Andy Hall has forsaken his bull oil market position. In an investment letter dated July 3rd, he wrote, “Whereas it once seemed positions could be held with an eye to a longer-term secular appreciation, that is no longer the case…. In short, OPEC, the market and oil bulls have run out of runway.”
Source: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg
Mr. Hall explained his reasoning this way:
“Hitherto, it had been our view that oil would trend higher as prices would need to rise to a level that would justify investment in more costly sources of supply than just the core areas of US shale. However, not only has the core shale oil resource grown significantly — above all in the prolific Permian Basin — but break-evens have dropped because of secular productivity gains outpacing cyclical cost increases, at least for now…. If the marginal cost of oil for the next 3 or 4 years is headed to the mid-$40 range, then OPEC’s attempts to push prices to $60 seem futile.” Continue reading ""OPEC, The Market and Oil Bulls Have Run Out of Runway" - Andy Hall"
When OPEC announced its agreement 30 November 2016, it pledged to bring its collective ceiling to 32.5 million barrels per day (mmbd), effective 1st of January 2017. At the time, that ceiling included Indonesia, which was in the process of withdrawing from the cartel. The adjusted ceiling, therefore, became about 31.76 mmbd, excluding Indonesia’s 740,000 b/d output.
The deal was extended at the end of May for an additional nine months through March 2018. At the press conference, OPEC president and Saudi energy minister, Khalid Al-Falih, answered a question about the rising production in Libya and Nigeria. He responded by saying that other OPEC members would adjust their output accordingly to allow, for their increases.
But data throughout 2017, and most recently June, reveal no such adjustments have been made. According to Reuters, June production averaged 32.57 mmbd, about 820,000 b/d above its ceiling, as adjusted.
And Libyan production has continued to rise, topping 1.0 mmbd at month’s end. Nigerian exports are scheduled to reach at least two mmbd in August, 500,000 b/d higher than in the cartel’s base month (October 2016).
OPEC’s output in October was around 33.7 mmbd (including Indonesia). And so June’s production of 33.3 mmbd (including Indonesia) is only about 400,000 b/d lower.
Based on the above expectations for rising output in August, the OPEC deal is effectively dead. OPEC production will be back to about where it was in October. Continue reading "OPEC Deals Have Effectively Collapsed"
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. 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?"
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.
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 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"