drilling rigs as the Covid-19 pandemic has triggered a reduction in offshore operations and fuel demand. This trend is expected to continue late into next year with no sign of demand revival in the future and a lack of clarity regarding worldwide economic recovery.

China is expected to surpass the US as the largest oil refiner by early 2021, according to the International Energy Agency. The US has been the largest oil refiner in the world for more than six decades. The coronavirus pandemic accelerated a shift in the refining industry with an increase in demand for plastics and fuels across Asia, thanks to the recovery of Asian economies. The US and Europe, however, are moving away from fossil fuels leading to a decline in the oil demand outlook.

US energy firms reduced the number of operating oil and gas rigs for the first time in more than three months, though the number of operating rigs remains higher than August. The ongoing pandemic has cast a shadow over the country’s oil sector, slumping the fuel demand by roughly 12% in 2020, which has pushed operators to reduce drilling operations to cut losses. However, operators have increased rigs recently to exploit the decreased cost for drilling staff.

9:54 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Gazprom Neft sees Q3 earnings surge – Norway’s oil and gas investment to cross $18bn

Russian oil company Gazprom Neft reported a 27% increase in Q3 net income to $369m from the previous quarter, thanks to rise in crude prices and easing of Covid-19 related lockdown restrictions. The company’s earnings are still 70% lower on a y-o-y basis. Gazprom is predicting spending for next year to be on level with 2020, as the oil sector is past its worst phase.

The total investments in Norwegian oil and gas sector are projected to reach $18.4bn, a 12% increase from August forecast of $16.4bn. The projection is still substantially below the 2020 estimate of $20.2bn. Several companies including Equinor expedited their projects, thanks to Norway’s parliament granting tax benefits earlier in the year, to protect jobs and increase investment in the country during pandemic.

Malaysian oilfield services provider Bumi Armada reported a 44% slump in Q3 net profit to $21m compared with $37.4m recorded during the same period in 2019. The company’s operating profit in the quarter was $54m, a 11% drop from $60.5m posted in Q3 2019. Revenue during the quarter stood at $137.6m, a 6.9% rise from $128.6m recorded in Q3 2019.

OPEC reduced its 2020 oil demand estimates by 9.8 million bpd, marking a fall of 0.3 million bpd from the October estimates. The new estimates are also 11 million bpd lower against growth projections of 1.2 million bpd made in January. The OPEC general secretary said that despite Covid-19 cases increasing, the news of vaccine with 90% efficacy boosted oil demand outlook. The group also adjusted the growth estimates for 2021 to 6.2 million bpd.

10:08 am

Coronavirus company news summary – China’s oil buying spree to extend to 2021 – Mermaid posts $84m loss in third quarter

19 November

The coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on oil and gas sector in Australia, triggering more than 28,000 job cuts in 2020, which is tantamount to a quarter of the total workforce in the country. The sector is expected to take at least half a decade to recover from the damage caused by the ongoing pandemic. The engineering and construction segment, which saw more than 8,000 job losses, was the worst hit division.

China is planning to continue its oil buying trend into next year after aggressively stockpiling oil for commercial use, due to price slump earlier in the year. The Asian giant added an extra 310 million bpd to 600 million bpd to its stockpile in 2020. The Chinese buying binge helped boost the global oil market and helped oil major make profits, after demand slumped due to the ongoing pandemic.

Qatar’s subsea service provider Mermaid registered a net loss of $84m in September quarter, compared with $6.2m loss it made for the same period in 2019. The revenue during the said quarter was $22m, a 19% slump from $27m the company generated in Q3 2019. Mermaid’s order book showed earnings of $179m, with income generated predominantly from long-term subsea business contracts and potential rewards in Middle East.

The news of potential vaccine for coronavirus from US pharma company Pfizer triggered an increase in Brent Crude futures. The Ice Brent contract hit $44.8 per barrel on Wednesday, a 2.4% surge from Tuesday’s close, while US Nymex contract grew by 2.3%, reaching $42.38 per barrel on Wednesday. Pfizer announced that the phase II testing for vaccine is currently underway and revealed that it showed 95% efficacy in trial participants.

9:50 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Oil demand to return to pre-Covid-19 levels by 2025 – ONGC capital expenditure to cross $4bn

18 November

Equinor predicts worldwide oil demand to hit the peak by 2027 or 2028, two to three years earlier than their previous estimate due to the ongoing pandemic. The company expects oil demand to get back to pre-corona levels of about 100 million bpd in the next five years and drop to 88 million bpd by 2050. The oil demand peak is dependent on various factors including exploration and development of new resources by companies.

The crude processed in China’s refineries in October reached 59.82mt, which equals 14.09 million bpd, surpassing the previous monthly record of 14.08 million bpd set in June. The total crude imports in October stood at 42.56Mt, even as domestic output reached 16.41Mt, taking the total production in the country to 58.97Mt. China has been storing huge amounts of crude stockpiles since the Covid-19 outbreak.

The oil output from shale formations in the US is projected to fall by roughly 139,000 bpd next month, to 7.51 million bpd, hitting a six-month low. The shale production drop, which is predicted to drop for the third month in a row, is said to be the highest since May. Oil production was reduced in May to compensate for the worldwide demand slump triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

India’s state-owned oil producer ONGC reported that its spending dropped to $2.56bn in the initial six months of FY 2021, a 7% decline from the corresponding period last year. However, the company wants to make up for losses incurred due to Covid-19 pandemic and its capital expenditure for the ongoing fiscal is projected to reach $4.37bn.

9:50 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Rosneft records $827m net loss in Q3 – Covid-19 pushes Gulfport Energy into bankruptcy

16 November

Russian energy company Rosneft posted a net loss of $827m in the September quarter compared with the $555m income it made in the second quarter. The company’s oil and gas production in Q3 stood at 3.91 million bpd, a 3.2% drop from the previous quarter. Rosneft oil output reduction was mandated by its supply pact with OPEC+, meant for stabilising the global oil market. The company also incurred pandemic-induced costs of $65m during January-September period.

Gulfport Energy, a natural gas producer, filed for bankruptcy becoming the newest company to bear the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic. The ongoing pandemic has led lower fuel demand and price war between oil majors triggering an unprecedented fall in crude prices. Gulfport will clear off a $1.25bn funded debt and substantially reduce its yearly cash interest expense as part of the restructuring plan.

Wyoming will use federal government’s coronavirus relief fund to support the recovery of petroleum companies, whose oil and gas drilling projects were thwarted due to the ongoing pandemic. The Wyoming government announced a $15m assistance to the sector through an energy rebound programme.

Norwegian subsea services company DOF Subsea registered a loss of $14.5m during the September quarter, compared with $120m losses it incurred for the same period in 2019. The company’s operating revenue in Q3 was $131m, compared to $126m in Q3 2010. The loss is attributed to weak vessel services market and expected lower demand for services in the future due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

9:43 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Pandemic forces oil refiners to close plants – Oil traders pin hopes on Covid-19 vaccine

12 November

The oil refiners across Asia and North America are permanently shutting down their operations with Europe expected to follow suit as recovery prospects look bleak after the coronavirus pandemic led to decline in oil consumption. The global fuel demand slumped by 30% in the initial days of the pandemic triggering refiners to suspend operations. With travel restrictions expected to continue, oil consumption is unlikely to return to pre-Covid-19 levels in the near future.

The prospects of a coronavirus vaccine triggered optimism among oil traders that demand for the fuel will recover next year. The price of Headline Brent oil futures rose 15% to more than $45 per barrel on Wednesday. However, the oil supplies in January will not be impacted by the potential vaccine as the coronavirus immunisation programme is expected to be rolled out over a period of time.

The oil demand worldwide will take more time to recover than expected as the coronavirus cases are re-rising globally, thwarting OPEC and its allies’ efforts to stabilise the international market. The demand is projected to reach 96.26 million bpd in 2021, going up by 6.25 million bpd in 2021. The growth prediction, however, is 300,000 bpd lower than October figures. The lower demand could support OPEC+ stand on deferring an increase in oil production next year.

Sembcorp Marine’s yards restarted production with almost 100% of its workforce, after the pandemic induced restrictions were eased in Singapore. The company continued to report losses in the third quarter due to implementation delays and lower business capacity. Sembcorp is resuming delayed projects thanks to oil price recovery and is actively pursuing new projects especially in renewables and gas sectors.

9:48 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Occidental bears the brunt of Covid-19 pandemic – Beach Energy prepared to drill exploration well

11 November

US-based hydrocarbon exploration company Occidental Petroleum registered a larger-than-expected loss in September quarter, as the ongoing pandemic affected crude prices. The oil and gas producer has retrenched employees, reduced production and asset values to deal with the impact of the pandemic. Occidental estimates output in Q4 to be between 1.1 million bpd and 1.16 million bpd, while it expects its total spending for 2020 to be between $2.4bn and $2.6bn.

Australian oil producer Beach Energy will drill the Artisan offshore exploration well in the Otway Basin at a water depth of 71m. The well was planned to be drilling between the first or second quarter of 2020 but delayed to the coronavirus pandemic. Drilling of the well is now planned to be undertaken between the current quarter and end of 2021 and is expected to take approximately 35 to 55 days.

The G20 countries responded to the Covid-19 crisis by providing stimulus to industries and companies that are dependent on fossil fuels, which accelerate global warming. The G20 set aside more than $230bn of Covid-19 recovery funds for spending on the oil and gas sector, while only $150bn has been earmarked for spending on clean energy. The move has been criticised by environmentalists who have been calling to stop incentives for the oil, gas and coal industry.

9:53 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Global oil demand to cross 100 million bpd by 2030 – Libya’s oil output surpasses one million bpd

10 November

The oil demand worldwide is expected to reach 100 million bpd by the end of the decade, notwithstanding the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and energy transition, according to the CEO of Adnoc, UAE’s state-owned oil company. The decline in oil demand this year to 9.8 million bpd is attributed to coronavirus pandemic induced disruption in the market, with the demand predicted to recover by 6.5 million bpd in 2021.

The oil production in Libya crossed one million bpd, a huge achievement considering the North African nation’s energy industry was virtually shut down following the civil war. The OPEC member increased its output in the last six weeks and hit one million bpd last week for the first time in ten months. The increase in oil production, however, raised concerns among oil traders as second wave of Covid-19 cases across Europe and the US are projected to lead to lower energy use.

The second wave of coronavirus cases, which has led to reimposing of lockdown in Europe, is expected to reduce oil demand although the severity of the lockdown is expected to be lesser than the one imposed in March. After witnessing a collapse earlier in the year, oil prices are currently at roughly $40 per barrel, but the market is facing uncertainty in view of legal complications of the US election.

The OPEC+ deal on oil production cuts may be tweaked again after being adjusted previously, subject to consensus among all the group members. The present production cuts agreed upon by the group are at 7.7 million bpd, even as analysts estimate that mobility curbs to contain coronavirus cases could force OPEC and allies to refrain from increasing supply. OPEC+ is contemplating extending the current output cuts by a period of six months.

9:54 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Tyra redevelopment project delayed – Boskalis’ operations affected by ongoing pandemic

9 November

The coronavirus pandemic is taking its toll on the Russian gas region as infections are increasing among shift workers. The authorities of Yamal-Nenets region in Russia, which hosts significant gas projects, have witnessed coronavirus infections increase among oil and gas workers, with roughly 20 people being infected daily.

First production from the Tyra redevelopment project has postponed to 2023, owing to the coronavirus pandemic induced restrictions impacting the entire schedule. The operators announced that the first gas from the project, which was scheduled for 2022, will now be produced in Q2 2023. The installation of four new topsides at the project site was expected to be completed by 2021 but has now been deferred to 2022.

Dredging and heavylift company Boskalis reported stable revenues from its offshore business during the third quarter compared to the previous two quarters. The company’s order book for September quarter, however, fell to $1.54bn from $1.74bn in the second quarter. Despite delay of its projects in heavy lifting and offshore wind units, the company registered a revenue increase in other areas during the third quarter.

The offshore industry Europe is considering a shift towards remote oil rig system operations to avoid fears of virus spread. The introduction of remote operations and digitisation could also secure the future of offshore workers as they can continue working despite tightening of restrictions.

9:56 am

Coronavirus company news summary – HollyFrontier posts quarterly loss – Pioneer Natural reports lower profits in Q3

6 November

US refiner HollyFrontier registered a smaller loss in Q3, thanks to fuel demand recovery and cost cuts. Oil refiners were pushed to reduce output and cut spending due to the demand slump caused by the Covid-19 induced lockdown restrictions. The company increased the amount of oil processed to 421,100bpd in the third quarter, a 11.5% growth from Q2, but a 17% decline from the corresponding period in 2019.

Norwegian offshore rig provider Prosafe reported lower losses in Q3 despite decline in revenues owing to the decrease in fleet usage and oil price collapse triggered by the pandemic. The company’s operating revenue for September quarter was $11.7m, a substantial decline from $56.5m from the same period last year. Prosafe’s fleet utilisation for the quarter fell by one-third from the previous quarter, leading to postponement of contracts to 2021.

US-based oil producer Apache Corporation posted a lower-than-expected loss of $4m or 16 cents per share in September quarter, beating analysts’ projections of 35 cents per share. The company has been posting losses for eight consecutive quarters, even as it reduced its capital spending for 2020 to $1bn from the planned budget of $1.9bn. The production for Q3 was 394,000bpd, which is projected to drop by 10% to 355,000bpd in the fourth quarter.

