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OPEC March Crude Oil Production Data

OPEC March Crude Oil Production Data

All OPEC data below was taken from the April issue of The OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report. The data is through March 2018 and is thousands of barrels per day.

OPEC crude oil production dropped just over 200,000 barrels per day in March. They are now just over one million barrels per day below their fourth-quarter 2016 average.

Only the UAE showed any significant gain among OPEC members.

Algeria took a hit in March, down almost 50,000 barrels per day. They reached a new low of under 1,000,000 barrels per day.

Angola took the biggest his of all OPEC nations in March. They dropped 82,000 barrels per day to reach their lowest level in almost 7 years.

Ecuador has slowed their decline during the last two months.

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

IEA: U.S.-China Trade Row Could Dampen Oil Demand Growth

IEA: U.S.-China Trade Row Could Dampen Oil Demand Growth

Shale oil

OPEC is very close to achieving its mission to draw oil inventories down to their five-year average, but the ongoing U.S.-China trade spat is a risk to oil demand growth expectations this year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its Oil Market Report on Friday.

The Paris-based agency kept its global oil demand growth estimate unchanged from last month’s report—at 1.5 million bpd for this year.

“However, there is an element of risk to this outlook from the current tension on trade tariffs between China and the US,” the IEA noted.

The trade dispute is “introducing a downward risk to the forecast,” said the agency which sees oil demand growth possibly dropping by around 690,000 bpd if global economic growth were reduced by 1 percent on the back of widespread increase in trade tariffs.

“Oil demand would suffer the direct impact of lower bunker consumption and lower inland transportation of traded goods, reducing fuel oil and diesel use,” said the IEA.

On the supply side, the agency continues to expect non-OPEC growth unchanged at 1.8 million bpd, with the U.S. production growth also unchanged from the previous report, at 1.3 million bpd year on year. Yet, there is concern about takeaway bottlenecks in Midland, Texas and in Canada, and those could widen the discounts of local grades to the international benchmarks, according to the IEA.

OECD commercial stocks—OPEC’s current measure of the success of its production cut deal—dropped by 26 million barrels in February and were just 30 million barrels above the five-year average at end-February.

“The average could be reached by May, on the assumption of tight balances in 2Q18. Product stocks are already in deficit,” the IEA said.

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

Saudi Officials Worried About Oil’s Future

Saudi Officials Worried About Oil’s Future

Saudi delegation

Saudi government officials like talking to the media about oil. They invariably come across as upbeat, confident that the OPEC deal will achieve its goal of shrinking the global oversupply, and equally confident that U.S. shale will not seriously eat away at their oil revenues, however fast it grows.

The general message seems to be: We can handle everything. Behind the scenes, however, things look differently, Time reports, citing former and current U.S. government officials with experience in the Kingdom.

Following an interview with Crown Prince Mohammed, in which he anticipated a bright future for crude oil thanks to new strong demand, Time talked to several U.S. officials who shared their concern about how realistic this view of the industry actually is.

In fact, these officials believe Saudi Arabia is still overdependent on crude oil, and this could spell trouble for the barely contained powder keg that is the Middle East—a ripple in crude oil would likely set the region all ablaze. What’s more, they say, Saudi Arabia is still unable to make ends meet, even at the current higher oil prices. If prices fall and its deficit deepens further, the Kingdom would be hard pressed for an urgent change in its heavily subsidized economic model. There is even a danger of the economy crashing, one U.S. official said, and should this happen, chaos will ensue.

It is possible that Saudi officials are downplaying some very real threats to all the ambitious economic reform plans initiated by Mohammed bin Salman. However, it seems difficult to gauge the importance of these threats when Saudi sources are often at opposing ends of the opinion spectrum. Some, U.S. officials say, are adamant that everything around the reforms is proceeding smoothly. Others are equally adamant that the Kingdom is running on fumes that will soon evaporate.

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

OPEC Scrambles To Justify Output Cuts

OPEC Scrambles To Justify Output Cuts

Oil tanker

Oil inventories are approaching the five-year average level in OECD countries, the all-important threshold for “re-balancing” the oil market.

A year and a half on from OPEC’s original deal to limit output, the surplus oil stashed in storage tanks around the world are nearly back to average levels. However, by all indications, OPEC is not ready to ease up on the production caps, with top officials signaling a desire to keep the cuts in place into 2019.

But that might require changing of the definition of a “balanced” oil market. OPEC has consistently held up OECD inventories as the metric upon which it was basing its calculations. The goal was to drain inventories back down to the five-year average. With OECD inventories about 44 million barrels above that threshold in February – down from a roughly 300-million-barrel surplus at the start of 2017 – the goal will likely be achieved at some point this year, perhaps in the second or third quarter.

