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

Monday, July 31, 2023

On Guyana & other 'crude' musings

As the month of July comes to a close, it seems the Saudis have indeed achieved near-term success with global oil benchmarks - Brent and WTI - now above $80 per barrel. It's a price level that Riyadh can live with. Although it is worth wondering at what cost (i.e. the good old debate about losing market share vs propping up the market without the help of friends / foes)? 

On a related note, while for much of OPEC+ the recent uptick in crude prices may come as a relief, for one new non-OPEC kid on the crude exploration block it has the makings of a spectacular boost in fortunes - Guyana. Here are the Oilholic's thoughts via Forbes on this micro-state in Latin America, with a population of less than a million people, and its full-blown oil boom. 

Guyana's headline crude production which came in at less than 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) as recently as 2020 has grown nearly four-fold to just shy of 383,000 bpd in 2023, and is still growing, according to the country's Ministry of Natural Resources. That said all the market chatter of it either joining or being asked to join OPEC is a load of nonsense that been denied by the oil producers' organization itself.

Elsewhere in the Oilholic's world, yours truly offered his perspective market perspectives on CGTN and Asharq Business News following the conclusion of the OPEC International Seminar earlier this month, and noted OMV's potential recoverable natural gas find of approximately 48 TWh, or 28 million barrels of oil equivalent. This discovery carries the potential to alter the natural gas market in Central Europe, and is Austria's largest gas discovery in the last 40 years. So watch this space! That's all for the moment folks! Keep reading, keep it 'crude'!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2023. Photo © Image by Omni Matryx from Pixabay

Friday, March 06, 2020

OPEC+ in waiting mode as Russia plays hardball

Overnight (March 5) OPEC ministers met and proposed a deepening of existing oil production cuts by 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to their Russia-led OPEC+ partners in an effort to calm the oil market following the coronavirus outbreak and its devastating impact on the global economy.

While the original 'deepening of cuts' proposal was set to last until end-June 2020, OPEC heavyweights met yet again late yesterday evening and announced the proposal would be extended to the end of 2020. 

The burden of 1.5 million bpd, would be shared as 1 million bpd and 0.5 million bpd between OPEC and non-OPEC players respectively. From a headline perspective, if approved the market would be looking at 3.2 million bpd of OPEC+ barrels being taken out of the global supply pool. 

With that the ball went into the Russian court, and that's where it has been since well into today (March 6). In that time, Russian Oil Minister Alexander Novak has gone and returned from Moscow, and an OPEC+ closed-door meeting scheduled to start at 9:30 CET, has yet to get going 14:20 CET!

And the Oilholic has putting his scenarios to colleagues in the broadcast media. 

In one scenario, Russia could say 'nyet' and you'd see bearish headwinds engulf oil futures and driving the price down to $30 per barrel. 

In another scenario, the mammoth cut would proceed providing only temporary relief to oil prices given the full extent of the coronavirus' demand destruction is yet to be clear. Although, Wall Street is belatedly, finally coming to terms with the magnitude of the destruction having ditched its complacency.

Finally, often the favourite colour at these OPEC meetings based on the Oilholic's past experience is grey. OPEC+ could emerge and offer a good old fashioned figures fudge involving OPEC cuts with the support of the Russians, and other non-OPEC players, with very few barrels to show for it. This too will either provide negligible or short-lived support. 

All of this bottles down to one thing - hardly anyone has an accurate handle on where oil demand is going, and the Oilholic believes there will be shrinkage on an annualised basis. Were that to be the case, a 'crude' logic applies - oil supply cuts never really solve a crisis of demand. It's where crude market presently is. OPEC can improve its odds via a cut but can do little more!

And on that note its time to leave Vienna for London, and then on to Houston, all the while keeping an eye on events here. But that's all for the moment folks. Keep reading, keep it 'crude'!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2020.

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.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Post OPEC quips & LatAm, Shale outlook

The Oilholic returned from the OPEC+ ministers’ summit in Vienna, Austria to a crazy few weeks of crude chatter and of course umpteen discussions on the Saudi Aramco IPO.

Here are yours truly's thoughts on the final communiqué from OPEC via Forbes, and another take on the Aramco IPO via the same publication plus a ReachX podcast touching on the issue of the company's valuation kerfuffle.  

Away from it all, two pieces of research caught one's eye this month. Starting with the first of two, rating agency Moody's reckons 2020 will be a stable year for the Latin American oil and gas sector. While, global economic environment and trade disputes could become a concern to Latin America's commodity exporters, including those in the business of black gold and natural gas, Moody's opined that many regional players have indeed improved their capital structures. 

