Iran Sanctions And OPEC's Deliberations Have Failed To Lift Oil Prices

OPEC+ members met over the weekend to discuss the oil market and the possible actions they may take at the next OPEC meetings scheduled for June 25th and 26th. OPEC’s press release reported:

Following its 14th Meeting, which took place on 19 May 2019, in Jeddah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) has reaffirmed its commitment to achieving a balanced market and working towards oil market stability on a sustainable basis with solid fundamentals.”

After the meeting, ministers spoke with reporters. According to reporting by CNBC:

Saudi Arabia’s influential oil minister, Khalid al-Falih, warned that global crude stockpiles are rising, threatening to swamp the world in oil and cause prices to collapse. Overall, the market is in a delicate situation. On the one hand, there is a lot of concern — and we acknowledge it — about disruptions and sanctions and supply interruptions. But on the other hand, we see inventories rising. We see plentiful supply around the world, which means we think, all in all, we should be in a comfortable situation in the weeks and months to come.” Continue reading "Iran Sanctions And OPEC's Deliberations Have Failed To Lift Oil Prices"

Round 2: Trump Vs. OPEC

With oil prices having staged a recovery during the first quarter of 2019, primarily due to the withholding of oil supplies from Saudi Arabia, President Trump has once again entered the oil market as a threat. Not since OPEC’s founding in 1960 has an American president been as vocal or involved as Trump.

Trump’s intervention in “Round 1,” summarized below, shocked the market, causing a massive price collapse. However, with close scrutiny of the president’s views, both before taking office and over the past year, the market should not have been so surprised.

Saudi Arabia is in a delicate position. On the one hand, it needs oil prices in the $80s to support it's country’s budget, even if lifting costs are $10 or less. It also knows that a “high price” is not the best price longer-term, due to cutbacks in demand and the increasing availability of substitutes, such as U.S. shale.

But possibly most importantly, it depends on the U.S. for its security. And looking forward, it wants U.S. investment to help diversify its economy as the oil age wanes.

Simply put, it cannot afford to ignore this U.S. president, whose first international trip was to KSA. There is an important political and economic link to the U.S. that it did not have even one president ago (Obama). And its arch-nemesis, Iran, at the same time is being severely harassed by President Trump. Continue reading "Round 2: Trump Vs. OPEC"

World Oil Supply, Demand And Price Outlook, November 2018

The Energy Information Administration released its Short-Term Energy Outlook for November, and it shows that OECD oil inventories likely bottomed in June at 2.807 billion barrels. It estimated a large 20 million barrel gain for October. Though it forecasts that stocks will drop in December to 2.867 billion, that is 50 million barrels higher than in the October outlook.

Throughout 2019, OECD inventories are generally expected to rise, reaching 3.0 billion barrels in August. It projects ending the year with 138 million barrels more than at the end of 2018 in glut territory.

OECD Oil Inventories

The moment of truth has come, and it appears that the sanctions will cut less of Iran’s production and exports than has been added by OPEC+ producers and the U.S. That is why oil prices have been dropping for eight straight sessions.

Oil Price Implications

I performed a simple linear regression between OECD oil inventories and WTI crude oil prices for the period 2008 through 2017. As expected, there are periods where the price deviates greatly from the regression model. But overall, the model provides a reasonably high r-square result of 79 percent. Continue reading "World Oil Supply, Demand And Price Outlook, November 2018"

U.S. Crude Production Soars In August

The Energy Information Administration reported that August crude oil production averaged 11.346 million barrels per day (mmbd), up 416,000 b/d from July. The surge was led by a 126,000 b/d increase in Texas and a 74,000 b/d rise in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, the increases were broadly based, implying a lagged-response to rising oil prices this year has created enough incentive to ignite production. The large rise in Texas was also unexpected due to reported pipeline constraints.

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production
Continue reading "U.S. Crude Production Soars In August"

World Oil Supply, Demand And Price Outlook, October 2018

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its Short-Term Energy Outlook for October, and it shows that OECD oil inventories likely bottomed in July at 2.806 billion barrels. It shows inventories rising in the third quarter, contrary to the normal seasonal trend. However, it forecasts that stocks will drop in December to 2.817 billion after the Iranian sanctions are expected to go into effect.

Throughout 2019, OECD inventories are generally expected to rise, ending the year with 98 million barrels more than at the end of 2018. The expected drop in Iranian production, due to the U.S. sanctions, is forecast to be more-than-offset by increases from other producers, such as the U.S., Canada and the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE.

oil inventories

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has recently stated that KSA can produce at least 12 million barrels per day. If it does increase output to that level, this would be a major “surprise” to world markets since its production has never exceeded 11 million. Continue reading "World Oil Supply, Demand And Price Outlook, October 2018"