OPEC vs "NOPEC" Drama Pushes NYMEX Up

Posted by Kelly Burke on Apr 5, 2019 4:57:46 PM

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The NYMEX was up today across the board, with Crude closing out at $63.08/bbl, comfortably above that $60 benchmark, and refined products both edged up almost 3 cents, with ULSD closing at 2.0424 (+.0290) and RBOB settling at 1.9687 (+.0288).

So what's going on?

March Oil production from OPEC on preliminary reporting is down 570k barrels per day, primarily driven by drops from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

Domestically, rig counts are up, suggesting some level of confidence in prices stabilizing or continuing to increase on the part of producers. Crude production levels are still up overall as well.

Another factor coming back into play this week was the so called “NOPEC” (“No Oil Producing Cartels”) bill in the US that aims to hold OPEC nations potentially liable for what are considered “cartel-like” practices. Currently (and historically) there is no real legal recourse against things like so-called market fixing and this bill aims to change that in terms of establishing liability.

The reason we care about this bill popping up again is that rumor has it the Saudis are responding to the prospect of the bill being pushed through by threatening to drop the dollar as the currency basis for their oil trading.

This might sound familiar because the same thing happened a few years ago. Threats over currency changes and essentially market flooding by the kingdom led to prices crashing (back when we ended out at $30/bbl, from the $100 ish its hard to remember being used to), which drove a substantial number of US based producers out of business (particularly those highly leveraged on shale plays). At the time, the Saudis essentially had enough cash in hand to allow the prices to bottom in order to retain market share and production dominance, where anything under $50-60 a barrel was unsustainable for US companies. 

 So long story short, the threat to replace the dollar is the threat to wreak havoc on the US economy via crashing the market. (One would hope the irony of that being your response to being called a cartel would register)

A point to remember is that at the end of the day, despite production level increases, the US is still a marginal producer, not a swing producer like OPEC, so production is almost fully determined by market price levels. And the dollar being removed as the basis for trading could seriously impact those price levels.

 So at least for today, we closed up on all the drama, but also the fundamentals.

 Time will tell if we hang around the $60 benchmark, or continue to move upward and a substantial portion of which way we go will depend on continuing production cuts globally, and what happens on currency basis changes.

 Stay tuned!

 

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Topics: OPEC, NYMEX, saudi arabia, US Crude Production

EIA Levels Push Gas Lower, Distillates Hang Steady Ahead of IMO Change Questions

Posted by Kelly Burke on Mar 27, 2019 3:28:14 PM

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EIA Inventory reports for the week ending March 22 indicate that Crude inventories showed a build, while finished products (Diesel & RBOB) showed draws. 

Reports indicate a 2.8mmb build in the period for Crude, draws on gasoline of 2.9mmb and a smaller draw of 2.1 mmb on distillate inventories. 

We have seen WTI trending toward the $60 benchmark, where it continues to trade today after inventory levels were announced. Gasoline on the other hand, was down over 5 today after the news.

At first blush the drop on gas seems surprising, given the draw down, but production levels are still very high (9.7 million barrels per day) and very much outpacing projected demand, even as the U.S. heads toward "driving season".

Of note among analysts, diesel has remained relatively stable in the face of fluctuating inventory and international headlines, and the thought is that this period of calm is caused by (and will be short lived because of) the IMO Bunkering regulation changes set to take effect in January. Refiners, marketers, and end users are all eyeing potentially huge upcoming shakeups in the market there and the anticipation is putting a damper on major swings or selloffs in the current market. Or that's the prevailing theory, anyways. 

So what is IMO 2020? The short version is that as of January 1, 2020 marine fuels will be subject to a global cap of 0.5% sulfur (the current level is 3.5% in non-ECA/Emission Control Areas). Since this is global, it will impact essentially all refiners and supply point inventory options out there, in addition to the obvious end-user impact. 

(If you want a more in depth version of exactly what IMO 2020 is about and its anticipated impacts, Sea Trade Maritime News has a fantastic explanation here: Seatrade Maritime News: The 2020 IMO Fuel Sulphur Regulation  )

At the close, ULSD closed off $-.0093 to $1.9806 while RBOB shed $-.0602 to close out at $1.8955. WTI closed out at $59.41/bbl, continuing to hover around the $60 benchmark. 

 

Stay Tuned!

