OPEC Appeases Russia To Stick With Deals

Robert Boslego - INO.com Contributor - Energies


The 173rd OPEC Meeting and 3rd non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting concluded with an agreement to extend the production cuts all the way through 2018. Saudi minister Khalid Al-Falih also implied that production in 2018 by Nigeria and Libya would not increase, based on information from those countries. In 2017, large increases by the pair undermined cuts made by others.

The official OPEC press release included two caveats, though not unusual but were obviously a concession to Russia, that the deals could be modified, depending on market conditions:

"In view of the uncertainties associated mainly with supply and, to some extent, demand growth it is intended that in June 2018, the opportunity of further adjustment actions will be considered based on prevailing market conditions and the progress achieved towards re-balancing of the oil market at that time."

"To support the extension of the mandate of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) composed of Algeria, Kuwait, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and two participating non-OPEC countries of the Russian Federation and Oman, chaired by Saudi Arabia, co-chaired by the Russian Federation, and assisted by the Joint Technical Committee at the OPEC Secretariat, to closely review the status of and conformity with the Declaration of Cooperation and report to the OPEC – non OPEC Conference."

Saudi minister Khalid Al-Falih

Initially, at the meeting a year ago, the oil ministers predicted that the glut would disappear within six months. Then at the May meeting, the Saudi minister predicted that the extension would "do the trick" of draining the glut "within six months."
Continue reading "OPEC Appeases Russia To Stick With Deals"

What Oil Price Band Do The Saudis Want?

Robert Boslego - INO.com Contributor - Energies


Back in December, I deduced that the Saudis had budgeted a little less than $53 for oil in 2017. Their budget was based on their belief that they didn't expect to see any U.S. shale oil production response in 2017. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid A. Al-Falih said it in answer to a question in the press conference after the OPEC/non-OPEC meeting (see video starting at 51:35). He backed-up his belief basing it on the time lag of when oil prices had peaked in 2014 and when production peaked in 2015.

After the deals went into effect on January 1st, oil prices remained above $50 per barrel. According to the EIA’s weekly production data, U.S. crude production rose by 318,000 b/d between the last week of December and the week ending March 3rd, just before Al-Fahil’s speech in Houston during on March 7th.

U.S. Crude Production

He said he is optimistic about the global oil market in the weeks and months ahead, but "I caution that my optimism should not tip investors into 'irrational exuberance' or wishful thinking that OPEC or the Kingdom will underwrite the investments of others at our own expense." Continue reading "What Oil Price Band Do The Saudis Want?"

Where Will OPEC's Cuts Affect Imports, Inventories?

Robert Boslego - INO.com Contributor - Energies


OPEC agreed to cut oil production by 1.164 million barrels per day beginning in January. Non-OPEC producers agreed to cut production around 560,000 b/d. The agreements were silent on exports.

Thus far, U.S. crude oil imports have been rising, despite the OPEC-non-OPEC cuts. In the year-to-date, net crude imports averaged 7.583 million barrels per day, up 2.7% v. the same period last year.

U.S. Net Crude Imports

U.S. crude imports from OPEC, in total, and Saudi Arabia, in particular, remain at high levels seven weeks into the cut. Crude imports from OPEC countries averaged 3.248 mmbd over the past 4 weeks, 14% higher than the same weeks last year. Continue reading "Where Will OPEC's Cuts Affect Imports, Inventories?"

Why U.S. Crude Imports Might Not Drop Despite OPEC's Cuts

Robert Boslego - INO.com Contributor - Energies


U.S. oil inventories have increased by 20 million barrels since OPEC’s cut went into effect. Preliminary estimates of imports from OPEC members reveal an increase in the four-week trend of 77,000 b/d thus far in January from end-December. The largest increase, 148,000 b/d, was from Saudi Arabia.

U.S. Crude and Petroleum Product Stocks

I also observed that Saudi Arabia and Russia have masqueraded seasonal declines as their cuts. The Saudi cut of 486,000 b/d is a typical decline from production in the summer, when its domestic demand peaks. This year, instead of reducing its production after the summer, as it normally does, it waited until the OPEC meeting. (The graph below shows the seasonal decline in production from summer peak to the autumn in each year.) Continue reading "Why U.S. Crude Imports Might Not Drop Despite OPEC's Cuts"

OPEC's Claim To Eliminate The Oil Glut By June Unsupported By Data

Robert Boslego - INO.com Contributor - Energies


OPEC reported in its January Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) that OECD commercial stocks fell to 2.993 billion barrels, around 271 million barrels above the latest five-year average. Saudi Arabia's energy minister, Khalid Al-Falih, stated last week that production cuts by OPEC and non-OPEC countries may reduce global oil inventories to the five-year average by June thereby rendering a continuation of the cuts unnecessary.

But three closely-watched sources of energy data do not support such a drop in global oil inventories. The Energy Information Administration (EIA), the International Energy Agency (IEA) and OPEC itself published their monthly reports in January, attempting to include impacts of the production cuts. Two of the sources, EIA and OPEC, provide data that show (or imply) stock builds over the first half, and the IEA data show a drawdown but not of the magnitude suggested by Mr. Al-Fahil. Continue reading "OPEC's Claim To Eliminate The Oil Glut By June Unsupported By Data"