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

19 November 2020 (Last Updated November 19th, 2020 10:08)

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.