Energy Markets Are Starting The Week On A Quiet Note

Market TalkMonday, Jun 27 2022
Pivotal Week For Price Action

Energy markets are starting the week on a quiet note as the market seems to be trying to figure out the latest geopolitical dramas like a Russian debt default, more sanctions (that could include a Russian oil price cap) and the restart of negotiations with Iran

Hedge funds look like they may be throwing in the towel on the petroleum price rally, with money managers making large increases on short positions and reducing their long bets last week. The net length held by the large speculators in WTI dropped to a 2 year low last week, while open interest for the contract reached a 5 year low. While funds pulling out could help explain the price pullback we’ve seen in the back half of June, this change does also leave the complex susceptible to a sharp rally if these new short positions are forced to cover.

Activity in the tropics is increasing after a relatively quiet start to the Atlantic hurricane season. The NHC is tracking 3 potential storm systems this week, and gives high odds that Bonnie will be named in the next few days. The good news for refining country is that storm looks like it will stay well south of the Gulf of Mexico. Another potential system is being tracked off the Texas coast, but so far it’s given low odds of becoming much more than a rain maker that would be welcomed by drought stricken areas.

Baker Hughes reported 10 more oil rigs and 3 more natural gas rigs were put to work in the US last week. That increase brings the oil rig count to a fresh 2 year high but there are still 99 more rigs to add before the total reaches its pre-pandemic levels. 

If you’re still wondering why it’s taking so long for oil production to ramp up with prices north of $100, read the Dallas FED’s Energy Survey that was released last week. The report shows that while production activity is at a 6 year high, costs and lead time for materials are both reaching records as supply chain bottlenecks continue to disrupt operations. While supply chain issues are slowing the pace of production, a FT article notes that the US may be the ultimate winner of the energy war

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Market Talk Update 6.27.22

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Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkTuesday, Nov 28 2023

Values For Space On Colonial’s Main Gasoline Line Continue To Drop This Week

The petroleum complex continues to search for a price floor with relatively quiet price action this week suggesting some traders are going to wait and see what OPEC and Friends can decide on at their meeting Thursday. 

Values for space on Colonial’s main gasoline line continue to drop this week, with trades below 10 cents/gallon after reaching a high north of 18-cents earlier in the month. Softer gasoline prices in New York seems to be driving the slide as the 2 regional refiners who had been down for extended maintenance both return to service. Diesel linespace values continue to hold north of 17-cents/gallon as East Coast stocks are holding at the low end of their seasonal range while Gulf Coast inventories are holding at average levels.

Reversal coming?  Yesterday we saw basis values for San Francisco spot diesel plummet to the lowest levels of the year, but then overnight the Chevron refinery in Richmond was forced to shut several units due to a power outage which could cause those differentials to quickly find a bid if the supplier is forced to become a buyer to replace that output.

Money managers continued to reduce the net length held in crude oil contracts, with both Brent and WTI seeing long liquidation and new short positions added last week. Perhaps most notable from the weekly COT report data is that funds are continuing their counter-seasonal bets on higher gasoline prices. The net length held by large speculators for RBOB is now at its highest level since Labor Day, at a time of year when prices tend to drop due to seasonal demand weakness. 

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

Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkMonday, Nov 27 2023

After Another Black Friday Selloff Pushed Energy Futures Sharply Lower In Last Week’s Holiday-Shortened Trading

After another Black Friday selloff pushed energy futures sharply lower in last week’s Holiday-shortened trading, we’re seeing a modest bounce this morning. Since spot markets weren’t assessed Thursday or Friday, the net change for prices since Wednesday’s settlement is still down more than 6-cents for gasoline and almost 5-cents for diesel at the moment.

OPEC members are rumored to be nearing a compromise agreement that would allow African producers a higher output quota. Disagreement over that plan was blamed on the cartel delaying its meeting by 4-days last week which contributed to the heavy selling. The bigger problem may come from Russia, who announced plans last week to increase its oil output once its voluntary cut agreement ends now that price cap mechanisms are proving to be ineffective

While an uneasy truce in Gaza held over the weekend, tensions on the Red Sea continued to escalate with the US Navy intervening to stop another hijacking and being rewarded for its efforts by having missiles fired at one of its ships.  

RIN values came under heavy selling pressure Wednesday afternoon following a court overturning the EPA’s ruling to deny small refinery hardship waivers to the RFS. Those exemptions were a big reason we saw RINs drop sharply under the previous administration, and RINs were already on due to the rapid influx of RD supply this year.

More bad news for the food to fuel lobby: the White House is reportedly stalling plans to allow E15 blending year-round after conflicting studies about ethanol’s ability to actually lower carbon emissions, and fuel prices. Spot prices for ethanol in Chicago reached a 2.5 year low just ahead of the holiday.  

Baker Hughes reported the US oil rig count held steady at 500 active rigs last week, while natural gas rigs increased by 3. 

The first of perhaps several refining casualties caused by the rapid increase in new capacity over the past two years was reported last week. Scotland’s only refinery, which has a capacity of 150mb/day is preparing to shutter in 2025.

The CFTC’s commitment of traders report was delayed due to the holiday and will be released this afternoon.

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

Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkWednesday, Nov 22 2023

Week 47 - US DOE Inventory Recap