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Bulls Back In The Driver’s Seat

Tuesday, May 18 2021
Market Talk

The bulls are back in the driver’s seat this week, and are threatening a test of multi-year highs for energy contracts. 

Brent crude briefly traded above $70 overnight, for the first time since an attack on Saudi oil facilities in early March briefly stirred up the futures market. This time, it appears to be demand optimism rather than supply fears driving the action, although the inflation trade seems to be alive and well, and could keep buyers interesting in commodities of all varieties.  Dangerous storm systems are sweeping through refinery country this week, bringing flooding, tornadoes and power outages to the region and causing several refiners to have to restart units.

The supply situation is getting better daily across the southeastern U.S. as Colonial’s restart is progressing well, although some spot outages remain and will likely continue for a few more days

While the supply crunch is quickly being put to rest, the race to not let this crisis go to waste is just heating up. Already the TX governor announced he was signing a law to force local governments to keep up with cybersecurity training, while others are realizing that the multi-trillion dollar spending plans to boost infrastructure should probably at least contemplate the use of pipelines.

Although gasoline futures have not yet breached new highs for the year, an EIA report this morning notes that average retail prices across the U.S. have moved north of $3.00/gallon this week for the first time since the price crash of 2014. While the Colonial pipeline shutdown played a large part in the most recent retail run-up, prices had already doubled prior to that event as the country started reopening, and there were fewer refineries operating to meet that increase in demand.

Meanwhile, the product pipeline that runs from El Paso to Phoenix was forced to shut for a day to investigate an issue following a power outage. That line was restarted Monday afternoon, alleviating concerns of shortages in Arizona and excess supply needing to find a home in West Texas.

Today’s interesting read: Why the great global restart is leaving supply chains short on just about everything.

Today’s less interesting read:  the IEA released its “roadmap” for the global energy system to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The plan says investment must stop for new oil and gas projects immediately in order to meet climate goals. Good luck with that. A note from the Financial Times offers an insight into how challenging the climate transformation is, and why business pledges to reduce emissions are easier said than done.

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

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