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  • Writer's pictureSarah Whiteford

Good News Monday! Crude at 2 mo peak, COVID vaccine hope, Shell’s CEO, bp’s new normal

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

Crude Oil Surges

Image Credit: Business Insider

West Texas Intermediate Crude and Brent are at their highest levels in two months. OPEC stated that production cuts may last through the end of 2020.

“West Texas Intermediate crude futures soared as much as 13%, to $33.32 per barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, climbed 10%, to $35.72 at intraday highs.”

As the economy is reopening, OPEC and allies have reached consensus to cut oil production by 9.7 million barrels per day in May and June. The previous crash was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic combined with the Saudi Arabia and Russia price war.

European countries have started easing lock-down measures in addition to some states like Texas, Illinois, and Maine. With supply cuts and a positive outlook for recovery, oil prices are rising.

Markets are still uncertain, with varying outlooks on the velocity of the recovery.

Two women with masks walk off a trading floor
Stock Markets

Image Credit: Reuters

In more COVID news, as weather improves and restrictions are slowly lifted, positive developments have arisen from vaccine trials.

Moderna Inc has a vaccine that is showing promising results in an early stage study. If a vaccine is produced by the end of 2020 or early 2021, it could help solve some of the issues faced by industries that have been hit hard by the virus. While the timeline could be a few years or more until the economy is at pre-COVID levels, vaccines are promising news for oil and gas.

Image Credit: Shell

Shell’s CEO, Ben van Beurden talks about Shell continuing to deliver energy to customers around the world while also producing hand sanitizer and donating food. He reminds us that crises are usually over quickly, but COVID-19 has a while to run.

The letter and the video are a wonderful positive picture of the people working hard to keep the world going during this pandemic. “I have been deeply impressed with Shell's staff and contractors. In unprecedented times they somehow seem to know exactly the right thing to do. From those working on platforms out at sea, and those at our service stations who are keeping the fuel flowing for those who need it… to a team of 80 staff and contractors in China who turned up for a 12-hour shift and stayed to keep things running – for 40 days straight through.” Look for more on the China story next Good News Monday.

Shell still has over 70,000 people around the world doing work, many of them working from home in a makeshift office of their kitchen or bedroom. Providing natural gas to hospitals and producing sanitizing liquid from their chemical plants requires a lot of work. Their chemical plants are producing isopropyl alcohol to provide about half the sanitizing liquid used around the world.

There is a link above, but another link to the letter is right here, it’s been out for a while now, but a fantastic read if you haven’t seen it.

Image Credit: bp

A new video from bp shows the new normal for their offshore workers. Life on the ETAP and Mungo platforms has changed to keep employees safe on the rigs and when they get home to their families.

A statement from Ariel Flores, regional president for the North Sea for bp said: “Our offshore teams, who work in a remote, confined environment where social distancing is more complicated, must be commended for demonstrating adaptability and resolve to keep our operations running safely at what is a highly challenging time for them and their loved ones.”

Extra measures such as tape for spacing, cleaning high touch surfaces, and shields between desks and workers to help reduce any possible transmission of the virus. Employees are frequently tested while at sea to ensure they are symptom and virus free while working and for their trips back home.

There is also a separate, dedicated COVID-19 rescue helicopter for safe transport of any offshore workers who are suspected of having coronavirus, to get them back to the mainland to be treated.

We weren’t sure how well Good News Monday would fare after COVID-19. We are happy to report, there are many, many fantastic stories of companies and people helping during this pandemic. There are so many, and we only cover a few here each week. Stay positive, and stay safe out there.

Happy Monday everyone!

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