The biggest names in the oil world come together this week for the largest industry gathering since the end of a two-year price war that pitted Middle East exporters against the firms that drove the shale energy revolution in the United States.
When OPEC in November joined with several non-OPEC producers to agree to a historic cut in output, the group called time on a fight for market share that drove oil prices to a 12-year low and many shale producers to the wall.
Oil prices are about 70 percent higher than they were the last time oil ministers and the chief executives of Big Oil met in Houston a year ago at CERAWeek, the largest annual industry meet in the Americas.
The ebullience as both sides enjoy higher revenues will be a welcome relief from the gloom of a year ago, near the depths of the price war.
“The oil market has been rebalancing and the powerful forces of supply and demand have been working,” said Dan Yergin, vice chairman of conference organizer IHS Markit and a Pulitzer Prize-winning oil historian.
After a volatile day of White House rumors and denials, and OPEC headlines, WTI and RBOB ended the day lower ahead of tonight’s API data which showed a slightly smaller than expected crude build (+2.5mm against expectations of +3mm). However RBOB prices tumbled after an unexpected build.
Crude +2.502mm (+3mm exp)
Gasoline +1.84mm (-1.5mm exp)
While crude built again (the 8th week in a row), it was the swing back to a build in gasoline that is most notable…
Stocks closed out the week in a strong fashion Friday as the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all jumped to new all-time highs in the market’s push further into record territory.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 96.97, or 0.5%, to close at a record 20,269.37, according to preliminary calculations. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 8.23 points, or 0.4%, to 2316.10 and the Nasdaq composite index added 18.95, or 0.3%, 5734.13. Both the S&P and Nasdaq were up for a fourth straight day.
Miners and other raw materials companies led the market rally and rising crude oil prices also gave energy companies a big boost. Investors kept their focus on strong company earnings and corporate deal news.
Investors have focused on companies quarterly results lately as they size up corporate America’s growth prospects. Earnings are on track to mark the second-consecutive quarter of growth after a losing streak of five straight quarters. Beyond earnings, investors are also eying Washington D.C. for signs the Trump administration will deliver on the promised business-friendly policy proposals that helped drive a market rally last fall, including slashing government regulations and taxes.
Benchmark U.S. crude was up 91 cents, or 1.7%, at $53.91 a barrel in New York. The contract rose 66 cents on Thursday. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, was up $1.05, or 1.9%, at $56.68 a barrel in London.
The oil ministers of Iran and Qatar have suggested that OPEC’s production cut agreement may have to be extended beyond the June deadline, despite an almost 100-percent compliance rate.
The comments come a day after the American Petroleum Institute reported the second-largest crude oil inventory increase in history, at 14.227 million barrels, which added fuel to worries that production cut efforts are not enough to rebalance the market.
US oil production has turned a corner after a long period of weak petroleum prices, the government said, with volumes rising for the first time since early 2015.
The Energy Information Administration forecast that oil output from the US will increase 1.3 per cent to 9m barrels per day in 2017, abandoning an earlier prediction of a 0.9 per cent fall.
In the first forecast for 2018 in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook, the statistical agency said US crude production will rise another 3.3 per cent, or 300,000 b/d, to 9.3m b/d. Production hit bottom last September, EIA said.
“The general decline in US crude oil production that began almost two years ago is likely over, as higher average oil prices and improvements in drilling efficiency are giving a boost to output,” said Adam Sieminski, the EIA’s administrator.
Opec still does not expect the oil market to move back into balance until the second half of next year, despite agreeing a global supply pact with Russia and other countries to cut output.
In its monthly outlook, the 13-member cartel pegged demand for its crude at 32.6m b/d next year – just 100,000 b/d above the group’s new output target of 32.5m b/d – and said the further supply cuts agreed with non-Opec members would contribute to mopping up excess supplies, but only slowly
“Combined with the joint cooperation with a number of non-Opec countries in adjusting production by around 600,000 b/d [this] will accelerate the reduction of global inventories and bring forward the rebalancing of the oil market to the second half of 2017,” Opec said.
The cartel’s view of the market is more conservative than some other forecasters. On Tuesday the International Energy Agency said it now expects the oil market to start moving into balance in the first half of next year.
Stocks closed mixed Monday as the Dow hit a new all-time high and as oil prices jumped after several non-OPEC countries agreed to join the cartel in cutting output and as investors focused on interest rates. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq snapped 6-day winning streaks and retreated from record highs.
Investors were also focusing on interest rates as Federal Reserve policymakers meet this week and most economists expect the Fed to announce a rate hike at the conclusion of the 2-day meeting on Wednesday.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 39.58 points, or 0.2%, to a record close of 19,796.43, according to preliminary calculations. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.1% to 2256.96, after rising in early trading to set a new intraday record. The Nasdaq composite index dropped fell 0.6% to 5412.54.
Energy stocks got a boost as the price of U.S. benchmark crude oil jumped 2.6% to $52.83 a barrel as oil-producing countries outside of OPEC agreed to reduce production by 558,000 barrels per day. That comes after OPEC countries agreed in November to reduce production by 1.2 million barrels per day.
With oil prices surging to 17-month highs following this weekend’s OPEC-NOPEC deal and Saudi promises to cut still more, many Wall Street analysts are skpetical with Goldman Sachs warning that the Saudis are wrong to think U.S. shale production won’t respond to higher prices. However, Nomura and Bernstein see little threat to OPEC from rising U.S. shale production in 2017.
As The Saudis enabled yet another major short-squeeze… (Money managers slashed short bets on lower West Texas Intermediate crude prices by the most in five years after OPEC’s Nov. 30 accord to reduce supply.)
OPEC’s first production cuts in eight years will be a mixed bag for Asia, with the region’s few oil exporters celebrating and just about everyone else fretting.
The planned cuts are particularly worrying for Southeast Asian economies losing steam as China’s growth slows. India also has cause for concern. The country saw its gross domestic product rise 7.4% on the year in July-September, faster than the 7.1% in the previous quarter, but the government’s surprise demonetization of 500- and 1,000-rupee banknotes is expected to affect the economy well into next year.