Updated 2018 Crude Oil Outlook

Robert Boslego - INO.com Contributor - Energies - Crude Oil Outlook

Analysis prepared on March 19, 2018

The relative rate of growth in supply v. demand will ultimately determine stock levels and prices. And the three key predicting agencies, the International Energy Agency (IEA), Energy Information Administration (EIA), and OPEC have different views on what is likely to unfold.

OPEC does not often predict is own production, but in December it forecast it would average 33.2 million barrels per day (mmbd) during 2018. That would far exceed its projected “call on OPEC oil,” which is world demand minus non-OPEC production. For 2018 as a whole, it predicts that figure will be 33.1 mmbd.

That demand for OPEC oil is based on a gain in demand of 1.52 mmbd and a rise in no-OPEC production of 1.15 mmbd. In my view demand is likely to be a bit stronger due to world economic growth. However, the non-OPEC supply number is much too low, given the recent rise in U.S. production of 886,000 b/d from August through November. (December production was down a bit for seasonal reasons.) Furthermore, U.S. production has yet to respond to $60/b. The rise in output last autumn was a response to $50/b.

The EIA has the most aggressive non-OPEC production estimate of a gain of 2.5 mmbd, with 2.0 occurring in the U.S. alone, and the balance in Canada and Brazil. The EIA forecast is based on a gain in crude production of 1.5 mmbd and a rise in other liquids of 500,000 b/d. WTI did not exceed $60 in any month since 2015 until January 2018. And the year-over-year gain in March 2018 is estimated to be 1.29 mmbd. And so the industry’s response to $60/b could very well enable the 1.5 mmbd gain. Continue reading "Updated 2018 Crude Oil Outlook"

2018: Supply/Demand Trends Can Make Or Break Oil Prices

Robert Boslego - INO.com Contributor - Energies- Crude Oil Price

The crude oil price started the year off strong, as January posted the highest OPEC Reference Basket price ($66.85) since November 2014, the month in which the Saudis decided to wage an oil price war with American shale oil. But the market gave up its 2018 gain during the first week of January, as the Energy Information Administration (EIA) incorporated the huge November production surge into its short-term outlook and weekly time series data. To top it all off, Baker-Hughes reported the most significant one-week gain in its oil-directed drilling rig count.

Whether the market shifts back to bullish sentiment, or whether the bearish sentiment takes control this year, depends mainly on several key assumptions. The central hypothesis is how fast shale oil production will grow this year, and the second is what OPEC production will be, given the on-going risk to Venezuelan output. Based on U.S. production from August through November, the recent lagged response in drilling rigs, and the high prices experienced October through January; I expect that U.S. production will rise faster than either the DOE or OPEC assume in their forecasts.

EIA’s February Outlook

The EIA released its outlook, revising its U.S. crude production estimates much higher. For the year, it now expects crude production to average 10.59 million barrels per day (mmbd) in 2018, and to exit the year at 11.13 mmbd.

The EIA’s estimate of production for February is 10.260 mmbd. That figure is 1.07 mmbd higher than August. If anything, EIA’s 2018 prediction seems low. Continue reading "2018: Supply/Demand Trends Can Make Or Break Oil Prices"

U.S. Crude Oil Production Surged in November

Robert Boslego - INO.com Contributor - Energies

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that November U.S. crude oil production averaged 10.038 million barrels per day (mmbd) in November, up 384,000 b/d from October. The monthly product number was just shy of the 10.044 mmbd record set in November 1970. This gain was on top of a 17,000 b/d upward revision for October, making the total rise 401,000 b/d. By comparison, the Saudi production cut was about 460,000 b/d.

About 200,000 b/d of the increase was expected since Hurricane Nate had disrupted production in October by about amount. But about 175,000 b/d of the rise was new production. The bulk of the increase was in Texas, accounting for 114,000 b/d. Production in the mid-west was up 23,000 b/d. Gains were wide-spread among numerous states.

Production has surged by 846,000 b/d from September through November. This increase is far more significant than the one reported by the EIA in its weekly numbers or forecast by the EIA in its monthly STEO. The interpolated weekly figures for November imply a monthly average of 9.667 mmbd, 371,000 b/d lower. And the latest weekly average reported by the EIA was 9.199 mmbd. Clearly, the EIA will need to upwardly revise its weekly model soon, probably in next week’s report.

U.S. Crude Oil Production
Continue reading "U.S. Crude Oil Production Surged in November"

U.S. Production And Oil Inventories Expected to Rise in 1Q18

Robert Boslego - INO.com Contributor - Energies

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. petroleum inventories (excluding SPR) fell by 14.2 million barrels in the week ending December 15, 2017. They stand about 2 million barrels (mmb) higher than the rising, rolling 5-year average and are about 96 mmb lower than a year ago.

Total U.S. Oil Stocks

Commercial crude stocks fell by 6.5 mmb, and SPR stocks were built by 0.4 mmb last week. Gasoline stocks rose by 1.2 mmb, and distillate stocks gained 0.8 mmb. Primary demand rose by 640,000 b/d to average 19.948 million barrels per day (mmbd).

Crude Production

The EIA estimated (using its model, click here for presentation) that U.S. crude production rose by 9,000 barrels per day to 9.789 mmbd, the highest week in EIA’s database. Production averaged 9.740 mmbd over the past four weeks, up 11.4% v. a year ago. In the year-to-date, crude production averaged 9.313 mmbd, up 6.3% v. last year. Continue reading "U.S. Production And Oil Inventories Expected to Rise in 1Q18"

Why Oil Prices May Have Peaked

Robert Boslego - INO.com Contributor - Energies

Why Oil Prices May Have Peaked

Crude oil futures peaked about a week before the OPEC meeting just below $59/bbl. Prices had been in an uptrend since October 6th, just before Hurricane Nate disrupted production in the Gulf of Mexico. There had also been indications by the White House that President Trump would soon deliver a speech explaining why he would not certify Iran’s compliance with the terms of the nuclear sanctions agreement. As a result, oil prices first rose as a result of the hurricane, followed by a risk premium due to the stand-off with Iran and expected extension for of the OPEC/non-OPEC deals through 2018.

NYMEX Crude Oil Prices

Given the OPEC announcement on November 30th, which means that the deals are baked-into crude futures for 2018, the question is, where should prices go? Based on the factors below, I expect prices to trade lower. Continue reading "Why Oil Prices May Have Peaked"