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Europe Is Awash With Oil Stored On Ships

Europe Is Awash With Oil Stored On Ships

shell North Sea

While many analysts and agencies have already called the end of the global oil glut, oil held in floating storage in Europe is at an at least 18-month-high, also due to the booming U.S. oil exports that have displaced some of the traditional crude oil routes in the world.

Oil in ships around European shores was 12.9 million barrels on average in May, accounting for 26 percent of all global floating storage, and more than Asia-Pacific’s 9.7 million barrels of oil stored, according to estimates by oil analytics company Vortexa, as carried by Reuters.

In the two preceding months, March and April, the share of oil in floating storage in Europe accounted for 10 percent of the global storage, compared to 40 percent stored in the Asia-Pacific region. But in May, the volumes of oil held in Europe—including in the Mediterranean—exceeded the oil held off the Asia Pacific coasts for the first time since at least early 2015, according to Vortexa.

Consultant Kpler has estimated that there are some 17 million barrels of oil stored on ships in northwest Europe—the highest since at least the beginning of 2016.

Soaring U.S. exports have upended some traditional buying patterns, as China, India, and Indonesia have purchased more U.S. crude at the expense of African crude grades from OPEC members Nigeria and Angola, and of some Middle Eastern crudes.

On the other hand, U.S. crude oil exports to Europe have also been rising lately, as U.S. oil is increasing in popularity with European refiners, often at the expense of oil cargoes from OPEC nations and Russia.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

OPEC: The Oil Glut Is Gone

OPEC: The Oil Glut Is Gone

Oil storage

OPEC said that the global oil supply surplus has nearly been eliminated, although the group is shifting its sights on lack of investment in upstream supply.

In OPEC’s May Oil Market Report, the group noted that non-OPEC supply continues to grow at a rapid rate, adding 0.87 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2017, with expectations of another 1.7 mb/d in 2018, 89 percent of which will come from the U.S. In fact, non-OPEC supply is expected to outpace demand growth, even though demand will expand by a robust 1.65 mb/d this year.

But OPEC also warned that “non-OPEC capital expenditure (CAPEX), including exploration, increased by only 2% y-o-y. Moreover, it has seen a decline of around 42% compared to the 2014 level.” While that seems like a bit of a throw-away line given the enormous production increases from U.S. shale, the focus on upstream investment has been a growing point of emphasis for OPEC as it grapples with how to respond to a tightening oil market.

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Commercial stocks were only 9 million barrels above the five-year average in March, which is to say, stocks are probably already below the five-year average at this point. That means that OPEC has achieved its goal of shrinking the supply surplus.

That would suggest that the group begins to unwind the production cuts at its upcoming meeting in June, but there has been a reluctance to do so. Saudi Arabia is aiming for higher oil prices ahead of the IPO of Saudi Aramco, expected at some point in 2019. Related: Iran Sanctions Threaten The Petrodollar

Keeping the cuts in place for the remainder of 2018 (OPEC’s initial preference) would seem to require another justification now that inventories are back to the five-year average. Raising alarms about lack of upstream investment could offer such a pretext.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

OPEC Doubles Down On Draining Oil Inventories

OPEC Doubles Down On Draining Oil Inventories

OPEC

Although the oil market has been improving, OPEC still has work to do to bring global oil inventories back to their five-year average—the metric that OPEC has vowed to achieve with the production cut deal, OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said on Monday while on a visit to Azerbaijan.

“The worst is probably over for now. We are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel but we still have some work to do because we still have inventories that are higher than the 5-year average,” Barkindo said at a press briefing in Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku, as carried by Reuters.

Barkindo’s words signal that OPEC is committed to totally erasing the glut, even if it has mostly achieved this part of its mission.

Last month, the Energy Minister of OPEC’s leading producer Saudi Arabia, Khalid al-Falih, saidthat “If we have to err on over-balancing the market a little bit, so be it.”

In an interview with Azeri television Real TV, Barkindo said on Monday that he hoped that stability would be restored to the global oil market this year.

“We are beginning to see that the stability is gradual but still returning to the market,” said OPEC’s secretary general.

Azerbaijan is part of the non-OPEC countries that have joined the cartel in the pact to support oil prices and draw down excess global oil stockpiles through voluntary production cuts or managed decline.