For a variety of reasons, reaching this milestone is not satisfactory for OPEC. For one, the measurement is clouded by the fact that it’s a running calculation, meaning that the past five-years is now made up of more than three years of bloated inventories. In other words, the current five-year average is significantly higher than the five-year average in early 2014 when inventories were not suffering from a supply glut.

The flip side of that argument is that the oil market is way bigger than it was in 2014. Both supply and demand are higher, meaning that the global market probably needs a much higher level of oil sitting in storage. As such, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing that inventories are above the five-year average.

Another reason why OPEC is suddenly not satisfied with OECD inventories as the sole metric around which it bases its decisions is that OECD inventories do not capture the entire global oil market. What is happening in the non-OECD, where at this point, much of global demand growth is occurring? A more comprehensive measurement that included non-OECD inventory data would paint a more accurate picture of the global oil market. However, the problem with this is that non-OECD data is notoriously opaque, which is exactly why OECD inventories is a widely-cited data point.

…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.

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

 

U.S. Shale’s Dirty Secret

U.S. Shale’s Dirty Secret

Permian

U.S. shale is surging, threatening to take even more market share away from OPEC. But the prospect of U.S. oil edging out barrels from the Middle East is not nearly as simple as it might seem.

Oil coming from the major shale plays in the U.S. is light and sweet, while a lot of oil coming from OPEC is medium or heavy, and often sour. A lot of refining capacity along the U.S. Gulf Coast, built up over years and decades, is equipped to handle heavier forms of oil. Before the shale revolution, refiners made their investments in downstream assets assuming the oil they would be using would come from places like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

Lighter shale oil is perfectly fine for making gasoline, but not the best for making diesel and jet fuel. Medium and heavy oil is needed for that.

But refiners have a tidal wave of light sweet oil on their hands, perhaps too much. The U.S. refining industry could max out its ability to swallow up light sweet oil from the shale patch, as the FT reports, particularly as U.S. shale drillers are expected to add upwards of 4 million barrels per day (mb/d) over the next five years.

Meanwhile, heavy crude production has waned as of late, with sharp declines in output in Venezuela and Mexico in the past few years. Shipments from Canada face a bottleneck because of fixed pipeline capacity. The result has been a somewhat tighter market for heavy oil, which refiners want to process into jet fuel and diesel.

In the years ahead, demand for gasoline could start to slow down as vehicles become more efficient and EVs start to gain more market share. Meanwhile, diesel demand has grown much faster, and will likely jump in 2020 as new regulations on dirty fuels from the International Maritime Organization take effect. That could force the shipping industry to switch from residual fuels to diesel, perhaps adding as much as 2 mb/d of demand for diesel, the FT reports.

In other words, volumes of lighter oil suited for gasoline production are soaring while production of medium and heavy oil used for diesel is flatter, even as diesel demand is poised to grow quickly. And refining capacity capable of handling light oil might not be up to the task.

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

OPEC February Production Data

OPEC February Production Data

The March OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report is out with the February production data. All data is through February 2o18 and is in thousand barrels per day,

C

OPEC crude only production was down 77,000 barrels per day in February but that was after January production had been revised downward 40,000 barrels per day.

It seems most OPEC countries want to say they are producing less than what “secondary sources” say they are producing. Either they are correct or they are cheating on their quota.

Not much happening in Algeria. They just continue their slow decline.

Angola seems to be holding steady.

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

OPEC Deal In Jeopardy As Iran And Saudi Arabia Square Off

OPEC Deal In Jeopardy As Iran And Saudi Arabia Square Off

OPEC

Iran and Saudi Arabia are at odds over what to do next with the OPEC agreement, a conflict that could sow the seeds of the agreement’s demise over the course of the next year.

As the WSJ notes, the dispute centers around exactly what price the cartel should be targeting. Iran’s oil minister has said that the group should not push prices too high because it would likely spark an even greater production response from shale drillers. “If the price jumps [to] around $70…it will motivate more production in shale oil in the United States,” Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh told the WSJ. Zanganeh has suggested $60 is about the right price for now.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, which has much higher budgetary requirements and a desperate need to lift oil prices in order to bolster the valuation of the Saudi Aramco IPO, is unofficially aiming for $70 per barrel. Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih has repeatedly dismissed concerns about a shale wave.

Instead, the Saudis are hoping to keep the limits in place regardless of what U.S. shale does, at least for the next year or so. In the meantime, Saudi Arabia is trying to stitch together a more permanent framework with Russia for 2019 and beyond.

With the oil market dipping recently because of surging shale production, inventories are expected to build through mid-2018. That has Brent prices back down at about $65 per barrel, a price that is probably a little too low for the Aramco IPO. As such, Saudi officials have reportedly concluded that the IPO will be pushed off until 2019, after initially preparing a late-2018 offering.

