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Energy Futures Are Mixed This Morning With Refined Products Drifting Higher

Wednesday, Aug 17 2022
Market Talk

Energy futures are mixed this morning with refined products drifting higher while both American and European crude oil benchmarks sinking slightly to start the day.

The American Petroleum Institute estimated an across-the-board draw in energy inventory on their report released yesterday afternoon. The ~4.5 million barrel drop in gasoline stockpiles was the largest drop of the three headline values. The institute estimated a drawdown in crude oil and distillate stores of 500 thousand barrels and 800 thousand barrels respectively.

Speculators will likely wait until the Department of Energy releases their weekly inventory report (due out at 9:30am CDT) to make their bets on today’s market direction. A further recovery of national crude oil inventories, which has been on the up-and-up since June, could spur more selling of the prompt month WTI futures contract. The price of crude oil has dropped around $37 per barrel ever since the nation’s stockpile re-entered its 5-year seasonal range after spending most of 2022 at new all-time seasonal lows.

Tail wagging the dog? Some believe a revival of the Iran nuclear deal is unlikely given the price of oil has returned to pre-Ukrainian War levels. The agreement to allow Tehran to continue developing its nuclear technology has been in flux ever since the White House terminated the deal back in 2018, resulting in sanctions that cut the countries oil export capabilities. Even if some sort of compromise is met, a return of Iranian oil to the global market is only expected to cut oil prices by $5-$10 per barrel, which pales in comparison to some of the market moves we’ve become accustomed to seeing since February.

The EIA published a note this morning stating that they expect the production of liquid fuels to outpace demand for the rest of the year. They highlighted that Russia’s higher-than-expected production was a main driver of their outlook revision. While further sanctions from the EU against Moscow, scheduled for the end of this year, still loom, the ability of Western powers to prevent energy exports from Russia are questionable at best.

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