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Rise In COVID Cases May Force OPEC To Do The Unthinkable – OilPrice.com

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Rise In COVID Cases May Force OPEC To Do The Unthinkable | OilPrice.com

Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.

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With the most recent round of coronavirus-inspired lockdowns in various parts of the world, OPEC may face its biggest challenge yet: cutting even more production. Would the cartel and its members survive such a decision?

OPEC originally planned to relax the current round of production cuts starting in January. And for now, that plan still stands. But there has been talk among OPEC members and analysts that it could waylay that plan, extending the cuts beyond January 2021 to some indefinite future date.

The reason for the possible extension of the current round of cuts is OPEC’s view on oil demand, upon which all plans—budgets, production plans, austerity measures—hinge.

And if the new round of lockdowns in various parts of the world are any indication of future oil demand—and oh, are they ever—OPEC must seriously be considering the possibility that its plans to relax the production cuts should be scrapped.

Current lockdowns are threatening the very fabric of the oil industry, and some oil and gas companies haven’t survived the last round of lockdowns and depressed demand. It’s very likely that more oil and gas companies won’t make it this go around.

Austria is starting on November 3 its latest lockdown. Under the new orders, residents must stay at home during the hours of 8pm to 6 am—until the end of November in a desperate attempt to arrest the spread of the virus. Hotels must close, and restaurants and cafes will close—all of this will profoundly affect oil demand. For Austria, it gets most of its oil from Kazakhstan—an OPEC+ member— while its gas comes from Russia.

Last week, France implemented its second lockdown too, and this time it’s expected to last until December 1. Under these measures, people are allowed to go to work only, in addition to buying essential goods and attend medical appointments. One of the most noteworthy restrictions here is that traveling between regions is banned, and must stay within 1 kilometer of their homes—a rule that will surely eat away at oil demand for the nation that gets most of its oil from Saudi Arabia and Norway. Related: Venezuela’s Oil Industry Is On Its Last Legs

Next on the list is Germany, which went into another lockdown on Monday. Germany has tight travel restrictions, and all nonessential travel is prohibited. According to energy market research group AGEB, Germany’s energy consumption is set to fall this year by 10%–for crude oil specifically, Germany is looking at a 3% drop, according to AGEB. Germany’s largest oil supplier is Russia—the defacto leader of the plus part of OPEC+. The UK and Portugal are locking down again as well, with the UK’s lockdown beginning on November 5.  

With these lockdowns and likely more to come, will it push down oil demand to levels that will create even more of a glut—and a headache for OPEC? And if so, will OPEC member budgets be able to take another hit from the ugly combination of lower oil prices caused by the glut, and fewer barrels produced from which it can generate revenue?

The answer is complex. Most OPEC members are heavily dependent on oil revenues—some nearly completely. And there have already been rumors of unhappy members who have indicated—off the record, of course—that they will not be on board come January should OPEC come knocking and asking for an extension of the already painful quotas that it is enduring today.

Those disgruntled countries which have begrudgingly cut production as a duty they must perform include Nigeria and Iraq. 

OPEC and Russia—or more likely Saudi Arabia and Russia—seem to be favoring an extension of the cut. They are said this week to be weighing the possibility of delaying their January plan to relax the cuts. Oil prices rose on Tuesday on the mere rumor of such an event, but OPEC members are likely less enthusiastic.

Related: Oil Prices Rise On Election Day

The reasons for this are clear. Economy diversification efforts in OPEC member countries are slow in coming. Their budgets are inextricably linked with oil revenues, and on Tuesday, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicted that OPEC members’ oil revenues will fall this year to the lowest level in 18 years—the result of both low oil prices and lowered production. Collectively, OPEC members are set to earn $323 billion in net oil export revenues this year, compared to $595 billion last year, the EIA added.

Aramco reported a profit for Q3 on Tuesday, but it was 45% lower. That’s painful, yet Aramco announced that it was keeping its dividend. That dividend is mostly going to the government—98% of it in fact—and the fact that the dividend is being kept while profits plunge 45% is a definitive indication that Saudi Arabia’s budget needs those revenues to come hell or high water.