"Business conditions will vary in 2020, contributing to stable overall conditions. A shift toward exploration and production favours credit quality for Brazil's national oil company Petrobras, but 2020 production appears stable at best in Mexico as investment stalls," says Moody's Senior Vice President Nymia Almeida.

Mexico investment momentum in oil and gas is negative for 2020 as national oil company PEMEX has limited ability to increase investments and deliver on production and reserves targets, Almeida added. 

Away from Latin America, Rystad Energy predicted that even with potentially lower prices, the production outlook for North American shale "appears robust" in the years ahead.

In Norway-based analysis firm's base-case price scenario - that assumes a WTI price at $55 per barrel in 2019; $54/bbl in 2020; $54/bbl in 2021 and $57/bbl in 2022 - would see North American light tight oil supply will reach 11.6 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2022. 

This implies a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10% from 2019 to 2022. In a price scenario with the WTI oil price remaining flat at $45 per barrel, supply of the same would plateau at 10.1 million bpd towards 2022.

"The flat development of US light tight oil production is also possible in lower price scenarios, but we would likely see an initial period of multi-quarter production decline, with output stabilising at a lower level," said Mladá Passos, product manager of Rystad Energy's Shale Upstream Analysis team. Plenty to ponder about as 2020 approaches, but that's all for the moment folks. Keep reading, keep it 'crude'!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2019. Photo: Oil exploration site in Oman © Royal Dutch Shell. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

ADIPEC Day III: Oil demand, AI and robots

Day three of ADIPEC 2019 has just concluded here in Abu Dhabi, UAE and much was said about oil demand concerns. Morning discourse was coloured by the International Energy Agency's take that demand is set to plateau by 2030 due to a pick up in the use of electric vehicles around the world.

In its latest market projections, the IEA said overall demand for energy is set to increase by 1% every year until 2040, however headline demand will plateau ten years earlier than it had previously forecast.

Elsewhere in its World Energy Outlook report, the IEA said US shale output, which has made the country the world's biggest oil producer, is likely to stay higher for longer than previously projected, with the country accounting for 85% of the increase in global oil production by 2030, and for 30% of the increase in natural gas.

Meanwhile, switching tack to the coming 12 months, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo said an uptick in demand for 2020 may be on the cards should the US-China trade stand-off end.

"We are confident that there will be a deal and the deal will be positive for the world economy and will remove the dark cloud that has engulfed the global economy because of the size of the countries," Barkindo said on the sidelines of ADIPEC.

Among the VIPs in town today was Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Ruler of neighboring Dubai. Alongside his visit, came that of nearly 900 local school kids to learn more about the industry, its processes, careers and well to marvel – perhaps like the rest of us – at some of the innovative robots and kits on display here.
And then there's the launch of a new branch of local government focused on research and development as well as an artificial intelligence (AI) joint venture inked by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to take in.

The new Abu Dhabi Research and Development Authority will be tasked with inventions that tackle Earth's most pressing challenges. Under auspices of the emirate's Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), five virtual research institutes will focus on biotechnology, food security, sustainability, artificial intelligence and high-performance computing, and advanced materials. The announcement came in step with ADNOC's agreement at ADIPEC with UAE-based AI company, Group 42, on a joint venture to develop AI products for the energy sector.

In sync with this hot topic, the Oilholic also participated in ADIPEC Middle East Petroleum Club's Leadership dialogue on Human and machine collaboration and the impact this has on current business transformation.

IIoT, big data, augmented reality and virtual reality premised solutions, and the changing nature of the workforce were all under a lively 90-minute discussion with Greg Cross, Co-founder of Soul Machines and AI pioneer (third from left) leading the talk. 

Finally, here is one's analysis for Rigzone on why BP and Shell's low carbon overtures and portfolio tweaking hold both oil majors in good stead despite a dire set of numbers. That's all for the moment folks, more from here on the final day at ADIPEC tomorrow. Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2019. Photo I: Day three of exhibition at ADIPEC 2019. Photo II: Industry robot at Total's stand. Photo III: AI pioneer Greg Cross speaks at ADIPEC Middle East Petroleum Club, Abu Dhabi, November 2019 © Gaurav Sharma 2019. 

Monday, July 03, 2017

A bearish view from New York

Its great to be back in New York on a part business, part pleasure adventure.

Of course, on visits like these, yours truly almost, always catches up with known crude traders and analysts to get a sense of how they are feeling about the direction of the market.

More so as market mood is a fickle thing,  and we are currently staring at an oil price jump predicated on the first single-digit decline in US rig counts for over 22 weeks. But seriously is that enough to go long? 