 

 

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Topics: US Distillate Demand, Gasoline demand drop, EIA Inventories, IMO 2020

OPEC output keeps upward price pressure on, while PDVSA sanctions have little impact

Posted by Kelly Burke on Feb 13, 2019 3:44:43 PM

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Prices have been trending upward this week, largely based on OPEC following through on production cuts. Namely, we saw a drop in output of around 800K bpd in January by its member nations. This would seem to indicate that the so called "OPEC+ deal" to cut output and thus global oversupply is actually being followed, and it appears it is starting to have the desired effect - stabilizing prices higher than we have seen over the past year or so.

On the other hand, US domestic production continues to surge, which is holding off the major jumps in pricing we would expect to see on the OPEC move normally. 

This afternoon WTI settled out at $53.90 (from 52.41 Monday), ULSD closed up +.0316 to $1.9388, and RBOB jumped +.0379 to settle at $1.4651.

Assuming we see the existing dynamic continue to play out over global (OPEC) vs domestic (US) output, the main question on how widely pricing will swing in the next few weeks hinges on Venezuela.

The sanctions placed on state run PDVSA by the Trump administration are the type of political event that normally rocks the market, but so far in terms of benchmarking they have had little effect (on the NYMEX - that is not to say they have not or will not have a serious impact Venezuela/PDVSA, to be clear).

CNBC has a great piece today detailing the impacts the IEA expects to see from the sanctions, and why they don't see them having an outsized impact. You can read that piece here:  "Don't expect US sanctions against Venezuela to fuel a rally in oil prices, IEA says" 

Stay tuned! 

 

 

 

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Topics: OPEC, US Crude Production, Venezuela, PDVSA

Today's Takeaways from the EIA Short Term Energy Outlook

Posted by Kelly Burke on Jan 15, 2019 3:30:22 PM

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The US Energy Information Association - EIA - is out today with the Short Term Energy Outlook report with projections for 2019 & 2020.

Here are what I think are the major takeaways:

  • 2019 Price forecast for Crude oil - $61/bbl Brent, $53-57/bbl WTI. The Brent average for 2018 was $71/bbl, so we are expecting to continue to downward overall trend in pricing. 
  • 2019 Projected retail gas price - $2.47 (Down from 2018 average of $2.73) 
  • US Crude Production hit a high in 2018 - it is expected to continue to accelerate from the current level through 2019 & 2020. Over the next 2 years, experts expect an increase of over 1.5 million barrels per day. 
  • US Importing of crude & refined products is expected to continue to decline. Although we temporarily saw the US become a net exporter in 2018, the actual average per day imported was around 2 million barrels. That's expected to decline to 1mmb/d for 2019 and a shocking 0.1 mmb/d per day in 2020. (You read that right - .01, amazing)
  • US (Dry) Natural Gas production is expected to jump from 83 bcf per day in 2018 to 90 in 2019. 
  • Global Inventories are expected to continue to increase.  
  • On the clean energy front, coal's role in electrical production continues to decline over the next 2 years. Hydropower's share of generation is projected to remain stable. Wind power electrical generation is expected to outpace hydropower for the first time ever in 2019.
  • Carbon emissions are projected to decline 1.2% in 2019 as well, and a little under 1% for 2020 as it stands now. 

 

Long story short - expect more production, more inventory, lower prices, continued progress and growth on cleaner energy and a decline in carbon emissions - all at the same time. Happy 2019!  

 

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Topics: natural gas, EIA, WTI Crude, US Crude Production, Clean Energy

Crude Poised to End 2018 Down 20%

Posted by Kelly Burke on Dec 28, 2018 1:37:29 PM

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As we head towards the end of 2018, it looks like oil prices will finish the year out down about 20%. We saw wildly fluctuating energy markets throughout the year, but the fundamental factors of supply and global economic growth concerns kept the downward pressure on pricing over the long term. 

Let's look back at what went on this year and what we are keeping an eye on going forward.

In 2018, the United States stepped to the forefront as the world’s largest producer of Crude oil, outpacing both Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Late in the year, Saudi Arabia and Russia, along with other OPEC and OPEC partner nations, agreed to production cuts starting in 2019, but Russia had a record production month in December, so time will tell if the unofficial deal bears out.

Worth remembering, is the US has no involvement in the supply curbing that is the so-called “OPEC+” deal. Historically, we have seen the Saudi’s reluctant to cut output long term for fear of losing market share.

