Category Archives: OPEC

On Saudi Pledge Oil Climbs To 17-Month High

Bloomberg: Non-OPEC Producers Join Deal to Cut Production

Introduction:  Largest oil producers strengthen commitment to tighten supply, Non-OPEC countries agree to trim output 558,000 barrel per day next year.

Oil advanced to the highest since July 2015 after Saudi Arabia signaled it’s ready to cut output more than earlier agreed and non-OPEC countries including Russia pledged to pump less next year.  WTI closed Monday at $52.83 P/B.

Futures climbed 2.6 percent in New York and 2.5 percent in London. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said Saturday the biggest crude exporter will “cut substantially to be below” the target agreed on last month with members of OPEC. His comments followed a deal by 11 non-OPEC countries to join forces with the group and trim output by 558,000 barrels a day next year, the first pact between the rivals in 15 years.

U.S. oil futures have gained almost 20 percent since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed on Nov. 30 to cut output for the first time in eight years. Saudi Arabia, which initiated OPEC’s decision in 2014 to pump without limits, is leading efforts to regain control of the market. The OPEC and non-OPEC plan encompasses countries that produce about 60 percent of the world’s crude.

OPEC Collaboration…”The main impact of the non-OPEC collaboration is to pull the global market into balance, if not in deficit, in the second quarter of 2017, rather than in the third quarter,” said Sarah Emerson, managing director of ESAI Energy in Wakefield, Massachusetts. “On an annual average basis, this pushed the global balance into a 200,000 to 300,000 barrel-a-day deficit for the year.”

Oil prices at $60 a barrel would be “ideal” for OPEC as higher levels risk sparking a recovery in competing supplies from the U.S., Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Emmanuel Kachikwu said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

Conclusion…U.S. exporters rushed back to the shale patch with the largest weekly addition of oil rigs since July 2015 according to Baker Hughes.  OPEC deal cous drain almots half of the global oil surplus.

Sources:  Mark Shenk, Oil Climbs to 17-Month High on Saudi Pledge, Non-OPEC Output Cut, Bloomberg, December 11, 2016; Gran Smith, OPEC-Russia Deal Could Drain Almost Half the Global Oil Surplus, Bloomberg December 12, 2016; Non-OPEC oil producer to cut output 558,000 barrels a day, CNBC, December 10, 2016

New Shale Boom On Horizon?

w-texas-oil-boom Oil Shale Boom?

OPEC surprised the markets when for the first time in eight years’ oil production limits will be put in place at its November meeting. The September 29th announcement from OPEC sent markets up by almost $3 per barrel.   The rally continued with the WTI week closing at $48.24.

Hundreds of oil and gas bankruptcies are an ugly background for recent predictions for continued records inventory levels.

The projected changes would be caused by an unprecedented agreement between arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

In its announcement, OPEC stated:

“In the last two years, the global oil market has witnessed many challenges, originating mainly from the supply side. As a result, prices have more than halved, while volatility has increased. Oil-exporting countries’ and oil companies’ revenues have dramatically declined, putting strains on their fiscal position and hindering their economic growth. The oil industry faced deep cuts in investment and massive layoffs, leading to a potential risk that oil supply may not meet demand in the future, with a detrimental effect on security of supply.”

“The Conference opted for an OPEC-14 production target ranging between 32.5 and 33.0 mb/d, in order to accelerate the ongoing drawdown of the stock overhang and bring the rebalancing forward.”

“What we are looking at here at the very least is a freeze,” Paul Sankey host of the conference call said. “We were looking for more OPEC production growth but now we no longer think so.”

Why did OPEC do it?

“With weaker demand predicted through 2017 they could see a rough market coming,” the analyst theorized. “Being a cartel the economics were overpowering: a 10 percent cut could give as much as a 30 percent rise in oil prices.

In conclusion...If a 30% oil price rise is realized, then oil shale could boom again.

Reference:  September 30, 2016, Will The OPEC Deal Lead To A New Shale Boom? Oil & Gas 360, www.oilandgas360.com

Possible OPEC Production Freeze

OPEC Counries

Oil prices enjoyed a bump last week,…thanks in part to a weakened dollar and some geopolitical tensions in the Persian Gulf. But a large factor in the recent rally has been the return of a possible OPEC production freeze, a subject that was last tossed around before the organization’s much-publicized, and ultimately unproductive, meeting in Doha last April. The likelihood of a freeze sent markets up on Thursday, though some less-than-confident comments from the Saudi oil minister sent them dropping back on Friday.

