The Energy Bulletin Weekly – 1 June 2020

Prices: Futures were volatile last week with prices bouncing between $31 and $35 a barrel in response to the latest news. Oil closed out May on Friday with a record monthly gain of 88 percent on hopes demand for oil would continue to rise as economies reopen and crude production continues to fall. The status of the US-China trade agreement is in doubt as relations continue to deteriorate and resurgence of the coronavirus as lockdowns are lifted will be a significant factor in the movement of oil prices during the next few weeks.

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The Energy Bulletin Weekly – 26 May 2020

The four-week run of climbing crude prices continued through Wednesday, but prices fell on Thursday and Friday as doubts arose over the prospects for China’s economy and rising tensions with the US over the virus, the trade deal, and Hong Kong. Beijing said on Friday that it would not publish a growth target for 2020, casting doubts as to how quickly demand for oil will revive. Futures prices closed Friday above $33 in New York and $36 in London.

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The Energy Bulletin Weekly – 18 May 2020

Oil prices continued to rise last week despite the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. New York futures closed at $29.43 and Brent at $32.50. As US storage capacity is limited, it is questionable whether cash oil prices are as high as speculators have driven futures. US crude stocks decreased slightly the week before, raising the question of whether there is enough demand to consume new production. Washington now is allowing producers to put crude that they can’t sell to refineries or put into commercial storage to be pumped temporarily into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

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The Energy Bulletin Weekly – 11 May 2020

Oil posted its first back-to-back weekly gain since February amid optimism that production cuts are beginning to eat into the massive supply glut. Futures in New York climbed 25 percent to circa $25 and $31 in London. Drillers are cutting production rapidly in response to ruinous crude prices. The number of US rigs drilling for oil fell to a level not seen since before the shale-oil revolution began at the beginning of the last decade. Last week’s data from the EIA supported the price move as US gasoline supplied, an indicator of consumption, rose by the most in almost two years last week, and nationwide crude production declined for a fifth straight week to the lowest since July 2019.

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The Energy Bulletin Weekly – 4 May 2020

Crude posted its first weekly gain in a month as global production cuts start to lift physical markets. Futures in New York rose 17 percent last week to close at $19.78 in NY and $26.44 in London. Oil companies have announced significant production closures with Chevron saying it will shut down as much as 400,000 barrels of daily output, and Exxon reporting it will cut rigs in the Permian Basin by 75 percent by the end of the year. At the same time, OPEC+’s pledge to trim supply by 9.7 million b/d has gone into effect. Algerian Energy Minister Arkab, who holds OPEC’s rotating presidency, called on members of the cartel to implement more than 100 percent of their agreed production cuts. Globally, the number of rigs drilling for oil and gas fell almost 20 percent in April, and in the US, the oil rig count dropped by 53 to 325, a seventh straight week of declines.

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The Energy Bulletin Weekly – 27 April 2020

The long-awaited crash in the oil markets came last week when traders finally realized that oil consumption was so low and production was so high that the world was within weeks of having no place to store crude and oil products. The crash, precipitated by the expiration of the May NY futures contract, was violent, falling from $20 a barrel to a low of minus $37 a barrel, a plunge unprecedented in the history of the oil industry. London’s Brent followed New York’s decline and closed out the week at $22 a barrel.

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The Energy Bulletin Weekly – 20 April 2020

The global demand for oil is expected to be down by nearly 30 million (or maybe even 40 million) b/d in April, according to the latest estimates. Some forecasts still optimistically assume that demand will bounce back in the second half of the year in a “V-shaped” recovery. Most of these forecasts, however, come from financial institutions that want customers to believe that normalcy will return soon or, in the case of government agencies, are influenced by politicians who wish to remain in office. The more pessimistic forecasts come from the oil trading firms who make money by getting the numbers right.

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The Energy Bulletin Weekly – 13 April 2020

It was a volatile week as the world’s major oil producers struggled to find a way to raise prices from ruinous levels as the global consumption of oil sank by about a third from pre-virus levels. Reports of new highs in the virus infection count and death toll continue to pour in from all over the world, suggesting that the demand for fossil fuels still has a way to fall.

