Showing posts with label OPEC put. Show all posts
Showing posts with label OPEC put. Show all posts

Friday, December 08, 2017

Medium term oil forecast unaltered by OPEC & non-OPEC action

One week on from OPEC and non-OPEC producers' decision, to roll over their ongoing oil production cuts of 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) to the end of 2018, there's no bullish frenzy in the crude futures market.

In the Oilholic's humble opinion, that was never their intention in the first place anyway. The primary purpose was to keep the OPEC put in place, and protect the oil price floor in 2018 at $50 per barrel, using Brent as a benchmark.

Given that the global proxy benchmark is currently well clear of $60, and lurking near 2-year highs; most analysts would say it's a case of job done for now. 

That said, the current range is the new normal, and there's little on the horizon to suggest otherwise. For instance, following the OPEC meeting, ratings agency Moody's said it would keep its medium-term oil price estimates at $40-$60 per barrel. 

"Recent higher oil prices have been supported by global economic growth forecasts, production restraints and increased geopolitical risk," said Terry Marshall, a Moody's Senior Vice President. "But risks to prices persist, including reduced consumption due to higher prices, as well as increased supply."

It's a view this blogger shares, and few analysts in the City of London would suggest otherwise. Of course, as expected, the number of US rigs has risen too with Brent prices firming up above $60 and WTI fast approaching the mark. There maybe an upside in the wake of OPEC's decision, but the US shale drag is well and truly alive and kicking. That's all for the moment folks! Keep reading, keep it crude!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2017. Photo: Oil extraction site © Lukoil.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Rig count falls and crude oil bulls rise!

Another Baker Hughes weekly rig count gives the oil bulls crumbs of comfort. Perish the thought, if you are thinking the Oilholic is understating the recent price rises. 

The current climate does offer the bulls a position of relative strength compared to how the quarter before was panning out. 

The latest count shows the biggest one-week rig drop in US Permian Basin in 19 months, with the headline count down by 15 to 913 operational oil and gas rigs stateside. 

Last week, Brent was up 1.22% week-over-week to $57.87 per barrel and nudging up to $60, while the West Texas Intermediate front-month contract was up 1.97% to $52.03. OPEC’s basket of crude oils also appears to have perked up, notching a gain of 1.98% to $55.52. (See chart above, click to enlarge)

More so, because the Russian and Saudi heads of state do seem to be contemplating an extension of the OPEC and non-OPEC production cut agreement ahead of the 30 November meeting of oil ministers in Vienna. Add all of it up and you’ll find the mildly bullish sentiment is not misplaced. 

In fact, the probability of the ‘on-paper’ cut of 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd), of which OPEC’s share is 1.3 million bpd, being rolled over beyond March is pretty high. The Oilholic would say 80%. Of course, these are bizarre times in the crude market, as the recent appeal by OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo to US shale players to also cut production suggests. 

Right now, signatories to the OPEC / non-OPEC agreement appear to have little choice but to roll over the cuts as there is a clear absence of an exit strategy. However, the cap has to end someday, and that’ll be a field day for the bears (at some point in 2018) with Saudi Arabia, US and Russia all tipped to have production levels above 10 million bpd next year. 

That presents little prospect of the so-called ‘elevated’ oil price to escape its current range, as yours truly noted in a recent Forbes post. Have a read, alternative viewpoints are most welcome – just ping an email across. 

For the moment, it’s about playing the longs week-on-week in the run up to the OPEC meeting based on the newsflow. However, 12 months out, the oil price would struggle to stay above $65 per barrel using the West Texas as a benchmark, as more non-OPEC oil is bound to come on to the market the moment it caps the $60-mark. That's all for the moment folks! Keep reading, keep it crude!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2017. Graph: Oil benchmarks closing prices on Friday from January 2017 to date  © Gaurav Sharma 2017.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

No surprises! OPEC & non-OPEC cuts rolled over for 9 months


If you were secretly hoping for a surprise at the 172nd OPEC ministers' meeting, consider your hopes dashed, as things went perfectly according to script.

Except of course Equatorial Guinea became the 14th member of OPEC out of the blue, and with little prior intimation to half of the world's press. 

That meant 24 oil producers - including 10 non-OPEC nations led by Russia, and 14 OPEC participants headed by kingpin Saudi Arabia - rolled over their 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) output cut to March 2018. 

Libya and Nigeria were exempt, Iran will be given some leeway, and Russia reaffirmed it was sticking to its 300,000 bpd pledge; the largest non-OPEC output cut of its kind on paper. (Here's the full IBTimes UK report). 

