Showing posts with label oil market volatility. Show all posts
Showing posts with label oil market volatility. 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.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

New avenues for 'crude' analysis

The Oilholic has had a hectic start to 2019 for sure, even though the crude market has behaved pretty predictably in January, having recovered ground it lost towards the end of 2019.

That's because yours truly has started providing insight on a regular basis to three more avenues alongside Forbes. These include The Energy Post and Energy Post Weekly, industry recruitment and insight portal Rigzone, and London-based financial start-up ReachX.

Here are a few snippets:
  • Energy Post: Commentary on energy sector investment in blockchain - January 23, 2019 (Behind Paywall / Subscribers' login)
  • Rigzone: Commentary on direction of the oil price in 2019 - January 28, 2019
  • ReachX: Podcast with Paul Welch, CEO of North Africa focussed independent upstart SDX Energy - January 22, 2019

Plenty more to follow. But that's all for the moment folks! Keep reading, keep it crude!

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


© Gaurav Sharma 2019. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Get used to crude swings & volatility

Oil markets are likely to face further bouts of volatility. When Saudi Arabia and Russia, together with Venezuela and Qatar, offered the false hope of a so-called production freeze packaged in the shape of market support last week, the Oilholic wasn't the only one who did not buy it.

Predictably, oil futures rose by over 7% towards the middle of last week, but rapidly slipped into negative territory as Iran, while welcoming the move, did not say whether it would participate. In any case, the move itself was a farce of international proportions.

The Russians can’t raise their production further, while the Saudis have little exporting to room to justify a further output hike. So for market consumption it was packaged as a freeze, subsequently undermined by both countries who said they had no intentions of cutting production. It might well have been the first joint move on output matters between OPEC and non-OPEC producers, but it virtually came to naught.

Unless a clear pattern of production declines appears on the horizon, market volatility will persist. That sort of clarity won’t arrive at least before June, with swings between $25-40 likely to continue, and yes a drop to $20 is still possible.

OPEC will need to announce a real terms production cut of 1.5 million barrels per day to make any meaningful short-term difference to the oil price by $7-10 per barrel, and even that may not be sustainable with non-OPEC producers likely to be the primary beneficiaries of such a move.

Expect more of the same, and more downgrades of oil and gas companies by ratings agencies of the sort the market has gotten used to in recent months. After Fitch Ratings downgraded Shell last week, Moody’s moved to place another 29 of its rated US exploration and production firms on review for downgrade over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the latter also said continued low oil prices could have an increasingly negative impact on banks across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). This could occur both directly - by a weakening in governments' capacity and willingness to support domestic banks - and indirectly, through a weakening of banks' operating conditions, Moody’s added.

Khalid Howladar, senior credit officer at Moody's, said, "Despite low oil prices and a high dependency on oil revenues across the GCC countries, banks' ratings in the region continue to benefit from their governments' willingness to tap accumulated wealth to support counter-cyclical spending."

But continued oil price declines signal "increasing challenges" to the sustainability of this dynamic, he added.

Finally, some news from the North Sea to end with – Genscape has flagged up the shutdown and restart of BP’s 1.15mn bpd Forties Pipeline System in a note to clients. It caused the April ICE Brent futures contract price to spike before falling slightly on February 12, but nothing to be overtly concerned about.

The system was shut due to an issue at the Kinneil fractionaction terminal, located where the flow from the North Sea on the Forties pipeline system is stabilised for consumption. Elsewhere, North Sea E&P firm First Oil is reportedly filing for involuntary administration, according to the BBC.

Enquest and Cairn Energy will takeover its 15% stake in Kraken field, east of Aberdeen in the British sector of the North Sea. 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: Oil rig in the North Sea © BP

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