Pol­icy Trudeau on Bud­gets, Refugees—and Trump

Bloomberg News Ottawa correspondent Josh Win­grove talked with Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau about sev­eral is­sues, in­clud­ing his coun­try’s econ­omy and its role in the world. Pres­i­dent Trump? My ap­proach to pol­i­tics is I work across all party line

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data show­ing out­put that was as much as 10 per­cent higher than the data OPEC pub­lished for the Emi­rates based on tanker track­ing.

Ul­ti­mately, the task of com­ing up with the most re­li­able pro­duc­tion data falls to a small group of lit­tle­known com­pa­nies whose main job is to count the num­ber of tankers leav­ing ports. The in­for­ma­tion pro­duced by com­pa­nies such as PetroL­o­gis­tics, in Geneva, and U.k.-based Oil Move­ments in­flu­ences the es­ti­mates of con­sul­tants, traders, and of­fi­cial bod­ies such as the IEA, which all pay for their re­search.

At their most so­phis­ti­cated, th­ese com­pa­nies use data gath­ered from satel­lites to track tanker move­ment, a proxy for oil pro­duc­tion. But satel­lite data must be sup­ple­mented by agents us­ing sim­ple binoc­u­lars to count and iden­tify tankers leav­ing port. The track­ers have to guess how much crude a ves­sel is car­ry­ing by gaug­ing the tanker’s depth in the wa­ter. Mea­sur­ing pro­duc­tion be­comes more com­plex when oil is moved via pipe­line. Rus­sia ex­ports about 30 per­cent of its crude that way, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial data. In­de­pen­dent groups of­ten cal­cu­late vol­ume by us­ing in­frared pho­tog­ra­phy, which mea­sures the heat thrown off by the flow­ing crude. The tech­nique pro­vides a rough ap­prox­i­ma­tion of out­put.

Petro-lo­gis­tics calls its work “the art and sci­ence of tanker track­ing,” with the aim of dis­cov­er­ing what oil pro­duc­ers “are re­ally do­ing as dis­tinct to what they say they are do­ing,” ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

Th­ese meth­ods will de­ter­mine how suc­cess­ful a freeze is. “If the Doha meet­ing is even the start of some agree­ment on base­line pro­duc­tion num­bers, then it may open the door to more co­op­er­a­tion in the com­ing months,” says Am­rita Sen, chief oil an­a­lyst at con­sul­tants En­ergy Aspects in Lon­don.

It may also open the way for more con­fu­sion. Be­fore a pro­duc­tion cut, coun­tries must agree on their base­line out­put. They of­ten have an in­cen­tive to claim they pump more than they do to min­i­mize the im­pact of any fu­ture curb. Agree­ing to a base­line

num­ber for pro­duc­tion has of­ten proved more dif­fi­cult for OPEC than de­cid­ing the size of a pos­si­ble cut. In 1999, Iran agreed to OPEC cuts only af­ter Saudi Ara­bia ac­cepted a base­line for Tehran of 3.6 mil­lion bar­rels a day, rather than 3.3 mil­lion. �Javier Blas

The bot­tom line Ac­cu­rate data on oil pro­duc­tion are es­sen­tial if OPEC and NON-OPEC pro­duc­ers are to end the oil glut and re­store prices.

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