Oil and gas producer Pioneer Natural Resources registered a smaller profit for third quarter, as the ongoing pandemic wreaked havoc on crude prices and fuel demand. The oil prices were looking north after Covid-19 induced slump, however a resurgence in coronavirus cases thwarted the recovery. The company increased its production forecast for 2020 from between 356,000boepd and 371,000boepd to between 365,000boepd and 369,000boepd.

Hydrocarbon exploration company Canadian Natural Resources registered profits riding on the back of cost cutting and fuel demand recovery, thanks to relaxation of lockdown restrictions globally. The company is expected to save roughly $565m in operating costs for the current year. Canadian Natural Resources recorded an output of 1.1 million boepd in the September quarter, a 5.5% decrease from the corresponding period in 2019.

9:20 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Modec reports loss despite revenue growth – Weatherford reduces losses in September quarter

5 November

Japanese offshore floating systems supplier Modec recorded a loss of $47.6m in the January-September period owing to the adverse effect of Covid-19 pandemic during Q1. The revenue for the period, however, increased to $2.19bn compared to $2.09bn in 2019 as construction progressed on six floating, production storage and offloading vessels. Modec projected the revenue guidance for 2020 at $2.67bn, even as it decreased its operating profit estimate to $162.4m.

Indonesian government’s upstream regulator SKK Migas launched a slew of economic packages for the oil and gas sector to maintain investment flow to counter the slump in activity and market disruption caused by the pandemic. SKK Migas reduced the oil output target for 2020 to 725,000bpd, while gas production target is pegged at 5.72 billion cubic feet per day.

US-based oil and gas firm Weatherford registered a loss of $174m for Q3, a substantial decrease from the $581m loss it posted in the second quarter. The company’s Q3 revenue dropped marginally to $807m, from $821m in the previous quarter as the oil and gas sector started to recover from the slump triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The profits of refinery operators in Asia who are producing very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) hit a six-month high as decrease in outputs kept supply low. Demand for shipping fuel reached pre-Coivd-19 volumes, as majority of ports returned to normal operations. While refined fuels such as gasoline, jet fuel and gasoil bore the brunt of the pandemic induced lockdown restrictions, residue fuels used in electricity generation and shipping have continued to maintain their demand levels.

9:39 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Covid-19 casts a shadow over Aramco profits – India’s crude oil imports see a 10% drop in September

4 November

Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco) recorded a 44.6% slump in Q3 net profits as the ongoing pandemic wreaked havoc on the demand and prices of crude oil. Weak margins from refining and chemicals division also impacted the company’s net profit, which declined to 44.21 billion riyals ($11.79bn).

Gas focused companies are witnessing a recovery as natural gas prices begin to improve after being impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, while oil prices continue to be affected. The US benchmark natural gas prices surged 33% in October, while oil prices registered a 11% decline for the same period.

Crude oil imports to India dropped for the sixth consecutive month in September as the Covid-19 pandemic diminished fuel demand. The decline in demand, however, was the lowest since the beginning of the nationwide lockdown in March. The crude oil imports in September registered a 9.8% slump from the same period in 2019. The LNG imports rose by 4.5% to 1.64Mt in September, recording an all-time high since the index started in 2004.

Oil prices recorded a 3% rise on US election day, despite volatility and increase in coronavirus cases across the world. The Brent crude futures increased to $40.10 per barrel, as US West Texas Intermediate futures surged to $37.94 per barrel. The benchmark prices, which slumped last week, made a recovery thanks to Russian oil ministry holding discussions with local companies on the prospects of extending oil production curbs into next year.

9:44 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Second wave of Covid-19 to hit oil demand – Marathon posts lower-than-expected loss in Q3

3 November

International oil trading companies Vitol and Trafigura have forecast global oil demand to decline further as the US and European region experience a second wave coronavirus cases. The second wave is expected to impact oil demand by between 1.5 million bpd and 1 million bpd in Europe and US respectively. Trafigura projects oil demand to drop to roughly 92 million bpd or less in the coming months, while Vitol estimates oil demand to decline to 96 million bpd.

American refining company Marathon Petroleum registered a smaller loss during the third quarter thanks to increase in fuel prices as Covid-19 pandemic induced restrictions were relaxed. The net loss for the company during the quarter was $1.02bn against a profit of $1.1bn for the corresponding period in 2019. Marathon projects refinery production in Q4 to reach 2.48 million bpd, lower than 2.54 million bpd in Q3.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic and transition towards renewable energy is expected to have a lasting impact on the oil demand worldwide. The demand for oil is expected to reach 100 million bpd in 2023, before hitting a peak of 102 million bpd in 2028, lower than pre-Covid-19 estimate of 106 million bpd in 2030. The pandemic is expected to drastically bring down demand by 2050 to 62 million bpd.

Oil major Shell has reassured workers at offshore platforms about paying full daily wages even if they are asked to leave work early due to concerns related to the spread of coronavirus infection. Many employees working on platforms are refraining from informing their superiors about Covid-19 related symptoms or coming in contact with workers having Covid-19 symptoms amid retrenchment fears. Shell reported that it is planning to introduce Covid-19 pre-testing for offshore workers to ensure safety at platforms.

9:39 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Covid-19 pandemic forces oil majors to cut spending – October gasoline sales in India rebound

02 November

Russian-Vietnamese oil company Rusvietpetro has announced drilling tenders to sustain plateau production at oilfields in northern Russia, despite restrictions being reimposed by the to drill five development wells each at Upper Kolvinskoye and West Khosedayuskove fields at depths ranging between 3,000m and 3,500m.

US-based oil companies, Chevron and Exxon, have announced drastic reduction in spending in 2021 to counter the diminishing fuel demand triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. Although Chevron managed to post a thin profit, Exxon registered losses. The two companies are also taking other cost cutting measures including retrenching their employees.

India’s diesel sales in October reached 6.17mt, while its gasoil consumption increased by 6.6% compared to 2019, the first rise since the Covid-19 lockdown measures were imposed in March. Gasoil sales, which account for 40% of the country’s fuel demand, surged 27.5% from the previous month. India’s state-owned IOC is bullish on refineries operating at full capacity in the upcoming months, as domestic fuel demand is rising.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on oil and gas projects in the US Gulf of Mexico will delay the recovery of the offshore support vessels (OSVs) market by more than two years, according to VesselsValue. The utilisation rates for OSVs, offshore construction vessels (OCVs) and mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs) was 59%, 60% and 78%, respectively in September, which are the lowest for a major offshore oil and gas market.

Oil exploration company Devon Energy has reduced its spending estimates, while increasing its production forecast for 2020 as the company witnessed increased efficiency at oil and gas wells. The company has also benefitted from the recovery in oil prices and fuel demand as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were eased. The company’s yearly oil output is expected to hit 154,000bpd, from the previous estimate of 148,000bpd to 152,000bpd.

9:19 am

Coronavirus company news summary – No tax allowances for Russian oil producers – Polarcus’ revenues decline by 76% in third quarter

30 October

Russian finance minister has declared that tax concessions will not be provided to oil companies, which are awaiting government incentives to raise investment and boost production to pre-pandemic levels. The minister noted that the country wants to be less dependent in oil revenues and focus spending on other sectors to boost the economy.

Polarcus, a marine seismic exploration company, registered a loss of $13.5m in the third quarter compared to a profit of $13.7m for the corresponding period in 2019. The slowdown in the oil and gas market induced by the pandemic impacted the company’s revenues, which declined by 76% to $24.3m in Q3 from $103.4m in 2019.

US-based oil and gas firm ConocoPhillips registered a lower-than-expected loss of $450m in Q3 compared to $3.1bn in earnings in 2019 aided by rebound in crude oil prices. The company reduced its output by 460,000 barrels per day in June due to fall in crude oil prices caused by the pandemic but returned to near normal production levels in Q3 as oil prices recovered.

Norwegian energy giant Equinor has wrote off assets worth $2.93bn noting that the coronavirus pandemic and shift from fossil fuels will deeply impact the energy market. The company’s biggest write off was in the US mostly comprising of onshore shale oil and gas business worth $1.38bn, which led to a net loss of $2.12bn in Q3.

9:29 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Eni’s oil production declines by 10% – Crude oil pipeline volumes plunge by over 25% in Q3

29 October

Italian oil and gas major Eni reported a 10% drop in production to 1.7 million boed during the first nine months of the year, compared to the same period in 2019. The company registered an adjusted net loss of €0.15bn ($177m) in Q3, a dip of €0.76bn ($893m) compared to 2019, due to the coronavirus pandemic induced oil demand slump.

US-based oil pipeline firm Enterprise Products recorded a 26.1% drop in crude oil pipeline transport volumes during Q3 as the ongoing pandemic reduced oil prices and consequently production. The Covid-19 crisis impacted the boom in US shale production, which led to an expansion of pipeline networks. Enterprise Products’ revenue declined by 13.1% to $6.92bn due to dwindling gas, natural gas liquids and crude oil volumes.

OPEC and its allies will need to deal with demand issues before the planned increase of oil output by two million barrels per day starting January 2021, to offset the production cuts implemented in view of Covid-19 induced demand slump. The oil demand in China is expected to continue its strong run in Q4, while recovery is still subdued in other parts of the world. The second wave of infections in Europe and increase in output in Libya is also leading to uncertainties in the oil market.

Consumption of aviation fuel in China bounced back in September, owing to surge in domestic air travel, although international flight traffic remained subdued. The sales of domestic aviation fuel reached 523,300 barrels per day in September, reaching pre-lockdown levels and is expected to further increase, according to a Reuters report.

9:22 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Russian tax changes to affect oil producers – BP cuts losses amid oil demand recovery

28 October

Lukoil, a Russian oil company, warned that Kremlin’s revision of tax laws, scheduled to come into effect next year, will cause long-term ramifications for oil producers. The company has been already impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic forcing $1.5bn worth of oil projects to be put on hold. The new tax regime will increase government remittances from top oil producers. It is being introduced on a pilot basis for roughly 40 oilfields in the Siberian region.

The offshore workforce in UK North Sea was reduced by more than 30% since the beginning of the lockdown imposed to contain spread of coronavirus. The sudden retrenchments are being attributed to shutdown of construction activity and drilling operations, with the number of people losing their jobs increasing to 9,000 in August. The Workforce Insight Report 2020 said that many companies in oil sector are subscribing to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to avoid cutting jobs.

The drilling of exploration wells off the Norwegian coast by oil companies hit the lowest in more than a decade this year owing to spending cuts implemented to weather the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The drilling activity slumped drastically, falling from 57 wells last year to 30 wells in 2020. Norway is going ahead with its plan to expand oil industry by proffering lands to exploration companies, notwithstanding ecological concerns raised by environmentalists.

BP, a UK-based oil and gas company, reported reduction in Q3 losses, compared with the previous quarter, predominantly owing to lack of write-downs, increase in oil demand and balanced prices. The net loss for the September quarter was $450m, a huge decrease from the previous quarter loss of $16.85bn, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. BP, however, is retrenching 10,000 workers accounting for 15% of its total workforce, due to assets write-downs triggered by the pandemic.

10:43 am

Coronavirus company news summary – 25% of global offshore rigs could go offline – Second wave of Covid-19 pandemic delays oil demand recovery

27 October

An analysis by Rystad Energy has revealed that 59 of the 213 drilling rigs, including 37 submersibles and 22 drill ships, operating globally may be permanently shut down. The demand for floaters, which revived globally in January, was impacted due to Covid-19 pandemic. The declining trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. The global demand for rigs was 129 rig years in 2019 and is predicted to drop to 110 rig years in 2020.

The global oil demand is expected to take more time to revive due to rise in the number of Covid-19 cases. The International Energy Agency predicts that global oil demand for 2020 will be at 91.7 million barrels per day (bpd), a decline of 8.4 million bpd from last year. Oil consumption worldwide is expected to increase by 1.7 million bpd by end of Q4, compared to September quarter.

Libya has decided to restart oil operations at its last field, after the country’s civil war ended in a truce. The daily oil production in the country as a result will increase to one million bpd. The restart of Libyan operations is an obstacle for OPEC+ as it plans to increase crude prices, with many countries reimposing coronavirus lockdowns. The Brent Crude oil price dropped by 33% year-to-date and is placed between $40 and $43 per barrel for the past few weeks.

The oil service industry is increasing their focus on energy transition businesses to prepare for the new changes induced by the coronavirus pandemic. Major service companies such as Baker Hughes, Schlumberger and Halliburton’s finances are steadily recovering after the pandemic wreaked havoc in the first half of the year. Energy transition is expected to help these companies recover in the post Covid-19 scenario.

9:42 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Bleak prospects for oil refiners in Europe – Oil and gas sector receives aid from CARES Fund

26 October

The resurgence of Covid-19 cases across European countries has led to reduction in transport fuel prices impacting oil refining companies, which are already facing losses due to the pandemic. Gasoline margins declined from $8.36/bl two weeks ago to $2.94/bl as demand for fell by almost 90%.

The Covid-19 induced lockdown and the resultant decrease in demand adversely affected India’s oil and gas production last month. The oil output in September fell by 6.05% from last year, while natural gas and petroleum production for the same period shrunk by 10.7% and 9.49%, respectively.

