Category Archives: Oil Pricing

Oil Price Spike Inescapable

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Bill’s note: We’ve been reporting in the oilandgasinsider.com since the beginning of 2016, that the massive cuts in new capital expenditiures for oil and gas exploration would lead to oil price hikes.  Now the results of those expenditiure cuts are appearing in new oil discoveries.

 CASUAL ATTIRE

Oil price spike inescapable and here’s the facts…

  • 2015 new oil discoveries are 1/10th annual average dating all the way back to 1947
  • 2015 Oil industry new discoveries are only 2.7 billion barrels
  • 2015 worldwide oil consumption at 35 billion barrels

Click here to watch the 3 minute video Oil Price Spike Inescapable.

Why do we have the largest oil consumption deficit in 69 years?

  1. Oil at less than $50 a barrel makes many fields around the world uneconomical to explore
  2. The oil industry has slashed $1 trillion in new investment from 2015 to 2026
  3. EIA expects oil demand to expand to 105 million barrels per day by 2026 up from the current demand of 94 mb/d
  4. Large scale high volume drilling like deepwater projects have been scraped
  5. Large scale projects take years to be productive

In conclusion…Supply could  fall 1.5 billion barrels short per year by 2018 to 2020.  If this does play out, then…

Oil Price Spike Is Inescapable

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References; Wood Mckeszie, Energy Information Agency, , Oil Price Spike Inevitable, By Nick Cunningham, OilPrice.com, August 30, 2016

Click here to watch the 3 minute video Oil Price Spike Inescapable.

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

Saudi Arabia – A Kingdom In Retreat

SaudiKingdomKingdom Tower

The Kingdom is struggling with weak GDP growth, higher fees and taxes, and an economy that is unable to pay the dues to its workers, leaving thousands of workers from South Asia with an uncertain future.

When a nation is unable to provide food to its migrant workers, it says a lot about their financial condition.

The oil price crash has forced the oil-rich Kingdom to introduce austerity measures, and delay payments to already cash-strapped contractors.

“It looks like austerity has hit hard and more than we had anticipated, halting construction projects and stopping hiring,” said Jason Tuvey, Middle East economist at Capital Economics, reports the Financial Times.

Who is the Hardest Hit?…Construction laborers from India and Pakistan are most affected by the Kingdom’s hardships. This group of workers are left without a job, and without basic amenities such as insurance coverage, food, shelter and medical facilities—a situation that has improved after respective consulates stepped in to offer their own citizens aid.

Saudi’s Empty Pockets…Setting aside the Kingdom’s positive outlook, until the Saudi economy reduces its reliance on oil, the situation is likely to get worse before it gets any better. With oil prices reeling close to $42 a barrel, the Saudi economy is likely to run out of cash, according to the International Monetary Fund.

“All oil exporters will need to adjust to the new low oil price,” the IMF warned, reports the Independent. “All” in this case, includes, probably most importantly, Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia continues its record oil production, reaching 10.67 million barrels per day, up about 120,000 bpd on the prior month—with no signs of slowing. Although this will allow Saudi Arabia to hold onto its marketshare, which they can hardly be blamed for trying to cling to, it will no doubt add to the supply glut, and certainly will not bode well for oil prices in the short term.

In conclusion…And if oil prices continue to languish near today’s lows, it will be years before Saudi Arabia can regain its erstwhile glory.

 Source: Oil Price.com, Is Saudi Arabia About To Cry Uncle In the Oil Price War, By Rakesh Upadhyay – Aug 11, 2016

Serious Oil Field Worker Shortage…Soon?

oil-workers

Goldman Sachs believes the American oil industry is about to stage a big comeback from the painful downturn and big job losses caused by oversupply.  A projected 100,000 oil jobs could be coming back.

The estimate is based on Goldman’s forecast for U.S. oil production to resume growing next year after the recent drop to two-year lows. That growth would require some 700 oil rigs to be added — and each one supports an average of 120 to 150 employees.

As more oil fields come on line and America’s oil boom gets back on track, there simply won’t be enough people to do the required drilling, well completion and other logistical work. Cheap oil wiped out nearly 170,000 oil and gas jobs since late 2014 as desperate companies scrambled to cut costs and avoid bankruptcy. This downturn was far worse than the 87,000 jobs wiped out during the last downturn in the middle of the Great Recession.

