Showing posts with label WTI crude. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WTI crude. Show all posts

Friday, June 14, 2019

A calmer view on oil market volatility

The Oilholic is just about to end his latest visit to Oslo, Norway following a two-day energy technology event but decided to stop en route to the airport to admire the calm waterfront off the Fornebu business district. Here's a view of the Fornebukta. Its serenity is as far removed from the ongoing kerfuffle in oil market as can be.

Both Brent and WTI ended the month of May some 11% lower, with the market just not buying the geopolitical risk angle following attacks on tankers off the Port Of Fujairah. 

Now it seems two more tankers have been attacked in the region, but apart from a brief uptick, the bears are still in control. The WTI is well below $60 per barrel, and Brent is struggling to hold the floor at $60. That's because regardless of the market discourse over geopolitical risks in the Middle East and US-Iran tensions; what's actually weighing on the market is the trade tension between US and China. 

Were that to be resolved, it would in the Oilholic's opinion be a much bigger bullish factor than skirmishes in the Middle East. Another factor is what is OPEC going to, or rather isn't going to, do next? Its ministers' meeting for April was postponed to June 25-26, and now it seems that going to postponed again to July. All of that at a time when the market remains cognisant of the fact that the cartel does not have an exit strategy for the cuts drive. 

Here is this blogger's latest take on the subject for Rigzone published overnight. OPEC is doing a balancing act of compromising its market share in a bid to support the price; but its a temporary stance that can be prolonged, but one that cannot become a default position give US production is tipped to rise over the short-term.

Additionally, should the Russians call off participation in the ongoing OPEC and non-OPEC cuts of 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd); the desired effect of any standalone cuts made by the cartel of the sort it made in the past, would not be quite the same given the ongoing cooperation in itself is extraordinary in nature, and has held firm since December 2016, for the market to price it in as such. 

Many fellow analysts here in Oslo share the same viewpoint. OPEC's production came in at a record low of 30.9 million bpd in May, according to the latest S&P Global Platts survey. That's the lowest level since February 2015, before Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Congo joined, and when Qatar was still a member.

How the cartel reasserts its credibility is anyone's guess but all things considered, it remains difficult to see crude oil benchmarks escape the $50 to $70 price bracket anytime soon. That's all from Oslo folks! But before this blogger take your leave here's another view of the scenic, albeit rain-soaked Oslofjord (above right). It was a pleasure visiting Norway again, reconnecting with old friends and contacts and making yet newer ones. Keep reading, keep it 'crude'!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2019. Photo 1: Fornebukta, Fornebu, Norway. Photo 2: Oslofjord, Oslo Norway © Gaurav Sharma June, 2019.

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.

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For comments or for professional queries, please email: gaurav.sharma@oilholicssynonymous.com

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