Not quite according to majority of traders yours truly has met in Manhattan; some 8 out of 10 remain net short and say the rally won't last. Almost all believe that US production would cap 10 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2018, and that we should not read much into the price uptick of the past week. Consensus here is that while the market is showing nominal signs of rebalancing, a short-term bounce of appreciable magnitude is not on the horizon. 

Furthermore, OPEC faces a damned if you do and damned if you don't dilemma. Much of its cuts are coming at the expense of market share based on raw data. Whenever that has happened in recent history, the oil price has slipped too in most cases, in step with OPEC's lower market share, as the Oilholic noted in a recent Forbes piece authored last week from here

The other problem is - should OPEC decide to pump more, or move to protect its market share, that would mean more barrels on the market and a subsequent bearish impact. 

And on that note, and armed with some bearish feedback from the Big Apple, its time for the Olympics of the oil and gas business; yup that would be the 22nd World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul, Turkey. Goodbye from NYC folks, and more from Istanbul soon! Keep reading, keep it crude!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2017. Photo: Skyline of New York, USA photographed from the city's Empire State Building © Gaurav Sharma 2017. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Those rapidly sliding oil demand projections!

It’s been another mad month for the Oilholic and might one add for the oil markets as well. At the conclusion of the OPEC summit in Vienna back in June, there was a sense that a slow, but sure road to rebalancing somewhere between March and June 2017 would be the order of the day.

Then Brexit happened, Italian banks crisis escalated, Chinese refiners driven on by cheaper crude imports ensured a gasoline glut hit the Asia Pacific market, while US refiners went on a binge largely off cheap Iraqi imports.

Donald Trump and his protectionist stance remains fighting fit as a painfully long US presidential election campaign finally enters its final phase. China’s economy remains lethargic, as do global central banks when it comes to monetary stimulus – Bank of Japan, US Federal Reserve, Bank of England – take your pick.

Put it all together and factor in the return of barrels, taken out earlier this year, from Canada to Nigeria, Venezuela to Colombia, and you come up with nothing other than a bearish market as July draws to a close. In fact, oil benchmarks are down 20% since the OPEC summit, and with good reason – neither is demand going anywhere, nor is oversupply dissipating.

However, it’s demand woes that are knocking market sentiment more at the moment. OPEC and IEA continue to maintain global oil demand growth projections for 2016 in the region of 1.2-1.4 million barrels per day (bpd). Given the current set of market circumstances, yours truly is not at peace with the said range. City analysts aren't either.

Barclays' commodities research team reckons demand is likely to be in the region of 1.1 million bpd, several others put it around 1 million bpd, but last week Morgan Stanley said even its conservative forecast of 800,000 bpd might not be met.

In a note to clients on July 24, the investment bank’s analysts subsequently wrote: "We are cutting our forecast for global refinery demand for crude oil (runs) to 625,000 bpd from 800,000 bpd on expected run cuts, with downside risk to these low numbers.

"We also recently lowered our third quarter average Brent price forecast from $50 per barrel to $45, and see more downside risk."

In fact, downside risk is likely to become the order of the day, week and month. As the Oilholic said on TipTV, there is little out there to fire-up demand. Finally, while the mad month ensured the Oilholic didn’t blog here as frequently as he’d like, here are some of one’s market quips in IBTimes UK and Forbes over the last few weeks. 


Here is one’s take on demand fears, and last but not the least – Russia upping its oil production ante. That’s all for the moment folks! Keep reading, keep it crude! 

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To email: gaurav.sharma@oilholicssynonymous.com

© Gaurav Sharma 2016. Photo: Abandoned petrol station in Preston, Connecticut, USA © Todd Gipstein / National Geographic.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Crude oil tumbles as OPEC stumbles

Having been to every single OPEC ministers’ summit since 2008, the Oilholic thought he’d seen it all. Not quite it seems; when the 168th meeting of ministers ended – for the very time since yours truly had been here, the oil producers collective failed to mention its production quota. Here’s a link to the communiqué on December 4, that's historic for all the wrong reasons!

In farcical fashion the market was left guessing what OPEC’s actual production is based on previously published data and anecdotal evidence. OPEC itself puts the quota at 30 million barrels per day (bpd). Until recently, while Saudi Arabian production was in overdrive, 31.88 million bpd was the industry consensus, and barely days before the OPEC meeting convened a Bloomberg survey put the figure at 32.1 million bpd.

Bulk of the incremental OPEC barrels are coming from Saudi Arabia and Iraq, with discounting by all 12 members in full swing, as the Oilholic wrote on Forbes. Now Iran, eyeing a meaningful return to the international fold, is also not in favour of production cuts, unlike on previous occasions. It is not just the analyst community that is in uncharted waters, the producers’ group itself appears to be pretty dazed.

