It’s Another Strong Start For Energy Markets Monday, Diesel Prices Once Again Leading The Charge Higher

Market TalkMonday, Mar 21 2022
Pivotal Week For Price Action

It’s another strong start for energy markets Monday, with diesel prices once again leading the charge higher. ULSD futures are up 20 cents on the day, and roughly 87 cents above their March 15 low, and 87 cents below their March 9 high. There are still many more questions than answers for the two big stories of the war in Ukraine and another COVID wave, but clearly supply concerns are winning out vs demand concerns in the early going. 

Baker Hughes reported a net decline of 3 oil rigs actively drilling in the US last week, while natural gas-focused rigs increased by 2. The slower-than-normal recovery in drilling over the past year has been well documented as banks are hesitant to lend to fossil fuel producers due to ESG pressure, leaving the smaller independent firms as big winners with oil over $100. A big question for the next few months is whether or not the warn on Russian oil will give the banks a reason to side step environmental pressures and go back to chasing the real green deals they’re interested in, and if so, how quickly can new projects bring oil and gas to market.

The surge in petroleum prices brings with it several different consequences, including a jump in retail fuel theft, and economic viability of several alternative fuels. A Rystad energy report this morning highlights the improving economics of Green Hydrogen production in Europe, although capacity remains limited.  The flip side to this phenomenon is that LCFS credits in California plunged to a 4 year low in the past week as increasing renewable diesel and natural gas production are adding more supply to the market. See chart below.

Great or terrible timing?  Money managers saw a big increase in short positions for WTI, ULSD and Gasoil contracts last week, which may mean some big funds feel like heroes if they sold the prior Wednesday before diesel prices dropped $1.75/gallon, or like goats if they sold later and were run over by the 80 cent rally of the past few days. Brent crude meanwhile saw the opposite with short positions dropping while new longs were added along with a jump in open interest, which makes sense given the relative lack of options for Europe vs the US.

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

Market Talk Update 3.21.22

News & Views

View All
Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkFriday, Sep 29 2023

The Energy Bulls Are On The Run This Morning, Lead By Heating And Crude Oil Futures

The energy bulls are on the run this morning, lead by heating and crude oil futures. The November HO contract is trading ~7.5 cents per gallon (2.3%) higher while WTI is bumped $1.24 per barrel (1.3%) so far in pre-market trading. Their gasoline counterpart is rallying in sympathy with .3% gains to start the day.

The October contracts for both RBOB and HO expire today, and while trading action looks to be pretty tame so far, it isn’t a rare occurrence to see some big price swings on expiring contracts as traders look to close their positions. It should be noted that the only physical market pricing still pricing their product off of October futures, while the rest of the nation already switched to the November contract over the last week or so.

We’ve now got two named storms in the Atlantic, Philippe and Rina, but both aren’t expected to develop into major storms. While most models show both storms staying out to sea, the European model for weather forecasting shows there is a possibility that Philippe gets close enough to the Northeast to bring rain to the area, but not much else.

The term “$100 oil” is starting to pop up in headlines more and more mostly because WTI settled above the $90 level back on Tuesday, but partially because it’s a nice round number that’s easy to yell in debates or hear about from your father-in-law on the golf course. While the prospect of sustained high energy prices could be harmful to the economy, its important to note that the current short supply environment is voluntary. The spigot could be turned back on at any point, which could topple oil prices in short order.

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

Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkThursday, Sep 28 2023

Gasoline And Crude Oil Futures Are All Trading Between .5% And .8% Lower To Start The Day

The energy complex is sagging this morning with the exception of the distillate benchmark as the prompt month trading higher by about a penny. Gasoline and crude oil futures are all trading between .5% and .8% lower to start the day, pulling back after WTI traded above $95 briefly in the overnight session.

There isn’t much in the way of news this morning with most still citing the expectation for tight global supply, inflation and interest rates, and production cuts by OPEC+.

As reported by the Department of Energy yesterday, refinery runs dropped in all PADDs, except for PADD 3, as we plug along into the fall turnaround season. Crude oil inventories drew down last week, despite lower runs and exports, and increased imports, likely due to the crude oil “adjustment” the EIA uses to reconcile any missing barrels from their calculated estimates.

Diesel remains tight in the US, particularly in PADD 5 (West Coast + Nevada, Arizona) but stockpiles are climbing back towards their 5-year seasonal range. It unsurprising to see a spike in ULSD imports to the region since both Los Angeles and San Francisco spot markets are trading at 50+ cent premiums to the NYMEX. We’ve yet to see such relief on the gasoline side of the barrel, and we likely won’t until the market switches to a higher RVP.

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