Showing posts with label 2024 oil price forecast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2024 oil price forecast. Show all posts

Monday, April 29, 2024

'Crude' carnage, a crazy April & arriving in H-Town

The crazy trading month of April is drawing to a close and the Oilholic is writing this missive on a sunny Houston afternoon, having arrived in H-town for industrial software firm AspenTech's thought leadership event - OPTIMIZE24. More on that later, and over the next couple of days. 

But first, let's sum up April's 'crude' carnage. The Brent front-month contract has broken its $85 per barrel support level. This wasn't looking likely at the start of the month when prices were lurking well above the level and even overshot to $92 in the wake of the Iran-Israel skirmish. Yet, as the second month of the second quarter of the oil trading year nears its conclusion, the price is barely holding above $83. Why? Well in this blogger's humble opinion that's certainly not because the risk has gone away. The residual risk still persists. 

However, with the Iran-Israel tensions having eased and oil sliding from $90+ highs, as trading stumbles into May with (thankfully) no regional damage to energy infrastructure - concerns over demand have resurfaced in a market struggling for direction. On one hand there are still lingering doubts about the performance of China's economy (yes there are) and the general direction of travel for the global economy, while on the other is an overriding sentiment that OPEC will hold firm on its price supportive actions. It what's your truly told Reuters the other day.  

Yes, Beijing is indeed importing record amounts of crude oil. But its importation uptick is nothing like it was pre-Covid. And quite a few of the barrels it is importing are being used to boost its strategic reserves. Furthermore, you can count an economy to have motored on in any given fiscal year if its data was consistently pointing to an upswing in economic sentiment, which it clearly isn't in China's case. Hence the doubts. 

As for OPEC, this blogger keeps hearing suggestions from some that the producers' group has lost control of the crude market. This is bonkers. In fact, the Oilholic doubts OPEC is anywhere even remotely near losing control. 

It appears to be actively positioning for a Brent price that is at least 15-20% higher than pre-Covid levels of around $75, seen at the start of January 2020. That'd be around a $80-$90 - a level that's not too high for buyers, not too low for it and well short of three-figures. It's why a market seeking direction is witnessing the current oscillation, while OPEC is left with plenty of spare capacity.

Away from crude chatter, and on to the happy matter of OPTIMIZE24, an event where the great and the good of the technical and engineering side of energy, industrial, chemical and manufacturing worlds are gathering this week at the behest of AspenTech. This blogger looks forward examining, discussing and learning about the challenges and solutions for the approaching low carbon horizon, and of course joining the dots between improved throughput and meeting emissions targets. 

The event's slogan "Partnering for the future" has a nice ring to it. Let's see how it sings over the next couple of days. More from H-Town soon. Keep reading, keep it here, keep it 'crude'! 

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© Gaurav Sharma 2024. Photo I: View of  George R. Brown Convention Center and Discovery Green, Downtown Houston, Texas, US, on Apr 29, 2024. Photo II: Gaurav Sharma at AspenTech's OPTIMIZE24 thought leadership conference, Houston, Texas, US., Apr 2024© Gaurav Sharma 2024.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Regular columns for Energy Connects

Dear readers, really excited to share the news that yours truly will now be writing regular opinion columns for global news and analysis platform Energy Connects. The portal, which is a part of the dmgevents portfolio, provides access to an engaged global audience that incorporates the entire energy value chain from oil and gas to wind, solar, utilities, hydrogen and nuclear companies. 

The first of the Oilholic's missives is already online here. Do give it a read, and feedback is welcome as always. Looking forward to offering more thoughts and analysis via Energy Connects on a regular basis from hereon. 

More musings to follow soon. Keep reading, keep it here, keep it 'crude'! 

To follow The Oilholic on Twitter click here.
To follow The Oilholic on Forbes click here.
To follow The Oilholic on Motley Fool click here.

© Gaurav Sharma 2024. 