This becomes even more relevant today than it was two years ago, as US output increases and the US becomes a net exporter for the first time in 70 years.

Essentially, the US has gone from an esoteric threat to market share to a very real one, and there is reason to believe that this may affect how the OPEC+ agreement is adhered to (or not) through 2019.

Another factor that can affect day to day swings on the NYMEX is the performance of the stock market. As we’re all aware through this year the market was hitting all new highs, then crashing, and generally bouncing around  (the analysts are writing off this weeks one day gains as a “suckers rally” – ouch!). Stocks obviously are impacted by both the at-large economy and the ramifications of political actions and their accompanying sentiments.

To put it politely, the US political arena right now is very... let's call it “exciting”, so it would probably be wise to anticipate an ongoing roller coaster with stocks – what we don’t know is how that could carry over on energy pricing in the long term.

The other ball in the air is the current Government shut down – prior shut downs were less than devastating in terms of any significant or lasting price impacts on energy – however, we wont know if that is the case with this one until it’s over. Right now there is know way of knowing how long the shutdown will last, obviously the longer it goes on, the more impact it has on federal employees, programs, and citizens. When it will end is anyone’s guess.

Lots to keep an eye on as we round into 2019. Have an awesome holiday, hope to see you all in the New Year!

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Topics: Market analysis, OPEC, US Crude Production

Markets Reverse on Strong Demand Signals

Posted by Kelly Burke on Dec 19, 2018 2:02:07 PM

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Markets reversed in a big way today, with front month WTI Crude surging 3% after yesterdays 7.3% decline. At time of writing, both diesel and gas are up (ULSD +.0447, RBOB +.0307)

According to the experts, today's reversal is largely based on demand level optimism on refined products. The DOE indicated that distillate inventories dropped by 4.2 million barrels, a sharp contrast to the half a million barrel build analysts had predicted. Diesel demand is at levels not seen since early 2003.

Despite today's jump it's important to remember that prices are still very low overall - both Crudes (Brent & WTI) are down over 30% since the end of September. The strong indicators for refined product demand also don't do much to address the larger issue weighing on prices, namely, global supply levels and overall global economic concerns as they relate to demand. 

The OPEC+ deal wont be in effect until the beginning of 2019, and current production levels are high. Saudi Arabia is anticipating lower global supply levels by the end of March, but their statement on the matter hasn't done much to slow the overall trend of plummeting prices. 

 Economically, the US is doing well but there are concerns that the Fed's response to strong economic growth - raising interest rates yet again may put a damper on growth pace going forward. This concern may or not be borne out, however, as recent rate increases have seemingly been absorbed without catastrophe. It may very well have short term impacts on both the NYMEX and financial markets, however.

The Fed is expected to make a rate hike announcement this afternoon, we will have to wait and see what those impacts are, and how much staying power they have.  

Stay tuned. 

 

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Topics: DOE, Market analysis, WTI Crude

NYMEX Plummets on Renewed Fears of Supply Glut

Posted by Kelly Burke on Dec 18, 2018 1:24:49 PM

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Futures are crashing on the NYMEX today, with WTI down around 5% thus far on the day, around the $48/bbl mark, on track to potentially close out at a 15 month low. Refined products are tanking as well, at time of writing, ULSD is off .0472 & RBOB is down .0341

So what's going on?

Once again, it appears the sell off is based on concerns of global oversupply, with the headline being that Russia is reportedly increasing output. The hike could put them at close to 11.5 million barrels per day, according to MarketWatch. 

You may recall that earlier this month prices spiked on the announcement that Russia & OPEC nations were agreeing to cut production by a combined 1.2 million barrels (here's a refresher: OPEC+ Agreement Spikes NYMEX)

Apparently, Russia has changed its mind. 

Along with the news about Russian production (unconfirmed news, for the record) the US has reportedly been upping shale production by more than what analysts had predicted, and globally, it looks like China is potentially poised for a slow down in demand growth, which is also weighing on prices. 

The EIA inventory reports due out later this week may impact whether the decline backs off or continues. Platts is predicting inventory draws on Crude & Distillates, so if they are wrong, we can expect some more downward movement on the EIA release.... theoretically anyways.  

Stay tuned!