India’s Emergency Commission has allocated $16m in aid to the oil and gas industry from the PM CARES Fund established to support businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The funds will be utilised for fracking water procurement and disposal costs, with each well estimated to cost $200,000.

Alberta province decided to remove curbs imposed on crude oil production for containing the Covid-19 outbreak starting from December. The move will help reduce pipeline clogging and provide reprieve for the local economy, which is bearing the brunt of the pandemic. Approximately one-sixth of crude oil output in Alberta is currently off the grid due to Covid-19 restrictions.

10:11 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Woodside Petroleum to expand Scarborough gas project – Covid-19 impacts Kinder Morgan’s profits – EQT Corp records lower-than-expected loss in Q3

23 October

Australian oil and gas company Woodside Petroleum announced plans to increase capacity at its Scarborough gas field located off of Western Australia by 20%. The project was put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The capacity of the project will now be increased from 6.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 8mtpa.

US energy infrastructure company Kinder Morgan reported a 10% decline in revenue in Q3, due to slump in natural gas and refined products shipments amid the coronavirus pandemic. The company’s revenue from product pipeline sales dropped by 20% in the September quarter.

American natural gas exploration firm EQT registered a quarterly loss below expectations, as reduction in operational costs offset the decline in gas demand and prices caused by the pandemic. The company’s net loss, however, increased to $601m for third quarter, compared to a loss of $361m for the same period in 2019.

Transocean Deepwater, an offshore driller, announced plans to lay off between 50 and 110 contract employees employed at its Deepwater Asgard drillship located in the Gulf of Mexico. The job cuts will commence in December and the retrenched staff will be paid severance.

9:22 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Exxon Mobil warns of retrenchments – Baker Hughes revenue drops 31% in third quarter

22 October

The top five oil and gas companies in the US have lost $307bn in market capitalisation, a 45% slump from last year, according to latest figures from StockApps. Oil prices were already plummeting, and the pandemic only exacerbated the situation triggering the fall in revenue and market cap for industry majors. The US-China trade war, oil surplus and the Russia-Saudi Arabia impasse over oil price are some of the other factors influencing losses.

Lower production and non-conducive prices for overseas buyers are expected to impact US crude oil exports throughout 2020. Oil production in the US is not expected to recover to previous year peak of 13 million barrels per day, impacting exports, which is a major source of revenue for majority of the oil companies. October exports fell to approximately 2.1 million barrels per day, the lowest in almost a year according to the US Energy Department.

Oil major Exxon Mobil is planning to cut jobs as low oil prices lead to postponement of significant projects due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company has not disclosed the exact number of employees it will lay off but CEO Darren Woods said that the decision was taken as the company is facing one of its worst crisis in recent times. Exxon Mobil also reduced its capital spending budget by $10bn to cut its losses.

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes registered losses for the third straight quarter in 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic triggered decline in oil prices. The income from the company’s oilfield services division, which contributes approximately 50% of total sales, dropped to $2.31bn in Q3. Orders for the company’s oilfield equipment saw a drop of approximately 60%, from the corresponding period in 2019.

9:28 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Oil Search revenue drops by almost 50% – Alberta’s oil and gas firms granted tax respite

21 October

Oil Search, Papua New Guinea’s largest oil exploration firm, has reported a revenue loss of 47.7% in third quarter, a 55% drop from corresponding period in 2019. The decline in crude prices due to the ongoing pandemic impacted the company’s LNG products. The firm’s share price declined by 60% during the year as it has been badly hit by the plummeting oil prices.

Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said that it was too early to discuss the future of oil production cuts beyond the current year, considering the rising number of Covid-19 cases. OPEC+, comprising OPEC nations and Russia, planned to progressively ease oil production cuts in a deal signed in April to maintain prices in view of declining oil demand. The first phase of production cuts is scheduled to commence in January 2021.

Brazilian oil firm Petrobras reported that production estimates in 2020 are expected to exceed previous projections, as it boosted production at its offshore oilfields. The company was able to quickly recover despite closure of its production units due to the ongoing pandemic. Petrobras revised its production targets to 2.84 million boepd from the previous estimate of 2.7 million boepd.

Canada’s Alberta province has given its oil and gas companies a three-year moratorium on municipal property taxes, as they try to cope with losses incurred due to the pandemic. The tax break is applicable for lands where the companies are drilling wells or constructing pipelines. The provincial government will also reduce property tax on less productive wells and abolish provincial tax levied on drills.

9:25 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Halliburton posts fourth straight quarterly loss – Ampol returns to profits as fuel sales increase

20 October

Oil field services provider, Halliburton, reported a net loss of $17m in the fourth quarter of 2020 as oil and gas demand remains low due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Total revenue declined by 7% compared to the previous quarter. Halliburton’s Chief Executive Jeff Miller forecasts recovery in 2021 aided by boost in activity of unfinished wells.

Crude oil imports to Japan declined by 21.2% between April and September, which is the lowest level recorded since 1979. Fuel demand in the country, which is the fourth biggest importer of crude oil, declined due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Japan imported 2.34 million barrels per day of crude oil during the first half of the year.

Australian refiner Ampol has reported a net profit of A$129m ($91m) for the third quarter after reporting a loss of A$597m ($423m) in the second quarter. The increase in profits was attributed to the recovery of the company’s fuel retailing business and despite the Lytton refinery in Queensland being affected by restrictions imposed due to Covid-19 pandemic.

9:15 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Schlumberger revenue slumps by 38% – OPEC+ cautious about oil surplus next year

19 October

Leading oilfield service company, Schlumberger announced losses for the third straight quarter due to decrease in oil prices and demand amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The total revenue of the company fell by 38% to $5.26bn. The 2020 earnings of Schlumberger dropped to $1.16bn from $2.85bn in 2019 as the global oil prices declined by 36% for the year.

Taqa, a North Sea oil and gas company, sent more than 50 of its workers into isolation to curb the potential spread of coronavirus. The labourers came in contact with seven Covid-19 positive workers from the Brae platform, while travelling together in helicopters.

OPEC and its partners are apprehensive about a surplus in the oil market in 2021 due to a second wave of Covid-19 and an increase in oil production in Libya, according to a Reuters report. The Joint Technical Committee of OPEC+ countries discussed on how the potential surplus situation could jeopardise the organisation’s plans to reduce oil cuts made in 2020 and increase oil production by two million bpd next year.

Demand for diesel in India has exceeded expectations in the first half of the month as the government lifted coronavirus lockdown restrictions. The diesel demand increased by 9% in the first 15 days of October from corresponding period last year and by 24.5% from September.

9:40 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Shell defers restart of FLNG operations to 2021 – Trading firms project positive outlook for oil

16 October

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, energy major Shell has announced that production at its Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) platform off Western Australia will not resume in 2020. The Prelude project went offline in February due to electrical tripping and the company is facing many hurdles to restart full production, a Reuters report said.

Crude producers in Russia have announced plans to reduce oil drilling activities by 20% in 2021 due to impact of the coronavirus pandemic on oil price and demand. Russia has already reduced production by at least 33% in 2020 under a deal with the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that is expected to continue until April 2022.

Three trading companies including Vitol, Gunvoe and Trafigura have forecast that oil demand is expected to reach its peak during the next decade. The oil market has surpassed its peak in US and Europe and the decline in demand in these regions will be offset by the Asia-Pacific region, specifically the Chinese market.

9:56 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Global refining throughput to increase in Q4 2020 – US shale oil production to fall in November

15 October

The worldwide throughput from refining is set to rise in Q4 2020, reaching 75.8 million barrels per day (bpd), an increase of 2.1 million bpd from the previous quarter, the IEA monthly report said. Despite the growth, the throughput will not balance oil products markets. The demand for transport fuels plummeted due to the Covid-19 lockdown, which placed huge pressure on refiners across the globe.

The shale oil output in US is set to drop to around 7.69 million bpd in November, US Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicted. The next month’s production will decrease by 123,000 bpd, continuing the decline trend for the third straight month. While majority of the seven shale formations in the country are projected to shrink output, the Eagle Ford basin will be the worst hit, with production expected to drop to lowest levels in seven years. Oil and gas producers in the country have cut down their spending and reduced production this year due to a steep fall in demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) expressed concern about increase in serious incidents in the oil and gas industry, and urged companies to streamline safety precautions. The industry witnessed around 50 incidents so far in 2020, which is four times the number in 2018. According to PSA, the incidents could be due to the adverse impact of the ongoing pandemic on industry safety. The regulator is also conducting inquiry into the incidents.

9:57 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Crude oil imports to China rise in September – Shell removes workers from North Sea facility after Covid-19 scare

14 October

Saudi Arabian state-owned oil company Aramco is hopeful that oil demand will return to pre-corona levels by 2022. At the Energy Intelligence Forum, Aramco CEO Amin Nasser stated that the recovery will depend on how Covid-19 develops and the availability of vaccine. The International Energy Agency expects the oil demand to recover by 2023.

China, the biggest crude oil importer in the world, imported 48.48 million tons (mt) of oil in September, a 2.1% increase from August, according to the General Administration of Customs. The reason for the increase in imports is attributed to cargoes clearing customs after being stranded at ports for a few months while onshore storage volume has expanded. The country imported 416mt of crude oil in September in the first nine months of 2020, equivalent to 11.08 million barrels per day (bpd), reported Reuters.

Energy firm Shell removed fourteen workers from its North Sea platform in the UK after a worker tested positive for coronavirus. The Covid-19 positive worker was removed on Friday itself and the situation at the facility is being closely monitored. The FPSO platform will also be in isolation for the next two weeks. The trade union chief cautioned the industry workers to stay alert and reduce the risk of coronavirus spread in the seas.

10:14 am

Coronavirus company news summary – OPEC revises 2030 oil demand estimate down – Naturgy renegotiates gas contracts with Sonatrach

9 October

OPEC has cut its long-term global oil demand forecast because of Covid-19’s ongoing impact on the economy. The trading bloc said global oil demand will rise to 107.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2030, from 90.7 million bpd this year. This stands at around 1.1 million bpd below its 2030 prediction made last year, reported Reuters. OPEC also highlighted that the increase in home working will affect future demand.

Spanish gas and electricity group Naturgy has reached an agreement to renegotiate gas contracts with Sonatrach, an Algerian state-owned company. The new agreement revises prices, volume and duration arrangements. This comes after the Covid-19 pandemic weakened demand, prompting several companies to renegotiate supply deals. Naturgy also plans to renegotiate supply deals with other companies.

Chevron workers are being asked to reapply for jobs as part of a global restructuring process, according to Reuters. The company is reorganising its operations in order to reduce costs and boost profits. This reorganisation would cut up to 15% of its workforce, but it was not confirmed how many employees were asked to reapply. Earlier, Chevron booked a $1bn charge to cover severance pay for workers affected by the restructuring.

9:32 am

Permian Basin witnessed drastic drop in drilling activity during Covid-19 pandemic

GlobalData’s latest report, Permian Basin in the US, 2020 – Oil and Gas Shale Market Analysis and Outlook to 2022, says that the Permian Basin is expected to observe average crude and condensate production of approximately 4.3 million barrels per day (mmbd) in 2020, an annual decline of 5% from 2019.

In 2020, the Covid–19 pandemic and the decline in crude prices have severely impacted the drilling activity in the Permian Basin region.

Click here to read the full article.

9:27 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Singapore oil trader ZenRock loses majority of staff – Norway’s gas supplies to Europe rise

7 October

Most of Singapore oil trader ZenRock’s employees have left the “troubled” company, a former director told Reuters. ZenRock is managed by a court-appointed supervisor since May after it faced financial troubles following the oil price crash after Covid-19 pandemic. ZenRock Holdings, the parent of ZenRock Commodities, did not confirm the report.

The number of mergers and acquisitions in the US oil and gas sector during the third quarter of the year has dropped significantly amid Covid-19 crisis. In the quarter that ended in September, 28 deals with disclosed value were signed, Reuters reported quoting energy consultancy Enverus. The combined value of these deals was around $21bn. The sluggish pace of deals was due to the current market conditions as most companies are looking to trim expenditures.

Norwegian gas supplies to Europe have increased despite ongoing workers strike that forced six offshore oil and gas fields to shut operations. According to a Reuters report, other fields ramped up production that improved European exports. The UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium are the main importers of Norwegian gas.

9:40 am

Coronavirus company news summary – OPEC unlikely to boost oil production in 2021 – Novatek to produce up to 70 million tonnes of LNG annually

30 September

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is unlikely to boost oil output from January next year, as earlier planned, Reuters reported quoting top traders. The increase in production will further weaken the already frail market, they opined. In March this year, OPEC and other key oil producers trimmed production further following the Covid-19 outbreak that plummeted fuel demand.

Rosneft and Saudi Aramco may not place bids to acquire stakes in Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) as the current market situation forced the oil majors to revisit their investment plans. A source told Reuters that Rosneft, which initially showed interest, will not acquire BPCL. On the other hand, Saudi Aramco is yet to submit a formal expression of interest (EoI) and a source told that the company is unlikely to bid for BPCL.

Russia’s Novatek aims to produce up to 70 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year by 2030 despite the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. The intended target is around three times of its current output. The plan also includes increasing its market share from less than 10% currently to 15% by 2025.

