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Rig Count Falters Amid Oil Price Correction

Rig Count Falters Amid Oil Price Correction

Oil rigs

Baker Hughes reported a dip in the number of active oil and gas rigs in the United States today. Oil and gas rigs decreased by 3 rigs, according to the report, with the number of oil rigs increasing by 1, and the number of gas rigs decreasing by 4.

The oil and gas rig count now stands at 1,059—up 126 from this time last year.

Canada, for its part, gained 27 oil rigs for the week—after last week’s gain of 13 oil and gas rigs. Despite weeks of significant gains, Canada’s oil and gas rig count is still down by 20 year over year.

Oil benchmarks experienced a huge slide on Friday as Russia and Saudi Arabia proclaimed their willingness to increase output ahead of the June 22 OPEC/NOPEC meeting in Vienna, even if the oil production cut deal were to fall apart. The loose commitment by two of the largest signees to the production cut deal was enough to drag down prices that were earlier being pulled upwards by Venezuela’s freefalling oil production that some think will fall below 1 million barrels per day, and continuing reports that Iran may face multiple obstacles on the road to exporting its oil in the wake of renewed sanctions levied by the United States. Related: The Permian Faces A Long Term Natural Gas Crisis

At 12:07pm EDT, the WTI benchmark was trading down a massive 3.36% (-$2.25) to $64.64, with Brent down 3.48% (-$2.64) to $73.30. Both benchmarks are down week on week as well as on the day.

US oil production continues putting downward pressure on oil prices, and for the week ending June 08, production reached 10.900 million bpd—just a hair shy of the 11 million bpd production that many had forecast for the year.

At 7 minutes after the hour, WTI was trading down 2.93% at $64.93, with Brent trading down 3.29% at $73.44.

Trump Slams OPEC Again, Demands Lower Prices: “Oil Prices Are Too High, OPEC Is At It Again”

Nearly two months after Trump drew a line in the sand on oil prices, when on April 20 he lashed out at OPEC, tweeting that “Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!”which promptly set a ceiling on crude and prompted Saudi Arabia to scramble to boost production…


Looks like OPEC is at it again. With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!


… moments ago Trump doubled down on his oil- price targeting, and in a lengthy tweetstorm that touched on everything from Marc Sanford’s loss, to the strength of the economy, to the just concluded North Korean summit, his relationship with Kim Jong Un and the cancellation of war games with South Korea, even the announcement of the world cup host nation  (US, Mexico and Canada), Trump once again lashed out at OPEC, tweeting that “Oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!


Oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!


Translation: Trump realizes that the middle-class is spending increasingly more on gasoline, taking away from disposable income, and hopes that Saudi Arabia will pump more to offset the loss of Venezuela and Iran oil (which would not be impaired if Trump hadn’t killed the Iran deal), in line with what we described in “Rising Gas Prices Threaten To Wipe Out Trump’s Tax Cut Benefits“.

This time, the market reaction to Trump’s angry tweet was far muted, with oil barely moving – so far – after it slumped following yesterday’s API report, even if it recovered most of the losses.

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

It’s The Demand, Stupid! Is China About To Burst The Black Gold Bubble?

For months we have heard about how the oil market’s over-supply ‘glut’ has been removed thanks to OPEC/NOPEC’s production cut deal and the narrative of ‘global synchronous recovery’ has buoyed the demand side of the equation – sending crude prices to four year highs (helped considerably by an increasing geopolitical risk premium, that is now evident more in Brent than WTI).

However, the last couple of weeks have turned ugly for the ‘no brainer’ record spec longs in crude oil as prices have tumbled (and President Trump has complained)..

The 50% surge in crude prices – and concurrent rise in gas prices at the pump – has begun to worry some that demand destruction looms. However, as The Wall Street Journal’s Nathaniel Taplin reports, what investors may not appreciate is that demand growth is also poised to slow in the world’s largest net oil importer last year, China.

