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How Much Oil Production Will The Saudis Cut?

How Much Oil Production Will The Saudis Cut?

Saudis Trump

Donald Trump continues to take credit for lowering oil prices.


Donald J. Trump
@realDonaldTrump

So great that oil prices are falling (thank you President T). Add that, which is like a big Tax Cut, to our other good Economic news. Inflation down (are you listening Fed)!


Trump’s tweetstorm complicates the OPEC+ meeting in Vienna next week. Trump is very much leaning on Saudi Arabia, pressuring them not to cut output. And he has gone out of his way to protect the Saudis even though the CIA has concluded that crown prince Mohammed bin Salman likely ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He clearly expects the Saudis to return the favor by not cutting production.

This puts Riyadh in a bind. Saudi Arabia needs to patch up its relationship with the West, but it also can ill-afford oil prices at current levels. Saudi Arabia needs Brent to trade north of $80 per barrel for its budget to breakeven. Massive budget deficits during the 2014-2016 downturn help explain Riyadh’s about-face in late 2016 – they had tried to force high-cost drillers out of the market by crashing oil prices, but ultimately caved and engineered an OPEC+ production cut to push prices back up.

Little has changed since then. Saudi Arabia’s spending commitments are still large, and that is before we even take into account MbS’ overly-hyped economic reform proposals. Saudi Aramco is also trying to figure out how to transform itself for the long haul. There was the much-ballyhooed Aramco IPO that has since been shelved. There were the plans for Aramco to issue one of the largest corporate bond offerings ever in order to finance a major stake in Sabic, the state-owned Saudi chemical firm. That initiative was also recently abandoned.

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

Trump And OPEC Face Off Over Production Cuts

Trump And OPEC Face Off Over Production Cuts

oil rigs

“Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! $54, was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!” President Trump tweeted a few days ago.

Trump is a bit confused on the specific figures – perhaps he was mixing up Brent and WTI – but the message to Riyadh was clear. The American president is pleased with the collapse in oil prices and wants them to go even lower, although he’s light on specifics. “It would probably be incorrect to think that Trump has any particular oil price target other than ‘lower’, or a view on what would be a sustainable or even ‘fair’ oil price,” Standard Chartered wrote in a note on Wednesday. “The aim is simply to maximise the gain to consumers.”

The recent meltdown in oil prices is indeed impressive, but for prices to fall even more, OPEC+ would need to take a pass on a production cut. The problem is that the lower prices go, the more likely the group will agree to curb output.

Russia has been coy in recent weeks about where they stand on a production cut. The thinking in Moscow is a bit more cautious than in Riyadh – engineering a price increase, while good for the budget, also risks sparking more production from U.S. shale.

Moreover, Russia’s currency tends to weaken when oil prices fall, cushioning the blow to Russian oil producers and to the Russian economy. Russian firms can pay expenses in weaker rubles, while making oil sales in stronger dollars. Saudi Arabia, with its fixed exchange rate, doesn’t have this luxury. That makes the Saudis a bit more squeamish on lower prices.

However, Brent crude dipped below $60 per barrel on Friday, a level that starts to make even the Russians uncomfortable. As a result, the pressure is on OPEC+ to cut production.

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

Oil Crashes To One Year Low, Brent Below $60 As Saudis Pump Record Crude

Update:

  • U.S. CRUDE EXTENDS LOSSES, TRADES DOWN MORE THAN $4 A BARREL TO SESSION LOW OF $50.63 A BARREL
  • BRENT FALLS BELOW $60/BBL FOR FIRST TIME SINCE OCT. 2017

* * *

The first time oil tumbled two weeks ago when it crashed by 7%, Goldman – which has been telling its clients to keep buying crude all the way down from $80 – blamed it on “negative convexity” and other arcane reasons because the far simpler explanation, more supply, less demand, would be just too obvious for its brilliant strategists not to notice.