Whether a freeze occurs or not is likely to be the trending gossip among speculators for the next month, at a time when such talk is exerting greater-than-average pull on the crude price. But a question worth asking is whether a freeze is even possible, given the state of OPEC and the increasingly divergent interests of its fourteen members.

This new attempt at a production freeze comes as Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer and de facto leader, reaches a new production record of 10.67 million barrels, more than 400,000 more than when the last freeze was discussed, while its oil revenues continue to plummet. OPEC profits have fallen 55 percent since 2014, according to the EIA. Ecuador, Kuwait and other Gulf producers want the price to recover past $50 a barrel. If a production freeze is on the cards, it will be discussed in late September during an informal meeting of the OPEC states at the International Energy Forum in Algeria.

Iraq and Iran, OPEC’s number two and three producers, respectively, have offered tacit acceptance of a production freeze, with important caveats. S

Conclusion…So, if there is a freeze, where will production be “frozen,” exactly?  What is possible, however, is that continued talk of a freeze will continue to exert influence over the market, which has see-sawed between bearish and bullish for weeks now.

Reference: Is An Oil Production Freeze Even Remotely Possible, Oil Price, by Gregory Brew, August 29, 2016

Crude Prices Rise On OPEC Statement

Barrels of Oiloil-workers

OPEC Commnets...While the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) no longer wields the same power over global oil markets it had 40 years ago, it can still make some noise when it wants to. And Monday, OPEC wanted to.

The cartel’s new president, Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, who is also Qatar’s oil minister, said in a statement that he expects higher oil demand in the second half of 2016. These words tacked a gain of around 3% onto crude prices.

Al-Sada added that prices have experienced “steady improvement” since February following “a decline in crude oil production, supply outages and a decrease in oil inventories, while global demand for oil improved.” He also added that the recent (current?) decline in prices and higher volatility is “only temporary,” according to the press release:

These are more of an outcome resulting from weaker refinery margins, inventory overhang – particularly of product stocks, timing of Brexit and its impact on the financial futures markets, including that of crude oil.

Since June 1, the price for an OPEC reference basket barrel has dropped from $44.68 to $40.08, more than 10%. The reference basket price rose by nearly $1 as of July 1, but it’s been steadily downhill since then.

In Conclusion...Is OPEC just talking its book, hoping to push up the price? While it wouldn’t be the first time that has happened, it is more probable that the cartel, like the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), really believes that global demand will rise, global inventories of oil and refined products will fall and production will continue to slow down, especially in North America.

The Oil Glut is Over

Oil Glut Is Over

The Oil Glut is Over So says the world’s most powerful oil man.  The newly appointed Saudi Oil Minister Kalid Al-Falih declared the oil glut over at the Saudi Armco facilities in Houston, Texas last week.

Speaking to the Houston Chronicle about the oil crisis the and the supply glut, Al-Falih said, “We are out of it,” and noted that we would continue to see gradual upward movement in the price of oil.

The oversupply has disappeared. We just have to carry the overhang of inventory for a while until the system works it out,” the oil minister was quoted as saying.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) last week reported a 900,000 barrel draw on U.S. crude inventories, but that still leaves a 530.6-million-barrel stockpile that will take some time to chip away at, according to the Saudi oil minister.

“The question now is how fast you will work off the global inventory overhang. That will remain to put a cap on the rate at which oil prices recover. We just have to wait for the second half of the year and next year to see how that works out,” the Minister told the Houston Chronicle.

Al-Falih also noted on the Saudi Aramco website that due to the Saudi kingdom’s “strategic importance” it will “be expected to balance supply and demand once market conditions recover.”  As reported by Charles Kenedy of Oilprice.com.

In Conclusion…Saudi Arabia was unwilling to reduce oil production when the price colapsed  November 2014.  However, the law of supply and demand has worked to reduce supply and increase demand.  It appears that the Saudi’s impact on oil pricing is on the wane.  Nevertheless, Al-Falih recent comments may give some reason to hope for better days to come in the oil patch.

Shale Oil Shifting Balance Of Power

Crude Oil OutagesBalancing Oil Supply…The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ abiility to balance global supply (and prices) now limited by shale oil production, a former Qatari energy minister said.

OPEC was able to balance the market in the past because because shale oil deposits and other non-OPEC nations output was insignificant, Abdullah bin Hamad told reports at the industry even in Doha.

“OPEC can’t act as swing producer because it will lose market share,” said Al-Attihay former Qatar energy minister.

