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April 30, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – Argentina shale development threatened – Losses in Canada and China

By Matt Farmer

30 April

Chinese oil and gas company PetroChina has reported a loss of $2.29bn in the first quarter of 2020 due to falling oil prices and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company has also registered a 14.4% fall in revenue in the same three-month period. A PetroChina spokesperson said it has initiated a gradual resumption of work and launched a special programme to optimise production and improve profitability.

The Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP), a financial institution that supports regional energy industry, has launched a $500m support package to counter the impact of Covid-19. The funding will be allocated among energy sector clients in member countries as project funding or working capital. APICORP also decided to expand its trade finance support to the member countries and help in reducing the fiscal and current account pressures due to volatile market conditions.

Market conditions have threatened the development of Vaca Muerta oil and gas fields in Argentina. These fields are estimated to host the second largest biggest shale deposits in the world after the Permian basin. The current situation has made Vaca Muerta one of the most economically vulnerable fossil fuel projects in the world, The Guardian reported. Investors include Chevron, Shell, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and a BP subsidiary.

Canadian oil and gas companies Cenovus and Husky Energy have posted huge quarterly losses. Cenovus Energy registered a loss of $1.3bn (CAD$1.8bn) in the first quarter of this year. A year ago, the company registered a $79m (CAD$110m) profit in the same three month period. Husky Energy reported a quarterly loss of $1.22bn (CAD$1.7bn) against a profit of $236 (CAD$328m) posted in 2019 Q1.

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