According to OPEC’s latest Monthly Oil Market Report from last week, preliminary data for January showed that total OECD commercial oil stocks rose by 13.7 million barrels from December, reversing the drop of the last five months. At 2.865 billion barrels, OECD stocks were 206 million barrels lower than in January 2017, but 50 million barrels above the latest five-year average, OPEC said.

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Glut Or Deficit: Where Are Oil Markets Headed?

Glut Or Deficit: Where Are Oil Markets Headed?

Barrels

A flurry of recent oil market forecasts have sent a lot of mixed messages about what to expect both in the near-term and over the next several years. Is U.S. shale about to flood the market, setting off another bust? Or is demand so strong that with the oil market already rapidly tightening, another price rally is in store?

Obviously, nobody knows how to untangle the long list of variables that will ultimately decide what happens next, but the divergence in opinions is rather striking.

By and large, the discrepancy is over the difference between the short-term and the medium-term. Surging U.S. shale production is keeping the market well supplied right now, but soaring demand and the lack of major conventional projects in the works will lead to a price spike somewhere down the line.

Nevertheless, there is also disagreement over the immediate future. We are currently in the “calm before the storm,” according to Gary Ross, global head of oil analytics and chief energy economist at S&P Global Platts. “Pressure is going to build on crude prices,” he said in an interview with the WSJ. “We’re not feeling it now, but we will.”

Ross argues that oil demand is growing so quickly, that the market will absorb all the extra supply. He says China and India alone will take on an additional 1.1 million barrels per day (mb/d). Meanwhile, oil inventories are sharply down, thanks to the OPEC cuts. After refineries finish up maintenance season, the oil market will wake up to the fact that supplies are incredibly tight, Ross argues. “The world is going to be short come peak season,” he told the WSJ. “When the music stops, someone’s not going to have a seat.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Physical Oil Markets Don’t Lie – Is Another Crash Likely?

Physical Oil Markets Don’t Lie – Is Another Crash Likely?

OPEC oil

Oil prices are falling and analysts and market players are as eager as ever to explain the decline in accordance with their own bullish or bearish leanings. It’s a natural correction that was only to be expected after the buildup of long bets on crude oil and oil product futures, the bulls insist. It’s the start of a trend, thanks to the major jump in U.S. production, the bears counter. Now, data from physical oil markets has surfaced that supports the bears’ stance.

North Sea Forties, Russian Urals, WTI, and Atlantic diesel have all fallen to their lowest in several months, Reuters reports, citing commodity traders and analysts. These are physical markets — the markets where actual oil is taken from one place and shipped to another to be refined into fuel and other products, as opposed to the speculative futures market. If the physical market points down, chances are the price drop — 15 percent in three weeks — is not just a blip, as OPEC’s Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo said earlier this week.

Interestingly enough, Barkindo also said he had Russian President Vladimir Putin’s word that Russia will not flood the market with oil while the cut deal still holds. The reason this statement is interesting is that it is the latest example of OPEC’s tendency towards upbeat comments that have little substance, unlike the physical oil market data.

RBC Capital Markets’ Michael Tran told Reuters that, “Physical markets do not lie. If regional areas of oversupply cannot find pockets of demand, prices will decline. Atlantic Basin crudes are the barometer for the health of the global oil market since the region is the first to reflect looser fundamentals. Struggling North Sea physical crudes like Brent, Forties, and Ekofisk suggest that barrels are having difficulty finding buyers.”

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Is History Repeating Itself In Oil Markets?

Is History Repeating Itself In Oil Markets?

Oil Industry

Back in 2014, U.S. shale production was growing so fast that it ended up crashing the market. Now, history could be repeating itself.

That was the warning from the International Energy Agency, which said in its latest Oil Market Report that a “second wave” of shale supply threatens another downturn.

Total global oil supply is expected to grow faster than demand this year, which could lead to another downturn. It’s a conclusion that the IEA tried to emphasize in previous reports, but the message finally seems to be sinking in.

The extraordinary run up in benchmark prices in December and January came to a startling end two weeks ago. Part of the reason was because of the broader market turmoil in equities, and part of it was because hedge funds and other money managers had overbought oil futures, exposing the market to a price correction.

But as the IEA notes, the real worry is rising oil supply, which means that “the underlying oil market fundamentals in the early part of 2018 look less supportive for prices.”