There was no “negative convexity” – Wall Street’s catch phrase to “”explain anything that can not be otherwise explained -overnight, when oil resumed its plunge, sliding to the lowest in a year and dropping below $51 after Saudi Arabia signaled its output reached a record high, while growing U.S. inventories stoked fresh concerns over a global supply glut.

WTI futures dropped as much as 5.4% from the Wednesday settlement (there was no Thanksgiving settlement price) and were set for a seventh weekly decline, dropping as low as $51.62/barrel the lowest price in one year.

Brent dropped below $60/barrel for the first time since October 2017.

And with Iranian export restrictions lifted after Trump provided most of its clients oil import waivers, traders are now focused on growing risks of a new glut of crude: Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said Thursday production from the world’s largest exporter climbed further this month after a surge in October, and U.S. stockpiles have risen for nine straight weeks.

Saudi Arabia is producing oil in excess of 10.7 million barrels a day, more than in recent years, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said, giving the strongest indication yet that the kingdom has boosted output to record levels.

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

Does The U.S. Really Need Saudi Oil?

Does The U.S. Really Need Saudi Oil?

oil rigs

“Saudi Arabia — if we broke with them, I think your oil prices would go through the roof. I’ve kept them down,” President Trump told reporters on Tuesday. “They’ve helped me keep them down. Right now we have low oil prices, or relatively. I’d like to see it go down even lower — lower.”

Oil prices have indeed fallen significantly in recent weeks, and to be sure, Saudi Arabia has played a large role in that. Saudi production reportedly hit a record high 11 million barrels per day (mb/d) at times this month, and global inventories are rising once again.

But Riyadh is also clearly upset at being “duped” by Trump. Having been convinced by the Trump administration that Iran’s oil exports were heading to zero, or at least close to zero, Saudi Arabia ramped up supply to offset the losses.

The U.S. then surprised the market by issuing a bunch of waivers, allowing Iran to continue to export oil. Japan and South Korea may even resume buying oil from Iran in January, after cutting imports to zero in anticipation of sanctions.

Almost immediately after the waivers were issued, oil prices crashed. Saudi Arabia then promptly announced that it would cut production by 500,000 bpd in December, and the rumors of an OPEC+ cut really began to pick up.

Trump is happy about the slide in oil prices, but Saudi Arabia clearly isn’t. Saudi Arabia and its OPEC+ partners could soon take action to push prices back up. So, it isn’t clear that Washington and Riyadh have the same objectives, or that their tight relationship is resulting in lower oil prices.

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

IEA Chief Urges Oil Producers Not To Cut Output

IEA Chief Urges Oil Producers Not To Cut Output

oil terminal

While OPEC is considering cutting oil production again, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, called on Monday for ‘common sense’ because fresh cuts could have negative effects on the oil market.

“Currently markets are very well supplied but we should not forget that spare capacity in Saudi Arabia is very thin, therefore cutting the production significantly today by key oil producers may have some negative implications for the markets and further tightening the markets,” Reuters quoted Birol as saying at a news conference in Bratislava.

“My appeal to all producers and consumers across the world is to have common sense in these difficult days,” the IEA’s executive director said.

In its Oil Market Report for November published last week, the IEA said that surging production from the world’s biggest oil producers have more than offset Iranian and Venezuelan supply losses, while demand growth in some developing markets is slowing, pointing to a global oil oversupply next year.

Despite the implied surplus in oil supply next year, the IEA doesn’t see the oversupply as a threat to the markets.

“Although the oil market appears to be more relaxed than it was a few weeks ago, and there might be a sense of ‘mission accomplished’ that producers have met the challenge of replacing lost barrels, such is the volatility of events that rising stocks should be welcomed as a form of insurance, rather than a threat,” the IEA said in its report.

After the latest plunge in oil prices in recent weeks and after supply-demand analysis started to suggest that an oversupply may be building, OPEC and its de facto leader Saudi Arabia have started to hint at new production cuts, with speculation ranging from cuts of 1 million bpd to as much as 1.4 million bpd.