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Topics: Market analysis, NYMEX, russia

OPEC+ Production Agreement Spikes NYMEX

Posted by Kelly Burke on Dec 7, 2018 12:22:50 PM

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OPEC, as well as the so called "OPEC+" partners have reached a tentative agreement on production cuts, causing the oil market to spike Friday. The cuts reportedly amount to 800,000 bpd on OPEC's part, and an additional 400,000 bpd (combined) from allied nations, including Russia. No specific cuts by country were committed to, or at least they were not confirmed in statements. 

The agreement reached purportedly contains "special considerations" for Venezuela, Libya and Iran. These 3 nations have been up and down in terms of supply levels as a result of domestic turmoil, and their revenue concerns obviously differ from those of nations like Saudi Arabia, so concessions for their agreement presumably needed to be made to get the deal done. No word yet on precisely what those concessions are.  

This morning the market was up 5% on Brent Crude, and 4% on WTI shortly after the open. At time of writing,(noon) both RBOB and Diesel are up almost 7 cents. 

What's interesting about the spike today is that the tentatively agreed to cuts are right in line with what analysts expected to see (estimates were 1-1.5mmb, and the agreement came in at 1.2), which should have meant it was already "priced in" but Wednesday & Thursdays' markets don't bear out that assumption. 

Time will tell if this particular OPEC related jump is temporary & speculative, as they often are, or if the production cut agreement will have its intended goal of propping crude at desired benchmarks and holding up the increases going forward. 

Stay Tuned! 

 

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Topics: OPEC

Dow Collapse Pushes Prices Down Despite Storm & Supply Concerns

Posted by Kelly Burke on Oct 11, 2018 12:55:41 PM

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Despite earlier in the week price increases on global supply concerns (Iran), and Hurricane Michael making landfall in the Florida Pan handle in the afternoon, Wednesday saw oil prices slump 2% on intraday trading.

Despite the fact that both of those variables usually push prices up, the catastrophic day for the US markets Wednesday overall pulled energy prices down with the ship, so to speak. The Dow Jones was down over 800 points yesterday, seemingly for no clear reason. (Currently, as of writing, the Dow is down slightly today, while the Nasdaq is up slightly).

Hurricane Michael is currently tracking through the Carolina's on its way back out to sea and has been downgraded to a tropical storm, which minimizes further supply interruption concerns. 

The energy markets today are again trending downward, as of 12:30 diesel was down over 4 and gas was down over 6. 

The EIA report this morning showed builds on Crude higher than analysts expected, with inventories up 5.98 million barrels. (projections were a 2 million barrel build). Both gasoline and distillates showed builds as well (951K barrels and 42K barrels, respectively) when projections showed both would be draws.

Presumably that looks good for continuing downward price pressure on refined products, but you never know. 

At the close yesterday, ULSD settled at 2.3949 (-.0289), RBOB at 2.0204 (-.0570) and Crude closed at $73.17. Today, as mentioned, we are trending down as well so we look to hold steady below the $2 & $75 benchmarks for the week.

(as an aside, the exchange platform is a great way to capture market drops like the ones we saw today and yesterday, if you would like more information on how to utilize that buying option, reach out to your rep or contact us via the site)

Stay Tuned!

 

 

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Topics: EIA Inventories

Projected Draws & Hurricane Fears Push Prices Higher

Posted by Kelly Burke on Sep 12, 2018 11:25:29 AM

The Carolina's are bracing for a potentially "once in a lifetime" strength Hurricane and evacuations are already underway. Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall Friday at a category 4, with the preceding rain & storm surge expected to begin early Thursday. 

This is the current projected map (courtesy of googlemaps), although the storm may shift substantially any time prior to landfall. You can track live on CNN.com. 

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On the markets side, there are obviously concerns about supply disruptions. At the moment pipelines are running but there are anticipated planned outages in affected areas over the next several days. 

Tuesday saw refined products jump across the board, including an over 5 cent leap on RBOB.

At Tuesdays close we were $2.2520 (+0342) on ULSD, $2.0142 (+.0550) RBOB, and $69.25 Crude. 

This morning we are seeing modest gains thus far. The API is projecting draws, but we will have to wait and see if the EIA data backs that up.

Obviously, changes in hurricane direction and severity will have impacts, we will update you on relevant changes as we get them.

Stay safe out there!

 

 

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Topics: API, EIA Inventories, hurricane florence

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