Oil prices rebounded on Friday morning as inflation fears fade and the global supply glut slowly drains, although the IEA did revise its demand projection downward.
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Friday, May 14th, 2021
Oil prices rebounded on Friday after a midweek selloff. Neither the bullish nor bearish narratives are taking hold at the moment, and Brent crude is trading in the upper-$60s.
Colonial pipeline restarts. The Colonial Pipeline restarted product flows on Wednesday, although localized shortages will take time to ease. The company reportedly paid the ransom, but the operator of the ransomware group Darkside said on Friday it had lost control of its servers and some of the money it had made through ransom payments.
Exxon ratchets up Guyana production. ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) has boosted its 2025 forecast for oil production in Guyana to 800,000 bpd, with plans for a fourth project in the Stabroek block. “Production is expected to begin at year end 2025 with an expected field life of at least 20 years,” Exxon told Guyana regulators.
Fed presses banks on climate risk. The U.S. Federal Reserve has asked lenders to start providing information on the measures they are taking to mitigate climate change-related risks to their balance sheets, according to Reuters.
Qatar to partner with China on LNG. Qatar is in talks with Chinese firms to make them partners in its LNG expansion.
Enbridge runs Line 5 despite shutdown order. Enbridge (NYSE: ENB) continues to operate the oil pipeline through the Great Lakes, reiterating that it is up to the U.S. federal government to say if the pipeline should continue operations. Michigan revoked Enbridge's easement for the operation of the twin Line 5 pipeline last November, citing repeated violations of the easement and the need to protect the Great Lakes.
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Oil prices drop. Oil prices fell on Thursday as concerns about rising inflation filtered through to market expectations. “Oil’s getting sucked into the inflation fear scenario,” said Bob Yawger, head of the futures division at Mizuho Securities, according to Bloomberg. Inflation tends to drive up crude, but knock-on concerns about weaker growth can drag down commodities. Similarly, expectations of interest rate increases can undercut rising prices. By Friday, oil was regaining ground.
IEA: Glut cleared, demand revised down. The IEA said that the global oil supply glut that resulted from the pandemic has disappeared, due to a steep drop in supply, aided by the OPEC+ production cuts. Inventories have drained off. But the agency also revised down its oil demand forecast for 2021 by 270,000 bpd, due to lower consumption levels in Europe, OECD Americas, and India.
Iran proposes oil sales via Saudi Arabia. Iran is looking to persuade its regional rival Saudi Arabia to help it to sell Iranian crude oil on international markets in exchange for limiting attacks from the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen on Saudi oil infrastructure.
Occidental sees stock fall after 1st quarter results. Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY) saw its stock fall by 8% on Tuesday after reporting a net loss of $300 million in the first quarter, but a strong $1.6 billion in free cash flow. Higher Permian production and strong earnings from its chemicals unit boosted cash flow. But the company’s incremental cash flow will be dedicated to whittling away at its $30 billion debt pile.
EIA cuts supply forecast. The EIA cut its supply forecast slightly for U.S. oil production for 2022 due to the ongoing spending restraint from E&Ps, lowering its expected output by 20,000 bpd to 11.84 mb/d.
ESG bubble bursts. Clean energy has so far been the worst-performing sector, with investors yanking cash from the sector at the fastest pace in a year. The iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (ICLN), a catch-all bet on clean energy, has sunk 26.7% in the year-to-date while the market’s only pure-play solar ETF, Solar Invesco ETF (NYSEARCA:TAN), has cratered 32.7% over the timeframe.
Biden's $2.5 Trillion Infrastructure Plan Could Send These EV Stocks Soaring. A massive $2.5-trillion infrastructure plan could send EV companies--and many of their tie-ins--to record new heights. And some investors are getting ready to pile in like never before as the “green tidal wave” prepares to reach tsunami proportions.
Pembina puts Jordan Cove on pause. Pembina (NYSE: PBA) “paused” its Jordan Cove LNG export project in Oregon, a project that has been on and off the drawing board for 15 years, but has been hit by repeated permit denials.
Tesla looks at renewables credits. Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) is looking to enter the multi-billion dollar U.S. renewable energy credit market. The EPA is looking at qualifying EVs earning tradable credits under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
Gas faces an uncertain future in Europe. With carbon prices hitting record highs and EU climate policy turning the screws on carbon emissions, coal is on the way out in Europe, but natural gas is also under increased scrutiny. “The window for (building) conventional gas generation does seem to be narrowing. We have the feeling you have to get material gas investments done by the mid-decade unless pairing it with CCS or doing something creative with hydrogen,” Murray Douglas, research director at consultancy Wood Mackenzie, told Reuters.
Renewables post record first quarter. The U.S. added 2.5 GW of wind and 1.2 GW of utility-scale solar in the first quarter, the best start to a year on record.
By Tom Kool for Oilprice.com
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Moreover, India’s COVID crisis, though serious, won’t be able to arrest the surge of both global oil demand and prices.
I am projecting that global oil demand will return to pre-pandemic level of 101 million barrels a day (mbd) by the middle of the year with Brent crude hitting $70-$80 by the third quarter of this year.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London