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May 20, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – South African drilling delayed – Demand recovers in India

By Matthew Farmer

20 May

Total has delayed its offshore drilling programme in South Africa due to Covid-19. Total South Africa has agreed with Odfjell Drilling to keep semi-submersible Deepsea Stavanger idle in Norway. Once the idle period is complete, the rig will move to South Africa to commence drilling operations.

Only four of 12 listed small oil and gas companies in the US returned government aid they received as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic before the deadline, according to a Reuters analysis of US government security filings. The government said returning the money before Monday would lead it to deem the borrowing as being made in good faith. While US president Donald Trump has promised aid to oil and gas companies, no specific fund has yet been set up.

Nearly one-third of available oil and gas in the North Sea could remain untouched due to the recent oil price crash, according to a University of Aberdeen study. Simulations showed 35% of known reserves would be unprofitable with sustained prices of less than $25 a barrel. The study also highlighted that long-term investments may also drop in the region.

Shares of several oil and gas companies in India increased with oil prices as relaxation of the country’s lockdown led to increased demand. Oil India, ONGC, Petronet LNG and Indraprastha Gas stocks gained in recent trading. Globally, oil prices also jumped to their highest in two months, with Brent Crude futures for July delivery rising to $34.81 a barrel.

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