A coronavirus-led demand shock has seen oil prices collapse in 2020, with strict public health measures coinciding with curtailed travel and economic activity.An easing of lockdown measures in the third quarter helped global oil demand to improve, but OPEC now fears a surge in the number of reported Covid-19 cases could derail an expected recovery.“As new COVID-19 infection cases continued to rise during October in the US and Europe, forcing governments to re-introduce a number of restrictive measures, various fuels including transportation fuel are thought to bear the brunt going forward,” OPEC said. LONDON — OPEC on Wednesday trimmed its global oil demand forecasts for the remainder of this year and 2021, citing a weaker-than-expected economic outlook and a surge in coronavirus cases.In a closely watched report, the group of oil-producing nations said it now expects world oil demand to contract by around 9.8 million barrels per day year over year in 2020. That reflects a downward revision of 0.3 million barrels from last month’s assessment.For next year, OPEC said oil demand growth will rise by 6.2 million on an annual basis, representing a downward revision of another 0.3 million barrels from its October report. The group has steadily lowered its oil demand outlook for 2021 from an initial expectation of 7 million in July.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – International benchmark Brent crude futures traded at $44.84 a barrel on Wednesday afternoon, up around 2.8%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures stood at $42.52, also 2.8% higher.Both oil contracts were on pace to record their third consecutive positive trading session after hopes of an effective coronavirus vaccine continued to bolster market sentiment.Pfizer and BioNTech said Monday that early results showed their vaccine candidate was more than 90% effective in preventing Covid infections. It is hoped a safe and effective vaccine could help bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 1.27 million lives.Huge challenges remain before a Covid-19 vaccine can be rolled out, but energy markets have cheered the news.Looking further ahead, OPEC warned “risks remain” with regard to oil demand.“Ongoing developments in the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to dominate a recovery amid the latest news relating to a potential imminent vaccine,” the group said.“The structural impact of the pandemic on various sectors, especially the transportation sector, will linger well into 2021.” – Advertisement – Paul Putnam, 53, a rancher and independent contract pumper walks past a pump jack in Loving County, Texas, November 25, 2019.Angus Mordant | Reuters “These downward revisions mainly take into account downward adjustments to the economic outlook in OECD economies due to COVID-19 containment measures, with the accompanying adverse impacts on transportation and industrial fuel demand through mid-2021,” OPEC said in the report.The report comes ahead of the group’s Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 meeting with non-OPEC allies to discuss the next phase of oil production policy.The energy alliance, a grouping known collectively as OPEC+, had agreed to a record supply cut of 9.7 million bpd starting on May 1. The cut was subsequently scaled back to 7.7 million in August and OPEC+ has said it plans further tapering next year.‘Risks remain’- Advertisement – Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries – OPEC logo is seen on the organisations’ headquarters in Vienna, Austria.Jakub Porzycki | NurPhoto | Getty Images
In response to the current global macroeconomic and commodity outlook, the U.S.-based oil and gas company Noble Energy has announced its decision to reduce its 2020 expenditure guidance by $550 million. With this decision to cut its spending budget for 2020 as a result of oil market volatility, Noble Energy has joined its peers Apache and Murphy Oil.David L. Stover, Noble Energy’s Chairman, and CEO, commented, “In light of the recent commodity price downturn, we are sharply reducing capital expenditures. Deferring activity until commodity prices recover protects our investment returns, maintains free cash flow and strengthens the balance sheet.“While this is a challenging environment, Noble Energy is well-positioned to achieve attractive long-term returns for our shareholders. The impact of bringing a mega-project like Leviathan on production is evident today, as it provides greater certainty of cash flows, supports strong financial liquidity and improves our annual production decline profile.”As compared to its earlier announced guidance, the company is immediately acting to reduce its planned 2020 capital expenditures by approximately $500 million, or nearly 30%, to now range between $1.1 and $1.3 billion for the year.In addition, Noble Energy has also identified more than $50 million in reductions through operating and other cash costs. The company is monitoring the macroeconomic and commodity environments and will continue to act prudently to address the evolving business conditions.Approximately 80% of the capital reduction will occur in the U.S. onshore business where the company has significant flexibility in drilling and completion activity, with the majority of contractual arrangements on a well to well basis. More than half of these reductions will occur in the Delaware Basin.Internationally, the company has identified approximately $100 million in capital reductions coming from major project execution, deferral of non-critical spend into future years and the exploration program.Noble Energy is continuing to move forward the Alen gas monetization project in Equatorial Guinea for the first production in early 2021 and will complete pipeline expansion work in Israel.The company had $4.4 billion in financial liquidity at the end of February 2020. In addition, Noble Energy has no significant debt maturities before late 2024.For 2020, approximately 60 percent of the company’s revenue base is protected through hedging contracts (for oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids) or long-term contractual pricing arrangements (Israel production).