OPEC and allies meet in early December in Vienna, where they are set to discuss the state of the oil market and potential new oil production policies.

Canadian Oil Producers Divided On Output Cuts

Canadian Oil Producers Divided On Output Cuts

crude pipelines

Crude oil producers in Alberta appear to be split on a proposed cut in production amid record-low prices, Canadian media report.

One of the large Canadian oil producers, Cenovus Energy, is calling upon the government of Alberta to mandate temporary production cuts at all drillers in a bid to ease Canadian bottlenecks that have resulted in Canada’s heavy oil prices tumbling to a record-low discount of US$50 to WTI.

The province of Alberta, the heart of Canada’s oil sands production, has the necessary legislation to have all producers agree to production cuts and it needs to use it now, Cenovus said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg yesterday.

“We’re probably producing about 200,000 or 300,000 barrels per day of oil in excess of our ability to get that oil out of the province, either by pipelines or by rail,” Cenovus’ CEO Alex Pourbaix told Global News.

However, other big players disagree that the industry needs to produce less. “Our position is that government intervention in the market would send the wrong signals to the investment community regarding doing business in Alberta and Canada. And we really do need to take a long-term view and allow the market to operate as it should,” Global News quoted a spokeswoman for Suncor as saying.

However, Suncor is in a favorable position: according to the company spokeswoman it has no exposure to the suffocating differential between Western Canadian Select and West Texas Intermediate since it processes as much as 70 percent of its crude at home.

Husky Energy is another of the large Canadian producers who oppose a government-led intervention in production rates. According to Husky, “Market intervention comes with an unacceptably high level of economic and trade risk.”

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

Bakken Prices Crumble On Pipeline Woes

Bakken Prices Crumble On Pipeline Woes

Pipeline

Oil production is growing so quickly in the Bakken that the region is starting to suffer from painful pipeline constraints.

U.S. shale is not new to pipeline bottlenecks. The Permian basin has suffered from steep discounts this year, with WTI in Midland trading as much as $20 per barrel below WTI in Houston at times. Meanwhile, the midstream bottleneck is especially acute in Canada, where the inability to build a major pipeline out of Alberta has led to price discounts that have reached as high as $50 per barrel. Western Canada Select fell as low as $15 per barrel in recent daysafter a U.S. federal judge blocked construction on the Keystone XL pipeline, dealing yet another blow to Canada’s oil industry.

Now, the pipeline woes could be spreading to the Bakken. Production in the Bakken has jumped this year, rising from 1.188 million barrels per day (mb/d) in January to 1.354 mb/d in November, according to the EIA’s forecast in its Drilling Productivity Report. It is a dramatic turnaround for the Bakken after it had hit a temporary peak in late 2014 at 1.26 mb/d, before falling to 0.956 mb/d two years later. Since bottoming out at the end of 2016, however, production has slowly rebounded, with a record output level expected this month.

Rising output has been good news for Bakken shale drillers, but now they face an uncertain near-term future as pipeline capacity fills up. While the Bakken is producing over 1.3 mb/d in output, the region’s pipeline systems can only handle 1.25 mb/d, according to Reuters and Genscape. With pipelines essentially tapped out, oil producers are starting to turn to rail, just as they did years ago when the Bakken first burst onto the scene.

To make matters worse, cold weather could disrupt rail loadings, an unfortunate bit of timing as takeaway capacity dwindles.

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

OPEC October Production Data

OPEC October Production Data

All OPEC data below is from the OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report The data is through October 2018 and is in thousand barrels per day.

OPEC 15 crude oil production was up 127,000 barrels per day in October. that was after September production was revised upward by 13,000 bpd.

OPEC production will likely be up a bit more in November but down considerably in December.

Iran down 156,000 barrels per day in October due to sanctions.

Iraq production has been flat lately. They are obviously pumping every barrel they possibly can.