Friday, March 29, 2024

All missives from CERAWeek 2024

With CERAWeek 2024, organised by S&P Global, drawing to a close last week, the Oilholic marked a fascinating and engaging week for the energy markets with a number of pieces for Forbes as well as daily blog posts. 

Here are the Forbes pieces:

  • Aramco Investing ‘Big Time’ In Renewables But CEO Slams ‘Fantasy’ Of Phasing Out Oil And Gas, March 18, 2024.
  • Oil Is Nearing 5-Month Highs And Its Not Just About Supply Fears, March 18, 2024.
  • What Will Oil Demand Look Like In 10 Years And When Might A ‘Peak’ Occur?, March 20, 2024.
  • Why Bill Gates Reckons Houston May Become The ‘Silicon Valley Of Energy’, March 24, 2024.
  • Global LNG Market: Sliding Prices In 2024, Rising Opportunities By 2030?, March 27, 2024.
  • Energy Transition: Challenge Of Financing And Investing In A $6 Trillion Megatrend, March 28, 2024.
All blog entries for each CERAWeek day may be found here

And that's a wrap. More musings to follow soon. Keep reading, keep it here, keep it 'crude'! 

To follow The Oilholic on Twitter click here.
To follow The Oilholic on Forbes click here.
To follow The Oilholic on Motley Fool click here.

© Gaurav Sharma 2024. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

CERAWeek Day III: On peak oil demand & more

As the end of day III of CERAWeek nears, for the Oilholic one panel session stood out in particular - Oil Demand: How will it look in a decade? This emotive and extremely polarizing subject turned hot late last year after the International Energy Agency issued a forecast predicting a peaking of oil demand in the 2030s. 

Naturally, OPEC blasted the IEA and said demand would continue to grow for many, many years. It also offered a bullish scenario of 116 million barrels per day in global oil demand by 2045. 

If the Oilholic were to offer his tuppence, oil will indeed continue to be a major part of the energy landscape not just for many years, but many decades. The stark reality of the matter is that no one can say for sure when oil demand will peak whether it is the IEA or OPEC. 

But kudos for the CERAWeek panelists to have at least tried. They included names familiar to the readers of this blog - Joseph McMonigle, Secretary General of International Energy Forum and Jeff Currie, a former Goldman Sachs partner and Chief Strategy Officer of Energy Pathways at Carlyle. 

Both were joined by Fred Forthuber, President of Oxy Energy Services, and Arjun Murti, Partner, Energy Macro and Policy at Veriten, and another former Goldman Sachs executive. The discussion was as lively as it gets. Here's the Oilholic's full report on the goings-on of the panel via Forbes

The panel followed a related quip by Shaikh Nawaf al-Sabah, CEO of Kuwait Petroleum Company, earlier in the day's proceedings. He told delegates that global energy demand will increase faster than the population growth rates through to 2050. "That means that we're going to require more energy intensity for the population in the world."

KPC's answer - why of course - increase its production capacity to 4 million bpd by 2035 from its current level of 3 million bpd. 

See, again the thing here is (as asserted earlier by yours truly), if the various forecasters can't even agree on what demand growth will be like at the end of 2024 (with the IEA predicting 1.3 million bpd and OPEC predicting 2.25 million bpd) - how can they predict for sure what the approaching horizon may look like in 2030! And on that note, it's time to say goodbye. More musings to follow soon. Keep reading, keep it here, keep it 'crude'! 

To follow The Oilholic on Twitter click here.
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© Gaurav Sharma 2024. Photo: CERAWeek 2024 panel on - Oil Demand: How will it look in a decade? © Gaurav Sharma, March 2024. 

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Rising shale output & oil's recovery to November levels

At the start of the year there were some doubts whether US shale oil production would remain high, having broken records in 2023 and propelled the States to the top of the global oil production leader-board

But a recent update from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) has gone some way in dispelling those doubts. 

