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Energy Prices Are Moving Lower In The Early Going Friday After A Strong Week

Friday, Aug 12 2022
Market Talk

Energy prices are moving lower in the early going Friday after a strong week in which fear of inflation and slowing demand both eased, while fears of supply disruptions returned. From a chart perspective, gasoline and diesel prices have returned into more neutral territory after failing to break near term resistance and are set up for another period of back and forth action – just like we saw yesterday with ULSD experiencing multiple 10 cent moves on the day.

The IEA disagreed with OPEC’s estimates for declining global fuel demand Wednesday, raising its oil consumption estimates, with consumers switching to oil-based products to supplement the electricity grid during the summer heat wave (and tight natural gas supplies) driving the increase and masking the “…relative weakness in other sectors…”. Of course, it’s typically not crude oil that’s being used to supplement electricity supplies, it’s some form of diesel whether it be known as Gasoil, fuel oil etc. which explains why we’ve seen ULSD prices react to movements in natural gas prices, while gasoline prices tend to go their own way. 

The IEA increased its forecast for Russian oil output as buyers in some parts of the world are getting awfully creative to find ways around sanctions. Read here for an interesting story on a big gamble on old ships to carry out dangerous ship to ship transfers of Russian crude.  Never doubt the ingenuity of an oil trader.

The IEA’s monthly report ended with a word of caution:  “…with supply increasingly at risk to disruptions, another price rally cannot be excluded.” Read this Reuters note for more specifics on why European distillates are particularly vulnerable.

Speaking of disruptions, the storm system moving across the Atlantic didn’t turn into anything this week and the only other system on the NHC’s watch list is given just 10% odds of developing off the coast of Texas and Louisiana, although it is expected to bring heavy rains to the region over the weekend.    We’re getting to the time of year where we can expect waves to move off the African coast every few days, and each of those waves has the chance to become a hurricane. Where those storms head will likely determine if this season is a nuisance or a disaster for energy supplies, with early forecasts suggesting Florida may be the storm magnet this year, which would be bade news for retirees, but good news for suppliers compared to the past 2 years of Louisiana landfalls that pummeled refinery row.

There are all sorts of new energy-related incentives in the new bill moving through congress. While electric vehicle incentives are capturing much of the attention, a lack of domestic battery production may limit the impact of those plans. Meanwhile, residential heat pumps may become the hot new item and lower carbon cement could end up making a larger impact on emissions than the slow moving changes in the transportation sector.  

Massachusetts is jumping on the congressional climate bandwagon, passing a new bill this week that would join the California dream of banning sales of new gasoline and diesel powered vehicles in 2035, and designate some cities as fossil fuel free and ban natural gas in new construction. This comes just a few months after the state backed out of the proposed Transportation and Climate initiative that would have enforced a cap and trade style program on fuel suppliers. 

Click here to download a PDF of today's TACenergy Market Talk.

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