Kuwaiti crude oil production has been relatively flat for 6.5 years. During that period their oil rig count increased from around 20 to a high of 44. It has recently dropped to 35 however. It should be obvious that they are producing flat out.

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

Canadian Oil Producer Calls For Production Cap Amid Record Low Prices

Canadian Oil Producer Calls For Production Cap Amid Record Low Prices

oil field

One of the large Canadian oil producers, Cenovus Energy, is calling upon the government of Alberta to mandate temporary production cuts at all drillers in a bid to ease Canadian bottlenecks that have resulted in Canada’s heavy oil prices tumbling to a record-low discount of US$50 to WTI.

The province of Alberta, the heart of Canada’s oil sands production, has the necessary legislation to have all producers agree to production cuts and it needs to use it now, Cenovus said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.

“This is an extraordinary situation brought on by extraordinary circumstances,” Cenovus says.

“The government needs to take this immediate temporary action — which is completely within the law — to protect the interests of Albertans,” the company’s email to Bloomberg reads.

Western Canadian Select (WCS)—the benchmark price of oil from Canada’s oil sands delivered at Hardisty, Alberta—has dropped to a record low discount of US$50 to WTI in recent weeks, due to rising oil production and not enough pipeline capacity to ship the crude out of Alberta.

Due to the record low heavy oil prices, Cenovus Energy is currently operating its Foster Creek and Christina Lake projects at reduced volumes, it said in its Q3 earnings release. On the earnings call, Cenovus Energy’s President and CEO Alex Pourbaix urged the whole Canadian industry to slow down production to ease bottlenecks.

“And I want to be clear on this, the industry right now has a production problem. We’re going to do our part but we are not going to carry the industry on our back. I think this is something that has to be dealt with on an industry wide basis,” Pourbaix said.

Alberta’s Energy Department spokesman Mike McKinnon told Bloomberg in an email, responding to Cenovus’s call for province-wide production cuts:

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

Oil Rallies On Report OPEC+ Will Do “Whatever It Takes”, May Cut By 1.4MM Barrels

One day after Saudi Arabia revealed that it had not complied with its production quota in October for the first time since OPEC’s November 2016 meeting in Vienna, Reuters sent oil prices into the green with a report that OPEC and its partners were discussing a proposal to cut oil output by up to 1.4 million barrels per day in 2019 to avoid a surplus that could tank prices.

Opec

Unnerved by oil’s record 12-day losing streak, OPEC and OPEC+ are again talking about cutting production just months after Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to pump more. The group is set to meet on Dec. 6 to agree on its policy for 2019.

West Texas Intermediate futures rose as much as 1.4% to $56.49/bbl on New York Mercantile Exchange, erasing an earlier 1% decline and briefly sending prices into the green – though the rally soon faded and prices slumped back into the red. If oil settles higher on the day, it would break what has been a record losing streak for oil prices.

OPEC

Still, the gains didn’t hold, as the report noted that least one OPEC member (Iran) still needed to be convinced to support the plan.

A supply cut of up to 1.4 million bpd was one of the options discussed by energy ministers from Saudi Arabia, non-OPEC Russia and other nations at a meeting in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, the sources said.

“I believe a cut of 1.4 million bpd is more reasonable than above it or below it,” one of the sources, who declined to be identified by name as the talks are confidential, said.

OPEC member Iran, as well as Russia, would need to be brought on board for the new plan, the sources added. One source said Iran does not want to have a production target in a new agreement as it is facing lower exports due to U.S. sanctions.

In comments that arrived after the report, OPEC chief Mohammed Barkindo revealed that he now believes the cartel is a central bank.

*OPEC CHIEF: OPEC+ WILL DO ‘WHATEVER IT TAKES’ FOR MARKET BALANCE

Saudis Scramble To Stop Oil Price Slide

Saudis Scramble To Stop Oil Price Slide

oil infra

Saudi Arabia is moving quickly to halt the slide in oil prices, telegraphing a production cut intended to erase some of the re-emerging supply surplus.

Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday that the kingdom would slash oil exports by 500,000 bpd in December, a move that would go a long way to reversing the 1 million-barrel-per-day increase in output agreed to by OPEC+ in June.

It was only a few weeks ago that al-Falih was trying to reassure the market that Saudi Arabia had enough spare capacity in the event of an outage; now he is rushing to try to stop the slide in prices but paring back production.

The production cut would come just after crude oil officially entered bear market territory, falling 20 percent from its October peak.

But it is unclear at this point if the rest of the OPEC+ coalition, including Russia, will join the Saudis. The OPEC-Non-OPEC Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) met over the weekend in Abu Dhabi to consider options for 2019. The group was rumored to be considering a collective production cut, although the meeting ended on Sunday with no firm commitments.

Still, in an official statement, the group seemed open to the idea. The JMMC “noted that 2019 prospects point to higher supply growth than global requirements,” which is another way of saying that they are nervous about a supply glut. Also, the committee stated that a global economic downturn could depress demand, and “could lead to widening gap between supply and demand.” These conditions “may require new strategies to balance the market.” It would seem that the OPEC+ coalition is laying the groundwork for a production cut. The official ministerial meeting in Vienna in early December will reveal much more about the group’s plans heading into 2019.

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

OPEC+ Floats 1 Million Barrel Production Cut After Oil Price Tumbles Into Bear Market

With oil prices entering a bear market last week, tumbling 21% from recent highs as it became clear that Trump will significantly water down Iran oil export sanctions by granting waivers to its 8 largest clients even as US inventory stockpiles are once again rising amid almost weekly records in US oil production, OPEC and its non-OPEC allies – which is pretty much everyone except US shale producers – are starting to sweat, and during today’s meeting in Abu Dhabi they hinted that an oil output cut to limit excess production may be coming.

Speaking to reporters, Oman’s Oil Minister Mohammed Al-Rumhy said that “a number of global producers agree they should pump less oil in 2019, and a reduction of 1 million barrels a day would be a good number” according to Bloomberg. Others echoed his sentiment, floating a range of cutbacks, however the most often cited number was a decrease in output by as much as 1 million barrels a day, roughly the amount of Iranian oil production that is expects to continue flowing thanks to the recent sanction waivers.

“I think probably there is support that right now there is too much oil in the market and stock, inventories are building up,” Al-Rumhy told reporters today in the UAE capital.


Oman min says a 1 million cut would be a good start


Of course, OPEC can not be seen as responding to every political whim in the White House, especially if it will result in higher gasoline prices and an angry Donald Trump, so a technical committee representing the coalition framed the need for a production cut in the context of its projections according to which the global oil surplus – which hit unprecedented levels in 2015 –

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

Venezuela’s Glaring Gasoline Crisis

Venezuela’s Glaring Gasoline Crisis

gas pump

Iran has dominated the headlines over the last few weeks, but Venezuela’s oil sector continues to meltdown.

Venezuela’s oil production fell to just 1.197 million barrels per day in September, down 42,000 bpd from a month earlier. However, because things are moving so quickly, that figure is now woefully out of date. With a few weeks left in 2018, many analysts believe production could fall below 1 mb/d.

Venezuela’s oil exports to the United States declined by 19 percent in October, compared to a month earlier. The decline came as a result of maintenance from the country’s upgraders, which turn heavy oil from the Orinoco Belt into exportable forms of oil. Without the ability to process, exports plunged.

But Venezuela is replete with operational and financial problems that are also contributing to the sharp decline in output and exports. Another issue has been the damaged port of Jose, the main conduit for oil exports. A tanker collision in August disrupted shipments from the port for weeks, and it remains only partly operational.

Nobody is hurting more than the Venezuelan people. At least 2.3 million people have fled Venezuela since 2015, according to a new estimate from the United Nations. The country’s inflation rate topped 833,997 percent in October, according to a report from Venezuela’s opposition-controlled Congress. The number is so astronomical that it is virtually meaningless, just as the currency itself is completely worthless.