9:36 am

Permian Basin outlook to stabilise at an average annual production of 4.3 million barrels per day during 2020

The Permian Basin has been the most affected play in the US since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. The play had a drastic drop in its output going from 4.85 million barrels per day (mmbd) in March 2020 to 3.89 mmbd in May 2020. At its peak in March, the Permian had 405 drilling rigs and currently, in September, there are just 125 drilling rigs in the area. Oil production has grown back to reach 4.11 mmbd in August. The rise in production came mainly from operators re-opening up wells that were previously shut-in during prior months.

Click here to read the full article.

9:33 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US oil and gas rig count rises – China’s LNG imports likely to rise

28 September

The US oil and gas rig count increased for a second week in a row as crude prices recover from historic lows following the Covid-19 outbreak. According to Baker Hughes data, the number of oil rigs in the country increased by four to 183 in the week to 25 September. The number of gas rigs rose two to 75. The total count dropped to a record low of 244 rigs in the middle of last month.

The Government of Canada has committed C$320m ($238.6m) to support the struggling offshore oil industry. The investment will support jobs as well as help in funding maintenance and upgrade works as well as environmental services, Reuters reported quoting Canadian Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan. This comes after the weak oil prices forced crude producers to trim expenditures and output.

According to a Reuters report, China’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports is expected to grow this year despite the impact of Covid-19. This year, the imports will amount to 65-67 million tonnes, a jump of around 10% over 2019’s figures. The increase is primarily attributed to growing industrial use and residential demand. However, globally, the LNG demand will fall by around 4%.

9:27 am

Coronavirus company news summary – OGUK welcomes government’s winter economy plans – Iraq denies agreement to increase crude exports

25 September

Indian Oil is planning to postpone some of its refinery expansion projects as demand continues to remain weak amid Covid-19 crisis. According to a PTI report, the projects will be revived as demand surges and with gradual increase in the use of cleaner fuels. In an interview, Indian Oil chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya opined that diesel and petrol will continue to remain dominant fuels for the next two decades in the country.

Oil & Gas UK (OGUK), an association which represents offshore oil and gas industry in the UK, has welcomed winter economy plans by the government. The plan includes a wage subsidy scheme that seeks to protect jobs in the economy. Earlier this year, OGUK published a report that the industry may face up to 30 thousand job cuts due to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

Iraq has dismissed a local media report that claimed that an agreement with the OPEC+ group will be signed soon to increase the country’s crude oil exports. Oil ministry spokesman Asim Jihad told Reuters that Iraq is committed to the output cut agreement and is working with all members to address the present challenges that caused the oil demand to plummet.

10:11 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Gazprom Neft expects oil demand to recover in late 2021 – European bank loans $253m to Georgian oil corp

24 September

Gazprom Neft CEO Alexander Dyukov has said he expects oil demand to recover to pre-Covid-19 crisis levels in the second half of next year, Reuters reported. At an event, he also said the company remains comfortable with current oil prices of more than $40 per barrel. Earlier, Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said that global oil consumption will completely recover in the second quarter of next year.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has agreed to provide a loan of $253m (€217m) to Georgia’s state-run Oil and Gas Corporation. The loan amount will help the company refinance its Eurobond issue, set to mature next year. According to the bank, the loan will help GOGC to mitigate cash flow issues coming from pandemic-related issues.

Premier Oil has started discussions with BP to lower the value of a deal to buy stakes in two North Sea oilfields. According to a Reuters report, Premier Oil aims to reduce the cash payment to BP to $80m, a reduction of $70m. It is also working to raise $530m to pay for the deal and reduce debt. The acquisition was originally valued at $625m, but Premier’s cash payment was revised to $210m following the oil price cash.

10:31 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Exxon receives multiple bids for UK North Sea assets – Gran Tierra Energy resumes operations at several fields

23 September

Nigerian Labour Congress is set to begin an indefinite strike from next week to protest against the government’s decision to increase power and petrol prices. This comes after Nigeria reduced subsidies on petrol and increased power tariff, reported Reuters. The step was taken to qualify for loans from international lenders after government income slipped following the Covid-19 triggered oil price crash.

Exxon Mobil has received several bids for its assets in UK North Sea amid the Covid-19 crisis, Bloomberg reported quoting unnamed sources. The company is planning to exit from this region by offering its stake in 15 fields as part of a multibillion-dollar global divestment plan. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

Canada-based company Gran Tierra Energy has resumed several field activities across the company’s Colombian portfolio. The operations restarted operations in accordance with Covid-19 safety protocols. In the period from July to 21 September, the company’s production averaged around 18,700 BOE per day. Gran Tierra Energy is also pursuing optimisation programmes and have reduced operating costs by nearly $3/bbl.

9:36 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Shell to slash oil and gas spending – Axora launches platform to assist recovery

22 September

Royal Dutch Shell is planning to reduce its oil and gas expenditure to increase its investment in renewable energy and power markets. According to a Reuters report, the review is expected to be completed this year and aims to reduce up to 40% of its oil and gas production spending. Last year, Shell’s overall operating costs amounted to $38bn.

India’s crude imports fell by 23.4% last month on a year-on-year basis amid increase in Covid-19 cases in the country. In August, imports slipped to 15.15 million tonnes or 3.58 million barrels per day (bpd), Reuters reported citing government data. However, the figure represents a jump from 13.79 million tonnes, or 3.26 bpd, reported in July this year.

Axora has launched an online Oil and Gas Resource Centre to assist companies to recover from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. The centre is developed to provide the companies with latest industry insights as well as access to digital solutions and technologies to support business growth and trim investment.

Barclays Commodities Research has increased its oil price forecast for this year as it expects limited potential downside to the demand outlook. According to Reuters, the company increased its Brent and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price forecasts to $43 and $39 per barrel, respectively. This comes after OPEC announced that it will undertake punitive measures against members which will violate the agreed output cut deal.

9:50 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US oil rig count falls despite increase in energy prices – Coronavirus slows China’s gas demand growth

21 September

The US oil rig count fell by one to 179 in the week to 18 September despite the recent increase in energy prices, Reuters reported citing data from the energy services firm Baker Hughes. In the same week, gas rigs rose two to 73. Overall, the total rig count increased by one to 255. This is 71% below the level recorded at this time last year.

Inpex and Chevron are set to trim their workforces in Australia amid Covid-19 crisis. Inpex plans to cut jobs at its Ichthys liquefied natural gas (LNG) project as crude prices remain weak. However, it did not confirm how many jobs it plans to axe. Chevron also noted that it will reduce its headcount in Australia as part of its global restructuring that involves trimming its workforce up to 15%.

The Covid-19 pandemic is set to decelerate China’s gas demand growth this year. In 2020, the natural gas consumption will grow at 4.2%, Reuters said citing a government research report. The figure represents the lowest growth rate in the last five years. In the first half of the year, the demand increased by 1.5%, the report further added.

10:02 am

Coronavirus company news summary – OPEC+ urges better output cut compliance – Russian oil exports to remain stable in Q4

18 September

OPEC+, which includes the oil cartel members and other key producers, urged better compliance with oil output cuts. The group warned that rising Covid-19 cases in some countries may further dampen crude demand, reported Reuters. Previously, OPEC+ agreed to trim output by 7.7 million barrels per day (bpd) to revive oil prices.

Russian oil exports are expected to remain stable in the last three month period of this year on a quarter-on-quarter basis amid Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020 Q4, the exports will amount to around 62.4 million tonnes, Reuters reported citing loading schedule. In the third quarter of this year, the figure was 62.8 million tonnes.

According to a PTI report, India’s petrol demand may have touched pre-Covid-19 levels following an increase in sales in the first half of this month. In the first 15 days of September, petrol sales jumped 2.2% on a year-on-year basis. The figure also represents a 7% increase over the previous month. However, diesel sales in the country continue to drag with demand falling 6% year-on-year.

10:32 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Aker plans further diversification of business – IBIA estimates bunker fuel demand to fall

17 September

Several oil refiners are planning to shut down processing plants as demand continues to remain weak with bleak prospects. According to a Reuters report, Japanese oil refiner Eneos Holdings plans to close the 115,000bpd Osaka refinery next month, while Royal Dutch Shell has decided to permanently shutdown its 110,000bpd Tabangao facility in the Philippines. In the US, Marathon Petroleum is considering to permanently suspend crude processing at refineries in Martinez and Gallup.

Norway’s Aker group is planning to reduce its dependence on oil and gas operations in the next decade by focusing on IT and low carbon energy businesses. This was said by Kjell Inge Roekke, who holds 67% stake in the Aker group. Roekke further added IT and low carbon will account for more than 50% of the company’s assets within five to ten years. This comes when the oil and gas sector is struggling to recover from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) estimates that bunker fuel demand will fall by up to 17% globally this year due to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. Global marine fuel demand is estimated to be 300 million tonnes per annum. An IBIA executive was quoted by Reuters as saying that the fall in global demand may trigger more consolidation among bunker suppliers.

9:56 am

Coronavirus company news summary – IEA trims 2020 oil demand forecast – Petrobras to trim exploration investments

16 September

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has again reduced its 2020 oil demand forecast as Covid-19 pandemic continues to dampen demand. The agency trimmed outlook by 200,000bpd to 91.7 million bpd, reported Reuters. In the monthly report, IEA also warned that the recovery will slow down in the second half of this year. Rising Covid-19 cases in some countries, remote working programmes and struggling aviation sector are contributing factors to the weak demand, it further added.

Brazilian firm Petrobras has decided to trim its expenditures for oil exploration and production for the next four years due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. The company said that it will invest $40bn between 2021 and 2025 without disclosing further details. Initially, Petrobras planned to spend $64bn for the 2020-2024 period. The company is also planning to divest assets as part of its efforts to reduce debt.

Indian oil refiner Nayara Energy expects that diesel demand in the country will recover to pre-Covid-19 levels by the end of next year or early 2022. Nayara Energy vice-president Ashutosh Deshpande said this at the Platts APPEC 2020 virtual conference. He added that resumption of economic activity, good monsoon rains and upcoming festival season will support diesel demand.

9:39 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Chevron trims Venezuelan workforce – OPEC revises global oil demand forecast

15 September

The US shale output is set for the first monthly decline next month since May, Reuters reported citing the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) monthly productivity report. In October, the production from seven major shale formations will drop by 68,000bpd to 7.64 million bpd. This comes when oil prices are still 40% down from the levels seen at the beginning of this year due to ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

US oil company Chevron has reportedly trimmed its workforce in Venezuela as part of a global restructuring process. Sources told Reuters that the company has sacked around 20 employees. Chevron initiated the restructuring after the historic fall in crude prices. The process is expected to reduce the company’s headcount by 10-15%.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has revised its global oil demand forecast as Covid-19 crisis continues to impact consumption. In a monthly report, the oil cartel said that oil demand will fall by 9.46 million bpd this year, much higher than 9.06 million bpd decline predicted a month ago. It also said that the recovery will also slower than expected earlier.

10:59 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US oil and gas rig count falls again – BP forecasts fossil fuel consumption to shrink

14 September

The US oil and gas rig count drops again for the first time in the last four weeks, despite gradual recovery of the market from historic lows due to Covid-19 pandemic. According to data from Baker Hughes, the figure dropped by two to 254 in the week to 11 September. The number of oil rigs and gas rigs declined by one each to 180 and 71 respectively.

Russia’s Gazprom is planning to trim its investment program and budget (financial plan) for 2020 amid ongoing Covid-19 crisis. The Gazprom Management Committee has endorsed the revised plan which aims to reduce overall investments by RUB182.235bn ($2.43bn). The total amount of investments will now stand at RUB922.489bn ($12.31bn).

BP has forecasted that fossil fuel consumption will shrink for the first time in modern history. According to a Reuters report, focus on renewable energy and the impact of Covid-19 pandemic will lead to the reduction in fossil fuel demand. The company estimates that the global economic activity will only partially recover from the epidemic impact over the next few years.

11:45 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid fatalities near 910,000 – infections pass 28.1 million

11 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 28,170,000, with more than 909,000 deaths and 18,995,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, daily confirmed cases continue to increase.

This is primarily driven by increasing cases observed in Latin America, the US, and India.

Cases are rising alarmingly in India with no indication to suggest that cases will decline in the near future.

Argentina is reporting an increasing trend of Covid-19 cases in Latin America.

In Europe, France and Spain are reporting high numbers of new daily cases.

Total confirmed cases collectively in Africa are very low with only South Africa among the top 30 most affected countries globally.

South Africa is reporting a steady decline in daily new cases in recent days.

However, countries such as Tunisia and Morocco have reported increasing trend of daily new cases.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

11:00 am

Global oil and gas M&A on a decline amid Covid-19 pandemic

GlobalData’s latest thematic report, ‘M&A in Oil and Gas (2017–Q1 2020)’ suggests that, in the short term, Covid-19 is likely to impact deal activity in the oil and gas sector. This may lead to a drop in the number of announced deals in each quarter and their deal value.

In Q1 2020, a total of 14 M&A deals with a transaction value of $50m or more were announced in the global oil and gas space. These deals had a combined transaction value of $4.2bn, which was down 80% when compared to Q4 2019 and 95% down compared to Q1 2019.

Click here to read the full article.

9:52 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 28.1 million – Western Europe a new hotspot

11 September

Global: Worldwide Covid-19 cases have now passed 28.1 million, with deaths exceeding 909,000 according to Johns Hopkins University.

