EIA Data drops prices, but OPEC cuts loom ahead of Aramco IPO

Posted by Kelly Burke on Nov 6, 2019 3:27:17 PM

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The NYMEX was down across the board today, with Crude settling at $56.35 (from $57.23), ULSD dropping .0288 to settle at $1.9278, and Gas shedding .0484 to close out at $1.6262.

We've been up and down on the markets recently with the news doing a tug-of-war around trade tensions, global supply fundamentals, and demand/economic outlook concerns.

Today's drop, however, we can attribute to a pretty straightforward factor - huge builds in supply on this morning's EIA report. 

This week's EIA data showed an increase of a whopping 7.9 mmb in Crude supplies, almost triple the number (2.7mmb) analysts had predicted. This is the second week in a row that analysts pegged a build of around 2.5/2.7mmb and the actuals dwarfed the estimates, which explains much of today's quick drop (no one had it "priced in"). 

Gasoline & Distillate inventories both showed draws, but came in relatively close to analyst predictions, with actuals showing 2.8mmb on gasoline (2.4mmb predicted) and 600,000bbl on distillates (versus 1mmb predicted). Gas & Diesel have had unseasonably high demand as of late so draw downs are actually a positive sign in that regard.  

So supply is up more than anticipated, and there are still concerns regarding global demand & economic growth... but before deciding that means prices will stay depressed, its important to note that OPEC is again discussing further supply cuts across the board, despite the ever present concern regarding US Shale production.

Word on the street is that Saudi Arabia has been pressuring producers in their region to agree on further cuts in an effort to boost market valuation of the Aramco IPO. (High valuation on the IPO may make risking a resurgence in shale production in the US worth it, when it otherwise would not be).

It's unclear if and when the cuts could take effect, but its definitely something that could impact near term pricing and is worth keeping an eye on. 

Stay tuned! 

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Topics: OPEC, EIA Inventories

Talk of Easing Iran Sanctions Trumps Crude Draws

Posted by Kelly Burke on Sep 11, 2019 3:36:58 PM

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After starting the morning up on the EIA inventory reports of large crude draws (-6.9 mmb), the NYMEX dropped later through today's trading, as more information about the firing of US National Security Advisor John Bolton came to light, and as global demand growth estimates were revised downward yet again. 

The reason an Advisor firing is at all relevant to the oil markets is: Iran.

There was speculation immediately that Bolton's firing was a good sign for US-Iranian relations, and as details emerge it seems that speculation was not only accurate, but an undersell.

Bloomberg is reporting that the Administration discussed easing sanctions in order to broker meetings with Iranian President Rhouhani and kickstart negotiations. Evidently the support voiced for doing so led to a blowout of sorts that prompted the firing. 

Prices dropped almost instantaneously on the news that sanctions could potentially be eased on Iran. 

Additionally, today OPEC's estimates for global growth demand were revised downward (but worth noting is that the revision puts their estimates in line with those of other analysts and economists already existent predictions). The EIA numbers were revised slightly down yesterday as well (down 100,000 bpd from the August prediction to 900,000 bpd).

Overall it appears that for at least today's session, the current market of OPEC cuts and US domestic crude draws did not outweigh longer term concerns about a potential future supply glut in the face of low growth demand. 

At the close, Crude settled at $55.75/bbl, ULSD shed .0280 to close at $1.9032, and RBOB dropped .0209 to close at $1.5699

We'll have to see what happens tomorrow. 

 

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Topics: Iran Sanctions, OPEC, EIA Inventories

Today's Market = John Bolton Firing vs OPEC Cuts

Posted by Kelly Burke on Sep 10, 2019 3:22:00 PM

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This past Friday, ahead of the scheduled OPEC meeting this week, Saudi Arabia abruptly announced a new Energy Minister, Prince Adbulaziz. The move sparked momentary concern that this was a signal the Saudi's would be reversing course on the OPEC+ production cut agreement, but it appears they are actually doubling down.

The kingdom announced they would be adhering to and encouraging the production cuts going forward, and Russian officials announced that they fully anticipated continuing the current trajectory with the new leadership. 

This consensus initially let prices continue their several day climb, with WTI hitting a 6 week high momentarily ... BUT!

But this afternoon, the Trump Administration announced the firing of US National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Bolton was extremely vocal regarding his hardline stance against Iran, and his "resignation" may be a positive signal for future progress on peace talks with Iran, and in the near term, may be a good move to de-escalate the current situation, a lot of which has impacted the oil industry via threats to tankers & the threat to block the Strait of Hormuz. 

Prices have backed off intraday highs following the Bolton announcement. Essentially any hint of resolution with Iran, while positive, also renews concerns about Iranian supply flooding the market, and that is pushing down on pricing (despite the prematurity of any concern). 

Time will tell how the interplay between production cuts and lingering supply concerns levels out, particularly depending on inventory reporting (which we should see tomorrow) and domestic production.

For today, at the close, we ended essentially flat. ULSD +.0035 to $1.9312, RBOB +.0062 to $1.5908

Stay Tuned! 

