Oil Rises At End Of Wild Week

Tom Kool

Following the wildest week oil prices have seen in recent memory, markets are now on edge as the possibility of an Iran war increases

Friday, 20 September 2019

It was the wildest week for oil in recent memory. Prices spiked, fell back again, and then rose more modestly on Thursday and Friday. There are still question marks over Saudi Arabia’s ability to repair Abqaiq on as quick a schedule as it claims and Washington and Riyadh are considering their next steps following the attack, with more military action certainly a possibility.

Oil disruptions negative for gas. If oil prices move higher because of the outage in Saudi Arabia it could spark a higher rate of drilling in U.S. shale, but the likely increase in associated natural gas output is viewed as bearish for gas, according to analysts. “Appalachia producers in particular need to show restraint in order to keep the market balanced into 2020,” Goldman Sachs said in a research note. Natural gas prices have bounced off of their lows from a few months ago, but many see prices taking another downturn. A new pipeline from the Permian could capture a lot more gas that is being flared right now. Moody’s cut its medium-term gas price forecast, and downgraded Range Resources (NYSE: RRC), Antero Resources (NYSE: AR), Gulfport Energy (NASDAQ: GPOR), and cut EQT’s (NYSE: EQT) outlook to negative.

Citi: Sell oil to finance shorts in equities. Citi said that a supply shock in the oil market, which could push up oil prices, could be occurring at the same time that equities tumble from their highs. The bank said that traders should sell their oil positions to finance bearish bets on equities. “Heightened geopolitics can be simultaneously negative for equity prices through the growth channel and positive for oil prices through supply shocks,” Citi analysts wrote. “Buy S&P 500 puts financed by oil puts.”

Related: Is Libya Facing A New Oil Crisis?

Parent-child interference could mean 15 to 20 percent lost output. Spacing shale wells too close together could result in 15 to 20 percent less production than forecasted, according to a new report from Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. The parent and child wells interfere which one another. But one solution might be to frack all the wells at the same time to avoid lost reservoir pressure.

Aramco inventories cover the gap…for now. Saudi Aramco had roughly 50 million barrels of oil in storage before the Abqaiq attack, enough to fill in for disrupted production until the end of the month, when repairs are expected to be completed. However, if the repairs take longer than expected, it would be much harder to cover the gap. “They probably have about one month of inventories,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultants Energy Aspects Ltd.

Abqaiq disruption to be felt later. The loss of barrels from Aramco will take time to work its way through the system. “A lot of October arrival barrels were already on the water so the hole is going to show up toward late October,” one senior European oil trader told Reuters. “There has been a mad scramble on the paper markets but the physical scramble will come later.”

Saudi Arabia pressuring wealthy Saudis to buy Aramco IPO. The Saudi government is pressuring wealthy Saudi families to buy into the forthcoming IPO of Aramco. Sources told the FT that the wealthy were being “bullied” and “strong-armed.”

Millions rally around the world for climate. Friday marked the global climate strike, with millions of people rallying in dozens of cities around the globe, calling for an end to fossil fuels.

GM bets on electric. GM (NYSE: GM) is betting heavily on electric vehicles, and the company has slashed payroll and shut factories, leading to labor pressure and the current worker strike. Meanwhile, analysts wonder whether GM is steaming ahead too quickly with EVs and autonomous vehicles, according to a profile of CEO Mary Barra in Bloomberg.

Big corporate renewable deals. Google announced 1.6 GW of new renewable power deals, which it calls the “biggest corporate purchase of renewable energy in history.” Meanwhile, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced that it would become 100 percent renewable by 2030 and it also ordered 100,000 electric delivery trucks from Michigan-based Rivian (in which Amazon is an investor). Meanwhile, the EIA forecasts that wind installations will surge this year and next, likely breaking records in 2020.

Related: Wealthy Saudis Are Being Bullied Into Buying Aramco

ExxonMobil shuts Beaumont refinery. Catastrophic flooding in Houston from Tropical Depression Imelda forced ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) to shut its Beaumont refinery. Some called the flooding as bad as Hurricane Harvey, which battered the U.S. refining industry in 2017.

Dominion approves offshore wind. Dominion Energy (NYSE: D) announced plans to build a $7.8 billion, 2.6-gigawatt offshore wind project off the coast of Virginia.

IEA: after pause, global renewables accelerate. “After stalling last year, global capacity additions of renewable power are set to bounce back with double-digit growth in 2019, driven by solar PV’s strong performance,” according to new data from the International Energy Agency. Global renewables are set to grow by 12 percent this year, adding almost 200 GW of capacity, the fastest pace since 2015. The agency says that the world needs to add renewables at an annual pace of 300 GW through 2030 to meet climate goals.

Nigeria’s Bonny Light on force majeure. Nigeria’s Bonny Light have been under force majeure since last Friday due to the closure of the Nembe Creek Trunk Line.

Venezuela’s production cut as inventories swell. Venezuela’s oil inventories have climbed to more than 38 million barrels as it struggles to find buyers. Swelling inventories now mean that production needs to be cut, according to Reuters. “Storage is almost at top capacity. We are just days ahead of being forced to shut production at some eastern oilfields,” a PDVSA executive told Reuters.

By Tom Kool of Oilprice.com

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