Latin America: The number of confirmed coronavirus infections topped eight million in Latin America, though there were indications the spread of the virus was slowing in some countries. During the past week, the daily average of cases in the region fell to 67,173 through Wednesday from 80,512 in the previous seven days, according to a tally by Reuters.

Europe: Western Europe has surpassed the US in new daily infections, re-emerging as a global hotspot after bringing the pandemic under control earlier in the summer. The 27 countries in the European Union plus the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein recorded 27,233 new cases on Wednesday, compared with 26,015 for the US.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.7% as compared with the same time Wednesday to 6.38 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was in line with the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.8% to 191,444.

India: India has set another global one-day record for coronavirus infections with 96,551 new cases. The country’s total reported cases are 4,562,414, according to Johns Hopkins data, and deaths stand at 76,271.

Germany: Germany has recorded 1,484 new cases of coronavirus, taking the total of confirmed cases in the country to 2567,850, and 9,342 deaths.

France: France recorded almost 10,000 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, its highest-ever single-day total, a day before a cabinet meeting that might consider imposing fresh, local lockdowns to curb the spread of the disease.

New Zealand: New Zealand has recorded just one new community case of Covid-19. The person in their 50s is linked to the cluster around the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship group in Auckland.

South Korea: In South Korea, the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 176 new cases of Covid-19 as of midnight Thursday, bringing the total number of infections to 21,919, with 350 deaths.

Ukraine: Ukraine registered a record 3,144 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the national security council said, up from a previous record of 2,836 registered on September 5.

China: Mainland China reported 15 new coronavirus cases at the end of Thursday, up from seven cases a day earlier. The National Health Commission said in a statement all of the cases were imported infections involving travellers from overseas, marking the 26th straight day of no local infections.

Japan: The Japanese government is planning to have testing centres for coronavirus in nightlife districts across the nation in a bid to prevent flare-ups, Yomiuri reported, without saying who provided the information. Areas to be targeted include bar districts in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo and Fukuoka.

UK: Intensive care medics were significantly less likely to have been infected with Covid-19 than cleaners and other healthcare workers in departments deemed a lower risk, according to a study of several British hospitals at the peak of the pandemic.

Vaccine news

Brazil: Brazil is still to decide if it will join the COVAX Facility, a global Covid-19 vaccine allocation plan co-led by the World Health Organization, the acting health minister said on Thursday.

Lockdown updates

Australia: Daniel Andrews, the premier of the state of Victoria, said a curfew imposed to contain the state’s coronavirus outbreak will remain in place as health officials reported 43 new cases and nine deaths in the last 24 hours.

Singapore and Japan: Will begin a reciprocal green lane for business and official travel on 18 September, according to a joint government press statement.

Myanmar: A domestic flight ban came into effect in Myanmar on Friday, with Myanmar National Airlines, Air KBZ, Air Thanlwin and other airlines announcing the suspension of their services, many for at least two weeks.

Colombia: Maria Orozco, Colombia’s transport minister, said international flights to and out of the country will begin gradually, starting on 21 September, following a six-month hiatus to contain the spread of coronavirus.

US: The US is ending its Covid-19 screening of international travellers arriving at airports as airlines seek new ways to more aggressively test for the virus to boost traffic.


9:44 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Pelican to acquire Baker Hughes SPC flow business – Jadestone Energy reports 33% fall in net revenue

11 September

Pelican Energy Partners has signed an agreement to acquire Baker Hughes’ surface pressure control (SPC) flow business. The business comprises wellhead product sales and service, and a rental offering of frac trees, valves and zipper manifolds. This comes as various oil field services are divesting business units amid low drilling activity due to the impact of Covid-19.

India’s fuel demand plummeted the most in August since April as authorities resort to local lockdowns to check the spread of Covid-19. Last month, petroleum product sales dropped to 14.39 million tonnes, PTI reported citing Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) data. The figure represents a 7.5% fall compared to July and 16% on a year-on-year basis.

Jadestone Energy, an Asia-Pacific-focussed oil and gas production company, has reported a net revenue of $115.7m for the first half of this year. The figure represents a 33% fall from $171.7m posted a year ago. The fall was attributed to lower oil prices amid Covid-19 pandemic. In the first half of this year, the production was also 8% compared to H1 2019 due to weather downtime and increased maintenance activities among other reasons.

9:13 am

Why US dollar will remain dominant in spite of Covid

11 September

The weakening of the US dollar due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the new policies proposed by the Federal Reserve, led to speculations that the US dollar is losing its dominance as a global currency.

However, there is ‘push back’ that these speculations are exaggerated because ‘there are no other contenders’ for a reserve currency.

Daniel Lacalle, an economist and author, tweeted on how the US dollar index lost 10% since March and the speculations surrounding its collapse as a reserve currency.

He noted that these speculations are false and that the US dollar index has weakened only relative to the Euro and the Yen.

Lacalle added that the status of the US dollar as a reserve currency is not at risk as there is no other contender.


Read more

10:43 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Tullow Oil reports $1.3bn loss in H1 – Enterprise cancels crude pipeline project

10 September

Tullow Oil has reported a loss of $1.3bn in the first half of this year amid ongoing Covid-19 crisis. In the same six-month period last year, the company registered a profit of $103m. This comes after Tullow Oil was forced to write down $1.4 bln due to weak oil demand, reported Reuters. Currently, the company is exploring various refinancing alternatives.

Enterprise Products Partners has cancelled a 450,000-barrels-per-day crude pipeline project in Texas as oil prices continue to remain weak, Reuters reported. The company abandoned the M2E4 pipeline which was planned to transport crude from Midland in Texas to the ECHO 4 terminal in Houston. Enterprise expects that the move will trim growth capital expenditures for three years by nearly $800m.

Gazprom Marketing and Trading (GMT), the overseas trading arm of Gazprom, is set to shut down its crude oil and refined products trading desks to trim operating costs, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. As a result, around 20 people will leave the company. However, Gazprom did not confirm the move.

10:30 am

International update: Global Covid deaths likely to pass 1 million by October – infections near 28 million

10 September

Global: The global coronavirus death toll has passed 903,000 – just over ten weeks after passing 500,000. If global deaths continued at the current rate, the toll is likely to pass one million before 1 October, ten months after the World Health Organization was first informed of the first cases in Wuhan, China. The number of cases worldwide is nearing 28 million.

Europe: Infections continue to rise rapidly across Europe. France has seen its second-highest one-day case total of the pandemic so far and hospitalisations are at a one-month high, as the Netherlands and Portugal both confirmed their highest daily infections since April.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.2% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 6.33 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.3% to 189,972.

India: India has reported another record for daily coronavirus cases with the health ministry confirming 95,735 cases over the past 24 hours. Some 1,172 people in India also died from the virus, the ministry said.

Mexico: Mexico reported 4,647 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 647,507, according to data released by the Health Ministry Wednesday night. Cases rose 0.7%, compared with a seven-day average rise of 0.8%.

Spain: Spain’s daily coronavirus infections climbed close to last week’s four-month high, as the country struggles to control fresh outbreaks. There were 4,410 new cases in the past 24 hours, compared with 3,168 recorded Tuesday and taking the total to 543,379, according to Health Ministry data.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s health minister has pleaded with people to stop spreading misinformation about the coronavirus, as the government struggles to contain a mini-cluster centred on an evangelical church in Auckland.

Lockdown updates

UK: Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes a mass testing programme is the UK’s “only hope for avoiding a second national lockdown before a vaccine”, according to leaked official documents.

Japan: Japan plans to lift restrictions on bar and restaurant opening hours. Tokyo is reportedly planning to lift restrictions on opening hours for bars and restaurants, as new coronavirus cases in the city continued on a downward trend.

Australia: Australia’s health minister says the state of Victoria should consider lifting a night-time curfew in Melbourne if it wasn’t imposed for health reasons. The state has been under pressure over the 8pm (10:00 GMT) – 5am (19:00 GMT) curfew since the chief health officer told local radio he hadn’t recommended the policy.

Indonesia: Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan says the Indonesian capital will head back into lockdown as it steps up efforts to tackle what he said was an “emergency – more pressing than the start of the pandemic.”

Economic updates

US: New York City restaurants struggling to stay in business after months of closures imposed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic won a long-awaited approval on Wednesday to resume limited indoor dining.

Indonesia: Indonesia’s benchmark stock index fell 5% after its capital brought back social distancing measures amid a continued rise in the number of coronavirus cases.


9:23 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 27.8 million – deaths exceed 903,000

10 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 27,871,000, with more than 903,000 deaths and 18,780,000 recoveries.

India is the most affected country from Covid-19 with over 90,000 daily new cases and over 1,000 daily new deaths.

The US and Brazil continue to report the high number of daily new cases, but the daily new cases have started to gradually decline in both countries.

In Europe, France and Spain are reporting high number of daily new cases and the testing positivity rate is also rising in these countries.

According to World Health Organization, countries worldwide are now experiencing disruptions in child and maternal health services and vaccinations, as the economic and health resources are diverted to manage Covid-19.

This might reverse the years of progress made in child and maternal health.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

8:20 am

Climate change adds to Covid driven economic woes

10 September

Wildfires and flooding have become increasingly common due to the effects of climate change.

As these changes increase, they are expected to majorly impact a financial system already under pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Matthew E. Kahn, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Economics and Business at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on how a new report from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has highlighted the impact of climate change on financial markets.

The report states that the disruptions caused by climate change can threaten the fundamental conditions that support the country’s financial system.

US President Donald Trump had downplayed the impact of climate change on economic growth.

The new report is a first from a government entity highlighting the damage that climate change can have on financial markets.

The first risk posed by climate change is expected to be rising prices of homes and mortgage default rates due to the wildfires and flooding.

Climate change is also expected to impact agricultural commodity prices, the report added.

In other news, Professor Steve Hanke, economist at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on more than 10,000 deaths related Covid-19 in Argentina.

Despite having a strict lockdown, the country has not been able to control the spread of the virus.

Read more

9:27 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Oil and gas market outlook remains uncertain – LNG investments plummet in 2020

9 September

Baker Hughes CEO Lorenzo Simonelli has said that the outlook for oil and gas markets continue to remain uncertain due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At an event, he also said that the company is planning to rationalise the business in the wake of current market situation. The changes may include shedding non-core business lines, reported Reuters.

New liquefied natural gas (LNG) investments have plunged this year amid Covid-19 pandemic and weak demand. According to a Reuters report, no LNG export projects could be approved this year due to uncertain market conditions. Several companies chose to delay potential projects as well as write down investments in existing plants.

Russia is planning to ready its incomplete oil wells in a bid to regain its market share once demand recovers following the Covid-19 crisis. According to a Reuters report, Russia aims to start operating the unfinished oil wells after the current production cut deal completes in 2022. OPEC and other allies, including Russia, agreed to trim output by 7.7 million bpd until December to revive oil prices.

8:38 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 27.5 million – deaths near 90,000

9 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 27,575,000, with more than 897,000 deaths and 18,535,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, total confirmed cases and total deaths continue to increase.

The US continues to rank highest in the world with over 6.3 million total confirmed cases.

However, India is currently reporting the highest number of daily new cases in the world, and on current trajectory could overtake the US in the future.

Western European countries have recently seen a rise in daily new cases that seems to have coincided with the reopening of their economies.

England will ban the social gathering of more than six people from September 14. This strict measure will be undertaken as cases have started to rise alarmingly in recent days.

This restriction is for private gatherings and will not apply to workplaces and schools.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

7:58 am

How stimulus wrangles could deepen US recession

9 September

The Democrats and Republicans are yet to reach a consensus on further stimulus package for the US economy.

The delay in releasing stimulus into the economy could worsen the unemployment rate and force states to increase spending cuts.

Adam Posen, president of Peterson Institute for International Economics, shared an article on how additional stimulus is essential for the US economy to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Democrats propose a stimulus package of $3.4tn, while the Republicans have proposed $1tn.

Lack of consensus on the stimulus may result in spending cuts by states causing a deeper recession, loss of between 4% and 5% of GDP and an increase in unemployment by 4% to 5%.

Black families and minorities are expected to be worst affected.

In addition, Mark Weisbrot, co-director of Center for Economic & Policy Research, shared an article on how states in the US are in a financial crisis.

Read more

10:20 am

International update: Covid deaths exceed 892,000 – infection rates rise in Europe

8 September

Global: The global coronavirus death toll has passed another sombre milestone, exceeding 892,000 as confirmed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. The true death toll is likely to be higher, due to differing testing rates and definitions, time lags and suspected underreporting in some countries. Global Covid cases exceed 27.3 million.

India: India has reported the most deaths from coronavirus in a month. The health ministry says 1,133 people died of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, lifting the total death toll to 72,775. Infections have passed 4.2 million.

Spain: Spain has become the first western European country to record more than half a million Covid-19 cases, logging a total of 525,549 infections.

France: A leading epidemiologist in France has warned that if the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise at the current rate, the country could face a “critical situation” in several regions in December.

UK: England’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, said the rise in the number of coronavirus cases was of great concern adding: “We have got to start taking this very seriously again”.

Vaccine news

US: An unsubstantiated claim two weeks ago by President Trump – that the “deep state” was slowing approval of a Covid-19 vaccine – has set off an effort by government officials and private industry to ensure the White House doesn’t interfere with a methodical, careful scientific process.

Europe: The European Commission said it is close to reaching an agreement with BioNTech SE on the supply of any successful Covid-19 vaccine.

