In reviewing BP’s latest Statistic Review of World Energy, the big story for world oil last year was obvious: the USA’s third straight record-breaking increase in average annual production. Just over 75% of the net increase in world oil production during 2014 came from the USA; add in Canada and 90% of the total increase came from North America. Throw in Brazil’s first significant increase in three years and you have all the world’s net gain in world oil production accounted for by three non-OPEC players. Production from all other producers combined was flat. So the question for 2015 is straightforward: will we see a repeat of those gains…and the flat-liners?
Peak Oil Review
Crude oil prices were little changed last week, with New York futures trading around $60 a barrel and in London around $63. As has been the case for several weeks, the global oversupply of crude, the Greek debt crisis, and China’s weak economy have kept downward pressure on the markets. Trader hopes that the summer driving season will soon push up the demand for gasoline and expectations of an economic rebound continue to support oil prices. The uncertainties of the Iranian nuclear negotiations cut both ways with an agreement likely leading to a large increase in available crude, while failure of the talks would lead to increased tensions or worse in the Middle East.
After the usual amount of volatility that we have seen for the last three months New York oil futures closed at $59.61 per barrel on Friday, down 35 cents for the week. London futures, which have been drifting generally downwards since the beginning of May, closed at $63.02, down $1.24 for the week and about $4 a barrel in the last ten days. If the major energy watchers are correct, the oil markets remain oversupplied by about 1 or 2 million b/d, which is setting the trend, but with numerous factors ranging from the Greek debt crisis to the US rig count influencing trader decisions, oil prices continue to be volatile with the markets reacting to the day’s news.
For the last two months Brent crude has been trading in a $7-8 range between $62 and $69 a barrel. New York futures have been trading about $6-7 below Brent. Much of the volatility has come in sudden jumps as the markets interpreted and reacted to news relating to the oil market. Many traders seem to be convinced that prices are still too low and that one day there will be a rebound into triple digits despite market fundamentals – oversupply of crude and generally weak economic conditions – that seem to say that prices have rebounded too much from the lows seen last winter.
Oil prices fell last week with New York futures closing Friday at $59.31 a barrel, down 1.9 percent for the week. London closed Friday at 63.31 down 3.4 percent for the week. The debate over whether prices will climb or fall in the short term continues, with optimists citing various bits of good news about the global economy and the falling US rig count to support their case. Pessimists cite the estimated 2 million b/d of global overproduction and expectations of increased exports from the Middle East as reasons prices will decline. Much of the decline last week was due to a stronger dollar occasioned by the ongoing Greek bailout crisis.
Oil prices fell through Thursday last week, but rebounded 5 percent on Friday after Baker Hughes reported that the US rig count had resumed falling; the EIA reported a larger drop in US crude inventories than analysts had been expecting; and the dollar which had been climbing recently turned lower. At the close Friday, New York futures were at $60.30 a barrel and London was at $65.56, about where they were at the beginning of the week. New York prices climbed 1.1 percent during April and London fell 1.8 percent suggesting that the recent price increases are peaking out.
Volatility continued last week with oil prices falling early in the week, rebounding on Wednesday and Thursday, and then falling again on Friday. At week’s end, New York futures were down 1.4 percent for the week closing at $59.72 and London was down 2.2 percent to $65.37. Traders’ hopes for higheroil prices, which sparked the recent 35-40 percent price rally, have come mainly from falling rig counts and expectations that lower prices would fuel increased demand. These ideas have been supported by small declines in US oil stocks. The deteriorating situation in the Middle East, which shows every sign of getting worse, is another factor supporting prices despite indications that there is still a global oil surplus.
Last week oil prices gained for the ninth week in a row, setting a 30-year record for consecutive weeks of price increases. On Wednesday New York oil futures approached $62 a barrel, but settled to close out the week at $59.69. London futures performed similarly, closing out the week 2.2 percent higher at $66.69. The debate over whether prices have climbed too high, too soon continues. Those believing that prices are going higher look at the continuing drop in the US rig count – down again last week to 660 which about 58 percent lower than where it was last October. Those people expect US production will be dropping shortly, and indeed the EIA now is forecasting an 86,000 b/d drop in US shaleoil production next month. While this sounds like a lot, in comparison which total US production of around 11 million b/d this is not much. Market analysts are still expecting that US production which grew by 1.1 million b/d in 2014 will by up by another 675,000 b/d this year and 425,000 b/d in 2016.
The battle between higher and lower oil prices continued last week with futures hitting 2015 highs on Wednesday of $69.63 in London and $62.68 in New York. Prices then fell to close out the week at $65.39 and $59.39 respectively. London oil was down 1.6 percent for the week, its weekly drop in a month. As has been the case for several weeks now some observers are looking at the continuing decline in US drilling rigs – down by 11 last week — and some better US employment numbers which they believe will lead to an imminent decline in US oil production and higher domestic demand. Others, however, note that global oil production is still circa 1.5 million b/d above consumption; the global economy is not doing that well; and the US shale oil industry has such a large backlog on drilled but not-yet-fracked wells, that it still will be a while before demand catches up with supply.
Contents 1. Oil and the Global Economy 2. The Middle East & North Africa 3. China 4. Russia/Ukraine 5. The Briefs 1. Oil and the Global Economy Oil prices continued to climb last week with New York futures trading just below $60 a barrel on Friday and London just below $67 before closing somewhat lower […]
Contents 1. Oil and the Global Economy 2. The Middle East & North Africa 3. China 4. Russia/Ukraine 5. Greece and the EU 6. The Briefs 1. Oil and the Global Economy New York oil futures closed at $57.15 on Friday, little changed for the week, but London futures advanced to close at $65.28, a […]