Fuel shortages are growing worse. State-owned PDVSA has seen its refineries run into the ground, and many are not operational or operating at very low levels. On paper, the refineries can process about 1.3 million barrels per day, but in reality, many have ceased operations due to a combination of factors, including a breakdown in parts, a lack of oil supply to work with, and no financial resources. According to Bloomberg, refinery utilization is down to around 17 percent, down from 50 percent as recently as 2016.

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

U.S. Oil Production Is Set To Soar Past 12 Million Bpd

U.S. Oil Production Is Set To Soar Past 12 Million Bpd

shale oil

Rising shale production is putting the United States on track to hit the 12 million bpd oil production mark sooner than previously forecast, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its November Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).

Next year’s U.S. crude oil output is now expected to average 12.1 million bpd, up from a forecast of 11.8 million bpd just a month ago in the October STEO.

U.S. crude oil production reached a new monthly record of 11.3 million bpd in August 2018, exceeding 11 million bpd for the first time. Production in August was 290,000 bpd higher than expected in the October STEO, and it was this higher level that raised the baseline for the EIA’s forecast for production in 2019.

Comparing the forecasts in the latest STEO with the October estimates, the EIA now sees U.S. crude oil production hitting the 12-million-bpd mark in the second quarter of 2019 rather than the fourth quarter.

The EIA raised its 2018 production forecast by 1.5 percent compared to the October STEO, to 10.9 million bpd, and the 2019 forecast by 2.6 percent from 11.76 million bpd to 12.06 million bpd.

While the EIA lifted its projections for U.S. oil production, it revised down its forecasts for oil prices in 2019. In the November outlook, it forecasts Brent Crude prices of $72 per barrel in 2019 on average, which is $3 a barrel lower than previously forecast. The EIA sees WTI Crudeprices to average $65/b next year, down by $5/b from the previous estimate.

“The lower crude oil price forecasts are partly the result of higher expected crude oil production in the United States in the second half of 2018 and in 2019, which is expected to contribute to growth in global oil inventory and put downward pressure on crude oil prices,” the EIA said.

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

WTI Slumps To $61 Handle After US Crude Production Soars To New Record High

Despite sliding after last night’s API-reported big Crude and Cushing build, WTI has rebounded overnight amid a post-midterms tumbling dollar, but a larger crude build than expected from DOE, combined with a smaller gasoline draw, could lead to WTI “set to test $60 easily,” Tariq Zahir, a commodity fund manager at Tyche Capital Advisors, says

Additionally, Oil rose on the back of headlines that OPEC and its allies were said to plan talks on fresh production cuts next year, responding to recent increases in crude inventories amid surging U.S. supply.

“The Saudis want to stop the price decay,” said Giovanni Staunovo, an analyst at UBS Group AG in Zurich.

“There are many moving variables until the OPEC meeting in December, like Iran and U.S. production growth. But as the Saudis say they aim for market stability, if the data suggests an oversupplied market next year the probability of a cut is high.”

However, as Bloomberg notes, if OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, does ultimately decide fresh cutbacks are necessary, it will confront a number of challenges. It will need to once again secure the support of rival-turned-partner Russia, which has less need for high oil prices. There’s also the risk of antagonizing the kingdom’s key geopolitical ally, President Trump.

API

  • Crude +7.831mm (+2mm exp)
  • Cushing +3.073mm (+2.1mm exp)
  • Gasoline -1.195mm
  • Distillates -3.638mm

DOE

  • Crude +5.78mm (+2mm exp)
  • Cushing +2.419mm (+2.1mm exp)
  • Gasoline +1.85mm (-1.7mm exp)
  • Distillates -3.465mm

Crude and Cushing inventories rose for the seventh straight week (considerably more than expected) and a surprise gasoline build, sent WTI prices back below pre-API levels from last night and back to a $61 handle…

 

And as inventories rose, production surged a huge 400k b/d to a new record high…

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

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