Mexico: Mexico will participate in the Covax facility led by the World Health Organization to obtain vaccines via the global program to equitably distribute Covid-19 vaccines, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

Indonesia: Indonesian President Joko Widodo formed a national team to accelerate the development of Covid-19 vaccine in a rule signed on 3 September, according to the Cabinet Secretariat.

Japan: Japan has approved the use $6.3 billion from its emergency budget to secure coronavirus vaccines.

Lockdown updates

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s government will further ease virus-related restrictions and allow restaurants to seat four people per table instead of the current limit of two, Hong Kong Economic Times reported, citing unidentified people.

Japan: The Japanese government is considering eliminating the cap of 5,000 people it has on event sizes as soon as Sept. 19 after determining that the coronavirus outbreak is easing, Kyodo reported, citing an unidentified official.

Singapore: About 13,000 workers who haven’t undergone routine coronavirus testing as of Sept. 6 will be banned from returning to work to ensure the safety of other workers, the Singapore government said in a joint statement.

Economic updates

Japan: Japan’s economy shrank slightly more than initially thought in the April-June quarter, official data released Tuesday showed, deepening a contraction that was already the worst in the nation’s modern history.

9:25 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Jordan to resume crude oil imports from Iraq – More than 100 OIL employees recover from Covid-19

8 September

A Covid-19 outbreak has forced two affiliates of Libya’s National Oil (NOC) to suspend some operations. According to a Reuters report, Zawiya, a refinery located west of Tripoli, closed offices temporarily and placed 10% of its employees on emergency leave. AGOCO in eastern Libya also suspended all works for 30 days except for essential industrial safety works. This comes when the number of Covid-19 cases has surged in the country recently.

Jordan is set to resume crude oil imports from neighbouring Iraq, a programme which was earlier suspended due to Covid-19 pandemic. According to a Bloomberg report, the shipments of around 10,000 barrels a day will recommence from this month and will meet around 7% of Jordan’s requirements. The import was suspended last month as pandemic worsened.

More than hundred Oil India (OIL) employees were infected with Covid-19 and have recovered, news agency PTI reported citing sources familiar with the matter. The employees, which also include senior executives, were infected by the disease when they were in Tinsukia last month to restrict a massive fire at the Baghjan gas field. All employees but one have now tested negative for the disease.

9:17 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 27.3 million – more than 892,000 deaths

8 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 27,342,000, with over 892,000 deaths and 18,338,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, total confirmed cases and total deaths continue to rise.

European countries such as Spain and France have reported alarming increase in daily new cases in recent days.

However, The US, India, and Brazil are still the primary driver of these increases.

This is due to the sheer magnitude of total confirmed cases that rank them first, second, and third highest in the world, respectively.

Studies have reported the long-term effect of Covid-19.

In the UK, estimated 60,000 people had symptoms for more than three months.

Long term symptoms ranged from mild to debilitating requiring medical support and rehabilitation.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData

9:09 am

Dollar facing pressure from the Chinese yuan – Covid puts brake on Indian economy

8 September

The US Federal Reserve’s new policies drafted to increase inflation are aimed to improve the country’s economy. However, these policies may weaken the dollar.

Peter Morici, an economist and professor at the University of Maryland, shared an article on how the Federal Reserve’s policies to increase inflation may threaten the dollar’s dominance as a global currency.

The article noted that although the Federal Reserve has announced the policy change, the central bank’s policy making powers have diminished over the years due to the globalisation of US securities markets and dollar’s dominance in global commerce.

The Federal Reserve needs to finance federal deficits and drive inflation by printing money to ensure the dollar’s dominance as the Chinese Yuan is fast emerging as a rival to the currency.

Meanwhile, India’s economic prospects look bleak, as the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting an economy that was already in slowdown.

Read more

12:57 pm

International update: Global Covid cases pass 27.1 million – India second most infected with 4.2 million

7 September

Global: Global Covid-19 deaths have passed 889,000 with more than 27.1 million cases according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

US: Coronavirus cases are rising in 22 of the 50 US states, a Reuters analysis has found. Three weeks ago, cases were only rising in three states – Hawaii, Illinois and South Dakota.

“Pandemic fatigue” is an additional risk as the US heads into the fall and winter, when infectious diseases traditionally spread more readily, former Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb said.

India: India has recorded a global one-day record of more than 90,000 positive coronavirus cases, taking the country past Brazil as the second most infected country in the world, with 4.2 million confirmed cases.

UK: Nearly 3,000 more people in the UK tested have positive for Covid-19, with 2,988 new cases reported on Sunday – a sharp increase from 1,813, and the highest number of new cases since 23 May.

Ireland: Ireland recorded another 138 new cases, with about half the new infections in Dublin, according to health authorities. That pushed the weekend total to almost 370, the worst weekend figure since early May.

France: France reported 7,071 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, showing the pandemic is continuing to progress at a “worrying” pace, the health ministry said in a statement Sunday.

Italy: Italy reported 1,297 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. This is the smallest increase in five days amid lower than usual testing at the end of the week.

Philippines: Researchers from the University of the Philippines said that the spread of Covid-19 in the country is slowing down, citing the rate of reproduction in major cities

Hong Kong: An estimated 1.13 million residents of Hong Kong have signed up for free coronavirus testing in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

Syria: A United Nations official has said that more than 200 of its staff in Syria have contracted coronavirus.

Vaccine news

Australia: Australia on Monday said it will receive the first batches of a potential Covid-19 vaccine in January 2021, as the country’s virus hotspot said the number of new daily infections has fallen to a 10-week low.

Greece: Nearly half of Greeks (44%) would refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to a poll of 1,000 respondents published on Sunday.

Economic updates

Australia: Australia’s government warned of mounting economic pain as Victoria state announced only a gradual easing of its coronavirus lockdown that will see retail, hospitality, tourism and entertainment under tight controls across Melbourne until at least the end of October.


9:55 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Petronas to reshape portfolio – August crude oil imports in China rise 13% from last year

7 September

US drilling rig operators have added oil and gas rigs for the second time in three weeks in the wake of a recovery in fuel prices from historic lows as a result of the coronavirus-related lockdowns. According to data from energy services firm Baker Hughes, the operating oil and gas rigs count rose to 256 in the week that ended on 4 September. Reuters cited analysts as saying that higher oil prices have “encouraged” some of the oil and gas producing firms to start adding production units.

Malaysia’s state-owned energy firm Petronas said it would reshape its portfolio after posting its first quarterly loss in about five years. The company cited coronavirus-linked slump in fuel demand and lower oil prices as the reasons for the loss.  Furthermore, the company also warned that its full-year performance for 2020 would be severely impacted and added that the demand may not return to pre-covid-19 levels until the second half of next year.

China’s crude oil imports rose by 13% last month, compared to the same period last year. According to Reuters, the rise is “buoyed” by huge orders placed earlier this year when global oil prices crashed. Another reason is also that the cargoes which have been previously delayed by congestion at arrival ports have now finally cleared customs.

8:24 am

How remote working can improve wellbeing and help control Covid-19

7 September

Many companies across the world have opted for remote working operations to safeguard their business and employees.

Remote working, however, has an indirect impact on the businesses that are dependent on employees for their business.

Julian Jessop, an independent economist and writer, shared an article, how working from home (WFH) can cost £15bn a year for the UK, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

WFH is expected to severely impact coffee shops, security guards and support jobs causing a GDP loss of 1%.

Various businesses who are reliant on office goers for their business have already started to feel the impact of the pandemic induced remote working.

Pret A Manger, for example, operates primarily near to office blocks and has announced its plans to cut 3,000 jobs. Further, the company is planning to expand into suburbs to sustain its business.

Jessop opined that the impact of WFH on GDP, is a small price to pay compared to the improvements it will provide in wellbeing such as less commuting.

Remote working can also help in controlling the pandemic, Jessop noted.

Read more

2:21 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 26.3 million – deaths exceed 869,000

4 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 26,337,000, with more than 869,000 deaths and 17,545,000 recoveries as daily confirmed cases continue to increase.

The US continues to rank highest in the world with over 6.1 million total confirmed cases, followed by Brazil with over 4 million total confirmed cases, and India with over 3.9 million total confirmed cases.

Additionally, the US continues to report a high death toll, contributing approximately 22% to global deaths, followed by India with 14%, and Brazil with 8%.

In Thailand, just one day after marking a significant milestone of 100 days with no local transmission of the coronavirus, a new case was identified.

This case had tested positive after arriving at a correctional center, and after a detailed case history, was determined to be locally transmitted.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

11:01 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 26.3 million – US gears up for early vaccine roll out

4 September

Global: Global Covid-19 deaths are nearing 869,000 with more than 26.3 million cases according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.7% as compared with the same time Wednesday to 6.13 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.8% to 186,293.

Brazil: Brazil has recorded more than four million confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 43,773 new cases and 834 deaths from the disease caused by the virus reported in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday.

India: India reported a daily jump of 83,341 coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 3.94 million, health ministry data showed.

Ukraine: Ukraine registered a record 2,723 cases of the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Friday, up from a previous record of 2,495 cases.

Australia: The state of Victoria has confirmed 81 new coronavirus cases and nine deaths in the last 24 hours. It also added 50 deaths from people who passed away in aged care facilities in July and August.

France: France registered more than 7,000 new coronavirus infections over 24 hours for the second time in two days, the health ministry said on Thursday, while hospitalisations for the virus also rose again.

Mexico: Mexico leads the world in coronavirus deaths among its healthcare workers, Amnesty International has said in a new report. The report said Mexico has reported 1,320 confirmed deaths among health workers from Covid-19 so far, surpassing the United States at 1,077, the United Kingdom at 649, and Brazil at 634.

Thailand: Thailand has reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus case in 100 days, after a prison inmate was confirmed to have Covid-19. Dozens of contacts are now being tested, including his family members, people he met in court and other inmates. He had been arrested for drug offences on 26 August.

South Korea: Doctors have agreed to end a two-week strike, which has hindered efforts to curb a new wave of coronavirus infections, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Friday, after overnight talks over the government’s medical reform plans, Reuters reports.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s new universal testing blitz has identified six infections, initial results showed a sign the campaign could uncover hidden infections despite limited participation.

Vaccine news

US: Authorization of a Covid-19 vaccine by 1 November when US health officials have told states to be prepared to distribute shots is “extremely unlikely but not impossible,” Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed told NPR’s All Things Considered on Thursday.

Federal public health officials in the US have asked their state counterparts to prepare to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine to high-risk individuals as early as late October.

Lockdown updates

Israel: Israel announced Thursday a new lockdown affecting 30 areas as it grapples with one of the world’s highest detected per capita infection rates and a death toll nearing 1,000, AFP reports.

New Zealand: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday that the country’s current restrictions to beat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic would be retained until mid-September. The largest city, Auckland, will remain on alert level 2.5, while the rest of the country will be on alert level 2.0, Ardern told a news conference. The settings would be reviewed on 14 September, she said.

UK: English tourists in Greece and Portugal have been spared the cost and chaos of rushing back to the UK after the British government defied expectations and maintained quarantine-free travel from both countries for the time being.

Australia: Health minister Greg Hunt extended restrictions on international travel and the entry of cruise ships until 17 December to protect the country against the spread of the coronavirus.

Economic updates

Turkey: Turkey has extended by two months a layoff ban it introduced to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports.

Australia: Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that most state and territory leaders in Australia were recommitted to opening up the country’s economy by December. But he didn’t secure an immediate agreement to lift the border restrictions hampering the recovery.


9:54 am

Coronavirus company news summary – EnQuest updates on H1 2020 results – Aramco reportedly slows diversification plans

4 September

UK-based exploration and production (E&P) firm EnQuest’s overall oil and gas production in the first half of the year (H1 2020) stood at 66,000 barrels per day (bpd). The company reported revenue of $450.7m, down from $858.2m in H1-2019, due to the low commodity prices as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. EnQuest said that its operations had been “materially unaffected” by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nigeria’s oil minister Timipre Sylva said that the federal government is no longer fixing the pump price of petroleum products in the country. The African country had been spending about NGN1tn ($2.63bn) per annum subsidising fuel prices but the global oil price collapse as a result of the coronavirus pandemic had made removing the subsidies “inevitable”, Reuters reported citing Sylva. Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa.

Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil major Saudi Aramco is reportedly reviewing its plans to “expand at home and abroad” in the wake of sharp drop in oil prices as well as a heavy dividend burden. The oil major is now slowing down a $6.6bn proposal to add petrochemical output at its Motiva refinery in the US state of Texas, reported WSJ citing people familiar with the matter.

9:04 am

How healthcare investment can boost jobs

4 September

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of having a robust healthcare system for every country across the world.

Increasing healthcare investment can not only create new jobs amid the pandemic but also create a more productive population.

Amanda Larsson, campaigner with Greenpeace NZ, tweeted on how investment in care in the UK can create 2.7 times new jobs that are equivalent to investment in construction.

Investment in care can also create 6.3 times as many jobs for women and 10% more for men.

The tweet was based on report from the Women’s Budget Group, an independent think tank, on how investment in care can stimulate employment and reduce gender employment gap.

Developing a better care system will require a major proportion of the population to be employed in the healthcare sector thereby increasing the overall employment rate.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post highlights a looming unemployment crisis for the US.

Read more

2:02 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 26 million – Brazil and India near 4 million

3 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 26,062,000, with over 863,000 deaths and 17,315,000 recoveries.

