International Energy Agency
It is increasingly certain that the future will not be like the past. Previous downturns have been equally devastating but the primary causes eventually reversed themselves; low commodity prices recovered and damaging government policies were rescinded. This recovery will be different for a variety of reasons which will combine to cap growth, opportunity and profits, even if oil and gas prices spike. The following major changes appear permanent...
Saudi Arabia single-handedly scuttled the Doha meeting, knowing all along that Iran would not participate, with a valid reason. The Russians and others agreed to proceed without Iran, planning to include them at a later date. So if everything was known beforehand, why did the Saudi’s pour cold water on the aspirations of the remaining members, risking its alienation from Russia and the OPEC community? Was it simply Saudi enmity toward Iran? Not exactly. Upon closer scrutiny, we can find the Saudi masterstroke behind Doha.
"In the post-Doha world, when we're still in what is essentially a free market for oil, the Russians will pump as much oil out as the market will absorb and the Saudis have said much the same thing."
Recall all those tankers we have profiled before on anchor next to the Iran shore? They have finally started to move.
Forget Doha, says the International Energy Agency (IEA), bet it all on US production crashing.
In another quiet overnight session, the biggest - and unexpected - macro news was the surprise monetary easing by Singapore which as previously reported moved to a 2008 crisis policy response when it adopted a "zero currency appreciation" stance as a result of its trade-based economy grinding to a halt. As Richard Breslow accurately put it, "If you need yet another stark example of the fantasy storytelling we amuse ourselves with, juxtapose today’s Monetary Authority of Singapore policy statement with the storyline that the Asian stock market rally intensified on renewed optimism over the global economy. Singapore is a proxy for trade and economic growth ground to a halt last quarter." The Singapore announcement led to a sharp round of regional currency weakness just as the dollar appears to have bottomed and is rapidly rising.
The worldwide rush to build liquefaction capacity has the characteristics of speculative bubbles and gold rushes of past centuries. In the case of the developing LNG glut, the blame must probably be shared by overambitious promoters and prestigious but imprudent energy experts.
According to the state-run Oil Marketing Co., Iraq increased crude output to a record level in March, ahead of the long-awaited April 17 meeting in Qatar where OPEC members and other producers may or may not (they won't) agree to cap production to curb a global glut. Crude output in OPEC’s second-biggest producer rose to 4.55 million barrels a day last month from 4.46 million barrels in February, while exports increased to 3.81 million barrels a day in March from 3.23 million the previous month.
Just over three months after the authorities lifted the four-decade ban on crude oil exports, the U.S. has actually exported less this year than it did over the same period the year before, when the ban was still in place.
"So a freeze on production is perhaps rather meaningless. It's more some kind of gesture which perhaps is aimed ... to build confidence that there will be stability in oil prices."
Oil prices have climbed by about 50 percent from their February lows, topping $40 per barrel. But the rally could be reaching its limits, at least temporarily, as persistent oversupply and the prospect of new shale production caps any potential price increase.
Remember last week when oil prices spiked despite a rise in crude production, inventory builds, continuing storage concerns at Cushing, and the admission that there is no March OPEC/NOPEC "freeze" meeting. Well that's all over as Russia's Oil Minister Novak conmfirms Russia's acceptance of Iranian rights to increase oil output post-sanctions, thus blowing away any ideas of a "freeze" or hopes for a cut in global production. April WTI just broke back to a $36 handle - erasing all of those algo gains...
In the end, the oil attrition wars may lead us not into a future of North American triumphalism, nor even to a more modest Saudi version of the same, but into a strange new world in which an unlimited capacity to produce oil meets an increasingly crippled capitalist system without the capacity to absorb it. Think of it this way: in the conflagration of the take-no-prisoners war the Saudis let loose, a centuries-old world based on oil may be ending in both a glut and a hollowing out on an increasingly overheated planet. A war of attrition indeed.
Catching a falling knife is hard, especially when it’s covered in oil...
Oil Rebounds After IEA Says Price "Bottomed" As Goldman Warns Of "Sharply Lower" Prices As Storage FillsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/11/2016 08:02 -0400
While today's IEA report which said that oil prices "may have bottomed" served to boost the price of oil, roughly at the same time Goldman released its own report, reiterating a well-known warning on inventory constraints, and repeating that oil prices may drop "sharply lower" as US "storage saturation" is reached: