Tug Of War Between Reopening Optimism And Delta Variant Fears

Market TalkTuesday, Jul 13 2021
Traders Torn As Opposing Trend Lines Converge

Energy prices continue to hover close to multi-year highs, as markets endure a tug of war between reopening optimism and Delta variant fears

The IEA’s monthly oil market report forecast that the world could see the largest draw in crude oil inventories in more than a decade this quarter as refiners ramp up run rates to try and keep pace with reopening around the globe. The report noted that this phenomenon should continue pushing prices into a steeper backwardation as suppliers will be challenged to keep pace with the uptick in demand, and noted how that phenomenon is pushing prices to multi-year highs and threatening the economic recovery. The report ended with a call for OPEC to figure out its output plan as the volatility caused by its lack of decision making is not, “…in the interest of either producers or consumers.” 

The forward curve charts below show how the recent increase in demand has pushed most petroleum contracts into a steeper backwardation, and put downward pressure on refinery margins as products have struggled to keep pace with the rise in crude prices. On the other hand, the crack spread chart does not account for the drop in RIN values that has taken roughly $2/barrel off the cost of doing business for US refiners over the past 5 weeks, which increases their net margin and largely offsets the drop in gross seen on the charts.

Technology topping out? An EIA report this morning highlights that most US drilling regions saw production/well drop in the past year, after more than a decade of steady increases that saw numbers increase 5 to 10 fold thanks to rapidly improving technology. Only the Bakken saw its total output per well increase to nearly 900 barrels/day (up from roughly 150 in 2007).  This likely doesn’t mean that drillers are losing their edge however. The report also notes that the dip is likely due to unplanned shutdowns due to COVID, and that the rates are likely to increase again once more normal drilling patterns continue.

Hovensa no more: The refinery that threatened to bring more refined products to oversupplied Atlantic basin looks like it’s officially out of the game as the owners filed for bankruptcy after being forced to shut operations, and amidst multiple investigations from the US Attorney and EPA. Since that plant never really got back to full run rates, it’s unlikely to create any supply disruptions, but it may save another facility in the US or Europe from closing their doors as the race to rationalize refineries continues.

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

Market Update (01A) 7.13.21

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