Something like $70 per barrel would be more preferable. But at that price level, the risk is that U.S. gushes oil at even more impressive rates. According to Rystad Energy, U.S. shale would add an additional 600,000 bpd of oil if prices jumped from $60 to $70.

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

Old Fields Die Hard

Old Fields Die Hard

Oil is setting up for a turbulent year.

In an industry that is always full of contradictions, 2018 has been a particularly complicated and divisive year for the global oil markets–and it looks like it won’t be letting up any time soon.

For months, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has been pushing for a dramatic decrease in production in the interest of bolstering prices at the pump. They’ve even managed to get major OPEC outsiders like Russia and the oil cartel to agree to production cuts. While the original deal is due to expire at the end of March, 2018, OPEC has just extended the production caps to the end of the year in an attempt to counterbalance the global glut of crude oil.

However, despite OPEC’s best efforts, some countries are not stemming the flow of crude, and some are even ramping up production and even opening new major oil fields. Nigeria, for example, is talking out of both sides of its mouth, promising compliance with OPEC in the same year that it has pushed its output to the highest level in more than two years and is set to start up production in a new large-scale oil field by the end of the year, their first in half a decade.

Now, another major issue has arisen. British Petroleum (BP), which has long expected their mature oil fields to naturally plateau and then decrease in production, has now announced that their legacy fields are increasing output, to the great surprise of experts in the field and BP executives alike. An astonished Bob Dudley, BP’s chief executive officer, told an interviewer at the CERAWeek by IHS Markit energy conference in Houston that he, “cannot remember ever in my career having seen a negative decline rate.”

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

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…

OPEC Exports To The U.S. Continue To Decline

OPEC Exports To The U.S. Continue To Decline

OPEC

In the latter half of last year, we highlighted how Saudi deliveries to Motiva’s Port Arthur refinery had been surpassed by Iraqi barrels for the first time on our records. While this trend has now reversed, when it comes to total OPEC flows, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

As our ClipperData illustrate below, Iraqi flows outpaced Saudi deliveries last September into Motiva’s Port Arthur refinery, the largest in the United States. This was, however, more a function of lower Saudi flows to the refinery, which dropped under 33,000 bpd after averaging close to 200,000 bpd through the first eight months of the year.

Iraqi flows into Motiva rose through the first half of the year, but have since come off, with a complete absence in the first two months of 2018. Despite lower total Saudi imports to the U.S., normal service was resumed to Port Arthur to close out 2017, and Saudi barrels ended up accounting for around 70 percent of total deliveries to the refinery last year – in keeping with the level seen in recent years.

(Click to enlarge)

As Saudi has dialed back on its flows to the U.S., we have seen a change in imports to a couple of key destinations. After sending an average of 140,000 bpd to Marathon’s Garyville refinery in the first seven months of last year, deliveries have dried up completely since.

On the flip side, after averaging 95,000 bpd through the first seven months of last year, Iraqi arrivals at the refinery have increased to 150,000 bpd in the last six months, after neither Iraqi nor Saudi crude was discharged at the refinery in August.

As Iraqi deliveries to Motiva have dropped off amid higher Saudi flows, Iraqi barrels have ramped up into Garyville instead.

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

Shale Pioneer Issues Warning To US Drillers

Shale Pioneer Issues Warning To US Drillers

Mark Papa EOG

U.S. shale has effectively upended the oil industry, with predictions that total U.S. oil production will surpass Saudi Arabia’s output this year, in turn rivalling Russia’s to become the preeminent global producer. From its position of being dependent on, and subordinate to OPEC, the U.S. has seemingly become the big bad wolf. Through a catalogue of tactical errors and misplaced belief in its own muscle, the mighty brick edifice of OPEC has begun to look more like a bundle of sticks.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts that the U.S. will become a net energy exporter by the late 2020s, but how accurate is that forecast, and to what extent is it mere hyperbole? In October last year there were already caveats about the nature of U.S. shale, with some warning that aggressive expansion was leading to rapid initial growth that would ultimately peak too soon. Mark Papa, former head of EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG) raised the question of flatlining output in the face of the doubling of the oil rig count, “(h)ow can a rig count be double and yet production be stagnant?”

Figures have also been influenced by the rapid pace of technological development, a pace which has itself plateaued. Robert Clarke, WoodMac research director for Lower 48 upstream, said that “(i)f future wells … are not offset by continued technology evolution, the Permian may peak in 2021”. IEA forecasts then, may be based on rapid growth and technological development that simply isn’t sustainable.

