ENERGY RECAP: Iranian crude exports plummet

An Iranian flag flutters on board the Adrian Darya oil tanker, formerly known as Grace 1, off the coast of Gibraltar on August 18, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 25 August 2019

ENERGY RECAP: Iranian crude exports plummet

  • US President Donald Trump and top White House officials dismissed concerns that US economic growth may be faltering, yet we still see a bearish forward view on the market from OPEC and the International Energy Agency

Brent crude edged closer to the $60 (SR2225) barrier over the course of the week, finishing at $59.34 per barrel while WTI deteriorated slightly to $54.17 per barrel. Prices remain relatively stable on a week to week basis and continued to move in a narrow band.
Still, oil futures speculators were broad-based sellers last week as the uncertainty over the outlook for global economic growth and future demand continued to take its toll.
US crude oil inventories declined by 2.7 million barrels and the US rig count also slipped below 1,000 for first time since May 2017.
A second drone attack on a Saudi Arabian oil field within three months brought geopolitical risks back into focus, displacing recession worries and concerns about lower oil demand growth.
Even if concerns about an economic recession continued to weigh on crude prices, the US-China trade dispute has shown that this has not hurt demand as much as feared.
Instead, China has chalked up new record levels of oil imports every month.
US President Donald Trump and top White House officials dismissed concerns that US economic growth may be faltering, yet we still see a bearish forward view on the market from OPEC and the International Energy Agency.
That appears largely driven by the view held by some economists that a trade dispute could lead to a global recession that will lead to a drop in oil demand growth, The US Department of State said that sanctions caused Iranian crude exports to fall to about 100,000 bpd in July, down from roughly 2.5 million bpd a year earlier.
By zeroing out these oil exports, the US is disrupting about $50 billion in annual revenue to the Iranian regime. It is also unclear if these remaining barrels are condensate only, which is a kind of ultra-light crude oil that is produced from natural gas fields.

Faisal Faeq is an energy and oil marketing adviser. He was formerly with OPEC and Saudi Aramco. Twitter:@faisalfaeq


Saudi fund shells out to help US cellular seafood pioneer

Updated 27 February 2020

Saudi fund shells out to help US cellular seafood pioneer

  • KBW Ventures joins ‘visionary’ $20m backing for San Diego food innovator

JEDDAH: A California innovative food company that produces seafood directly from fish cells is stepping up expansion plans with backing from “visionary investors” including KBW Ventures, the Saudi investment fund founded by Prince Khaled bin Al-Waleed bin Talal.

BlueNalu, based in San Diego, on Wednesday announced the completion of its $20 million Series A round of funding.

The financing will allow the company to develop a pilot production facility in San Diego, expand its worldwide staff, implement strategic alliances for global operations and prepare for its market launch.

The Series A round is co-led by Stray Dog Capital, CPT Capital, New Crop Capital and Clear Current Capital, each of which took part in BlueNalu’s seed round. The company secured $4.5 million in 2018 and has attracted investors from 11 nations so far, demonstrating global interest in the firm’s potential.

New investors include KBW Ventures, which supports innovative companies, such as BlueNalu, that have potential for growth and can sustainably feed the world.

BlueNalu’s A round attracted a significant number of strategic investors offering expertise and infrastructure in supply chain, operations, sales, marketing and distribution.

Strategic investors include global supply chain leaders that will provide guidance and raw material expertise to BlueNalu. These include Nutreco, a global leader in animal nutrition and aquafeed, and Griffith Foods, a global product development partner to the food industry, with expertise in market insights, food science, culinary and sensory optimization.

Strategic investors also include organizations with expertise in operations, sales, and distribution, including Pulmuone, a leader in healthy lifestyle and sustainable food products with distribution in Asia and North America; Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, a global investor and supplier of goods and services, including foods; Rich Products Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Rich Products Corporation, a leading supplier of icings, cakes, pizza, desserts, appetizers and bakery products.

FASTFACTS

• BlueNalu announced the completion of its $20 million Series A round of funding.

• The financing will allow the company to develop a pilot production facility in San Diego, expand its worldwide staff, implement strategic alliances for global operations and prepare for its market launch.

• The company secured $4.5 million in 2018 and has attracted investors from 11 nations so far, demonstrating global interest in the firm’s potential.

“BlueNalu has made considerable progress toward bringing cell-based seafood products to the world,” said Lou Cooperhouse, the company’s president and CEO.

“We have designed and executed a platform technology in which we will ultimately offer a broad array of sustainable cell-based seafood products to consumers, and our team has been extremely focused on implementing systems and processes that will be needed for cost-effective, large-scale production.

“We are thankful to the committed group of visionaries who participated in our earlier financing round and have invested again in this round, and we are eager to form partnerships with these five strategic investors, so that we can launch our cell-based seafood products in nations around the world,” he added.

“BlueNalu has demonstrated global leadership in cell-based seafood, and has the team, expertise, strategy and networks that are key to its success,” said Chuck Laue, co-founder and chair of Stray Dog Capital.

“As global demand for seafood continues to increase, and our supply continues to be compromised, we are excited at the potential for BlueNalu to play a significant role in feeding the planet in the decades to come.”

“BlueNalu has achieved a number of milestones in a short period of time, and we are proud to have backed this company since its origins,” said Chris Kerr, chief investment officer of New Crop Capital.

“We have seen extremely rapid global growth in plant-based foods, and BlueNalu is clearly at the forefront of this next generation of alternative proteins that many are predicting will have considerable growth and significant market penetration in the coming years.

“BlueNalu will offer a sustainable solution to consumers, free of mercury and environmental contaminants that will support the health, sustainability and biodiversity of our ocean. This is clearly a win-win-win for human health, sea life and for our planet,” he said.