After months of macro-driven price swings, the introduction of the oil products price cap has awakened the spirit of the oil market and brought fundamentals back into the spotlight. Russia’s announcement that it would curb output as a reaction to sanctions is arguably the first major supply disruption of 2023 as protests in Colombia failed to trigger any notable market reaction. Nigerian presidential elections are only three weeks away, so Russia’s production cuts might be the first of many to come, OilPrice said.

Russia to cut oil production in March 2023. According to Russia’s deputy prime minister Alexander Novak, Russia will cut oil production by 500,000 b/d in March 2023 as a reaction to the recently introduced product price cap and EU import ban, pledging not to sell its exports to members of the price cap coalition.

Bakken holds down US supply growth. The EIA cut its 2024 US production forecast to 12.65 million b/d from an earlier projection of 12.8 million b/d, citing the overall maturation of Bakken shale as the main reason, with wells in North Dakota increasingly producing natural gas instead of oil.

Namibia superfind too good not to fast-track. The French energy company TotalEnergieswill be spending half of its 2023 exploration budget on offshore Namibia after the 6-billion-barrel Venus discovery last year, the largest in 2022, propelled the frontier region to global limelight. 

Seepage woes hinder Imperial Oil. The Alberta Energy Regulator in Canada issued an environmental protection order to Imperial Oil, giving it a week to fix industrial wastewater seepage from tailing ponds, including dissolved iron and arsenic, at its Kearl oil sands project.

Trafigura to take $577 million loss on nickel fraud.The Geneva-based trading powerhouse Trafigura will take a $577 million loss in the first half of 2023 after several nickel cargoes delivered by India’s UD Trading Group didn’t contain nickel at all, despite the two sides interacting since at least 2015. 

India finds lithium, in the wrong place.As the global hunt for lithium deposits intensifies, the Geological Survey of India announced that it found lithium deposits for the first time in the country, though the 5.9 million tonnes of inferred resources were found in Jammu-Kashmir, a territory disputed by Pakistan. 

Coal prices crater despite Australia rains.Squeezed by lower European and Chinese demand as well as the fire-sale of coal by the beleaguered Adani Group, coal prices have fallen to their lowest in a year with the March ’23 ICE Newcastle contract already trading below $200/mt and Europe’s API 2 benchmark down at $125/mt. 

Tesla sets end of Master Plan Trilogy for March 1. Following two previous Master Plan vision statements in 2006 and 2016, the CEO of Tesla Elon Musk said the third part of the company’s Master Plan for a sustainable energy future for Earth will be held on March 1.