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OPEC Stalemate Could Spark A New Oil Price War – OilPrice.com

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OPEC Stalemate Could Spark A New Oil Price War | OilPrice.com


Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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Nearly a week of formal and side talks and behind-the-scenes negotiations failed to resolve a dispute over baseline production levels at OPEC+. The discord threw the group in its most serious crisis since March 2020, when the alliance’s leaders Saudi Arabia and Russia disagreed on oil supply management with global demand crumbling in the pandemic.  

Now the dispute is between two Arab Gulf allies in OPEC—the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia—in what analysts see as the UAE looking to step out of the Saudi shadow in global political affairs. 

The UAE is digging in its heels, making its approval of OPEC+ adding more supply to the market contingent on the group acknowledging that the UAE’s baseline for the cuts was too low and “unfair.”

The disagreement, which OPEC+ has been unable to overcome for five consecutive days, is bringing back the specter of last year’s oil price war when the alliance abandoned all deals for a month. Traders and analysts have already started to ask themselves: is this the dispute that will dissolve the production pact again? And will OPEC+ let its firm grip on oil market management slip, after being in such a favorable position this year with U.S. shale keeping production flat and not unraveling the alliance’s efforts to keep markets tight?  

Third Time’s Not a Charm

Despite mediation, consultations, and side talks in the weekend – after two days of ‘no deal’ outcome of meetings – OPEC+ failed a third time on Monday, called off the OPEC+ meeting, and said it hadn’t decided yet when the next meeting would be held.  

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The lack of agreement overproduction for next month likely means that OPEC+ will keep, for now, their production in August flat compared with July. This immediately sent oil prices jumping to the highest in three years, considering that global oil demand is bouncing back and the market was initially expecting at least a 500,000-bpd increase from the alliance in August. 

“The market began factoring in the prospect of no additional supply hike from the OPEC/non-OPEC alliance in August,” Vanda Insights said in a daily note on Tuesday.

$90 Oil?  No additional supply at a time when inventories are drawing down and demand is roaring back will likely send oil prices higher in the near term, at least until the group reaches some sort of a deal. 

Oil at $85 to $90 a barrel is on the cards if OPEC+ doesn’t raise supply next month, Fereidun Fesharaki, chairman of industry consultant FGE, told Bloomberg TV in an interview. Fesharaki expects the group to reach some sort of compromise over the next one to three weeks, during which oil prices will continue to rise. 

“No additional oil in August, at a time when the physical market is incredibly tight, can easily lead to prices overshooting above US$90 a barrel,” Amrita Sen, Director of Research at Energy Aspects, told Bloomberg.  

New Price War? 

The UAE-OPEC+ rift, however, now appears wider than initially thought on Thursday last week, when the first OPEC+ meeting failed to reach a consensus on oil policy going forward. 

 But at least for now, few analysts believe that there will be a repeat of the brief oil price war from the spring of 2020, when the OPEC+ producers pumped at will for a month and contributed to the crash in oil prices, the effects of which are still being felt in most OPEC+ economies. 

Related: Natural Gas Prices Fall Despite Bullish Outlook

Credit Suisse, in a note late on Monday, said the current impasse about raising supply in August had the ability to push Brent Crude to $80 a barrel in the near term. Early on Tuesday, Brent was trading above $77 and WTI was up above $76 a barrel.  

“If Saudi and UAE are unable to resolve their differences, then it could lead to each man for himself approach and back to price wars, which is a draconian scenario for energy investors,” Credit Suisse analysts said. 

OPEC+ Has Much More at Stake Than Quota Baselines 

 This ‘draconian scenario’, however, is one of the most unlikely outcomes of the current deadlock, according to chief investment officers of energy funds who joined a live chat on Bloomberg on Monday with Lawrence McDonald, founder of The Bear Traps Report. 

“[T]here is a low probability of a destructive breakdown with a large boost in production, that’s not happening,” an energy fund CIO in Canada said. 

“We see strong demand (India, Europe) with real supply risk, it is not in OPEC’s interest to blow this opportunity,” a CIO in London said, noting that oil has a shot at $90 to $100 a barrel in the next six months.