Chinese petroleum demand still appears fine. Growth bounced back to a healthy 9% on the year in April, twice the rate in March. April’s petroleum burn was flattered, however, by exceptionally weak demand in the same month the year before – and probably by the official end of the government’s winter pollution controls, which had given temporary shot in the arm to Chinese industry this spring.

Unfortunately the overall trend for the industrial and transport sectors – which together account for about 70% of Chinese oil demand – looks shaky.

Growth rates in freight traffic and electricity production both peaked in the third quarter of 2017, excluding January and February figures distorted by the Lunar New Year holiday.

Freight tonnage growth is now running at barely half the 11%-12% rate it reached in mid-2017.

Weakening global trade, driven partly by the slowdown in Europe, will put further downward pressure on those numbers.

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

Higher Oil Prices Might Not Destroy Demand Growth

Higher Oil Prices Might Not Destroy Demand Growth

Gas station

The recent jump in oil prices to $80 per barrel raised a lot of questions about whether or not the heady demand growth projections for this year would hold up. In fact, signs of strain quickly popped up in disparate parts of the world. But as governments move to protect their citizens from high fuel prices (and to protect their political positions), demand might not be as price sensitive as analysts tend to think.

The history of oil price cycles show demand is highly sensitive to sharp increases in prices – demand took a hit in 1973, the early 1980s, the extraordinary 2005-2008 price increase, and the 2011-2014 period, when prices routinely topped $100 per barrel.

That record provides some guidance about what we should expect. Brent hit $80 per barrel for the first time in more than three years in May, a price level that would start to test the durability of demand growth. The run up in prices coincided with some early signs that consumers were losing their patience.

For example, U.S. President Donald Trump complained to OPEC in April about “artificially” high prices, and reportedly sent a request to the Saudis for higher output recently. Crippling protestsin Brazil brought the economy to a standstill and led to the ouster of the CEO of Petrobras. The International Energy Agency revised down its forecast for demand growth this year by 100,000 bpd, citing high prices.

Just as prices started to become painful, the OPEC+ coalition felt compelled to change course, and are on the verge of increasing output. Even with the recent price correction, demand threats still loom. The U.S. Federal Reserve continues to hike interest rates, which is strengthening the U.S. dollar and making dollar-denominated debt more painful to service. That is putting a strain on emerging market demand. The currencies of Argentina and Turkey have been slammed in the past few months.

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

Next Stage of Pressure on Iran – Lower Oil Prices

Next Stage of Pressure on Iran – Lower Oil Prices

President Trump is stepping up his attack on Iran.  He’s now planning the long-game for maximum pressure.  The news that Trump quietly asked Saudi Arabia to ramp up output by 1 million barrels a day is the key.

From the analysis at Oilprice.com:

Saudi Arabia and some of its close Arab allies in the Gulf, as well as the leader of the non-OPEC nations taking part in the production cut deal—Russia—are the only producers that have the spare capacity to increase production. So, in case of increased production from OPEC and allies, the potentially lower oil prices would hurt the other OPEC members that don’t have the spare capacity to boost output.

The point here is to begin dropping oil prices now that the U.S. has blown out Turkey’s finances and helped Saudi Arabia improve its fiscal position for the rest of the year with high oil prices.

Turkey is a net energy importer and $75+ per barrel oil is a huge drain on its finances at a time when its currency and bond markets are under serious pressure from a strengthening U.S. dollar.  Don’t think for a second the Turkish lira wasn’t helped in its fall.  This is a classic hybrid war attack on a country not playing by U.S. rules.

But, now that Trump’s U.S. economy is threatened by high energy costs, he’s looking to improve that situation while also putting a strain on Iran’s finances through the double whammy of losing not only up to 1 million barrels of production per day but also getting $20-25 less per barrel.

And right on target, oil shorts are piling on because that’s what happens when the markets are told which way policy is heading.