It isn’t all bad news for benchmark prices. The IEA noted that due to the OPEC production cuts and strong demand, inventories fell at a remarkable rate last year. The oil inventory surplus currently stands at about 52 million barrels above the five-year average, down sharply from 264 million barrels a year ago. Importantly, while crude oil inventories are closing in on the five-year average, total stocks of gasoline and other refined products have already fallen well below that threshold. “With the surplus having shrunk so dramatically, the success of the output agreement might be close to hand,” the IEA wrote.

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But even as the elusive “balance” in the oil market is within reach, the IEA says things might quickly reverse.

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IEA Warns Of New Oil Glut

IEA Warns Of New Oil Glut

oil pipeline

The global oil market could slip into deeper oversupply on the back of non-OPEC production growth led by the United States, the International Energy Agency said in its latest Oil Market Report.

“The main factor,” the IEA said, “is US oil production. In just three months to November, crude output increased by a colossal 846 kb/d, and will soon overtake that of Saudi Arabia. By the end of this year, it might also overtake Russia to become the global leader.”

Commenting on the recent reversal in oil prices, the authority attributed it to profit-taking and a market correction spanning all industries, adding that oil’s fundamentals supported a decline in prices.

The situation in the United States suggests that history is repeating itself and what we are seeing now is indeed a second shale revolution that could bring petroleum liquids production on par with global demand growth.

But that’s not all. The IEA noted the recent shipment of the first U.S. condensate cargo to the UAE, which although unique might prove to be the start of a new era in international oil trading patterns.

The news is certainly not good for OPEC and, to a lesser extent, Russia, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel: global economic growth could turn out to be stronger than previously expected and this would help offset the impact of growing U.S. production on prices and keep them where they are now.

The authority hinted that the end of the OPEC deal could be in sight given that the overhang in OECD oil inventories has shrunk to just 52 million barrels from 264 million barrels a year ago, but added that the trend in oil prices could convince the cartel to wait.

Separately, the IEA maintained its 2017 oil demand growth estimate at 1.6 million bpd and said this year demand will grow by 1.4 million bpd, a 100,000-bpd upward revision on the January OMR estimate thanks to IMF’s expectations of stronger economic growth this year.

Is An Oil Price Spike Inevitable?

Is An Oil Price Spike Inevitable?

Oil Rig

The oil glut is over, at least when it comes to U.S. commercial inventories: over the past two months they have been within the average range for the season, thanks to hefty draws. These draws, one analyst argues, are a signal of higher-than-expected demand that is not only an American trend but a global one.

Judging by recent price movements, Flynn is hardly an exception: Brent touched $70 last week, a level only the most bullish of the bulls hoped to see at this time of the year as doubts about OPEC and Russia’s ability to offset growing American production persisted. Now, with new discoveries continuing to sit at record lows, there is a chance that $70 a barrel is only the beginning—as long as demand delivers on expectations, that is.

For now, global crude oil demand forecasts seem to be overwhelmingly positive. The EIA, in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, forecast global oil consumption growth of 1.7 million bpd this year and a bit less in 2019.

The International Energy Agency is a bit more guarded, forecasting in its latest Oil Market Report an average demand growth rate of 1.3 million bpd for this year. This would be a slowdown from last year’s 1.5 million barrels daily, but still a robust growth rate, in spite of the wider adoption of EVs and the increase in renewable power generation capacity.

If these forecasts turn out to be accurate—the oil market is notoriously difficult to predict—then we could see a real price spike before too long. In fact, we could see a deficit at some point in the future, according to Flynn, who estimates that the one-trillion-dollars in exploration investments that fell victim to the 2014 price collapse could cause a global production drop of between 8 and 11 million barrels per day.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is The Oil Glut Set To Return?

Is The Oil Glut Set To Return?

Oil

For the second month in a row, the IEA has poured cold water onto the oil market, publishing an analysis that suggests 2018 could hold some bearish surprises for crude.

The IEA’s December Oil Market Report dramatically revises up the expected growth of U.S. shale, which goes a long way to torpedoing the excitement around the OPEC extension.

Late last month, when OPEC agreed to extend its production cuts through the end of 2018, the U.S. EIA came out with data – on the same day as the OPEC announcement – that showed an explosive increase in shale output for the month of September, up 290,000 bpd from the month before.