In the majority of countries in the European, African, Eastern Mediterranean, and Western Pacific regions, daily confirmed cases continue to decrease, while the Americas and South-East Asia continue to see a rise in daily cases.

The US, Brazil, and India primarily drive these increases due to the sheer magnitude of total confirmed cases that rank them first, second, and third highest in the world, respectively.

Brazil and India are both now approaching 4 million cases.

Meanwhile, Israel set a record high with over 3,000 daily confirmed cases reported today.

This marks the country’s biggest one-day jump, and brings the total number of confirmed cases to nearly 123,000.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

9:48 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 26 million – more than 863,000 deaths

3 September

Global: Global Covid-19 deaths passed 863,000 with more than 26 million cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The highest death toll is in the US, where 185,707 people have died.

Testing people twice for the coronavirus, with a nasal swab followed by an antibody finger prick test, would catch most of those people who fail to get the right Covid-19 diagnosis, researchers believe.

Treating critically ill Covid-19 patients with corticosteroid drugs reduces the risk of death by 20%, an analysis of seven international trials has found, prompting the World Health Organization to update its advice on treatment.

US: The Trump administration is planning to cut its membership dues to the World Health Organization, in a legally controversial move that will be challenged by Congress.

India: India reported a daily jump of 83,883 coronavirus infections on Thursday, taking its tally to 3.85 million, just 100,000 behind Brazil, the world’s second most affected nation, health ministry data showed. According to Johns Hopkins, this is the second-highest one day total ever reported, with India breaking the world record on 26 August with more than 85,000 cases.

Australia:  Victoria state on Thursday reported a triple-digit rise in new Covid-19 infections for the first time in four days, denting optimism that the second wave of cases has been contained. The state said that 113 new cases were detected in the past 24 hours, an increase on the 90 infections reported on Wednesday.

Brazil: Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll appears to be easing for the first time since May, a sign the Latin American country could be descending from a long infection plateau that has seen it suffer the world’s second-worst outbreak after the United States.

Turkey: Turkey is seeing a second peak of its coronavirus outbreak due to “carelessness” at weddings and other social gatherings, its health minister has said, amid a rapid rise in the number of daily cases and deaths.

France: Daily new Covid-19 infections in France neared an all-time high on Wednesday and the number of people hospitalised in intensive care units for the disease grew at its fastest pace in almost two months.

France reported 7,017 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, raising the seven-day average increase to the highest since the outbreak began.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,311 to 246,166, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.

South Korea: South Korea has reported 195 new cases of coronavirus. That’s the lowest since August 17, according to Yonhap News Agency. While there are signs the spike that began last month is easing – thanks to stricter distancing rules – a record number of patients are in critical condition.

Lockdown updates

China: An Air China flight from Phnom Penh was the first international flight to land in Beijing after direct flights from eight countries were allowed to resume. Passengers must have tested negative for Covid-19 before they board and complete a 14-day government-run quarantine on arrival.

UK: The UK government is “anxiously monitoring” increasing hospital admissions in France and Spain, the Financial Times reported, citing unidentified colleagues of Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

9:39 am

Coronavirus company news summary – ExxonMobil considers global job cuts – Maersk to make job cuts

3 September

American multinational oil and gas major ExxonMobil is reportedly assessing possible job cuts across its global operations. The latest move comes after the company has announced voluntary layoffs in Australia as part of cost cutting due to a historic crash in fuel demand as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The oil major’s job cuts will continue through 2021, according to Reuters.

India’s state-owned firm Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) may see capital expenditure (capex) for FY2020 reduce by nearly one-fifth as coronavirus-linked restrictions in the country delayed projects, PTI reported. According to ONGC director-finance Subhash Kumar, the actual spending may be around Rs265bn, down from the actual value of Rs325bn. The reduction in spending comes as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions which severely impacted project implementations due to disruptions in supply chain and labour movement.

Danish integrated shipping company and supply vessel operator Maersk is reportedly said to cut jobs as part of a major reformation. According to Reuters, the move is said to affect a third of the vessel operator’s staff as the company considers integration of its seaborne container and in-land logistics businesses. The news agency cited Maersk spokeswoman as saying that the restructuring will impact about 26,000 to 27,000 staff out of Maersk’s total workforce.

8:14 am

Australian unemployment hits 22 year high as economy tanks

3 September

The Australian economy officially entered recession as it posted two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.

Despite government measures such as increased spending and cutting interest rates to zero, the country has not been able to avoid a recession.

Timothy McBride, Bernard Becker Professor at Washington University, shared an article on Australia entering recession for the first time in decades, following two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Even though the country was able to avoid any major impact from the 2008 global financial crisis, it has not been able to escape the impact of the pandemic.

Australia may find it difficult to recover in the post-Covid-19 scenario due to slowdown in growth of China, which is its biggest trade partner.

Further, the country may face other long-term problems such as climate change disasters including wildfires, wage growth stagnation and a housing bubble.

Unemployment levels also remain high at 7.5%, which is the worst in 22 years. The figures are expected to rise as the downturn continues.

Read more

2:46 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Trend still upwards – Covid cases near 25.8 million

2 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 25,785,000, with over 857,000 deaths and 17,095,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, total confirmed cases and total deaths continue to rise.

This is primarily driven by increasing trends observed in Latin America, North America, and South Asia.

More specifically, the US, Brazil, and India contribute over 50% of cases to the global confirmed case burden, and over 40% of deaths to the global death toll.

Meanwhile, Indonesia continues to report a surge in daily confirmed cases, likely underestimated due to limited testing capacity.

As total confirmed cases surpass 180,000, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on healthcare workers, with Indonesia experiencing one of the highest mortality rates among this group compared with the rest of the world.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

10:40 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 25.7 million – US go alone on vaccine

2 September

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 25.7 million with more than 857,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

US: The White House says it will send most of its newly-purchased 150 million rapid response Covid-19 tests to the states for schools, day care centres and emergency services.

President Donald Trump said thousands more people have died from the coronavirus in China than the Beijing government has acknowledged. China has reported 4,724 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University — far fewer than the 184,644 deaths in the US, which has the highest number in the world.

South America: Latest figures show Mexico passed 600,000 cases and Colombia has racked up over 20,000 deaths, as the virus continues to take its toll in the Americas.

South Korea: The number of confirmed cases in South Korea fell for a fifth day after peaking at 441 last week, which was the biggest gain since early March. The government reported 267 new infections for 1 September, the fourth straight day below 300.

South Korean officials warned the high rate of infection among over-60s was placing strain on the country’s health system as it battles a second wave.

Ukraine: There has been a surge in cases in the Ukraine with a record 2,495 new cases in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Wednesday, up from a previous record of 2,481 cases.

China: There have been another eight new cases of the virus in mainland China up to midnight on Tuesday, the health ministry said on Wednesday morning.

Germany: Germany has seen its new cases rise by 1,256 to 244,855, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.

Pakistan: Experts are puzzled by Pakistan’s relatively low number of cases and deaths. It has just under 300,000 infections compared with almost four million in neighbouring India.

Australia: Cases continue to ease in Australia’s south-eastern state of Victoria. The state confirmed 90 new cases on Wednesday, compared with a peak of more than 700 last month.

Thailand: Thailand has reported no locally-transmitted Covid-19 cases for 100 straight days, joining a small group of places like Taiwan where the pathogen has almost been eliminated.

Vaccine news

US: The Trump administration says it will not work with other countries to develop and distribute a Covid-19 vaccine. It said it did not want to be constrained by “multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China”.

A Covid-19 vaccine could be available earlier than expected if clinical trials produce overwhelmingly positive results, Anthony Fauci said in an interview with Kaiser Health News. US stock futures rose after the nation’s top infectious disease official said that an independent panel could halt the trials before their expected conclusion at the end of the year.

Antibodies humans make to fight the coronavirus last for at least four months after diagnosis and do not fade quickly, countering concerns to the contrary. US scientists said their study of 30,000 Icelanders offered hope that a vaccine could produce sustained resistance.

Japan: Japan is considering offering a vaccine free of charge to every citizen, according to Kyodo news agency.

Lockdown updates

Scotland: The Scottish government is re-imposing a ban on household gatherings in three local authorities in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area for the next two weeks amid alarm about rising infections in recent days.

China: State media in China is reporting that people in the far western region of Xinjiang have resumed “normal life order and production” after a sudden spike in cases last month.

South Korea: South Korea imposed stronger social-distancing regulations in the greater Seoul area from 30 August to 6 September.

Economic updates

Australia: Australia has slumped into recession for the first time in nearly 30 years as the coronavirus pandemic finally ended its record run of economic prosperity.

India: India is considering extending its flagship rural jobs program to urban workers hurt by lockdowns. The new program would start in smaller cities and initially cost about 350 billion rupees ($4.8 billion), said Sanjay Kumar, a joint secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.


9:45 am

Second wave Covid-19 threatens manufacturing bounce back

2 September

Manufacturing activity is slowly returning to normal levels as countries begin to lift lockdown restrictions.

Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to EY ITEM Club, shared an article on the increase in global manufacturing levels.

Manufacturing activity increased to a 21-month high of 51.8 in August supported by stimulus packages across Europe, Asia and North America.

However, the recovery is expected to be uneven as new waves of infections curb business activity.

The resurgence of infections is discouraging companies to boost capital expenditure thereby delaying the rebound in the industry.

Experts note that recovery in manufacturing activity will grow at a modest pace, although China’s manufacturing activity has expanded at the fastest rate compared to other countries.

Read more

2:19 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 25.5 million – Europe fears resurgence

1 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 25,508,000, with over 851,000 deaths and 16,847,000 recoveries.

Across the world, daily confirmed cases continue to rise.

Of the top ten most affected countries, less than half continue to report increasing trends in daily confirmed cases: India, Spain, and Argentina.

However, these countries contribute roughly 25% to the top ten total confirmed case burden, and nearly 20% to the global total confirmed case burden.

In Europe, France, Germany, and Spain fear a potential resurgence of cases, with reports of moderate to severe upticks in their seven-day average of daily confirmed cases.

The possible onset of a second wave of infections has prompted government and public health officials to re-evaluate lockdown measures and reallocate resources to track outbreaks.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

11:09 am

International update: Global Covid-19 infections pass 25.5 million

1 September

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 25.5 million with more than 850,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

A World Health Organization survey of 105 countries shows that 90% have experienced disruption to their health services as a result of the coronavirus, with low- and middle-income countries the most affected.

US: The number of infections in the United States surpassed six million. Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.4% as compared with the same time Sunday to 6.03 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News.

India: India has added nearly two million coronavirus cases in one month, jumping from 1.64m infections at the end of July to 3.62 million at the end of August.

Brazil: Brazil reported 45,961 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 553 deaths caused by the virus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Monday. The country is closing in on 4 million cases of Covid-19.

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry on Monday reported 3,719 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections and 256 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 599,560 cases and 64,414 deaths.

Spain: Spain has registered more than 23,000 new Covid-19 cases since Friday.

France: France’s new Covid-19 infections surged by almost 50% in August, hitting 281,025 cases, versus 187,919 at the end of July.

South Korea: South Korea’s coronavirus cases have remained under 300 for a third day in a row. On Tuesday, the CDC recorded 235 cases, including 222 local infections. It took the total number of cases recorded in the country over the 20,000 mark, to 20,182, since the first infection was reported on 20 January.

Australia: The state of New South Wales has 13 new cases, 11 of which are locally acquired and linked to known clusters, including a cluster in the centre of the city, which now totals 41 cases.

China: China has reported ten new Covid-19 cases, down from 17 reported a day earlier, the country’s health authority said on Tuesday.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong begins mass testing for coronavirus this morning, with the assistance of 60 experts from China. The programme aims to “identify asymptomatic Covid-19 patients, and to cut the transmission chain on the community,” the government said in a statement.

New Zealand: New Zealand reports 14 new cases, nine in managed isolation, all related to the Auckland cluster. Yesterday Auckland dropped down from Level 3 to Level 2, despite more cases emerging.

Lockdown updates

Europe: Children across Europe return to school. French pupils go back to school on Tuesday as schools across Europe open their doors to greet returning pupils this month, nearly six months after the coronavirus outbreak forced them to close and despite rising infection rates across the continent.

Hungary: Hungary has decided to let tourists from Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, enter the country with a fresh negative coronavirus test, it said late on Monday, just as a lockdown on its borders took effect.

Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte is keeping the capital region under loose movement restrictions through September to spur economic activity while battling the region’s worst coronavirus outbreak.

Economic updates

India: India’s economic growth suffered a historic 23.9% contraction in the April-June quarter, as the strict coronavirus lockdown hit businesses.

9:29 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Covid-19 halves Gazprom’s second quarter net profit – Sinopec expects fuel demand to grow to H2

1 September

Russia’s Gazprom has posted a net income of RUB149.2 ($2bn) in the second quarter of this year, reported Reuters. The figure halved on a year-on-year basis due to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. In the first quarter, the company reported a loss of RUB116bn. Gazprom also improved its gas exports forecast for this year from 166 billion cubic metres (bcm) to 170bcm.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) in the US has said that monthly oil production in the country increased in June after it plummeted in May due to price crash. In June, the US produced 10.436 million barrels per day, a jump of 420,000bpd. However, the figures are still below the April’s levels of 11.99 million bpd.

