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Matt Smith

Matt Smith

Taking a voyage across the world of energy with ClipperData’s Director of Commodity Research. Follow on Twitter @ClipperData, @mattvsmith01

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Oil Prices Hold Steady Ahead Of Inventory Data

Crude continues to churn in its tight trading range, little moved by Libyan supply concerns, nor by rhetoric coming out of CERAWeek in Houston. As we await another weekly dose of U.S. inventory data, all we can hear are bullish snores amid a bearish pause (paws?). Hark, here are five things to consider in oil markets today:

1) Last week we discussed how the loadings of certain Nigerian crude grades were on the rise, although still lagging year-ago levels. Our ClipperData below illustrate how export loadings of light sweet Qua Iboe crude are still lagging compared to 2015 levels, although having rebounded from lows made late last year.

Exports of Qua Iboe averaged 330,000 barrels per day in 2015, before dropping to 220,000 bpd last year. Loadings through the first two months of this year have now dropped below 200,000 bpd. For Nigerian production (and exports) to rebound, grades such as Qua Iboe, Forcados, Bonny Light and Brass River need to return to the levels of their former glory.

(Click to enlarge)

2) We get the monthly EIA Short-Term Energy Outlook today, to provide some food for thought for the rest of this year and next. We have to wait until next week for the monthly insights from the IEA (Wednesday 15th). but in the meantime, the agency has released a separate report: a five-year outlook.

A key takeaway from the report is that global oil supply could struggle to keep pace with demand after 2020, given the lack of new projects amid the recent price downturn. While non-OPEC supply is set to be boosted by the U.S., Canada and Brazil in the coming years, this drops off by 2020 (hark, below), due to the lack of projects coming to fruition at this time - because of lack of investment in recent years (down by 25 percent in 2015, down another 26 percent in 2016).

(Click to enlarge)

3) Staying with the IEA report, it projects demand is set to rise by an average of 1.2 million bpd each year to 2022 - a solid pace, but by no means replicating the 2 million bpd increase seen in 2015. Of this growth, 46 percent is projected to come from two countries: China and India:

(Click to enlarge)

4) U.S. wind and hydro generation are converging, as highlighted in the chart below. As of December 2016, generation capacity for wind has surpassed that of hydro, driven by wind capacity additions in 2016 (hark, 8,727 MW). Related: Could This Be The Biggest NatGas Find Of The Decade?

Nonetheless, even though there is more wind capacity available, above-normal precipitation on the West Coast this year means hydro will still produce more electricity in 2017.

(Click to enlarge)

5) Quote of the day comes from Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources: 'People just don't seem to realize how big the Permian is. It will eventually pass the Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia, and that is the biggest in the world'.

Mr. Sheffield has previously stated how he expects Permian production to rise to 5 million barrels per day by 2020. It is the shale play seeing the most action at the moment, with 308 rigs deployed in the basin, up from the low last year in April of 132.

By Matt Smith

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