Institutional investors, therefore, don’t see the OPEC+ pact breaking up, as it would be very unwise for the alliance to be sidelined as the key oil market mover again, after working for more than a year to show it is calling the shots (and burning the shorts) in the oil market.  

“We do not believe that a price-destructive “non-deal” is in the cards at this time. This is the strongest period OPEC+ has had in the market in decades and they don’t want to give that all up,” The Bear Traps Report’s McDonald notes.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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Accounting firm EY to pay $100M US fine after auditors caught cheating on ethics exams – CBC News

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Accounting firm Ernst & Young will pay $100 million US to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges that its auditors cheated on certified public accounting (CPA) exams and that it misled the agency’s investigators.

The London-based auditor admitted to the charges and agreed to pay what the SEC said is its largest fine against an auditor.

“EY acknowledges the findings determined by the SEC,” said Brendan Mullin, EY media relations director, adding that the firm’s response has been “thorough, extensive and effective.”

“At EY, nothing is more important than our integrity and our ethics.”

The CPA is the key qualification for accountants in the United States.

EY has also agreed to “undertake extensive remedial measures to fix the firm’s ethical issues,” the SEC said.

49 people got test answers ahead of time

The Wall Street watchdog found that 49 EY professionals “obtained or circulated” answer keys to CPA licence exams, while hundreds of others cheated to complete the continuing professional education components relating to CPA ethics.

“This action involves breaches of trust by gatekeepers … entrusted to audit many of our nation’s public companies. It’s simply outrageous that the very professionals responsible for catching cheating by clients cheated on ethics exams,” said Gurbir Grewal, the SEC’s enforcement director, in a statement.

“And it’s equally shocking that Ernst & Young hindered our investigation of this misconduct,” added Grewal.

EY submitted to the SEC that it did not have issues with cheating when, in fact, the firm had been informed of potential cheating on a CPA ethics exam by a member of staff, the SEC said.

It added that EY admitted it did not correct its submission even after an internal EY investigation confirmed there had been cheating, and even after its senior lawyers discussed the matter with the firm’s senior management.

The SEC’s order also finds that EY violated a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) rule requiring the firm to maintain integrity in the performance of a professional service.

The SEC has ordered EY to retain two independent consultants to help remediate its deficiencies. One will review the firm’s policies and procedures relating to ethics and integrity. The other will review EY’s conduct regarding its disclosure failures, including whether any EY employees contributed to the firm’s failure to correct its misleading submission, the SEC said.

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Canada's transport minister speaks out about 'unacceptable issues' at airports following reports of luggage chaos at Pearson – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Canada’s transport minister is speaking out about the “unacceptable issues” that continue to result in significant delays at Canadian airports after images surfaced on social media showing hundreds of pieces of luggage piled up at Pearson International Airport.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority, which operates Pearson, told CP24 on Tuesday that a number of issues over the past several days have led to “challenges with baggage,” including “flight delays and cancellations, staff shortages and temporary mechanical disruptions with the baggage system.”

So far dozens of people have spoken out about losing their luggage at Pearson, including one woman who told CP24 that her bag was lost once on the way to Phoenix and then again on the way back to Toronto, resulting in a frustrating “suitcase scavenger hunt” that ultimately proved fruitless.

There have also been numerous images shared on social media showing huge piles of luggage in the baggage claim area at Pearson, which travellers have had to search through in the hopes of finding their missing bags.

“What we are seeing today is that while many of those Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and Canadian Border Security Agency issues have significantly improved we continue to see delays, cancellations and luggage issues,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra told reporters at an unrelated announcement in the GTA on Wednesday. “I have had conversations with the four largest airports and the two largest airlines just on Thursday and I will be having follow up conversations with them soon. They know that they need to add more resources and they are working on that and we are offering our support to address these issues. But these are unacceptable issues.”

Pearson has been plagued by delays for months now amid increased demand and some staffing shortages.

Alghabra said that at this point the federal government has done everything in its control to address the issues at airports, including increasing staffing at customs and at security checkpoints.

He said that his government is also looking at “possibly extending the suspension” of random COVID-19 testing, which was supposed to be lifted on July 1.

That, he said, is because it is taking longer than expected to address the logistics of moving the testing off-site.