Crude prices tumbled more than 75% from the 2014 peak due to the global glut in part due to U.S. shale oil production.

Market Forces…“Frankly, I don’t expect anything from the next OPEC meeting because OPEC decided not to play against the market,” IEA former executive.  “Market forces are too strong now, and you can’t play against those forces whey they are strong.”

“Just cut production by 1.5 million barrels a day and the next day the prices goes up and the other oil producers will take the whole share–there is no benefit for OPEC in that,” Al-Attiyah.

Crude Oil Outages Soaring…Escalations in sabotage, tech problems, and natural disasters are impacting world crude oil supply as documented by the EIA in the above diagram for the last 12 months.  This increase in outages most likely are a factor in the recent oil price increases to $50 a barrel.

In Summary…The closer a market looks and acts like an oligopoly (a state of limited competition,) the greater the pricing power those producers have by limiting production.  The good news is the pricing power has shifted away from OPEC to where now the market as a whole is determining pricing.  From a U.S. national security perspective, we are more secure now due to this shifting of market pricing power.

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Source: “Shale Oil Seen Stifling OPEC’s Classic Market-Balancing Act,” Wael Mahdi, Bloomberg, May 256 2016

Oil Price Spike Close?

WTI Crude Pricing

We are beginning to see the first real signs of the global oil markets moving rapidly back into balance. OPEC, which produces approximately 40 percent of the world’s oil supply, cannot meet future oil demand on their own.

Supporting data follows that supports the analysis that oil price spike may be close:

  • On May 11th the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that U.S. crude oil production declined by 206,000 barrels per day over the six weeks ending May 5, 2016.
  • U.S. crude oil inventories unexpectedly fell by 3.41 million barrels during the week ending May 6, 2016
  • Gasoline inventories declined by 1.231 million barrels’=
  • Distillate stockpiles fell by 1.647 million barrels
  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) say the annual summer spike in demand for transportation fuels has begun.
  • On Friday, May 13 an explosion closed a second Chevron facility in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer
  • Exxon Mobil also reported on May 13 that a drilling rig damaged a pipeline, shutting off more production of crude. Nigeria’s oil production was already down 600,000 barrels per day before these two incidents, primarily the result of militant attacks.
  • Latin American oil production is now down close to 500,000 bpd from year ago levels.

In conclusion…If history repeats itself, the demand spike will be even larger. In 2010, the final year of the last major oil price cycle, the IEA began the year forecasting a 1.0 million barrel per day increase that year. Actual demand growth was 3.3 million barrels per day. The forecast error made in 2010 was that IEA’s formula for calculating demand, did not consider the impact of lower fuel prices on demand. IEA may have made the same mistake this time around.

Prices Stabilize On Oil Production Freeze

TexasOilPriceStabelize

West Texas Oil Production

“Since the Saudis and Russia reached an agreement to freeze output, volatility in the market has eased and oil prices have stabilized with the focus shifting back to fundamentals,” said Hong Shug Ki, a senior analyst at Samsung Futures, Inc.  “More stable oil prices are expected in the coming months, possibly up to the $40 level…”

West Texas Intermediate crude climbed more than 30 percent since dropping to lowest level in 12 years.  The pricing on Monday was just short of $36 per barrel.

A contributing factor may be that U.S. production slid for the sixth straight week ended February 26 to 9.08 million barrels a day, the lowest level since November 2014, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Key members of OPEC intend to meet with other producers in Russia this month to renew talks on the freeze deal according to Emmanuel Kachikwu, Nigerian Minister For Petroleum Resources.

Saudi Oil Minister To Face U.S. Rivals

 Western Midland Oil Rig

This week, Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi will for the first time face the victims of his decision to keep oil pumps flowing despite a global glut: U.S. shale oil producers struggling to survive the worst price crash in years.

While soaring U.S. shale output brought on by the hydraulic fracturing revolution contributed to oversupply, many blame the 70-percent price collapse in the past 20 months primarily on Naimi, seen as the oil market’s most influential policymaker.

During his keynote on Tuesday at the annual IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston, Naimi will be addressing U.S. wildcatters and executives who are stuck in a zero sum game.

“OPEC, instead of cutting production, they increased production, and that’s the predicament we’re in right now,” Bill Thomas, chief executive of EOG Resources Inc (EOG.N), one of the largest U.S. shale oil producers, told an industry conference last week, referring to 2015.