Big question is where from here? If Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih is to be believed, this is all about rebalancing the market back to its five-year average. Problem here is that a buffer producer in the shape of the US keeps plugging away with some predicting its output to touch 10 million bpd in 2018. 

Were that to be the case, is OPEC not in effect subsidising shale players? Thrice yours truly asked Al-Falih whether that was the case, and thrice the question was ignored. The Oilholic is not convinced the extension of this cut would provide short-term support to the oil price that some are hoping for. 

In fact the initial response of the market has been something of a mini selloff, as many were hoping the cuts would either be deepened or be extended by 12 months. Nether happened, but the market got plenty of food for thought. That's all from Vienna in this instance folks. More when the Oilholic can make a more considered assessment and has gathered his thoughts. Till then, keep reading, keep it crude!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2017. Exterior of OPEC Secretariat, Vienna, Austria © Gaurav Sharma 2017. 

Monday, May 01, 2017

Of soundbites and buffer crude producers

If sounbites were the sole influencers of the oil market direction, Brent ought to be near $60 per barrel. (see chart on the left, click to enlarge

The fact that it isn’t, and couldn’t be any further from that promised level despite OPEC cuts tells you that verbal quips from oil producers matter little when the market is trying to readjust to a new normal; i.e. the impact of a buffer producer in the shape of the US of A.  

When OPEC and 11 non-OPEC producers came together last December to announce a headline production cut of 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd), it was done in the knowledge that inevitably US shale producers would benefit from higher prices too. 

However, the economic paradox of that was additional US barrels replacing barrels taken out by the OPEC and non-OPEC agreement. In March, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih ensured that the OPEC put unravelled by quipping that his country would not subsidise non-OPEC margin plays by supporting an extension of the OPEC and non-OPEC agreement, due to expire in June. 

The result was a near instantaneous drop in both benchmarks as the market factored in the possibility of more OPEC barrels. Soon thereafter, on witnessing the ensuing oil price slide, ministers of several OPEC member nations, including Al-Falih himself, issued soundbites claiming an extension to the cut was in fact possible. However, in the Oilholic’s humble opinion, the damage had already been done by that time. 

This blogger's interaction with the wider market – whether we are talking spot or futures traders – leads one to believe that sentiment is in favour of higher US production, with each OPEC and non-OPEC barrel taken out of the market subsidising an American barrel. Of course, it’s not as linear or simple but the market’s reasoning isn’t flawed.  

All OPEC soundbites in favour of extending the cartel’s cut further are fuelling such sentiment further. Should OPEC extend its cut, the artificial support to the oil price would again be short-lived, as US barrels will continue to flood into the market. 

Finally, the Oilholic believes the market is showing signs of rebalancing unless it is artificially tampered with, and there could be some semblance of normalcy by September-end. So as such neither is an OPEC cut needed nor are the soundbites in its favour. Perhaps the cartel might consider keeping mum for a change! That's all for the moment folks! Keep reading, keep it 'crude'!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2017. Graph: Oil benchmark prices year to date © Gaurav Sharma 2017.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

CERAWeek 2017 ends & so does the 'OPEC put'!

It’s a wrap from CERAWeek 2017, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau telling his high net worth Houstonian audience assembled by IHS Markit, that no country would leave 173bn barrels of oil - as Canada has – in theground.

The Oilholic wonders if his ‘crude’ words would have been quite as forthcoming if he was surrounded by tree huggers in British Columbia. 

Nonetheless, as Trudeau says, it is all about tapping the tar sands ethically and responsibly, now that US President Donald Trump has approved the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline. Away from all the public relations mumbo-jumbo of the Canadian Prime Minister, it looks like the OPEC put, OPEC & non-OPEC price floor of $50, call it what you will is now over.

That’s after Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih warned the oil market not to take Riyadh’s support for granted. Here are The Oilholic’s thoughts in a detailed post for Forbes. Despite long bets by money managers, such calls appeared bereft of clear thinking, and were solely predicated on Opec rolling over its cuts beyond June, despite US producers cashing in on it.

Since Al-Falih’s quip included “we will not bear the burden of free riders” the market took notice, and WTI fell the most among benchmarks, breaching the $50 floor for the first time in 2017 as the number of operational US rigs continues to rise.

Away from the oil price, yours truly had a fascinating conversation on behalf of the International Business Times UK with Vimpar Kapur, President of Honeywell Process Solution (the multinational conglomerate’s automation unit). 

Kapur opined that process efficiencies in the oil and gas business are likely togather further momentum over the next 12-18 months as the crude world gets used to a $50s oil price. And that’s all from Houston folks! It’s been a fascinating week, but it’s time for that parting selfie, and a brief trip to Canada before the flight home to London. Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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Contact:

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