“What we are seeing is the surge of demand for air travel beyond what anybody expected and that is honestly good news. But the surge in demand is outpacing the ability for airlines and airports to enhance the resources that they need to accommodate that surge,” he said. “So we are working with airlines and airports to ensure that the resources needed, that the scheduling adjustments that are needed are addressed. Because we are also seeing extreme peaks at certain hours of the day.”

Tory says he will speak with Air Canada about issues

Many of the luggage issues at Pearson have reportedly involved Air Canada flights.

In a statement provided to CP24 on Tuesday, Air Canada said “that avoiding baggage delays is a top priority” as they are “disruptive and inconvenient” for customers and lead to added costs that the airline ultimately has to bear.

But they said that with the “well-documented issues” plaguing airports and resulting in last-minute flight cancellations there are simply more instances of delayed bags.

“I think the overall record is better today at the airport than it was a few weeks ago and I think there is every reason to believe that progress will continue,” Toronto Mayor John Tory told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday when asked about the issues at Pearson. “I am not personally familiar with the precise way baggage is handled but certainly from my limited knowledge it occurs to me that most of the responsibility rests with the airlines, so I will, undertake in light of what has happened to be in touch with Air Canada and find out from their perspective what the problem is, what they are doing to solve their part of it and if they believe that governments in the broadest sense can be helpful in making things work better so those baggage issues don’t arise.”

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Canadian Businesses Need Integrated Facility Services

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Many Canadian businesses require professional facility management to streamline their operations for the smooth functioning of buildings and facilities. Hiring separate contractors for different facility responsibilities, however, can become more time consuming and convoluted. An integrated facilities management company can act as an end-to-end solution for all your facility management needs and take care of all responsibilities.

Hiring a qualified integrated facility services team allows businesses to consolidate facility management under a single discipline, which includes integrating tasks, employees, technology, and safety. This simplifies facility management by bringing together different services under a single contract.

Consider how your business operations and management can benefit from integrated facility services

Time to Focus on Core Business Tasks

An integrated facility services team will take care of all facility-related services, allowing you to better allocate your time and resources to core business tasks. When you remove the burden of facility management off your shoulders, you can focus more on other aspects of your business, such as designing or building products, communicating with clients, and marketing.

A professional facility service provider will develop a tailored solution to meet a facility’s specific requirements. An experienced team can follow regulatory standards, improve communication between employees, and create a better workplace environment.

Lower Operational Costs

According to research and analysis, 90,600 businesses disappeared between 2013 and 2017 – and this was before the impacts of the global pandemic. The costs associated with running a business continue to increase, impacting the life-expectancy of businesses across various industries.

Switching your facility management to consolidated integrated services led by a professional will reduce operational costs by allowing you to invest in one provider, rather than a handful. Having only one point of contact will also reduce the time and labor required needed to coordinate with the provider. You can leverage economies of scale by streamlining facility operations, making the process more cost-effective.

A knowledgeable integrated facility service team can audit your workplace and identify cost-saving opportunities. They can guide strategic sourcing and allow you to bundle vendor services and contracts to save you money. You may also get discounts or benefits from pre-negotiated rates when a single company handles your facility management services.

Better Response Time

Facility management includes a wide range of services that require attention for smooth business operations. If management is inefficient, you may notice delays in the work process, leading to revenue losses.

When integration is done correctly, you’ll notice that response times will improve. Most efficient integrated facility service teams use modern technology to manage multiple sites and business operations. This allows better collaboration among team members despite their location and improves response time.

Streamlined Operations

Compiling all your facility management activities with a single company can be faster, more cost-effective, and more efficient. When business operations are streamlined, your team will notice more flexibility, improving employee engagement and better relationships with stakeholders.

An integrated solution is a more comprehensive approach because it is simpler to manage a singular point of contact. This will streamline the decision-making process, improve quality, and enforce accountability.

Embracing Integrated Facility Services

The Canadian Facility Management Market stood at USD 32.17 billion in 2020 and is forecasted to grow until 2026. A singular point of contact will make business operations less overwhelming, allowing you to divert your attention to other aspects of your business.

The key to successful integration is hiring a professional company with extensive experience managing facilities. When you find the right provider, a weight will be lifted off your shoulders, allowing you to relax knowing that your management is in good hands.

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