The statistics arm of the US Department of Energy projects that production will likely  go up in March. Key basins are expected to produce around 20,000 more barrels per day (bpd) next month. This implies a total of 9.7 million bpd in shale production - a volume that hasn't been recorded since December last year. 

Conventionally, you'd think an upbeat US production forecast would knock a few dollars off crude prices. However, the market is more or less holding firm, as the Oilholic noted in an earlier blog post. After the profit-taking of last few weeks cooled, the last couple of sessions have seen oil futures return to levels not seen since November. That'd be $83+ per barrel prices for the Brent front-month contract and $79+ per barrel for the WTI.

A combination of OPEC+ cuts, Moscow's recent (and well documented) difficulties in shifting its crude owing to Western sanctions and heightened geopolitical tensions in the Middle East are keeping oil prices at elevated levels. 

However, the Oilholic reckons the price will face resistance at $85 and the upcoming week should be interesting. (And the EIA's next update - in this data series - is on March 18, and next weekly US inventory report is out on February 22). 

Elsewhere, yours truly participated in a panel discussion on TRT World's Round-table program to discuss Italy's overtures to Africa for its energy security needs whilst addressing the thorny issue (or shall we say the political hot potato) of migration. 

One guesses, that in reaching out to African heads of state ahead of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF)'s next high-level summit in Algeria in March, Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has made a strategic and pragmatic move. (The full broadcast is available here)

And finally, remember Uniper? And it's bailout by the German government in 2022 after its options for Russian gas imports ran out? Well its back with a bang, and ready to repay (some of) the bailout money back in phases. That's just as Berlin is seemingly contemplating a share sale to recoup (some of) the money. Here's a full Forbes report. Well that's all for now folks. More soon. Keep reading, keep it here, keep it 'crude'! 

To follow The Oilholic on Twitter click here.
To follow The Oilholic on Forbes click here.
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© Gaurav Sharma 2024. Photo: Oil well in Oman © Shell. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

On modest crude price gains and more

In what's coming up to mid-February, oil benchmarks are largely holding on to geopolitical risk gains made since the start of the month. That's after the U.S. response to an attack on its military base in Jordan allegedly by Iranian-backed militia and Israel's rejection of a ceasefire in Gaza.

Of late, Brent futures have found support around $80 per barrel mark but it remains to be seen whether the level will hold. For what its worth, the global proxy benchmark still remains in technical backwardation. It was though bemusing to read a recent Financial Times editorial declaring "The days of $100 oil prices are over" in a rapidly decarbonising world where "demand will continue but potential world supply is likely to peg back the cost." Indeed. 

In fact, it's something yours truly agreed with former BP boss Bob Dudley back in 2017 at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul, who if the Oilholic recollects well, was positioning his company to even weather a $30 per barrel oil price. Speaking of CEOs, Occidental's boss Vicki Hollub told Business Insider that oil oversupply may well be keeping prices low, but the situation is about to flip! 

And of course, Goldman Sachs analysts reckon we may be about to enter a commodities supercycle with a potential for driving oil prices as high as - yup you guessed it - $100 per barrel. Well we shall see, but for now $70-$80 will do, and the Oilholic seriously doubts we'll hit $100 imminently! Elsewhere, oil giant BP hiked its dividend by 10% and accelerated the pace of share buybacks in a bid - by its new CEO Murray Auchincloss - to woo investors

And finally, here is one's take via Forbes on US President Joe Biden's arguably barmy plan to pause the approvals of new LNG export projects for a review. All at a time when his country has become the world's largest LNG exporter! Clever eh? Well that's all for now folks. More market thoughts to follow later in the month. Keep reading, keep it here, keep it 'crude'! 

To follow The Oilholic on Twitter click here.
To follow The Oilholic on Forbes click here.
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To follow The Oilholic on Rigzone click here.