Click here to view this article with more media in our “It Takes a Village: USC and the Community” project package.Nelly Cristales knew she would never leave her elementary school. She enrolled in kindergarten at the 32nd Street School in 1975. Now, she teaches second grade while her own children attend the school that she grew up in.Cristales is also a Trojan. After completing elementary and middle school at 32nd Street, she went to the Downtown Magnets High School before attending USC. She graduated in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in general studies and a minor in Spanish and received her preliminary teaching credential from the Rossier School of Education. Cristales maintained her connection to the 32nd Street School throughout her time at USC, working as a teaching assistant. She was hired as a full-time teacher the August after her graduation and has been working there for the past 15 years. In addition to teaching, she coordinates the various programs that bring USC students to the 32nd Street campus, something she remembers from her time at the school. “I know we’ve always had some kind of relationship with SC,” Cristales said. “I still remember back as an elementary student, having SC students come over.”USC has a wide range of programs it offers at 32nd Street, including the Joint Educational Project, which sends USC students to teach “mini courses” and also tutor students in reading. Students in the Thornton School of Music host a “Jazz in the Classroom” program and teach guitar and choir. This year, the Viterbi School of Engineering created a Robotics and Coding Academy for 5th grade students to learn about programming, robotics and engineering. Cristales praised the University for its community outreach efforts and the programs it coordinates for the 32nd Street School. “It’s really positive, you see any child here, they’re Trojans like crazy,” Cristales said. “Just having them here and then having that interaction with the students, it really focuses them on, ‘I want go to college,’ and ‘I want to go to ‘SC and be a Trojan,” she said.These kind of programs are unheard of at other schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District and is one of the reasons the 32nd Street School is so popular. The school has an enrollment of approximately 1,060 students, 40 percent of which are from the surrounding area, according to the Principal Ezequiel Gonzalez. Like all L.A. magnet schools, parents apply in the fall and are selected by a lottery, which often leads to long waiting lists. A good neighborThose waiting lists are due in part to the school’s proximity to USC, which sends dozens of students to volunteer at the 32nd Street School and the 14 other schools that together comprise the USC Family of Schools. Tammy Anderson, the executive director of JEP, has seen the impact of these programs firsthand. “Anytime we have USC students going over there, the kids are liking it, they’re enjoying seeing young people that are closer to their age than their teachers,” Tammy Anderson, the executive director of JEP said. “And they’re so close to us, they literally live across the street and see higher education, so it’s always kind of there in the back of their minds, and I think that’s very positive.” Tina Koneazny, associate director for JEP, coordinates the USC ReadersPLUS program which sends USC student tutors to work one-on-one with students who are struggling in either reading or math. A former teacher herself, Koneazny said it can be difficult for teachers to provide individualized attention, particularly in large classes where students have varying degrees of skill. “We have so many kids who are struggling with both reading and math, and sometimes all they need is just that one person to give them the individualized attention to meet their specific needs,” she said. Koneazny said each semester, the program administers pre- and post- tests to the students being tutored and about 70 percent “graduate” from the program, having been brought up to grade level. Still, Koneazny said many of the benefits of the program are intangible. “They make large strides, and they see themselves as learners and they seem themselves as somebody who can go college, and they look at themselves in a different way and they start to be successful again,” Koneazny said. From one student to anotherSandra Rivera is the coordinator for middle school tutoring programs at 32nd Street. She said the students are selected based on 10-week grades. If they have any fails they are required to come in for tutoring. Rivera said USC students have a unique impact on the school.“It makes a big difference when we have the University students come out as opposed to other groups,” Rivera said. “I don’t know if it’s the energy that they bring in with them, the more one-on-one because they’re several, and the age, they’re able to connect with the students still.”She said that the University serves to inspire students at the 32nd Street School.“They see it as one of the colleges that they can go, one of their goals that they can apply to,” Rivera said. “And they see what the University campus looks like because they have field trips, they see the students, so it’s something that keeps them motivated to go to college.”Alexa Huerta, a sophomore majoring in industrial and systems engineering and the tutoring chair for the USC Helenes, organizes the tutoring program for middle school students on Monday afternoons at the 32nd Street School. The middle school tutoring is a new program this semester, but the Helenes also tutor a third grade class on Wednesday mornings in collaboration with the Trojan Knights. Huerta said the Helenes expanded the program to reach more students at the school. The Monday afternoon sessions aim to help middle school students who are failing or at risk of failing their math classes. “My personal goal with this, specifically why we’re focusing on math, is because I feel like it’s such a foundational subject — each concept really builds off each other,” Huerta said. “And so in order to succeed later on, it’s pretty hard if you fall behind, and so if we can kind of bridge that gap with the kids who seem to be behind, I think it’ll help them a lot, not only this year in their math class, but in the years to come as well.Huerta said that math is one of the main focuses of the tutoring, but the USC students also assist with English and reading comprehension with the third grade class. She spoke about the importance of USC students volunteering at the school because of its proximity to the University Park campus. “They’re literally our neighbors, so it’s good to have that connection,” she said.