It will be Naimi’s first public appearance in the United States since Saudi Arabia led the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ shock decision in November 2014 to keep heavily pumping oil even though mounting oversupply was already sending prices into free-fall.

This week, Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi will for the first time face the victims of his decision to keep oil pumps flowing despite a global glut: U.S. shale oil producers struggling to survive the worst price crash in years.

While soaring U.S. shale output brought on by the hydraulic fracturing revolution contributed to oversupply, many blame the 70-percent price collapse in the past 20 months primarily on Naimi, seen as the oil market’s most influential policymaker.

During his keynote on Tuesday at the annual IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston, Naimi will be addressing U.S. wildcatters and executives who are stuck in a zero sum game.
“OPEC, instead of cutting production, they increased production, and that’s the predicament we’re in right now,” Bill Thomas, chief executive of EOG Resources Inc (EOG.N), one of the largest U.S. shale oil producers, told an industry conference last week, referring to 2015.

It will be Naimi’s first public appearance in the United States since Saudi Arabia led the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ shock decision in November 2014 to keep heavily pumping oil even though mounting oversupply was already sending prices into free-fall.

Naimi has said this was not an attempt to target any specific countries or companies, merely an effort to protect the kingdom’s market share against fast-growing, higher-cost producers.

It just so happens that U.S. shale was the biggest new oil frontier in the world, with much higher costs than cheap Saudi crude that can be produced for a few dollars a barrel.

“I’d just like to hear it from him,” said Alex Mills, president of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. “I think it should be something of concern to our leaders in Texas and in Washington,” if in fact his aim is to push aside U.S. shale producers, Mills said.

Last week’s surprise agreement by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Russia and Venezuela to freeze oil output at January levels – near record highs – did not offer much solace and the global benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 ended the week lower at $33 a barrel and U.S. crude futures CLc1 ended unchanged at just below $30. <O/R>

Prices fell sharply on Tuesday after Iran, the main hurdle to any production control in its zeal to recapture market share lost to sanctions, welcomed the plan without commitment. Iraq was also non-committal.

Many U.S. industry executives understand that all is fair in love, war and the oil market, but “the Saudis have probably overplayed their hand,” said Bruce Vincent, former president of Houston-based shale oil producer Swift Energy (SFYWQ.PK), which filed for bankruptcy late last year.

It just so happens that U.S. shale was the biggest new oil frontier in the world, with much higher costs than cheap Saudi crude that can be produced for a few dollars a barrel.

“I’d just like to hear it from him,” said Alex Mills, president of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. “I think it should be something of concern to our leaders in Texas and in Washington,” if in fact his aim is to push aside U.S. shale producers, Mills said.

Last week’s surprise agreement by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Russia and Venezuela to freeze oil output at January levels – near record highs – did not offer much solace and the global benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 ended the week lower at $33 a barrel and U.S. crude futures CLc1 ended unchanged at just below $30.

Prices fell sharply on Tuesday after Iran, the main hurdle to any production control in its zeal to recapture market share lost to sanctions, welcomed the plan without commitment. Iraq was also non-committal.

Many U.S. industry executives understand that all is fair in love, war and the oil market, but “the Saudis have probably overplayed their hand,” said Bruce Vincent, former president of Houston-based shale oil producer Swift Energy (SFYWQ.PK), which filed for bankruptcy late last year.

Summary…While Naimi has said this was not an attempt to target any specific countries there was much discussion in both Russia and OPEC of the rise of the U.S. shale producers.  It is not too difficult to believe they would be happier if the shale producers gave up thier market share.

Oil Markets Remain Oversupplied

Let’s look at  last week’s key figures for the oil & gas industry.  U.S. oil production is slightly up, whereas oil futures have been trading lower. Gasoline prices continue their trend downwards.

Friday, December 6, 2015 WTI closed at $39.97, down $1.11 for the week.

U.S. Oil Production

Friday OPEC’s meeting in Vienna did not give oil markets any relief. There was little expectation of an agreement on production cuts, despite the majority of OPEC members pleading with Saudi Arabia to reverse course and cut back the cartel’s output target level, which stood at 30 million barrels per day (mb/d) heading into the meeting.

In summary, here we are a year after Saudi Arabia decided to keep market share rather than cutting production to support pricing.  That decision combined with the U.S. shale industry keeping production levels up has precipitated in a nearly 50% drop in oil prices from a year ago.

Source: OPEC Won’t Cut, Markets Remain Oversupplied, OilPrice.com by Evan Kelly, December 4, 2015