© Gaurav Sharma 2024. Photo © Terry McGraw from Pixabay.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The mad first month of crude trading year 2024

As the first month of the current oil trading year nears its end, the Oilholic's thoughts on the direction of crude prices hasn't materially altered. We're likely to see prices oscillate in the range of $70 and $85 per barrel in 2024, using Brent as a benchmark. And that's because the bearish bias in wider market fundamentals remains the same in a different trading year, despite all the geopolitical flare-ups we've seen October. We'll touch on those later in this blog. However, admittedly it has been the maddest possible start to trading. 

Feeling the pulse of the market and tepid demand, the Saudis made two profound short- and medium-term decisions. The first came early in the month after Aramco - the Saudi state-owned behemoth - announced a cut to official selling prices (OSPs) for all regions, including lucrative Asian markets, for several crude grades. These included Aramco's flagship Arab Light crude oil. Aramco said cuts in Asia would be as high as $2 per barrel versus the Dubai Oman regional crude benchmark from January levels. 

Prices for Europe would be down by $1.50-$2 per barrel versus Brent January prices, while North American exports would see a drop of $2 per barrel versus the Argus Sour Crude Index (ASCI) used to benchmark U.S. Gulf Coast sour grades. The move weighed on oil prices and seemed like a logical one. 

The Saudis, having voluntarily cut their headline production down to 9 million barrels per day (bpd), want to make sure every single drop of it gets sold in a competitive market receiving plenty of barrels, especially of US light crude. 

The second move came late-January, after Aramco said it was stopping its expansion plans and concentrating on a maximum sustained capacity of 12 million bpd. This immediately generated headlines along the lines of the Saudis acknowledging the end of oil, which, as the Oilholic said via market commentary on several broadcasters, is a load of rubbish. 

Aramco plans to finish the oilfields it has started - namely Berri (250,000 bpd), Dammam (75,000 bpd), Marjan (300,000 bpd) and Zuluf (600,000 bpd). There's only one project cancellation and the company intends to let some other existing fields decline. So with respect, it is nothing more than a pragmatic business move faced with changing medium- to long-term demand in a market the Saudis hope to tap with aplomb for as long as they can.

Away from Saudi moves there were geopolitical flash points aplenty. But none of these managed to move the oil price quite like they used to back when US crude barrels weren't keeping the global markets honest. Following weeks of attacks by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels on energy and commercial shipping in the Red Sea, the US and UK pounded Houthi positions and infrastructure. The Houthis vowed a response and their sporadic attacks on shipping continued. 

Then on January 28, after over 170 drone and missile attacks on US bases in Syria, Jordan and Iraq since October by Iran-backed proxies in the Middle East, one got through and killed three service personnel. The US' imminent response is to be expected and could mark a dangerous escalation. Where this goes is anybody's guess. But an attack by the US on Iranian soil appears unlikely. (Should it happen, and its hasn't since the 1980s, we could see crude prices around the $90s).

As things stand, crude prices remain range bound. January offered precious little to alter this despite it being one of the most volatile starts to a trading year. Well that's all for now folks. More market thoughts to follow. Keep reading, keep it here, keep it 'crude'! 

To follow The Oilholic on Twitter click here.
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© Gaurav Sharma 2024. Photo: Gaurav Sharma on Asharq Business with Bloomberg TV in January 2024 © Asharq Business with Bloomberg TV.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Can oil really hit $150? (And more!)

As the current crude oil trading year enters its final two months marked by festive breaks and potentially higher consumer demand as the Northern Hemisphere's winter approaches - thoughts inevitably turn to what price levels we will likely encounter in 2024.

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'!

To follow The Oilholic on Twitter click here.
To follow The Oilholic on Forbes click here.
To follow The Oilholic on Motley Fool click here.
To follow The Oilholic on Rigzone click here.
To email: journalist_gsharma@yahoo.co.uk  

© Gaurav Sharma 2023. Photo: Oil pump jack model at the AVEVA World 2023 Conference, Moscone Center, San Francisco, US© Gaurav Sharma October 2023.