OPEC has not published a target oil price since 2004. Then in December 2008, it ceased publication of individual members’ quotas leaving the market to second guess the figure. All we know is that Iraq and Libya are currently not included in the headline quota. Now it seems OPEC will not even reveal what its daily production target is. It is all pretty strange and quite unlike any cartel in the world, if you feel OPEC should be described as such.

No slide rule or calculator was required in working out the stalemate in Vienna would be short-term bearish! There’s just too much oil in the market. In fact, latest surveys suggest we are seeing nearly 2.6 – 2.9 million bpd of surplus oil, double of 1.3 million bpd estimates earlier in the year.

At this rate it would be well into 2016 before supply adjustment occurs, which means that oil price will remain in lacklustre mode. Only saving grace is that a steep decline for Brent below $40 per barrel was not a high probability unless there is a global financial tsunami; even though the global proxy benchmark did briefly fall below the 40-level in intraday trading today.

Expect an uptick next year, but the undeserved oil price heights of Q1 2014 won’t be touched anytime soon. That’s all from Vienna folks. Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2015. Photo: OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem El-Badri (right) at the conclusion of the 168th OPEC Ministers Summit in Vienna, Austria on December 4, 2015 © Gaurav Sharma / Oilholics Synonymous Report, December 4, 2015.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Grappling with volatility in a barmy crude market

The oil market is not making a whole lot of sense at present to a whole lot of people; the Oilholic is admittedly one of them. However, wherever you apportion the blame for the current market volatility, do not take the convenient route of laying it all at China’s doorstep. That would be oversimplification!

It is safe to say this blogger hasn’t seen anything quite as barmy over the last decade, not even during the post Lehman Brothers kerfuffle as a US financial crisis morphed into a global one. That was in the main a crisis of demand, what’s afoot is one triggered first and foremost by oversupply. 

As one noted in a recent Forbes column, the oversupply situation – not just for oil but a whole host of commodities – merits a deeper examination. The week before we saw oil benchmarks plummet after the so-called ‘Black Monday’ (August 24) only for it recover by Friday and end higher on a week-over-week basis compared to the previous week’s close (see graph above, click to enlarge)

This was followed on Monday, August 31 by some hefty gains of over 8% for both Brent and WTI. Yet at the time of writing this blog post some 48 hours later, Brent had shed over 10% and the WTI over 7% on Tuesday but again gained 1.72% and 1.39% respectively on Wednesday.

The reasons for driving prices down were about as fickle as they were for driving them up and subsequently pulling them down again, and so it goes. When the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported on Monday that the country’s oil production peaked at just above 9.6 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, before falling by more than 300,000 bpd over the following two months; those in favour of short-calling saw a window to really go for it.

They also drew in some vague OPEC comment (about wanting to support the price in tandem with other producers), knowing full well that the phoney rally would correct. The very next day, as the official purchasing managers’ index for Chinese manufacturing activity fell to 49.7 in August, from the previous month’s reading of 50, some serious profit-taking began.

As a figure below 50 signals a contraction, while a level above that indicates expansion, traders found the perfect pretext to drive the price lower. Calling the price higher based on back-dated US data on lower production in a heavily oversupplied market is about as valid as driving the price lower based on China’s manufacturing PMI data indicative of a minor contraction in activity. The Oilholic reckons it wasn’t about either but nervous markets and naked opportunism; bywords of an oversupplied market.

So at the risk of sounding like a broken record, this blogger again points out – oversupply to the tune of 1.1-1.3 million bpd has not altered. China’s import level has largely averaged 7 million bpd for much of the year so far, except May. 

Yours truly is still sticking to the line of an end of year Brent price of $60 per barrel with a gradual supply correction on the cards over the remaining months of 2015 with an upside risk. Chances of Iran imminently flooding the market are about as likely as US shale oil witnessing a dramatic decline to an extent some in OPEC continue to dream off.

But to get an outside perspective, analysts at HSBC also agree it may take some time for the market to rebalance fully. “The current price levels look completely unsustainable to us and a combination of OPEC economics and marginal costs of production point to longer-term prices being significantly higher,” they wrote in a note to clients.

The bank is now assuming a Brent average of $55.4 per barrel in 2015, rising to $60 in 2016 and $70-80 for 2017/18. Barclays and Deutsche Bank analysts also have broadly similar forecasts, as does Moody’s for its ratings purposes.

The ratings agency sees a target price of $75 achieved by the turn of the decade, but for yours truly that moment is bound to arrive sooner. In the meantime, make daily calls based on the newsflow in this barmy market. That’s all for the moment folks! Keep reading, keep it crude!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2015. Graph: Oil benchmark Friday closes, Jan 2 to Aug 28, 2015 © Gaurav Sharma, August 2015.