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Dan Dicker

Dan Dicker

Dan Dicker is a 25 year veteran of the New York Mercantile Exchange where he traded crude oil, natural gas, unleaded gasoline and heating oil…

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This Could Be Oil’s Last Trip Into The $40’s


No need to bury the lede in this week’s column: OPEC will extend production guidelines in next week’s meeting in Vienna, and extend them even more than originally planned.

The oil market wondered whether the OPEC production cuts would even hold when they were first installed, now the market is about to get the added benefit of an 8-month extension instead of the planned on six months.

But what has been the response from the oil markets? They’ve been tepid at best.
This reaction has been attributable to one physical and one financial factor. On the physical side, oil production from U.S. shale players has been increasing strongly despite weakened prices and slow build outs of infrastructure. Unexpectedly, we’ve also seen very strong growth in production from offshore oil, which was thought to still be subject to a longer down-cycle slump than onshore production.

This combination of Gulf and shale production increases has seen U.S. oil production increase above 9.2m barrels a day, almost a U.S. record.

From the financial side, the last three upticks in oil prices has brought with it an avalanche of speculative buying from hedge funds and in all three cases has resulted in a ‘mini-crash’. Overwhelming speculative longs in recent markets has portended a drop in prices – and a subsequent ‘clearing’ of long positions, and losses, among those hedge funds. Related: Oil Prices Rise As Most OPEC Members Back Deal Extension

So, as we head into the meeting next week, where are we?

The inevitable rebalancing of global supply and demand has been slowed by the resilience of U.S. onshore and offshore success, but continues apace. Indeed, the IEA is already noting that supply and demand for oil may already be in balance. Infrastructure, particularly in the red-hot Permian basin could be the factor slowing the breakneck production there, and Russia has committed to a slowdown as well – boding well for a continued slack supply for the rest of the year.

From the financial side, the oil hedge funds seem to be using a formula of ‘fool me once, fool me twice, but never fool me three times’: Despite oil’s rise in the last several sessions, speculative longs have not flooded back into the futures markets as on the last three occasions – and that’s a good thing, if you’re hoping to see oil finally break out of its long $44-$53 range. Related: U.S. Shale Just Won’t Die: Bankrupt Drillers Rise Again

I’ve been accused of crying wolf on several occasions, that this will be oil’s last trip into the $40s – but this will be oil’s last trip into the $40’s.

Therefore, I do advise an aggressive accumulation of oil stocks going into the meeting next week. Last week, I gave some ideas and a certain sliding scale of my preferred U.S. E+P’s – with Apache (APA) coming out on top for me. That one has performed well since my recommendation and continues to be a top choice. On the list of majors, I will also stick with a long favorite: Total (Tot).

By Dan Dicker for Oilprice.com

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  • Josh Gregner on May 22 2017 said:
    Your write "I’ve been accused of crying wolf on several occasions, that this will be oil’s last trip into the $40s – but this will be oil’s last trip into the $40’s.

    Therefore, I do advise an aggressive accumulation of oil stocks going into the meeting next week."

    I find this kind of advice rather reckless. What makes you so convinced that this is the last trip into the 40s? What we have seen is that prices only inch higher when OPEC agrees to severe cuts, letting US shale eat their lunch. How long will this work? Until the Aramco IPO is over to justify the >70USD barrels valuation that is the basis for its desired IPO price?

    And where is oil demand supposed to come from? China is moving aggressively towards electrification of its transport (laws are enacted, going into effect 1 Jan 2018), India just released the new GST tax rates with favoring EVs and penalizing all other cars including hybrids. And without these two - where will demand growth come from?

    We have seen what a modest decline in demand is doing to coal. What for the same thing happening in oil over the coming years...
  • Jack on May 22 2017 said:
    Oil is going to 45 again! Too much supply,.. It is not going to rebalance anytime soon
  • Josh Gregner on May 25 2017 said:
    As mentioned before, you write "I’ve been accused of crying wolf on several occasions, that this will be oil’s last trip into the $40s – but this will be oil’s last trip into the $40’s."

    With today's trip into the 40's it took all of 4 days for you to have some egg on your face.
  • zorro6204 on May 25 2017 said:
    Well, another oil price prediction bites the dust, and it didn't take long! $45 looks like it might be the new $55.
  • Robert Curtis on May 26 2017 said:
    "Therefore, I do advise an aggressive accumulation of oil stocks going into the meeting next week." How'd that work out for ya?
  • Marcus Rönningås on May 26 2017 said:
    Agreed. Oil will never go back to 40 in a couple of years, 2025 or so. 35 will probably be the new 55.

    We are just about to order our second EV, and with COO (Certificates Of Origin) for all our electricity at home, it's by-by C02S.

    Might sound provocative to some perhaps, but changes are already happening. Either you go along with the changes, or get left behind.
  • Victor Silagy on June 07 2017 said:
    I immediately saved this article when I first read it for the inevitable purpose of coming back to it on a day like this.
    If this wasn't already a misguided call before Vienna even happened, then it just got a whole lot worse! A healthy degree of cynicism is more valuable in financial markets than in anything else.

    PS: To anyone who actually took this articles advice I really hope you got out after Vienna.

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