Oil Market Waiting For A Catalyst

Robert Boslego - INO.com Contributor - Energies

On November 15th, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said, “We need to recognize that by the end of March we’re not going to be at the level we want to be which is the five-year average, that means an extension of some sort.”

He went on to say that Saudi Arabia favors making an extension decision at the OPEC meeting at the end of this month. “My preference is to give clarity to the market and announce on November 30 what we’re going to do.”

At the conclusion of the last OPEC meeting in May, the Saudi minister had stated that the current production quotas will “do the trick” of rebalancing stocks to normal levels within six months. Earlier this month, the DOE projected that global OECD stocks at end-2017 would be right where they were at end-2016. And it projected that 2018 inventories will be higher, not lower.

Russia’s continued participation seems to be a linchpin, and the Russian energy minister, Alexander Novak, reportedly met with Russian oil producers about their view of extending the production deal. According to TASS, everyone but Gazprom Neft agreed to a six-month extension, not the nine-month extension favored by Mr. Al-Falih. Gazprom Neft expects to launch new projects in 2018. Continue reading "Oil Market Waiting For A Catalyst"

OPEC's Algiers Meeting

Robert Boslego - INO.com Contributor - Energies

If you are having trouble keeping up with all of the rhetoric in the oil market over the past two months, you are not alone. That’s the oil producers’ basic idea, create as much uncertainty as possible in a bid to scare traders from shorting oil, thereby preventing oil prices from cratering.

Lead-Up to Algiers

Oil prices bottomed in mid-February, following the slide that had begun in June 2014. The trigger was a meeting between energy ministers from Saudi Arabia and Russia, along with a couple of smaller OPEC Gulf producers. They could not agree to a production cut, so they came up with a “freeze” proposal, whereby producers would agree not to increase production further.

Although this would not take one barrel of production out of the market, it was enough to spook traders who had large short positions to cover (buy). Random statements by producers created price spikes, and the resulting “headline risk” cause short sellers to progressively cover more and more positions. The effect was a sizable price rise. Continue reading "OPEC's Algiers Meeting"