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The Energy Bulletin Weekly – 6 April 2020

Last week saw one of the biggest price leaps in the history of the oil industry, with US futures surging from around $20 a barrel at mid-week to a close of $28.34 on Friday. The surprise surge came after President Trump tweeted Thursday morning that the Saudis and Russia were going to cut production by “10 million barrels or may be substantially more.” The tweet came after Trump talked with the Saudi crown prince. Later in the day, Moscow weighed in to say that it was unaware of such an agreement and that the Saudis were making every effort to increase, not cut oil production.

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The Energy Bulletin Weekly – 30 March 2020

The global economy and the oil industry continue to be dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. With more countries, especially the economically advanced oil-consuming ones, going into some form of lockdown every day, the world’s oil consumption is now believed to be down by nearly 25 percent. Oil prices declined for a fifth straight week from collapsing demand due to the virus and increasing supply from producers vying for market share. Brent crude settled down 8 percent for the week at $24.93 a barrel, and US crude settled down more than 3 percent during the week at $21.51 a barrel. US oil futures now have fallen 65 percent this year and are on pace for the most painful quarter since at least 1990.

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Peak Oil Review – 23 March 2020

The market situation changed rapidly last week. On Monday, the oil traders were focused on the Saudi price war. By week’s end, however, the Saudi initiative had been overshadowed by the rapid spread of the coronavirus and its impact on oil demand. Rapidly falling demand resulted in a week of unprecedented volatility before oil prices settled on Friday at $22.43 in New York and $26.98 in London.

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Peak Oil Review – 16 March 2020

Global oil consumption is in free-fall, heading for the biggest annual contraction in history, as more countries introduce unprecedented measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak. Travel bans, work-from-home, canceled vacations, and disrupted supply chains across the world all mean reduced demand for fuel. As societies respond to the virus, oil demand — already hurt by China’s shut down of parts of its economy — is falling further.

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Peak Oil Review – 9 March 2020

Last week saw upheavals in the financial and energy markets as the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly across the world and the OPEC+ production limiting agreement broke down. OPEC responded by removing all limits on its own production. At week’s end, New York oil futures were down to $41 a barrel and London was down to $45 after Brent suffered its biggest one-day loss in more than 11 years on Friday.

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Peak Oil Review – 2 March 2020

As the coronavirus epidemic spreads to some 60 countries, the outlook for the oil industry and, indeed, the global economy is undergoing a sea change. Oil prices and equities are dropping rapidly as transportation and business activity is already being curtailed in many parts of the world. Brent futures settled at $50.52 Friday, down $7.98 on the week, and down 22.5 percent since January 20, when the commodities markets began reacting to the virus. Forecasters are lowering their estimates of how much the growth in oil demand will fall this year, and some are suggesting that demand may even contract. The IEA has the growth in the need for oil down to 825,000 b/d, but this could turn out to be optimistic.

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Peak Oil Review – 24 February 2020

Oil prices settled lower Friday, ending eight consecutive up days, due to the increasing spread of the coronavirus outside of China. London settled down 81 cents at $58.50, and New York finished 50 cents lower at $53.38. The pendulum of crude traders worrying first about the world swimming in oil and then worrying about supply shortages at the other end swung decisively to the latter on Wednesday. After reaching a one-month high on Thursday due to more sanctions on Venezuela, prices were hit hard ahead of the weekend as traders continue to be concerned over demand growth after weak Asian economic data fueled uncertainty about the economic outlook.

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Peak Oil Review – 17 February 2020

Oil prices rebounded last week as traders decided that the coronavirus was not going to expand much further outside of China and that control measures were starting to work. WTI closed out the week at $52 a barrel and London at $57. The on and off possibility that OPEC+ would cut production further also helped prices. However, Moscow’s resistance to further production cuts and the recent 1 million b/d drop in Libyan output seems to have put a further OPEC+ cut on hold. US crude stocks climbed for a third week as production ticked higher, and exports slowed. Commercial crude inventories increased 7.46 million barrels to 442.47 million barrels during the week ended February 7th.

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Peak Oil Review – 10 February 2020

Oil prices posted a fifth weekly decline, weighed down by the loss of demand from China caused by the coronavirus outbreak. OPEC and Russia tried all week to come up with a unified position on how to contain the price slide. At the close Friday, New York futures were at $50.32 after having been below $50 earlier in the week. Brent closed the week at $54.47. Today, Monday, workers in China officially went back to work after the extended New Year’s holiday, but a large, unknown number of factories, offices, schools, and business establishments remain closed.

