Energy Prices Rally After Reported Deal

Market TalkWednesday, Jun 3 2020
Week 21 - US DOE Inventory Recap

Reports that Russia and Saudi Arabia reached a deal on more oil production cuts helped energy prices rally to multi-month highs overnight, most notably Brent crude was trading north of the $40 mark. Pesky details that the deal was contingent upon other OPEC members actually complying with the current agreement seemed to throw cold water on that rally and prices started heading lower around 5 a.m. Despite the pullback, charts continue to point higher so as long as the week’s lows aren’t taken out by this round of selling.

The API reported a small draw in U.S. crude oil inventories last week that seemed to help with the early overnight rally. Refined product inventories continued to build however, with gasoline stocks up 1.7 million barrels and distillates up more than 5.9 million. The DOE’s weekly report is due out at its normal time today. Unaccounted for crude oil remains a huge number to watch, as are crude oil imports while the armada of Saudi oil tankers has been offloading, which has helped push total U.S. inventories higher even as Cushing stocks have seen a dramatic draw-down. The growing glut of distillates continues to be a major red flag challenging the premise of the recovery rally for both energy and equity markets.

Tropical Storm Cristobal formed Tuesday, and is currently forecast to hit Louisiana by Monday at Tropical Storm strength. There’s a lot that can happen between now and then, and although this is normally too early in the year for major hurricane development, the Gulf of Mexico waters are already warmer than normal, which could help this storm grow. The current path would avoid a direct hit on any of the refinery clusters along the USGC, but essentially all of the coastal refineries are in the cone of uncertainty so it’s too soon to write if off completely. The path will also take the storm through the heart of US offshore oil production, but with those operations already cut back due to the price collapse, this may have less impact on oil prices than it would in a normal year.

Another unintended consequence of the COVID-19 fallout: If there are any supply disruptions during hurricane season, the impacts may be less noticeable as the extra supply of oil and refined products will act as a buffer to the system. In fact, with Gulf Coast refiners reliant on exports to balance the supply/demand equation, if production stays online but ship traffic is delayed, we could see downward pressure on prices.

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

Energy Prices Rally After Reported Deal gallery 0

News & Views

View All
Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkThursday, Feb 29 2024

It's Another Mixed Start For Energy Futures This Morning After Refined Products Saw Some Heavy Selling Wednesday

It's another mixed start for energy futures this morning after refined products saw some heavy selling Wednesday. Both gasoline and diesel prices dropped 7.5-8.5 cents yesterday despite a rather mundane inventory report. The larger-than-expected build in crude oil inventories (+4.2 million barrels) was the only headline value of note, netting WTI futures a paltry 6-cent per barrel gain on the day.

The energy markets seem to be holding their breath for this morning’s release of the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The price index is the Fed’s preferred inflation monitor and has the potential to impact how the central bank moves forward with interest rates.

Nationwide refinery runs are still below their 5-year average with utilization across all PADDs well below 90%. While PADD 3 production crossed its 5-year average, it’s important to note that measure includes the “Snovid” shutdown of 2021 and throughput is still below the previous two years with utilization at 81%.

We will have to wait until next week to see if the FCC and SRU shutdowns at Flint Hills’ Corpus Christi refinery will have a material impact on the regions refining totals. Detail on the filing can be found on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality website.

Update: the PCE data shows a decrease in US inflation to 2.4%, increasing the likelihood of a rate cut later this year. Energy futures continue drifting, unfazed.

Click here to download a PDF of today's TACenergy Market Talk, including all charts from the Weekly DOE Report.

Pivotal Week For Price Action
Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkWednesday, Feb 28 2024

It’s Red Across The Board For Energy Prices So Far This Morning With The ‘Big Three’ Contracts All Trading Lower To Start The Day

It’s red across the board for energy prices so far this morning with the ‘big three’ contracts (RBOB, HO, WTI) all trading lower to start the day. Headlines are pointing to the rise in crude oil inventories as the reason for this morning’s pullback, but refined product futures are leading the way lower, each trading down 1% so far, while the crude oil benchmark is only down around .3%.

The American Petroleum Institute published their national inventory figures yesterday afternoon, estimating an 8+ million-barrel build in crude oil inventory across the country. Gasoline and diesel stocks are estimated to have dropped by 3.2 and .5 million barrels last week, respectively. The official report from the Department of Energy is due out at its regular time this morning (9:30 CST).

OPEC’n’friends are rumored to be considering extending their voluntary production cuts into Q2 of this year in an effort to buoy market prices. These output reductions, reaching back to late 2022, are aimed at paring back global supply by about 2.2 million barrels per day and maintaining a price floor. On the flip side, knowledge of the suspended-yet-available production capacity and record US output is keeping a lid on prices.

How long can they keep it up? While the cartel’s de facto leader (Saudi Arabia) may be financially robust enough to sustain itself through reduced output indefinitely, that isn’t the case for other member countries. Late last year Angola announced it will be leaving OPEC, freeing itself to produce and market its oil as it wishes. This marks the fourth membership suspension over the past decade (Indonesia 2016, Qatar 2019, Ecuador 2020).

The spot price for Henry Hub natural gas hit a record low, exchanging hands for an average of $1.50 per MMBtu yesterday. A rise in production over the course of 2023 and above average temperatures this winter have pressured the benchmark to a price not seen in its 27-year history, much to Russia’s chagrin.

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