Jeff Bush, president of oil and gas recruiting firm CSI Recruiting, agrees that a “worker shortage” is coming.

“When we get back to a reasonable level of activity, there’s going to be a supply crisis of experienced personnel. I just don’t see any way around that,” said Bush.

In conclusion…Last week in this publication we discussed  “U.S. Now The Largest Global Oil Reserve.”  Somehow the industry will need to take better care of those skilled workers if they want to keep them over the long-term. The drastic swing in oil prices has extremely painful for those workers who grow accustomed to the high salaries.  Every downturn flushes out a large number of highly skilled workers.

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.

What’s Driving Oil Price Rally?

internatioanlrigcount

Oil prices plunged to their lowest levels in more than a decade earlier this year, but have since rallied by more than 70 percent from their February lows. Now oil is at a crossroads: the market is balancing, but not quickly enough. Oil traders are gaining confidence, but with oil trading at $45 per barrel, is the risk more to the upside or downside? Will the rally continue or will prices fall back again? And what about the long-term? Will today’s investment cuts lead to future shortages?

Brent crude oil for July delivery traded as high as $48.29 on Friday before dropping to below $47 a barrel on various reports that OPEC production had increased in April. The December futures contract traded as high as $49.65 on Friday, not a large spread, but as close as Brent futures have been to $50 a barrel in some time.

Part of the reason for that is that Brent prices well above $50 a barrel are not in Saudi Arabia’s interest. The kingdom has invested tens of billions of dollars in driving high-cost producers (mostly in the United States) to shut down production, and the effort has paid off. But if Brent rises much past $50 a barrel, the Saudis’ leverage diminishes, unless it also raises production to drive prices down again.

Neil Atkinson,  the Head of the Oil Markets Division at the International Energy Agency based in Paris responded recently to questions asked by oilprice.com: It can be argued that the sell-off to below $30/bbl was an over-reaction to the downside. The bounce bck to $45/bbl is partly explained by the strike in Kuwait, production interruptions in Nigeria, UAE and Iraq, and the growing perception that US shale oil production is declining. The bounce back is also due to the fact that investors are more forward looking than they used to be and the possibility of the market returning to balance around the turn of the year is a supportive factor.

He continues: The IEA has warned consistently that inadequate investment today could sow the seeds of a price shock tomorrow if there is a major change to the expected supply/demand balance. Towards 2020 there is the possibility that, if annual global oil demand growth were to exceed the 1.2 mb/d level forecast by the IEA and there was a geo-political event leading to a major supply shortfall, there could be insufficient spare production capacity to fill the gap. The resultant price spike would be detrimental for the world economy.

In conclusion… Current demand supply curve is not the only factor in oil pricing.  The decline in world rig count, the cancelation of many billion dollar plus projects by the majors, and the expected growth in future oil demand are all impacting the futures markets.  Maybe Mr. Atkinson is correct in his analysis that the $30/bbl pricing was an over-reaction to the downside.

Where Is U.S. Exporting Oil?

Export Tanker Crude Leaving The U.S.

It has only been three months since the U.S. lifted a 40-year ban on oil exports.  So, it may be surprising that American crude is flowing to virtually every corner of the market and remaking the world’s energy map.

Overseas sales, which started on December 31 with a small cargo aboard the Theo T tanker have been picking up speed.  Exxon Mobil, China Petroleum, and Chemical Corp have joined independent traders Vitol Group and Trafigura in exporting American crude.

“The flurry of export activity is helping support spot oil prices in the U.S. relative to contracts for later delivery,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects, Ltd in London.

American stockpiles are at unprecedented levels, so oil takers laden with U.S. crude have docked in, or are headed to France, Germany, the Netherlands, Israel, China, and Panama.  Oil traders said other destinations are likely.

One reason behind the rise in exports is cheap pipeline and railway fees to move crude from the fields in Texas, Oklahoma, and North Dakota into the ports of the U.S.  Another reason is that the U.S. prices have been trading at a discount to Brent crude, allowing traders to move oil from one shore of the Atlantic to another at a profit.

Source: “The U.S. Is Exporting Its Oil Everywhere, Javier Blas, BloombergBusiness, March 17, 2016

Prices Stabilize On Oil Production Freeze

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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.