Speculation has overshadowed market fundamentals this week, with unsubstantiated reports of an impending ceasefire between Israel and Palestine dragging Brent futures below $80 per barrel again. 

On the fundamental side, with OPEC+ rolling over its policy and refusing to change its pre-set course, unforeseen refinery outages in the United States might have an even more lasting impact on prices by weakening US demand even further. 

Shell plays down M&A pressures. The CEO of Shell Wael Sawan indicated the UK-based oil major is not tempted to join the US shale patch’s acquisition frenzy, whilst its Q4 results surpassed analysts’ expectations at $7.3 billion despite multi-billion impairments. 

OPEC+ sticks to course, flags March meeting.This week’s OPEC+ ministerial meeting made no changes to the oil group’s production policy, with participating top officials indicating they will meet again in early March to decide on an extension of the 2.2 million b/d cuts into Q2.

Saudi Aramco mulls $10 billion share sale.Bloomberg reports that Saudi Arabia’s national oil firm Saudi Aramco is considering a secondary share offering worth up to $10 billion as early as February, capitalizing on its market value of more than $2 trillion. 

Qatar seeks to expand oil output. QatarEnergy awarded service contracts worth $6.2 billion to develop the third phase of its key oil-producing asset, the offshore Al Shaheen field overlying its vast gas reserves in the sea, eyeing a production hike of about 100,000 b/d by 2027-2028.