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

Don’t Take Higher Oil Prices For Granted

Don’t Take Higher Oil Prices For Granted

Oil

Oil prices collapsed at the start of this week, with WTI and Brent dropping 5.5 percent and 7.5 percent respectively from their three and a half year peaks.

This recent price slump serves as a timely reminder for market observers and players alike that, while a heightened geopolitical risk premium and declining inventories have boosted prices, there is plenty of downside in today’s markets.

The prices started to fall when Saudi Arabia and Russia, two key brokers in the Vienna agreement, announced that they are ready to ramp up production to counter the threat of falling supply from Iran and Venezuela. The fear of a huge surge in U.S. shale production also played a part in sending oil prices lower, with rising U.S. exports to Asia beginning to impact the market share of both Russia and Saudi Arabia in the region.

Many already understand that this price rally is not sustainable. Vladimir Putin recently saidthat an oil price of $60 “suits Russia”. Last year, Russia’s finance minister shared his plans to draft the 2017-2019 budget based on oil prices as low as $40. These statements, taken alongside the recent reports that Russia and Saudi Arabia are looking to bring some production back online, have been seen by some as a sign that the recent oil price rally is coming to an end. It has long been known that these kind of production deals are not long term and sustainable solutions to an oil market crisis.

This is not to say that oil prices can’t rise again, or even touch $100 in the near future. Both the Iran nuclear deal and collapsing production in Venezuela could provide plenty of upside to oil prices.

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

 

Art Berman: Think Oil Is Getting Expensive? You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.

A global supply crunch approaches…

After issuing clear warnings on this program that sub-$50 oil prices were going to be short-lived, oil expert and geological consultant Art Berman returns to the podcast this week to explain why today’s $70 oil prices will go higher — likely much higher — and start materially contricting world economic growth.

Art explains how the current glut of oil created by the US shale boom — along with high crude output by both OPEC and non-OPEC  producers — is a temporary anomaly. Fundamentally, we are not finding nearly as much oil as we need to continue the trajectory of the global demand curve. And at the same time, we’re extracting our reserves at a faster rate than ever. That’s a mathematical recipe for a coming supply crunch — it’s not a matter of if, but when:

The price of oil has gone up 30%+ percent just here in the last year alone. There are some very good reasons for that.

In the United States, we’ve been drawing down our reserves, our inventory and the amount of oil we have in storage, consistently since February of 2017. We’re going into the 15th month of drawing from storage each week because we’re not producing enough to meet the need.

To those paying attention: the United States is right now producing more oil than it ever has in its history. We are a million barrels a day higher than the peak in 1970 — the one that King Hubbert got in trouble for warning about. We’re higher by 50,000 or so barrels per month of production. Yet, here we are, still sucking oil out of storage. What does that tell you? There is only one way to interpret that: We are using more than we are producing.

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

Who’s To Blame For High Gasoline Prices?

Who’s To Blame For High Gasoline Prices?

Fuel Pump

As retail gasoline prices rise to $3 per gallon across the United States, gas prices are a hot political topic in Washington once again, with the Democrats hoping to slam Donald Trump for causing pain at the pump and Republicans trying to shift blame back on their opponents.

High gasoline prices have long presented dangers for politicians, particularly for those in power when prices rise. The debates often make for great political theater, although they typically fall far short on the substance.

The spike in crude oil prices in 2008, during the heat of the presidential election, popularized the “drill, baby, drill” slogan and also led to calls from both Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton for a “gas tax holiday” – a temporary suspension in federal gas taxes.

During the Arab Spring in 2011, and the outage of oil supply in Libya, prices spiked again. Republicans blamed former President Obama for high prices, charging that his refusal to allow more drilling caused prices to rise. His release of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve also came under criticism. Years later, when prices crashed because of the oil market downturn, Obama took credit for low gasoline prices.

We haven’t heard much about gas prices since 2014, but with WTI over $70 and gasoline back to $3 per gallon, suddenly it is a hot topic again.

