Crude oil: Hail to the tweet!

July 5, 2018 08:34 AM
Daily Energy Market Analysis

Hail to the tweet! President Donald Trump is calling out OPEC and telling them now is the time to lower prices. The tweet this time had less of an oil price impact from previous tweets, as many are starting to realize OPEC can’t do much. The President tweeted that “The OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up & they are doing little to help. If anything, they are driving prices higher as the United States defends many of their members for very little $’s. This must be a two-way street. REDUCE PRICING NOW!”

There is not much the old cartel can do. As the Energy Report warned years ago that the trillion dollars of capital spending cuts by big oil would lead to a shortfall in the future, and that future is now. With plunging production in Venezuela and closed ports in Libya, not to mention President Trump’s goal to reduce Iranian exports to zero by November, there may not be enough oil around the globe left to meet growing demand. Libya’s National Oil Corp. declared force majeure on another two oil ports, to 850,000 barrels a day of supply has been shut in.  Even as the U.S. looks to become the world’s largest oil producer in the next few months, they may not be able to keep up with demand.

Petroleum Intelligence Weekly warns that OPEC spare production capacity may not be as large as we think. They report that global spare oil capacity has shrunk 17% since 2013 to 3.55 million barrels per day. They say that even if oil markets are only likely to need OPEC to come up with around 600,000 b/d of additional output in the second half of the year to keep balances in check, the precarious state of global spare capacity may well have the industry hoping the U.S. aggressive new policies against Iran and Venezuela don't succeed too well. 

Crude oil investment in the private sector has left us overly dependent on OPEC and that has caused us to be more vulnerable to price spikes as U.S. oil demand blows away expectations. Refiners ran 18 million barrels a day of crude and other oils for the first time in the week ended June 22. 

More analysts and banks are raising their forecast to catch up with our call that we had in the beginning of the year. We had a target of $80 a barrel with a possibility of $84. We had $65 a barrel a year ago as our target last year that hit. We wrote about a generational low in oil in 2015 and 2016. When oil double bottomed at $26 that would set the stage for a new bull market, and a new super cycle despite the shale gas and oil revolution. Now others are starting to see what we have seen and jumping on board. 

The Atlantic needs to be watched as we are starting to see some tropical activity. The Times-Picayune reported that the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday evening (July 4th) is watching two areas of tropical weather in the Atlantic Ocean, one of which it now gives a "high" chance of developing into more organized system over the next two to five days. 

Forecasters said in their 7 p.m. Wednesday update that the tropical wave several hundred miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands is becoming better organized Wednesday afternoon. A tropical depression could form during the next day or two while the system moves westward to west-northwestward at 15 to 20. Forecasters now place its development chances at 70% through Monday, althoughupper-levell winds are expected to curtail further strengthening once the depression approaches the Lesser Antilles.

The hurricane centers are also tracking an area of low pressure west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands, a few hundred miles south of Bermuda, that features disorganized showers and thunderstorms. Conditions favor the formation of a tropical depression before the end of the week as the system moves west-northwestward and then northward between Bermuda and the U.S. East Coast, according to the National Hurricane Center. 

Chances for the system to organize are 40 percent over the next 48 hours and 60 percent by Monday. The system is expected to meet a frontal system Sunday, which forecasters say would limit additional development.

About the Author

Phil Flynn is a senior energy analyst at The PRICE Futures Group and a Fox Business Network contributor. Phil is one of the world's leading market analysts, providing individual investors, professional traders, and institutions with up-to-the-minute investment and risk management insight into global petroleum, gasoline, and energy markets.