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Renewables Already Limit Upside For Oil

Your author is a firm believer in the idea that sentiment- rather than fundamentals- drives market prices in the short term. That’s why our notes tend to obsess over sentiment measures like hedge fund positioning, options markets and time spreads instead of longer term supply and demand balances. As Lord Keynes once put it- “the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.”

You often get more bang for your buck as a trader if you can accurately gauge the temperature of the herd as opposed to having prescient calls related to fundamentals or geopolitics. Nevertheless, we still need to work to have as good an understanding as we can on long term oil market themes and were excited as always when BP recently released their comprehensive Energy Outlook for 2019 last week. After a not so quick read, the trend which most interested us was the discussion of renewable energy and electric vehicle market penetration in the context of what we view as short term bearish issues with US gasoline demand growth.

BP sees renewable energy supplying about 4% of total energy today and expects that figure to reach 15% by 2040. The company also argues that renewables will become the largest source of power generation by 2040. To paraphrase BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale, this would represent the fastest penetration of the world’s energy system of any fuel in history.

Just for fun, let’s assume that BP’s forecast is ultimately…




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