Showing posts with label global oil demand slump. Show all posts
Showing posts with label global oil demand slump. Show all posts

Friday, April 17, 2020

OPEC+ G20 = 'Crude' potpourri + V-shaped recovery

There have been umpteen developments over the last fortnight in the crude saga of oil producers scrambling to curtail production in light of the unprecedented drop in demand triggered by the coronavirus or Covid-19 outbreak.

That oil prices would have fallen regardless was a given, but the current desperate market situation was largely of Saudi Arabia and Russia's own making following the collapse of OPEC+ on March 6. 

Marking a reversal, frantic talks over the Easter weekend saw Moscow and Riyadh underpin a 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) production cut, with feverish diplomacy by U.S. President Donald Trump and the promise of 1.5 million bpd in cuts by G20 oil producers serving as an accompaniment. Overall, the crude potpourri smelt better than it actually was. 

For the expected near-term oil demand decline is likely to be two to three times the production cut level. The deal itself doesn't look rock solid. As the Oilholic discussed with Mary-Ann Russon of the BBC, around 2.5 million bpd of cuts have been promised by Russia, an OPEC+ participant with a very poor record of compliance with the OPEC+ framework. 

The Saudis meanwhile would be cutting 2.5 million bpd from an inflated level of 11 million bpd. Prior to OPEC+'s December meeting, their production stood at 9.744 million bpd, which means in actual fact their compromise is closer to 1.25 million bpd on average. 

Yet for all of this, if oil demand is dire, any supply cut is only likely to have a very limited impact. We are flying, consuming and driving less (despite 99c/gallon prices in some US states) - so if we aren't going out that much, it won't matter one bit what OPEC+ does or doesn't. 


The deal is supposed to run from May to July and it won't avert short-term pain. It's come too late to rescue April, and it's too little for May and June. Hopes are pinned on a V-shaped recovery in oil prices come the middle of July. But how steep that 'V' might be is the question, and in the Oilholic's opinion it'll be steeper than where we are. 

As for The Donald, here is this blogger's take in a discussion with Marco Werman on PRI / BBC joint radio production The World. Phenomenal diplomacy it was by the President but more hot air was generated than tangible results. 

Additionally, the Oilholic also discussed various other market permutations, facets and shenanigans plus direction of oil and gas stocks, fuel prices, and several other energy topics with a host of industry colleagues including Richard Hunter of Interactive InvestorFreya Cole of BBC, Juliet Mann of CGTN, Victoria Scholar of IG Markets, Auskar Surbakti of TRT World, Sean Evers of Gulf Intelligence, Garima Gayatri of Energy Dias and scribbled half a dozen Forbes missives in what can only be described as the most manic of all manic fortnights for the oil market.

Final thoughts - WTI still looks like it'll hit mid-to-late-teens and continue to lurk below $20 per barrel  till early summer because dire demands means dire prices! That's about it for the moment folks! Stay safe, keep reading, keep it 'crude'!


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© Gaurav Sharma 2020. Photo I: Oilfield in Oman © Shell. Photo II: Gaurav Sharma on the BBC, TRT World and CGTN broadcasts © Broadcasters as mentioned, April 2020. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Coronavirus lockdowns & crude oversupply

What a week it has been for humankind in general, let alone the commodities and equities market. Since the Oilholic arrived back to London from Houston on March 14, in a matter of days whole towns, cities, metropolitan areas, regions and countries have gone into lockdown mode around the world, with the coronavirus or Covid-19 having spread to over 100 countries.

After China, where the outbreak originated at the start of the year, now Iran, Italy, Spain and South Korea are in its grip. Heightened alarm about the spread of the coronavirus has seen European Union nations, Canada and the US close borders. Whole airlines are grounded, restaurants, pubs, bars and shops are shut, and workers in many sectors in several nations have been advised to work from home with restrictions slapped on venturing out.

Under similar circumstances and restrictions imposed in London (effective March 23) comes this missive from the Oilholic's living room. The last few weeks have alternated between how much of a demand slump the coronavirus would cause to what impact the collapse of OPEC+ would have over the near-term.