Although there is a time lag on publishing production data, the huge jump in output in September, plus the spike in rig count activity over the past few weeks, points to strength in the U.S. shale sector. Against that backdrop, the IEA predicted that non-OPEC supply would grow by 1.6 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2018, a rather significant upward revision of 0.2 mb/d compared to last month’s report.

Adding insult to injury for OPEC, the IEA sees oil demand growing by just 1.3 mb/d. In other words, supply will grow at a faster pace than demand next year, opening up a global surplus once again. “So, on our current outlook 2018 may not necessarily be a happy New Year for those who would like to see a tighter market,” the IEA said. The surplus will be front-loaded – the first half of the year will see a glut of about 200,000 bpd.

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…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Bill Blain: “Oil Could Change Everything”

Bill Blain: “Oil Could Change Everything”

Blain’s Morning Porridge: A Short Distraction In The Oil Market

Did I detect a distinct change in the market wind yesterday? There is a new freshening blow out the East. It feels like the world is changing: a slide in tech stocks and a wobble in sentiment, stronger oil prices and all the noise about Germany and where that leaves Europe, and Macron’s France’s dreams of Empire closer union.

Of course we still have all the usual worries, like North Korea saying Trumps twittering gives them carte blanche to shoot down American planes – which, to be honest, is unlikely because nobody is really that stupid… are they? And as Trump plays to red-neck sports fans, we also saw the death knell spike delivered on Obamacare reform. Then there is Spain vs Catalunya – perhaps a topic we should pay more attention to. And I think there was probably more news about Brexit, but to be honest I wasn’t paying attention and could not be ar**d to read about it. Bored of it. Get on with it.

As always, there is so much to think about.

Oil is one I’m watching closely because it’s the global commodity and market price that could change everything.

We’ve been arguing across the desk these past few years about whether $55-45 is the new normal range for oil, or do prices revert back towards $100? Some argue a stronger global economy means higher prices, others that the demand and supply dynamics have so fundamentally changed that a lower long term range is nailed-on for decades.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Technical Failure That Could Clear The Oil Glut In A Matter Of Weeks

The Technical Failure That Could Clear The Oil Glut In A Matter Of Weeks

Oil

OPEC exports have come under pressure this week from technical threats to oil fields, with Saudi Arabia’s Manifa problems grabbing the headlines.

Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser, while addressing the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul, stated that the outlook for oil supplies is “increasingly worrying”, due to a loss of $1 trillion ($1000 billion) in investments last year. The skepticism shown by a majority of financial analysts and oil commentators about the real threat to global oil (and gas) production volumes was countered by the news that the production at Saudi Aramco’s main offshore oil field, Manifa, has been hit by technical problems. News sources reported that the output from Saudi Aramco’s massive Manifa oilfield has been hit by a technical problem. The impact of this possible technical mishap is not to be underestimated. Aramco’s Manifa is one of its biggest oilfields, with a targeted production capacity of around 900,000 bpd, to be brought onstream in two phases. At present, the main issue being reported on is that there has been corrosion of the water injection system, which is used to keep pressure in the reservoir. No facts have emerged about the total impact on the Manifa production capacity, but unnamed sources are already quoting ‘millions of dollars’ of losses. The current reports are not really worrying, as corrosion control in a water injection system is only a technical challenge. Maintenance of the field is expected, resulting in a shut-down of production – something that has been confirmed by Sadad Al Husseini, former VP Aramco. If the all production needs to be shut-down, Saudi Aramco’s overall production capacity will be cut by 900,000bpd.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Australia’s oil stock coverage on record low

Australia’s oil stock coverage on record low

In prime time evening news of the Australian public broadcaster ABC TV, on 21 June 2017, the business presenter Alan Kohler tried to explain a fall in oil prices by “record oil inventories around the world”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/business/kohler-report/

Well, let’s go around the world on a map and stay where we are, in Australia. In google, type in the search word “Australian Petroleum Statistics” and you get this website:

http://www.environment.gov.au/energy/petroleum-statistics

Click on the latest issue and then on the download PDF file, in this case April 2017

http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/8b150335-1e38-48a3-9f66-daed7ddbe4bf/files/australian-petroleum-statistics-april2017.pdf