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

OPEC Looks To Dial Back Production Cuts

OPEC Looks To Dial Back Production Cuts

OPEC

Last week’s surprise drawdown in crude inventories may be the last for a while, as analysts are expecting a reversal in stocks this week.

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

– China became the second largest LNG importer in 2017, surpassing South Korea.

– China’s LNG imports of 5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) was second only to Japan’s 11 Bcf/d.

– The surge in LNG imports is helping China fuel its rapid switchover from coal to gas. China has run into gas shortages amid its aggressive push to clean up air pollution by shutting down coal.

Market Movers

Sanchez Energy (NYSE: SN) saw its stock jump more than 3 percent after it announced it would pay dividends on series A and B convertible perpetual preferred shares in cash rather than stock.

• The share price of Carrizo Oil & Gas (NASDAQ: CRZO) fell by more than 6 percent after hours after reporting that its 2018 production could dip 10 percent, while also predicting that oilfield services costs would see a “double-digit increase” this year.

Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) and Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHGE) were upgraded by Bank of America to a Buy rating, while Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) was downgraded to Neutral.

Oil prices gained a bit over the past few trading days, after a surprise drawdown in crude stocks last week. But analysts see that to be a one-off, with expectations that inventories will resume climbing this week.

IEA: U.S. to become world’s largest oil producer by next year. The IEA’s executive director said that the U.S. will surpass Russia to become the world’s largest oil producer “definitely next year,” if not in 2018. “U.S. shale growth is very strong, the pace is very strong … The United States will become the No.1 oil producer sometime very soon,” Fatih Birol told Reuters.

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

India Will Lead Global Oil Demand By 2035

India Will Lead Global Oil Demand By 2035

Offshore rig

Oil market participants and analysts have been closely watching the record level of supply coming out of the United States that is threatening to undo OPEC’s production cuts. But in the latter part of 2017 and early in 2018, robust oil demand growth — both in emerging markets and OECD economies — has supported oil prices as much as the cartel’s production restraint and the weakening U.S. dollar.

Traditionally, all eyes have been fixated on China and the pace of its oil demand and imports growth, but lately India has grabbed global attention after its oil imports rose to record highs amid strong economic growth and fuel demand. Projections of India’s long-term energy and oil consumption are also optimistic, and India is already a major oil demand growth driver.

In China, January crude oil imports jumped to a new record of 9.57 million bpd, but forecasts of slower GDP growth are making analysts wary of overly optimistic projections. China’s crude oil demand growth could slow down this year to 4.2 percent from 5.5 percent last year, according to S&P Platts analysts.

In India, high refinery runs and expanding refining capacity amid a strong recovery in demand pushed crude oil imports to a record 4.93 million bpd in January 2018, up by double digits compared to both December 2017 and January 2017, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters Oil Research & Forecasts.

Although the January imports figure may have a seasonal explanation, with spring refinery maintenance approaching, longer-term projections and Indian refinery expansion plans support the view that oil demand growth will be strong. India plans to boost its crude oil refining capacity by 77 percent by 2030 to meet its growing fuel demand.

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

By 2020 it may be clear to everyone that oil decline has begun

By 2020 it may be clear to everyone that oil decline has begun

Preface. There are two parts to Dittmar’s study. The first one concerns production, based on the most recent years of oil production.  Dittmar found a strong pattern of oil decline after the plateau of 3% a year for five years, followed by a decline of 6% a year thereafter.

The assumption that OPEC nations (i.e. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, UAE, and Qatar) can continue producing oil at the current rate is based on potentially exaggerated reserve figures, which went up substantially in 1985 and haven’t budged a barrel down since then.  But for OPEC, and all other regions and nations, Dittmar predicts the maximum possible production based on his model, and says that perhaps the Middle Eastern OPEC nations can continue to produce as much oil as they are now until 2050.

In my opinion, he overestimates the amount of North American tight shale oil and tar sands oil that can be produced given their low EROI’s and high energy/monetary cost, but since all his figures are the best possible, he assigns 4.5 million barrels per day (mbd) production for USA tight oil through 2030 and 3 mbd for Canadian tight oil plus oil sands.

Of course, no matter how accurate the model is, Dittmar points out that it won’t matter if a civil war, terrorism or natural disasters in any oil-producing or refining region occur, which would quickly reduce exports. Plus competition for the remaining oil might increase conflicts the current world’s major powers with catastrophic consequences. The model only applies to a stable world for the next 30 years.

Here are the nations already declining at 6%: the EU and Norway, Azerbaijan (2017), Asian nations Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam (2016), Algeria (2015), and Mexico (2014). All other oil-producing nations will join the 6% club by 2031 except OPEC.  Many are already in their 3% decline state, which starts 5 years earlier.

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

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