In the end, even if some countries feel more pain than they can bear, Saudi Arabia and Russia will likely pull the strings as usual. If the two think it prudent to extend the current production cuts beyond January, the rest of OPEC+ will likely fall in line—no matter how painful it turns out to be.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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Ontario reports record-breaking 1800 new COVID-19 cases as testing numbers rise – CTV Toronto

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TORONTO —
Ontario health officials are reporting more than 1,800 new COVID-19 cases after the province processed a record-breaking number of tests over the past 24 hours.

The province confirmed 1,855 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday. It’s the highest number of cases ever recorded in a single day in Ontario. The previous record high was on Saturday when officials logged 1,588 cases.

Officials said the province completed 58,037 tests over the past 24 hours, which is the highest number of tests processed since the pandemic began and the first time the province has surpassed its 50,000 capacity limit. The previous record-breaking number was on Oct. 8, when the province processed 48,488 tests in a 24-hour period.

The ministry of health said the province’s positivity rate on Friday now stands at about 3.7 per cent when including duplicate tests and errors.

Health officials also reported 20 new deaths on Friday. Seniors continue to be the age group hardest hit by the pandemic. According to the province’s epidemiology report, 13 of the 20 deaths were people living in long-term care homes.

Since the pandemic started in January, of the 3,595 people who have died in Ontario due to the disease, 2,494 were over the age of 80.

Provincial health officials deemed 1,451 more cases to be resolved as of Friday, bringing the total number of recovered patients in Ontario to 94,366.

The total number of lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario now stands at 111,216, including the deaths and the recoveries.

The province released updated COVID-19 projections on Thursday that showed that in the worst-case scenario, Ontario could see more than 9,000 new cases of the disease per day by the end of the year.

There are 541 people currently in Ontario hospitals due to COVID-19, with at least 151 of those patients in an intensive care unit and 101 of them breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

The province previously stated that once the number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU reaches 150, it becomes harder to support medical needs not related to the disease. Furthermore, once 350 COVID-19 patients are in the ICU in the province, it becomes “impossible” to handle other medical needs.

Thursday’s projections also suggested that more than 200 COVID-19 patients will be admitted to Ontario intensive care units in December “under any scenario.”

Where are the COVID-19 cases in Ontario?

Ontario’s three COVID-19 hot spots continue to be the most impacted regions in the province. On Friday, Peel Region reported 517 new cases, Toronto reported 494 new cases and York Region reported 189.

Toronto and Peel Region entered the province’s lockdown phase on Monday, which forced most non-essential businesses, including gyms, malls and personal care services, to close for at least 28 days.

Several other regions in Ontario reported rising COVID-19 case numbers. Halton Region reported 130 cases, Hamilton reported 82 cases, Waterloo reported 74 cases, Durham Region reported 65 cases, Ottawa reported 55 cases, Windsor-Essex reported 52 cases and Simcoe-Muskoka reported 38 cases.

Most of the new cases of COVID-19 reported on Friday involve people under the age of 80.

There were 686 infections in people between the ages of 20 and 39, at least 564 in people between the ages of 40 and 59 and 249 in people between the ages of 60 and 79. There were 278 cases in people under the age of 19.

In total, Ontario has processed more than 6.1 million tests since the pandemic began in January. There are 54,241 COVID-19 tests still under investigation. 

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Friday's list of potential COVID-19 exposure locations – HalifaxToday.ca

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NEWS RELEASE
NOVA SCOTIA HEALTH
*************************
Nova Scotia Health Public Health is advising of potential exposure to COVID-19 at various locations across Halifax. In addition to media releases, all potential exposure notifications are now listed here: http://www.nshealth.ca/covid-exposures.
 
Anyone who worked or visited the following locations on the specified date and time to immediately visit covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/ to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. People who book testing because they were at a site of potential exposure to COVID-19 are required to self-isolate before their test and while waiting for test results. You can also call 811 if you don’t have online access or if you have other symptoms that concern you.