China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec) has said that it expects fuel demand to increase in the second half of this year, reported Reuters. The company also plans to ramp up natural gas drilling activities. This comes after Sinopec reported net loss of $3.17bn for the first six months of 2020.

Israel’s Delek Group is planning to merge its North Sea energy operations after it reported a loss in the second quarter amid Covid-19 crisis. The plan involves combining its wholly-owned subsidiary Ithaca Energy with an international group. Currently, Delek is discussing the move with several international investment banks, reported Reuters.

9:01 am

Why Zimbabwe is on the verge of collapse

1 September

Professor Steve Hanke, economist at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

Reuters report that Western diplomats have raised concerns over the country, which has been suffering with inflation at more than 800%.

Nurses have been on strike in the country and several political opponents have been arrested raising concerns over human rights violations and use of authoritarian tactics.

Diplomats note that the pandemic must not be used as an excuse for restricting the freedom of citizens.

Hanke opines that Zimbabwe is on the verge of collapse under these conditions.

Meanwhile, China is the only country projected to growth amid the pandemic in 2020. The country, however, may not be growing through demand but rather through public debt and foreign debt.

Daniel Lacalle, chief economist at Tressis SV, tweeted on how the weak consumption recovery and high inventory in China do not indicate GDP growth in the country as suggested by headlines.
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2:13 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 25.2 million with more than 6 million in the US – global deaths near 847,000

31 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 25,249,000, with over 846,000 deaths and 16,634,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, daily confirmed cases continue to increase.

In North America and across the world, the US maintains its place as the most affected country with more than 6 million total confirmed cases, followed by the Latin American and South Asian regions of Brazil and India, respectively.

However, India’s infections will likely surpass Brazil as the country continues to experience a rise in daily confirmed cases, though this is largely due to increases in testing.

Additionally, despite rising infections, India will re-open its train network in the capital city of New Delhi starting 7 September.

This comes after a five-month hiatus, and will be initiated in a phased manner.

While passengers are expected to wear masks, the sheer number of passengers and tight quarters is concerning.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

2:31 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 infections pass 25.2 million – deaths exceed 846,000 – more than 16 million recoveries

28 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 25,200,000 with over 846,000 deaths and 16,624,000 recoveries.

The number of new daily confirmed cases continues to decline in the US.

Germany has performed more than 987,400 daily tests in the week leading up to 8/26 and reported 19 new cases per million population.

Germany’s positive test rate is approximately 2%.

The US reported over 130 new cases per million population and a positive test rate of 7.8%.

Bahrain and Israel are reporting are reporting the highest new cases per million population in the world with 363 and 250 new cases per million population, respectively.

Collectively the Middle East and Latin America have the most total confirmed cases per million of population.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData

11:14 am

International update: Global Covid-19 infections pass 24.47 million – US cases pass 5.8 million – Trump vows to crush Covid

28 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 24.47 million with more than 832,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The World Health Organization said it would set up a committee to review the rules on declaring an international health emergency, following criticism of its Covid-19 pandemic response.

US: The United States has added 931 new coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s total death toll to 180,527. An additional 42,859 new infections brought its overall caseload to 5,860,397.

President Donald Trump has promised to “crush” the coronavirus pandemic with a vaccine by the end of the year, as he accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination for a second term.

Latin America: Coronavirus cases have passed the seven-million-mark in Latin America, according to a Reuters tally. The daily average of cases fell to about 77,800 in the last seven days through Wednesday, against almost 85,000 the previous week, the tally based on government figures showed.

Australia: The state of Victoria says it detected 113 new cases in the past 24 hours, a number that remained unchanged from the previous day. Australia has now recorded nearly 25,500 Covid-19 infections nationwide, while the death toll rose to 584 after 12 people died in the state.

India: India has recorded its highest one-day tally of coronavirus cases, with 77,266 new infections recorded. That’s the second highest number of cases ever recorded by a single country in one day.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,571 to 239,507, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Friday.

China: China reported nine new Covid-19 cases, all imported. It marked the 12th consecutive day of no local transmissions, according to the National Health Commission.

South Korea: South Korea reported 371 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, including 359 local infections, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is down from the nearly six-month high on Thursday of 441.

Japan: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation due to ill health, after introducing new measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including boosting testing capability to 200,000 tests a day and aiming to secure enough vaccines for all citizens by mid-2021.

Syria: Ramesh Rajasingham, the United Nations’s deputy emergency relief coordinator, says Covid-19 is having a dramatic effect on healthcare services in Syria, where limited testing is obscuring the real extent of the pandemic.

Ireland: Ireland is seeing a “worrying trend” in coronavirus cases, the health ministry warned, as case numbers continue to increase. The country is now seeing about 33 cases per 100,000 people compared to three in June, ministry adviser Philip Nolan told reporters in Dublin, while the number of people being admitted to the hospital is starting to rise.

Spain: Spain reported 3,781 new Covid-19 cases, the most since 23 April. Chief epidemiologist Fernando Simon said that only 5% of cases were hospitalized. “It was 55% at the peak of the pandemic,” he said, adding that most of the new cases were in the Madrid area.

Italy: Italy reported 1,411 new cases Thursday, in line with the previous day but still the most since 6 May. A record 94,024 tests were performed as summer vacationers returned from countries, including Spain and Greece.

Lockdown updates

Spain: Spain announced schoolchildren aged six and over must wear masks to class, just days before the start of the new academic year.

9:38 am

Coronavirus company news summary – PetroChina reports $4.36bn net loss – Iraq’s crude oil exports slip this month

28 August

PetroChina has registered a net loss of CNY29.98bn ($4.36bn) in the first half of this year due to weak oil prices amid Covid-19 pandemic. In the same six-month period last year, the company registered a profit of CNY28.42bn, reported Reuters. The revenue also dropped by 22% to CNY929bn. PetroChina also aims to achieve near-zero emissions by 2050.

The Canadian province of Alberta, which derives most of its revenues from energy production, has increased its deficit estimate for the current fiscal from C$7.3bn to C$24.2bn ($18.41bn). The move comes after oil prices plummeted following the coronavirus pandemic. Alberta also anticipates 8.8% fall in its real GDP this year.

The US has resumed oil and gas lease sales auctioning more than 45,000 acres in New Mexico. However, the move saw tepid bidding from the drillers indicating weakened state of the industry, Reuters reported citing results posted on an online auction site. The average bid per acre was $169, significantly less compared to $1,386 per acre the state took during a sale in February.

Crude oil exports from Iraq has fallen so far this month suggesting better OPEC+ deal compliance. Southern Iraqi exports up to 25 August have fallen to 2.63 million bpd, Reuters reported citing figures from Petro-Logistics. This is 40,000 bpd less compared to the figures from July. Iraq is working to reduce its output, as agreed with OPEC+, after failing to meet its commitment in the earlier months.

7:49 am

US Federal Reserve looks to inflation to save jobs

28 August

In a historic move, the US Federal Reserve announced a new monetary policy strategy aimed at building a strong labour market and stabilising prices.

The new policy is a shift from the decades long strategy of curbing inflation.

James Picerno, editor at the US Business Cycle Risk Report, shared an article on the Federal Reserve’s new monetary policy strategy.

The new strategy aims to target 2% average inflation, a big departure from the previous policy to curb inflation.

The strategy is aimed at building a strong labour market, which will require a range of policies apart from a supportive monetary policy.

The policy change is still unclear as no guidelines have been provided on how long interest rates will be kept low and how high inflation will be allowed to go.

Investors may need to wait until September when the Federal Reserve issues guidance on interest rates and ensures to keep inflation at a threshold of 2.25% or 2.5%.

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2:05 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 24.2 million – deaths exceed 826,000 – Latin America seeing fastest rise in new cases

27 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 24,203,000 with over 826,400 deaths and 15,825,921 recoveries.

Among the top ten most affected countries, Brazil, Peru, and Colombia are reporting new daily confirmed cases at rate of more than 200 new cases per million population.

The rate for India and the US is about 50 new cases and 130 new cases per million population, respectively.

Spain is the most affected country in Europe.

However, the number of new daily deaths is significantly lower when compared to the first wave.

The UK is considering adding a few more countries to the quarantine list such as the Czech Republic.

Despite the increasing number of new confirmed cases over the past month, the Czech Republic has not placed restrictions like it did during the first wave.

This might be because of public opposition against such restriction levels.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

10:08 am

International update: Global Covid-19 infections pass 24.1 million – cases in Europe increasing post lockdown – global deaths near 826,000

27 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 24.1 million with almost 826,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Europe: France and Italy reported post-lockdown daily case highs on Wednesday. France’s 5,429 new cases raised concerns ahead of the new school year starting next week. Italy reported 1,367 new coronavirus cases, its highest daily tally since May when the country was still in lockdown.

The EU’s trade chief, Phil Hogan, stepped down after growing criticism that he broke virus regulations in his native Ireland. Hogan was under pressure over his attendance at a golf dinner last week that violated coronavirus regulations, as well as his behaviour during quarantine upon arrival in his home country.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.8% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 5.8 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.8% to 179,150.

Health experts are concerned a sudden US decision to change testing guidance for people who have been exposed to Covid-19 patients but have not developed symptoms risks spreading the virus further. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says so-called “close contacts” of people with Covid-19 do not “necessarily need” to be tested if they do not have symptoms.

China: A World Health Organization team that was meant to investigate the origin of the coronavirus concluded their trip to China without a visit to Wuhan, the Financial Times reported, citing the UN agency.

Greece: Greece reported a record-high 293 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to 9280. The number is the highest daily increase since the beginning of the pandemic. The country also recorded five new deaths, bringing the total to 248.

India: India has passed 60,000 deaths from Covid-19, according to the country’s health ministry, and reported its highest daily case rise of more than 75,000. There are growing concerns about the spread of the virus to rural areas.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,507 to 237,936, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.

Australia: The number of new infections in the southern state of Victoria appeared to be stabilising. On Thursday, 113 cases were reported – the lowest increase since 5 July, when 74 cases were reported. However, the state reported 23 deaths associated with Covid-19 on Thursday.

New Zealand: New Zealand reported seven new cases, including one imported infection. The six other cases were all linked to the Auckland cluster.

Argentina: Argentina posted a record daily rise of 10,550 confirmed Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, the health ministry said, taking the total caseload to 370,188 as the South American nation struggled to rein in the spread of infections while trying to ease open its crisis-hit economy.

Lockdown updates

Gaza: Gaza will remain in lockdown at least until Sunday, health officials said on Wednesday, after reporting two deaths and 26 cases in the first public outbreak of coronavirus in the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

China: Hong Kong is moving to relax some of its rules on social distancing measures from midnight (16:00 GMT) on Thursday for a period of seven days. The Food and Health Bureau says while sporadic cases and clusters were to be expected and that the government would take a “refined and sophisticated approach” to the relaxation of measures.

Singapore: Singapore will offer Covid-19 tests for travellers to China prior to departure, in an effort to align with new Chinese requirements aimed at stemming the growing number of imported virus cases.

Thailand: The Thai government may allow foreigners who own properties in the country to return as it seeks to gradually ease travel curbs imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Economic updates

South Korea: South Korea central bank cut its growth outlook, predicting the world’s 12th-largest economy would shrink more than 1%.

New Zealand: Air New Zealand has posted a net loss of NZD454m ($300m) for the financial year ended June 30. Like many airlines around the world, the closing of borders has led to a collapse in passenger traffic leaving planes on the ground. About one-third of Air New Zealand’s 12,500 employees are expected to lose their jobs as a result.

Japan: Japanese Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said a jump in virus cases from July and heavy rains are dragging on the nation’s economy and he didn’t know yet whether the outbreak has peaked.

9:44 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US restarts oil and gas lease sale – Equinor to trim workforce in US, Canada and UK

27 August

The US has resumed oil and gas lease sale, the first such move in the last five months as auctions were suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The sale commenced with a 2,800-acre area in New Mexico with more than 45,000 acres in the pipeline, reported Reuters. This comes when the oil prices have recovered from historic lows but still linger below expected levels.

Norway’s Equinor is planning to trim its workforce in the US, Canada and the UK amid weak oil prices following the Covid-19 crisis. A company spokesperson told Reuters that it aims to reduce its employees in the three countries by around 20% and contractor numbers by around 50%. The move is aimed to maintain profitability at lower oil prices.

Indonesia is planning to complete research on a biodiesel that comprises 40% palm oil by November this year. The latest pandemic forced the research department to change testing methods, Reuters reported citing an official. The plan includes making the use of this biodiesel, called B40, mandatory in July next year. The move will help the country to reduce its dependence on diesel imports.

7:57 am

Global economy showing signs of recovery but overall decline forecast

27 August

The global economy is gradually showing signs of recovery after a major decline in the first half of the year.

The growth of the economy is expected to continue from the second half of the year, although the labour market will take a long time to recover.

Erik Meyersson, senior economist at Svenska Handelsbanken, a Swedish bank, shared a report on the latest forecast issued by the bank.

The report notes that the global economy is showing signs of recovery after a historic fall in economic activity in the first half.

However, the impact of the pandemic,  has varied across different countries.

While Nordic countries managed to handle the pandemic better, the European Union and the US have been severely impacted.

The report notes that global growth is expected to decline by 4.3% in 2020, followed by a 5.2% growth in 2021 and 3.5% growth in 2022.

New infection rates and lockdown restrictions, however, will play a major role in deciding the growth of the global economy.

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