Such conjecture misses the wider point. Events have overtaken OPEC+ and are now largely beyond its control, and what we are witnessing is not just a demand slump but a total near-term collapse. Most oil demand forecasters are now predicting a 2020 demand shrinkage of around 155,000 barrels per day (bpd) instead of demand growth. Under the circumstances, that might be too optimistic.

From where the Oilholic sits, we could see a shrinkage of 250,000 bpd instead of a projected demand growth of 1.2 million bpd prior to the outbreak. Consider this - of the big five crude importers, China, which imports on average a whopping 14 million bpd, has had a lousy first quarter, and is likely to have disappointing or muted second and third quarters. Japan and South Korea are likely to import less, as will the US.

India, the one economy many were pinning their hopes, as a demand driver for 2020 prior to the coronavirus outbreak has also just gone into a lockdown effective Tuesday (March 24) for 21 days.

The country imports an average of 5 million bpd. So in three weeks alone, India won't be needing around ~ 100 million barrels with the negative impact spread over parts of the first and second quarters. Away from the big five, OECD demand remains as low as ever and is likely to head lower on temporary lockdowns from Poland to Australia.

And in the face of this demand crisis, is the issue of oversupply that has arisen in the wake of the collapse of the OPEC+ with Saudi Arabia, Russia and other OPEC and non-OPEC producers vowing to pump more. For now, after posting declines of 20-30% week-over-week, Brent and WTI futures have settled in the $20-30 range following US stimulus measures to combat the coronavirus.

That may well prove to be a temporary reprieve after the extent of the supply glut, somewhere in the region of 10 million bpd in unwanted crude oil, becomes clearer. As for what it means for oil and gas companies large and small - here is the Oilholic's take via Forbes, as players bunker down for $20 oil prices and prepare to write of 2020. That's all for the moment folks! Stay safe! Keep reading, keep it 'crude'!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2020. Photo © Royal Dutch Shell, Oman.

Friday, February 28, 2020

A right royal crude market hammering


Coronavirus jitters have delivered a right royal hammering to the crude oil market, with the pace of bearish blows picking up considerably over the last 48 hours. Both major benchmarks are now over 25% below their 2020 peak achieved in the wake of the US-Iran skirmish at the turn of the new trading year. 

Key issue in finding a price floor stems from the fact that many, in fact most, crude demand forecasters are shooting blind, as the Oilholic wrote on Forbes.com. The local viral outbreak in China soon became a regional epidemic, and is now – in the view of some – a global pandemic in a matter of weeks. Complete dataset of the virus' economic impact will be trickling in soon, and there is market conjecture around that the global economy could be heading for a recession. 

Were that to be the case, and the fact that the virus has reached 50 countries, could result in crude demand destruction on an unprecedented scale, as yours truly via on Rigzone. So where from here? No one really knows, and unless OPEC+ provides temporary reprieve via a production at its next meeting scheduled for March 5-6, price floor would be hard to pin down. We could see benchmarks tumbling to as low as $30 per barrel; something that has indeed happened in the not too distant past. 

For now retail, travel, airline and energy stocks continue to take a hammering. In fact, the energy sector is now down 34% from 52-week closing high, while both Brent and WTI futures look likely to post their worst weeks in recent memory (last seen between December 2008 and January 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis). 

That was also the verdict of many yours truly interacted at the recently concluded International Petroleum Week in London. The event itself looked like it fell victim to the coronavirus as understandably Chinese and indeed many overseas delegates stayed away. 

Only major energy CEOs in attendance were those of BP and Vitol, and most attendees were pretty pessimistic about the oil price direction. Nonetheless, dialogues on energy transition over the course of three days proved to be very interesting as the sector continues its attempt at a low-carbon future. That's all for the moment folks! Keep reading, keep it 'crude'!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2020. Graphs 1 & 2: Brent & WTI futures price movement 3M to Feb 27, 2020.

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

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