 

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Topics: Iran, OPEC, russia, WTI Crude

NYMEX Plunges on Fed Rates, Supply, Tariff Tweets

Posted by Kelly Burke on Aug 1, 2019 2:58:38 PM

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Oil & Refined products all plunged today on a series of events. Both Brent & WTI were down over 3% this morning, and by 2pm refined products were down over 11 cents.

At the close, ULSD was down .1178 to $1.8529, RBOB shed .1129 to close at $1.7499, and WTI Crude was $53.95, down from $58.58 at the close yesterday.

Yikes.

So here's what appears to be going on in a very basic nutshell:

The Federal Reserve announced a single rate cut of 0.25% versus the series of cuts expected to be coming down the road. The interest rate cut was expected to begin a series of cuts to shore up the domestic economy against global economic concerns about general weakness but evidently will be a one shot deal. 

The dollar hit two year highs post Fed announcement, and oil crashed as a result. 

U.S. supplies were down for July and OPEC production hit record lows (below 2011 levels) as a result of the OPEC+ deal, which normally would serve to boost prices, or at least hold them steady. However, global supply & output levels are still very high, particularly from the United States, and additional influxes from former member nations who opted out of the OPEC+ production cut agreements. (When combined, that's an offset of around 12mmb per day against the cuts by OPEC countries) 

Finally, this afternoon, the Trump Administration announced abruptly that effective September 1, the US would impose a 10% tariff on an additional $300 billion dollars of Chinese goods. Not exactly helpful for allaying concerns about global trade, the global economy, or weakening demand, to put it mildly.

The announcement came out later in the day, so we will have to see how the markets shake out tomorrow - whether the demand concern seeming to dominate now holds out, or if we flip the markets the other way on overall economic concerns tariffs can raise. 

As always, stay tuned & feel free to reach out if you have questions. 

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Topics: OPEC, FED rates, tariff

Inventories & Gulf Storm threat push NYMEX higher

Posted by Kelly Burke on Jul 10, 2019 2:54:12 PM

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Crude slipped past the looming $60/bbl benchmark this afternoon, as pricing surged over $2/bbl (~4%). Prices have been largely supported the past several weeks by looming Iranian-US tensions and price level support from the continuing OPEC+ production cuts.

Today's surge was the result of the perfect storm of, well, an actual storm, and unexpectedly high Crude inventory draws announced by the EIA. 

This morning several major oil producers announced they were beginning evacuations of rigs and halting areas of production along the Gulf of Mexico ahead of an impending tropical storm expected Thursday into Friday. (According to CNBC, who has a fantastic piece being continually updated with info on everything happening in the Gulf & the market impacts that you can read here: CNBC )

The EIA Inventory report this morning showed Crude draws of 9.5mmb, well above the anticipated levels (expectations were that draws would be around the 3mmb range, so they came in at over triple expectations, essentially). Gasoline drew down 1.5mmb, and distillates showed builds of 3.7mmb. Those distillate builds did little to slow the across the board impacts this afternoon, and refined products closed up right along side Crude. 

At the close, Crude closed out at 60.43, ULSD was up +.0804 to $1.9910 and gas settled up +.0783 to $2.0052

 

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Topics: OPEC, Crude draws, EIA Inventories

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

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

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

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

OPEC Concerns Trump EIA Numbers to Drop Crude Prices

Posted by Kelly Burke on Nov 29, 2017 3:32:04 PM

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Oil was down today as the market weighed out OPEC speculation on one hand, and a drop in US Crude inventories on the other.

OPEC concerns seem to have won the day, given the drop in the face of an EIA report indicating a 3.4mmb drop (projections were 2.3mmb drop), some of which is presumably attributable to the Keystone pipeline leak & subsequent supply diversions.

Refined products showed builds of 2.7mmb on distillates, 3.6 mmb on gas. (projections were 230K and 1.3mmb, respectively).

OPEC is set to meet tommorow (Thursday) in Vienna to discuss extending production cuts through the end of 2018. 

The current deal keeps 1.8mmb/day off the global markets via production cuts, and is set to expire in March but a new agreement would extend it through December. The running assumption was that it would be a no brainer to extend, but surprise, surprise, a few days out from the meeting and Russia had not yet agreed on anything. Thoughts are they may argue for a shorter agreement or push for renegotiation closer to the March expiration.

What does this all mean?

The assumption in the market currently has been that the OPEC deal extension is essentially "priced in" already. What that means is that failing a 9 month extension, we could see the recent gains evaporate rather quickly and see crude prices dip, with WTI falling back at or below the $50 benchmark, or even lower than that if there is no deal at all. 

From OPEC/Russia's side of the aisle, an agreement on production cut extension to bolster pricing may be met with continued increase in US domestic production, which could both offset gains and damage their market share in the long view. That position is somewhat supported by rebounding US production levels & refinery utilization rates. 

Last week we saw WTI close out at a high of $58.02, but it has receeded over the past few sessions, closing today out at $57.30. ULSD & RBOB tumbled today as well, with ULSD dropping .0286 to 1.9221 and RBOB dropping .0411 to 1.7309. 

Stay tuned!

 

 

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Topics: CRUDE, OPEC, NYMEX, EIA Inventories

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