The Democrats held a press conference on Wednesday in front of an ExxonMobil gas station in Washington to blast the Trump administration for high gasoline prices. “It’s time for this president to stand up to OPEC,” Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said. That was accompanied by a letter by several top Democratic Senators asking Trump to “pressure” OPEC to “increase world oil supplies in order to lower prices at the pump during the upcoming summer driving season.” They noted that the run up in gas prices could cancel out the benefits of the tax cuts from last year.

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

Farmers Reeling From High Oil Prices

Farmers Reeling From High Oil Prices

Tractor

As the summer driving season approaches, drivers are already paying more for gasoline due to the oil price rally in recent months.

But higher oil prices affect not only the gasoline bills of retail consumers. The higher price of oil is also pushing up diesel fuel prices as the harvesting and planting seasons for various crops are already in full swing.

Farmers in the United States and around the world see their diesel fuel expenses jumping and eating into their profits that have been already constrained by depressed prices of some crops.

Ultra-low sulfur diesel is used for farming equipment and for transportation of crops, and the May price of that diesel is the highest it’s been since 2014, just before the collapse of crude oil prices.

“You just kind of all of a sudden realize, ‘Wow, it’s pretty high,’” farmer Glenn Brunkow from Wamego, Kansas, tells Reuters.

For next year, Brunkow is considering locking in diesel prices for the first time ever to save on future rises in diesel fuel prices.

This year, farmers are struggling with higher fuel costs as a result of the advance in crude oil prices in recent months.

In the U.S., where America’s farms output contributed US$136.7 billion—or about 1 percent of GDP—to the economy in 2016, total production expenses this year are expected to be flat on 2017, but spending on fuel and oils is expected to jump 10.2 percent, forecasts by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) show.

Spending on fuels and oils, which accounts for nearly 5 percent of cash expenses, is expected to increase by 10.2 percent, or by US$1.4 billion, on top of a 13.9-percent, or US$1.7 billion, increase for 2017.

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

The Double-Edged Sword Of High Oil Prices

The Double-Edged Sword Of High Oil Prices

barrel

Rising oil prices were seen last year as a positive result of growing global growth and recovery, but a combination of factors is turning this benign view into a more sinister scenario.

On the supply side, the combined efforts of OPEC and Russia, leaky as the agreement has been, have managed to reduce the global oil surplus in just 18 months to bring the market largely into balance. As a result, oil prices have gradually risen during the period. It’s a trend most observers have been sanguine about, believing the U.S.’s tight oil producers, encouraged by rising prices, will increase output to ensure ample supply and keep a lid on oil prices getting ahead of themselves.

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But that benign view had not taken account of President Trump’s decision to rip up the Iran nuclear deal and, as a result, to reinstate sanctions, a move that will take place in two phases to give firms time to adjust.

According to The Telegraph, this will be done in two stages, on Aug. 6 and Nov. 4, allowing 90- and 180-day wind-down periods. In addition, the Treasury is to re-list Iranian individuals and entities in the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, thus revoking special licenses and exceptions previously granted to individuals and companies to deal with Iran, making it all but impossible for firms with a U.S. presence or needing dollar clearing to deal with them.

Lastly, Iran’s crude oil sales will be limited under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, as the U.S. departments of State, Energy and Treasury will allow ongoing but reduced purchases of oil from Iran, termed “significant reduction exceptions” on a country-by-country basis if they demonstrate a commitment to substantially decrease oil purchases (usually at least a 20 percent reduction).

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

Oil Jumps Above $80 For The First Time Since Nov. 2014

Two weeks after Saudi Arabia said it was targeting $80/bbl oil, this morning Riyadh got its wishes early when Brent hit the Saudi target, jumping as much as 1% to $80.18, following the latest drop in U.S. crude inventories and as traders continued to fret about the consequences of renewed sanctions on Iran.

This was the highest price since November 2014.

Today’s jump followed a reported from Goldman titled simply “The case for commodities strengthens ” according to which America’s surging shale output won’t be able to replace the potential drop in Iranian oil shipments after the U.S. reimposed sanctions on OPEC’s third-largest producer.

