The Phil Flynn Energy Report
It Ain't Easy
When it comes to an Iran deal, it just isn’t going to be that easy. Oil prices are being boosted by increasing demand and demand expectations, along with the fact that an Iran nuclear deal is becoming more difficult to reach, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that it’s unlikely that Iran will comply.
Mr. Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, trying to shore up a cease-fire between Israel and Palestine, and while Netanyahu said that he supports an international effort to rebuild the Gaza Strip without helping Hamas, saying that, “If Hamas breaks the calm and attacks Israel, our response will be very powerful,” Mr. Netanyahu also warned about the folly of an Iranian nuclear deal.
Regarding Iran, Netanyahu says: “I hope that the United States will not go back to the old JCPOA. We believe that that  deal paves the way for Iran to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons with international legitimacy.”
“Whatever happens,” said Netanyahu, “Israel will always reserve the right to defend itself against a regime committed to our destruction, committed to getting the weapons of mass destruction for that end.”
Yesterday was even more clear: in a ceremony marking the appointment of incoming Mossad Chief David Barnea and with many Mossad members in attendance, Netanyahu said, “The first task of each one of you is to prevent Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons.”
Yet, Bloomberg says the following:
World powers convene Tuesday in Vienna for the fifth round of negotiations to revive a landmark agreement that will reinstate caps on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the country’s return to oil markets and the global economy.
The talks with Iran are being closely watched by energy traders trying to measure when the Persian Gulf nation— which holds the world’s fourth-largest oil and second-largest natural gas reserves— could resume exports.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani won backing from his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Monday, with the two leaders agreeing to deepen trade and energy links once a return to the 2015 accord is finalized.
“We’re optimistic that differences over some small details and operational affairs will be resolved in the not-so-distant days ahead,” Ali Rabiei, spokesman for the Iranian government, said Tuesday in Tehran. U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley struck a more cautious note before departing for the talks that are in their seventh week.
As we predicted, retail gasoline prices have stabilized and are falling, but not by that much. AAA reports the following:
Motorists hitting the road this week to celebrate the unofficial kick-off to summer will be greeted with the most expensive Memorial Day weekend gas prices since 2014. The national average has stabilized following the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, but pump prices are likely to fluctuate leading up to the holiday weekend.
Over the past weekend, the national gas price average declined a penny to $3.03, the first decrease in two weeks. While barely cheaper on the week, the average is 17 cents more than last month and $1.12 more expensive than last year.
“AAA expects 37 million Americans to travel, mostly by car and plane, for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. That is a 60% increase over last year’s holiday and a strong indication that summer travel is going to be largely popular,” said Jeanette McGee, AAA spokesperson. “With the increase in travel demand, gas prices are going to be expensive no matter where you fill up, so plan.”
While the Colonial Pipeline is back in operation and deliveries are in progress, some stations in the southeast continue to experience supply strain. This is likely to extend into the holiday weekend, but motorists will be able to fill up.
AAA says that, “Holiday road trippers may come across some gas stations with low fuel supply in popular travel destinations, like beaches, mountains or national parks. However, markets are not expected to be fuel-less, like we saw in the wake of the pipeline shutdown,” added McGee.
This comes as the Department of Transportation says that U.S. March on-road travel was up 19% from a year ago.
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