  • Agricola Street Brasserie (2540 Agricola St, Halifax) on Nov. 16 between 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.; Nov. 17 between 2:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; Nov. 18 between 2:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; Nov. 21 between 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and between 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.; Nov. 22 between 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.; Nov. 23 between 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 7.
  • *Corrected time* Orange Theory Fitness (6140 Young Street, Halifax) on Nov. 17 between 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Nov. 18 between 9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.; Nov. 19 between 8:15 a.m.-9:15 a.m.; Nov. 20 between 8:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.; Nov. 21 between 7:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.; Nov. 22 between 8:15 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 6. 
  • Two Doors Down (1533 Barrington St, Halifax) on Nov. 20 between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 4. 
  • Wendy’s Restaurant (720 Sackville Dr, Sackville) on Nov. 20 between 2:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 4. 
  • Antojos (1667 Argyle St, Halifax) on Nov. 21 between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 5. 
  • Bicycle Thief (1475 Lower Water St, Halifax) on Nov. 21 between 7:15 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 5. 
  • Lion’s Head Tavern (3081 Robie Street, Halifax) on Nov. 22 between 12:45 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 6. 
  • A&W Restaurant (1748 Bedford Highway, Bedford) on Nov. 22 between 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 6. 
  • Fit4Less (1535 Dresden Row, Halifax) on Nov. 23 between 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.; and Nov. 25 between 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 9.

Please remember:
Do not go directly to a COVID-19 assessment centre without being directed to do so.
 
Currently, anyone travelling to Nova Scotia from outside of the Atlantic Provinces is expected to self-isolate alone for 14 days after arriving. If a person travelling for non-essential reasons enters Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada, then everyone in the home where they are self-isolating will have to self-isolate as well.
 
When Nova Scotia Health Public Health makes a public notification it is not in any way a reflection on the behaviour or activities of those named in the notification.
 
All Nova Scotians are advised to continue monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and are urged to follow Public Health guidelines on how to access care. Up to date information about COVID-19 is available at novascotia.ca/coronavirus
*************************

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Friday's list of potential COVID-19 exposure locations – HalifaxToday.ca

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NEWS RELEASE
NOVA SCOTIA HEALTH
*************************
Nova Scotia Health Public Health is advising of potential exposure to COVID-19 at various locations across Halifax. In addition to media releases, all potential exposure notifications are now listed here: http://www.nshealth.ca/covid-exposures.
 
Anyone who worked or visited the following locations on the specified date and time to immediately visit covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/ to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. People who book testing because they were at a site of potential exposure to COVID-19 are required to self-isolate before their test and while waiting for test results. You can also call 811 if you don’t have online access or if you have other symptoms that concern you.

  • Agricola Street Brasserie (2540 Agricola St, Halifax) on Nov. 16 between 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.; Nov. 17 between 2:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; Nov. 18 between 2:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; Nov. 21 between 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and between 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.; Nov. 22 between 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.; Nov. 23 between 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 7.
  • *Corrected time* Orange Theory Fitness (6140 Young Street, Halifax) on Nov. 17 between 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Nov. 18 between 9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.; Nov. 19 between 8:15 a.m.-9:15 a.m.; Nov. 20 between 8:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.; Nov. 21 between 7:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.; Nov. 22 between 8:15 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 6. 
  • Two Doors Down (1533 Barrington St, Halifax) on Nov. 20 between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 4. 
  • Wendy’s Restaurant (720 Sackville Dr, Sackville) on Nov. 20 between 2:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 4. 
  • Antojos (1667 Argyle St, Halifax) on Nov. 21 between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 5. 
  • Bicycle Thief (1475 Lower Water St, Halifax) on Nov. 21 between 7:15 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 5. 
  • Lion’s Head Tavern (3081 Robie Street, Halifax) on Nov. 22 between 12:45 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 6. 
  • A&W Restaurant (1748 Bedford Highway, Bedford) on Nov. 22 between 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 6. 
  • Fit4Less (1535 Dresden Row, Halifax) on Nov. 23 between 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.; and Nov. 25 between 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 9.

Please remember:
Do not go directly to a COVID-19 assessment centre without being directed to do so.
 
Currently, anyone travelling to Nova Scotia from outside of the Atlantic Provinces is expected to self-isolate alone for 14 days after arriving. If a person travelling for non-essential reasons enters Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada, then everyone in the home where they are self-isolating will have to self-isolate as well.
 
When Nova Scotia Health Public Health makes a public notification it is not in any way a reflection on the behaviour or activities of those named in the notification.
 
All Nova Scotians are advised to continue monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and are urged to follow Public Health guidelines on how to access care. Up to date information about COVID-19 is available at novascotia.ca/coronavirus
*************************

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