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Oil Rally Continues Despite Soaring Shale Output

refinery

Starting off the week on February 18 was an unusually comfortable experience for people in the oil industry. Saudi Arabia vowed to cut its crude output beyond OPEC/OPEC+ commitments, which has palpably helped to move prices up, moreover, shutting down its Safaniyah offshore field due to a power outage even brought in an unscheduled upward pressure factor. Even the US-China trade talks have instilled hope in market watchers that a deal might be reached in the upcoming days.

Source: Bloomberg.

The bullish sentiment was somewhat cooled by news of US shale output rising to record highs – the EIA expected shale alone to reach 8.4mbpd next month. As a consequence, Brent dropped from a year-high of $66.83 per barrel on Monday below $66 per barrel on Wednesday afternoon, whilst WTI hovered around $56-56.2 per barrel, having experienced a modest drop from its Monday year-high level of $56.39 per barrel.

1. US Crude Commercial Stocks Still on the Increase

- US commercial crude stocks have increased for the fourth consecutive week during the week ended February 8, up by 3.6 MMbbl to a total of 450.8MMbbl.

- The week ended February 15 is also widely expected to bring about another stock buildup, with a Platts analyst survey hinting at a further 3.5MMbbl inventory accumulation.

- US crude exports have declined by some 0.5mbpd w-o-w during the week ended February 8, however, they are expected to bounce back a bit from last week’s 2.4mbpd.

- The week ended February 15 should also bring about a rebound in refinery runs, which have plummeted from the early January level of 17.56mbpd to 15.77mpbd during the week ended February 8.

- Gasoline stocks have been building up for the tenth week in a row, the week ended February 8 witnessing another 0.4MMbbl increase to 258.3MMbbl, almost 10MMbbl above the 5-year average.

2. Another Oil-For-Goods Deal for Iran?

- The Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh travelled to Moscow last week to discuss future energy projects with his Russian counterpart Alexandr Novak.

- Russia and Iran are closing in on a 100kbpd „oil-for-goods” contract, under which Iran would provide the crude in its ports in exchange for Russia paying half of its value in cash and the other half in goods.

- It remains to be seen who would be the crude receiver on the Russian end, however, the crude would be very well suited for Rosneft to supply it to its…




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