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Oil Prices Remain Rangebound but a Breakout May Be Coming

Oil prices have remained rangebound this month, but falling inventories and a slowdown in U.S. inflation could provide the spark for a breakout.

Friday, May 17th 2024

Crude prices continue to trend within a very narrow range, confined within $82 and $84 per barrel over the course of May, and despite this week's improving macroeconomic outlook Brent futures continue to be rangebound. That said, a slight US oil inventory drop and US inflation slowing down to a monthly rate of 0.3% might provide support for a breakout next week. 

ADNOC Eyes US Trading Expansion. ADNOC, the national oil company of the UAE, is planning to expand its operations into the US market by setting up a trading desk in the States while also looking for larger LNG exposure in the shale patch with ongoing talks on Rio Grande LNG. 

Colombia Turns Off Pipeline Due to Theft. The chief executive of Colombia's Ecopetrol (NYSE:EC) confirmed that the state-controlled oil firm would shut the Transandino oil pipeline running to Ecuador's Pacific port of Tumaco until at least year-end, citing rampant theft. 

Chevron to Quit UK North Sea. US oil major Chevron announced it would exit its UK offshore business in the North Sea, starting the process of selling its remaining assets in the area, claiming that its decision to quit is not related to the UK windfall tax on energy profits and a worsening political environment. 

Brazil Fires Market-Friendly Petrobras CEO. The Brazilian government ousted the chief executive of the national oil firm Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) Jean Paul Prates, opting for the former ANP official Magda Chambriard, who is expected to cut the major's dividend and push for lower fuel prices. 

IEA Downgrades 2024 Crude Demand Outlook. The International Energy Agency lowered its crude oil demand forecast for 2024 by 140,000 b/d to 1.06 million b/d, half of OPEC's 2.25 million b/d call for this year, citing poor industrial activity and weaker diesel consumption. 

Poland Probes $400 Million Missing Payments. Prosecutors in Poland are investigating the trading arm of national oil company Orlen (WSE:PKN) as some $400 million went missing after Orlen Trading paid two Dubai-based intermediaries as prepayment for Venezuelan crude that never loaded. 

Moscow Eyes Power of Siberia 2 Deal with China. Russia's deputy PM Alexander Novak said that Moscow and Beijing should sign a supply deal on the Power of Siberia-2 gas pipeline very soon, even though Gazprom's CEO has not accompanied Putin on his official visit to China. 

Rains Alleviate Wildfire Fears Across Alberta. The threat of ravaging wildfires in Alberta's Fort McMurray area, home to around 1 million b/d of oil sands production, subsided as two days of wet weather helped containment efforts, alleviating the risk of shutdowns for the time being. 

Trafigura Warns of 'Overdone' Aluminium Rally. Global trading major Trafigura warned that aluminum prices should decline by at least 6% to a range of $2100-2400 per metric tonne over the next six months amidst higher supply and worsening global demand for the base metal.

Exxon Strikes Oil in Offshore Angola. US oil major ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) has discovered oil in Angola's Block 15 with its Likembe-1 exploration well, two years after the last oil find in the African country's most prolific offshore license as Luanda is seeking to reverse structural declines. 

US Shale M&A Frenzy Still Not Over. Creating the second-largest producer in the Eagle Ford basin, US driller Crescent Energy (NYSE:CRGY) agreed to buy rival SilverBow Resources for $2.1 billion, pre-empting the takeover of the latter company by private equity firm Kimmeridge Energy Management. 

OPEC+ Meeting Shifted Online Amidst Quota Spat. The much-anticipated OPEC+ ministerial meeting on June 1 will most probably be held online as tensions start to rise over compensation plans for Iraq and Kazakhstan, two countries that have failed to comply with their targets.

Copper Futures Diverge as NY Steals Limelight. Copper prices traded at the LME and Comex exchanges started to diverge in a spectacular fashion, with the latter trading at a $1,300/metric tonne premium as the Comex July futures soared 10% this week whilst London traded flat. 

By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com

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Michael Kern

Michael Kern is a newswriter and editor at Safehaven.com and Oilprice.com,  More