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Peak Oil Review – 3 February 2020

Oil prices fell for the fourth straight week on mounting worries about economic damage from the coronavirus that has spread from China to around 20 countries. Futures closed the month down about $10 a barrel since the beginning of the year, seeing the biggest January loss since 1991. New York futures settled at $51.56 and London at $56.62. The rapid price decline is causing much consternation with OPEC+ as some commentators are talking about $40 oil if the virus situation gets much worse.

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Peak Oil Review – 27 January 2020

Brent crude closed at $60.56 on Friday, its biggest weekly decline in more than a year as concerns that the coronavirus will spread farther in China, curbing oil demand. The disease spread rapidly over the weekend, with more than 2,800 people infected across the world and 81 in China killed by the disease. West Texas futures fell from $59 a barrel on Monday to close Friday at $54.20. The Saudi energy minister hinted at further OPEC+ production cuts to head off another market meltdown. The EIA’s latest Drilling Productivity Report estimates oil production growth of just 22,000 b/d in February, a much slower pace than usual in recent years.

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Peak Oil Review – 20 January 2020

Oil prices inched up a bit last week with Brent closing just below $65 a barrel after the US and Iran thought better of going to war. Attention then shifted to the signing of the first phase of a US-China trade deal and the slowing Chinese economy. On Friday, Beijing released data showing that its economy grew by 6.1 percent in 2019, its slowest expansion in 29 years. While Washington is touting the supposed $200 billion it garnered from the trade deal, many trade experts are skeptical. Some are saying that Beijing will never buy the amounts of US products that Washington is claiming, and others are saying that in the long run, China won the tariff war.

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Peak Oil Review – 13 January 2020

Brent futures slipped to below $65 a barrel on Friday as the threat of war in the Middle East receded, and investors focused on rising US inventories and other signs of ample supply. WTI closed at $59 a barrel. During the past week, crude fell by $5 a barrel and is now below where it was before a US drone strike killed Iranian general Soleimani on Jan. 3. US crude inventories rose 1.2 million barrels in the week before last, but gasoline stocks shot up sharply. In the past two weeks, gasoline stocks have increased by more than 22 million barrels. The EIA data was released shortly after President Trump spoke about Iran, a move the market interpreted as a de-escalation of the tensions. The EIA data, combined with the Iran news, sent oil prices tumbling.

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Peak Oil Review – 6 January 2020

Brent crude futures jumped nearly $3 a barrel on Friday after a US airstrike killed top Iranian and Iraqi military commanders in Baghdad. Brent crude futures hit an intraday high of $69.16 a barrel, their highest since Sept 17th, before easing down to $68.60, up $2.35 for the day. West Texas Intermediate futures were up $1.85 or 3.04 percent to $63.05 a barrel, having earlier spiked to $63.84 a barrel, their highest since May 1.

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Peak Oil Review – 30 December 2019

Oil prices rose for the fourth consecutive weekly gain last week, steadying at three-month highs. At the close Friday, Brent was at $68.15 and WTI at 62.72 after the EIA reported an inventory draw of 5.5 million barrels for the week ending December 20 in the last weekly petroleum status report for 2019. Gasoline inventories were up by 2 million barrels in the week to December 20, compared with a build of 2.5 million barrels for the previous week. Distillate fuel inventories declined by 200,000 barrels. Oil prices are now 30 percent higher than they were at the start of the year, and investors are more bullish than they have been in months.

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Peak Oil Review – 23 December 2019

Oil futures finished lower Friday, with declines accelerating after the weekly report on drilling rigs showed a significant increase. However, prices still climbed for a third straight week after easing US-China trade tensions lifted business confidence and the outlook for global economic growth. West Texas Intermediate settled Friday at $60.44, while Brent ended the week at $66.14.

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Peak Oil Review – 9 December 2019

Oil prices rose on Friday, closing at $59.08 in N.Y. and $64.31 in London, up about 7 percent for the week. The surge came as a meeting of OPEC and its allies agreed to deepen output cuts by 500,000 b/d in early 2020. The additional reductions will last throughout the first quarter, and the group will meet again in early March for an extraordinary meeting to determine if the cut will be extended. OPEC will shoulder around two-thirds of the additional cuts.

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