With hostilities in the Middle East failing to lift crude prices despite all the talk of risk premiums and potential supply disruptions, being bullish about oil early in 2024 is proving hard. That's because concerns over crude demand are outweighing concerns over supply.
We're talking muted demand from the economic powerhouses of Germany and China, lower consumer confidence levels in key OECD markets and elevated interest rate levels kept there by major global central banks, especially the US Federal Reserve.
It therefore came as a surprise to The Oilholic when the World Bank opined that crude prices could hit $150 if hostilities in the Middle East escalate! Here are this blogger's thoughts on that via Forbes. Simply put - don't hold your breath!
And let's not forget, Brent hasn't even capped a more realistic $100 per barrel level the bulls crave. The benchmark's January 2024 contract is barely higher than current levels, and contracts further out into the summer of next year are even lower. That implies Brent remains in backwardation mode.
Away from the crude price, the latest quarterly earnings posted by energy majors provided plenty of talking points. More so, after the return of megadeals as ExxonMobil swooped for Pioneer Natural Resources and Chevron swooped for Hess Corp.
Other deals may follow as the energy majors fish for viable plays. It's led many, including this blogger, to wonder if a supermajor itself could be vulnerable? The prime candidate for finding itself in this position is BP; a chronically undervalued supermajor in the Oilholic's opinion. More on the subject here via Forbes.
Is it possible? Yes, especially in a industry built on big ticket deals. Will it happen? Probably no, not least down to BP's $100 billion plus valuation (however discounted that may appear to some). But as yours truly noted on Forbes - that the company has had to bat away questions about being a takeover target is pretty extraordinary and indicative of how far it has fallen. Well that's all for now folks. Keep reading, keep it here, keep it 'crude'!