Search for the word “stocks” and that brings you to tables 6 and 7

Table 7 End of month stocks of petroleum, consumption cover

In the last column “IEA days of net imports coverage it is 89.5 days for 2010/11 and 55.2 days for 2015/17. Go to the bottom of the column and it’s 50.5 days. The year-on-year decline is 3.1%. That doesn’t look like a record now. If anything, it’s a record low. Let’s put that into a graph:

Australia_IEA_days_coverage_2010-Apr2017Fig 1: Australia’s net imports coverage in days as defined by IEA

Australia is a member of the IEA (International Energy Agency)

Turnbull_Birol_Feb2017Fig 2: Australian Prime Minster shaking hands with IEA’s Fatih Birol, Feb 2017

We check the coverage on the IEA website and find 48 days for March

IEA_oil_stock_in_days_of_net_imports_Mar2017
Fig 3: Australia in comparison with other countries
https://www.iea.org/netimports/

But this number of 50 days is just a calculated average of all oils and fuels. In terms of consumption cover for crude oil and the most important fuels the numbers are much lower as shown in the following graphs.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Biggest Gasoline Glut In 27 Years Could Crash Oil Markets

Biggest Gasoline Glut In 27 Years Could Crash Oil Markets

Distillate tanks

Oil prices are stuck in a holding pattern, waiting for more definitive data on what comes next. OPEC compliance is helping keep prices afloat, but rising U.S. oil production is acting as a counterweight.

A new problem that has suddenly emerged is the record levels of gasoline sitting in storage. The market has already had to digest the fact that U.S. crude oil stocks were rising, and investors have done their best to explain away the trend. But now gasoline inventories are climbing to unexpected heights.

It would be one thing if crude stocks were rising, perhaps because refiners were going offline for maintenance. But if that were the case, then gasoline stocks would draw down on lower refining runs. But if both crude and refined product inventories are going up at the same time, then there should be some reasons for worry.

In fact, the glut of gasoline is now the worst in 27 years. At 259 million barrels, U.S. gasoline storage levels are now at their highest level since the EIA began tracking the data back in 1990.

(Click to enlarge)

Part of the reason for the glut, of course, are high levels of production. Although gasoline production ebbs and flows seasonally, U.S. production has been on an upward trend in recent years. Instead of bouncing around in a range of 8.5 to 9.5 million barrels per day before 2014, U.S. production since the collapse of oil prices has steadily climbed to a range of 9 to 10 mb/d.

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But that increase came in order to satisfy rising demand (which, of course, was stoked by lower prices). More demand should have soaked up that excess supply. However, that is where the problem gets worse. Lately, U.S. demand has faltered.

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Glut Fears Spike As Europe Runs Out Of On-Land Oil Storage

Glut Fears Spike As Europe Runs Out Of On-Land Oil Storage

Tanker

Oil has been called names (“dirty fossil fuel!”). The cartels use it as a weapon to thwart their rivals. ISIS steals it and pimps it out on some sketchy black market. Swaths of it are set on fire and used as a shield. The pipelines through which it travels to and fro are bombed or protested—nearly daily. Sometimes unscrupulous babysitters let it loose to drown in an ocean or float carelessly down the river, never to be recovered. And now, oil, at least that destined for Europe, is homeless and is not being allowed to disembark after shipment.

Oil majors in northwest Europe have booked tankers to store 9 million barrels of oil as the international supply glut grows in size, according to a ship-operator who spoke to Bloomberg.

The companies have resorted to using tankers as storage as signs emerge that onshore storage is filling up on the land-starved continent.

Next month, Northwest Europe, which includes mega-producer Norway as well as the United Kingdom, France, Germany and others, expects to load the highest number of shipments in 4.5 years.

Somewhere in between 14 to 16 medium-sized Aframax tankers have lined the ports, according to Jonathan Lee, the CEO of Tankers International. Lee, whose firm operates the biggest pool of supertankers in the world, confirmed that the lack of land space to store fuel is the likely cause of the tanker buildup.

Reuters reported on Friday that the rate to book an Aframax tanker has almost doubled from the July figure, partially due to the widespread use of ships as floating storage units.

North Sea producers have upped production as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) prepares to finalize the term of an output freeze by the end of this month.

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Oil Down As Glut Fears Return

Oil Down As Glut Fears Return

Oil Rigs

Oil prices fell on Friday as the IEA downgraded its projections for oil demand, dashing hopes that oil markets would rebalance this year.

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Olduvai II: Exodus
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