This is usually the time of year where I am preoccupied by fears of relegation for my beloved soccer team, West Ham. However, with seven games to go, they appear to be almost certainly safe from ‘the drop’. Which is refreshing. It is therefore ironic that I see nothing but relegation and demotion in the data and dynamics of energyland™ instead. Here are ten such examples from the past few days:
1) EIA, Opec, and IEA have all released their monthly reports on the crude market, and all three have trimmed their oil demand growth expectations for this year. IEA’s justification is because consumption in Europe is expected to be the lowest since the 1980s.
2) Europe is to shut 10% of its refineries as profits tumble. It is to close 10 of its 104 facilities by 2020 as a 50% jump in diesel exports from the US in the last three years is coupling with waning consumption to spur on closures.
3) Energy-related carbon emissions from US consumption dropped to 5 billion tons in 2012, the lowest level since 1994.
4) Thus far in 2013, US net oil imports are at their lowest in 22 years as domestic production increases.
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5) Not only is the retail gasoline price currently heading lower, but it is expected to be lower in the summer compared to the previous two years (albeit marginally).
7) Long-term natural gas contract prices in Europe have fallen below those of spot hub natural gas prices - a rare scenario – due to the coldest March in over half a decade in the UK spurring on the immediate need for additional purchases in the spot market.
8) The spread between US-based WTI crude oil and UK-based Brent crude oil has narrowed to a nine-month low as a swift alleviating of the supply glut at Cushing, Oklahoma – where WTI is priced – is expected in the coming months.
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9) Natural gas storage has just dropped to 1,673 Bcf – its lowest level since April 2011, and 32% below the storage level this time last year.
10) In a similar vein to the Brent/WTI story, the spread between WTI and Bakken crude has virtually disappeared as rail and pipeline infrastructure has grown. Takeaway capacity from the Williston basin has increased from 678 kbpd at the end of 2011 to 1.1 mbpd at the end of 2012.
Thanks for playing!
By. Matt Smith