US shale cannot solve the current oil supply problems. Even if only 200-300 kb/d of Iran exports are at risk by year-end, OPEC is not likely to preempt this loss, only react to it. Further, any response will reduce spare capacity in an increasingly tighter market. The erosion in Venezuela and Angola oil output is accelerating at the same time ex-US growth is stalling. Only the US has seen supply surprises, but is facing growing pains with filled pipeline capacity, constraining US growth into 2019.

Goldman also noted that physical markets continued to ignore growth concerns – just yesterday the IEA warned that the surge in prices will kill demand – rising rates and USD.

Only financial markets care, which is why only gold has traded substantially lower with the risk-off sentiment. Growth concerns will likely prove temporary, realized demand remains robust and OPEC has never been able to catch late-cycle demand growth to replenish inventories before a recession occurs. And even if growth were to decelerate further, it would take global GDP growth collapsing to 2.5% yoy to simply balance the oil market! We recommend not ‘riding this one out.’

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

IEA Cuts 2018 Oil Demand Forecast On Soaring Oil Prices

Yesterday, we observed that in logical consequence to sharply higher interest rates, US consumer loan demand had slumped in recent weeks, despite increasingly easy credit conditions: an outcome which for many economists is a harbinger to an upcoming recession, as households hunker down and begin to deleverage.

Now, following a similar causal chain, this morning the International Energy Agency also cut forecasts for global oil demand growth in 2018 due to oil’s recent price surge, as the highest prices in three years put a brake on consumption. As a result, the agency trimmed its 2018 world demand growth projection by 40,000 barrels a day to 1.4 million a day, projecting total consumption at 99.2 million barrels a day, down from 99.3mmb/d, still higher than the 97.8mmbpd global oil demand in 2017.

“The recent jump in oil prices will take its toll,” said the Paris-based agency, which serves as an advisor to most major economies on energy policy. Crude has jumped 17% this year, trading near $78 a barrel in London on Wednesday, and approaching the stated Saudi target of $80/barrel at which point the Aramco IPO once again becomes feasible.

As one would expect, the demand forecast by the IEA – which is not a cartel of oil producers and is therefore less biased – differs greatly from the forecast by OPEC – which is a cartel of oil producers and therefore is programmed to see only the best possible outcome no matter how high the price. As shown in the chart below, whereas the IEA demand forecast topped out, that of OPEC sees nothing but blue skies ahead.

The IEA commented on the 16-month campaign by OPEC and its allies to slash a global oil glut, which the agency said had been finally successful, with inventories falling below their five-year average for the first time since 2014. Markets are set to tighten further as output sinks in the economic disaster that is Venezuela and the U.S. re-imposes sanctions on Iran.

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

Higher Oil Prices Look Likely

Higher Oil Prices Look Likely

Oil field

The path to higher oil prices seems pretty clear, but it isn’t inevitable.

There are plenty of reasons why the oil market is suddenly on edge, and why oil prices are at their highest level since 2014. Venezuela’s oil production is falling off of a cliff, and could fall faster now that creditors are swarming over the country. The upcoming presidential election risks a financial crackdown from the U.S. Treasury, threatening to add to the country’s woes.

The more obvious catalyst over the past week was the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, putting a sizable chunk of Iranian supply at risk, although exactly how much remains to be seen.

Most importantly, the underlying fundamentals are bullish: the supply/demand balance is tighter than at any moment in recent memory, with demand expected to outpace supply for the rest of the year. Global inventories are back down to the five-year average, and falling. Because data is published on a lag, the market could overtighten before OPEC realizes it.

U.S. shale is the one factor keeping prices in check, having added more than 1 million barrels per day (mb/d) since last September. The EIA sees output growing to 11.9 mb/d in 2019 (ending the year at over 12 mb/d), up from 10.5 mb/d a month ago. In other words, the agency is baking in an additional 1.5 mb/d of extra supply over the next year and a half.

That should keep a lid on prices.

But what if all that fresh supply doesn’t actually make it online? U.S. shale production is exploding, but is also running up against serious pipeline constraints that are pushing down prices in West Texas and threaten to severely slow development. While WTI in Cushing is above $70 per barrel, oil in Midland is selling in the high-$50s per barrel.

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

Weekly Commentary: Disequilibrium

Weekly Commentary: Disequilibrium

Much to the consternation of our allies, President Trump withdraws from the Iran nuclear deal. WTI crude adds another 1.5% (up 17% y-t-d) this week to the high since November 2014. Iran and Israel moved closer to direct military confrontation. With even 40% rates unable to staunch the bleeding, a stunned Argentine government warily negotiates an IMF bailout. Italy’s far right and far left parties – both populist, anti-establishment, anti-euro and anti-immigration – begin negotiations to form a coalition government. Malaysians elect 92-year old Mahathir Mohamad, ending the 60-year reign of the Barisan Nasional party (including Mahathir as prime minister between 1981 and 2003).

Some astounding developments, but not enough these days to shake financial markets. Why fret a complex and increasingly unstable world, not with the timely return of Goldilocks. She’s back… Headline U.S. April CPI was up 0.2% vs. expectations of 0.3%. Core CPI was up only 0.1% against expectations of 0.2%. April Import Prices were up 0.3% vs. estimates of 0.5%. Forget surging energy prices, rather quickly the rosy narrative shifts to peak inflation.

May 11 – Reuters (Howard Schneider): “St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard on Friday spelled out the case against any further interest rate increases, saying rates may already have reached a ‘neutral’ level that is no longer stimulating the economy… ‘We should be opening the champagne here,’ not raising interest rates with unemployment low and inflation in no seeming danger of accelerating, Bullard said… ‘The economy is operating quite well right now.'”

I suggest the Fed and global central bankers hold back on carting out the bubbly. “Opening the champagne” is reminiscent of Citigroup CEO Chuck Prince’s summer of 2007 “still dancing.” Bullard focuses on traditional yield curve analysis. “I would say the yield curve inversion is getting close to crunch time.” “The yield curve inversion would be a bearish signal for the US economy if that develops.”
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Could Oil Hit $100?

Could Oil Hit $100?

$100

Oil prices have continued their climb following a week of bullish news, and with geopolitical tensions reaching a boiling point, prices are poised to head even higher.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Iran continues to dominate the headlines, keeping WTI above $71 per barrel and Brent at $77 per barrel as of early trading on Friday. The exchange of airstrikes between Iran and Israel is also adding to the tension. Meanwhile, aside from the huge increase in U.S. oil production, the EIA reported some bullish figures this week – a decline in both crude oil and gasoline inventories by more than expected.

OPEC sees Iranian outage as not immediate. Any loss of supply from Iran due to U.S. sanctions will take time, and OPEC won’t rush to increase output in the interim, sources told Reuters. The steep losses from Venezuela combined with the potential disruption in Iran could force OPEC to adjust production levels earlier than it had expected. But because U.S. sanctions don’t really take effect until November, OPEC is not scrambling just yet. “I think we have 180 days before any supply impact,” an OPEC source said. They will meet in Vienna in a month to evaluate the current status of the oil market and the production limits.

Short-term supply glut eases Iran fears. Although supply outages from Iran could severely tighten the oil market, Bloomberg reports that there is currently a bit of a supply glut, which should prevent a sudden price spike. Oil traders have reported unsold cargoes in north-west Europe, the Mediterranean, China and West Africa. The sudden emergence of a temporary glut is reflected in the Brent timespreads, with the July-August spread falling from 63 cents per barrel last month to just 24 cents per barrel this week, a five-month low. The narrowing of the spread is a “sure sign of an oversupplied market,” Bloomberg reports.

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

Olduvai II: Exodus
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