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Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for US-based Divergente LLC consulting firm, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.

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U.S. Oil Rig Count Inches Higher As WTI Pops

Drilling rig

Baker Hughes reported an increase in the number of active oil rigs in the United States today. The overall rig count increased by 5 rigs, according to the report, with all of that increase coming from oil rigs, the number of gas rigs stayed the same.

The oil and gas rig count now stands at 1,052—up 100 from this time last year.

Canada, for its part, gained 10 oil rigs for the week—after last week’s gain of 12 oil and gas rigs. After multiple weeks of significant gains, Canada’s oil and gas rig count is now up 7 year over year.

Oil benchmarks went in different directions again on Friday afternoon, with WTI trading up and Brent trading down as fears of the escalating U.S.-Chinese trade war and increased production by Saudi Arabia and Russia pulled against concerns over supply disruptions from Venezuela and Libya as well as the looming sanctions on Iran. Saudi Arabia had earlier reported to OPEC that they had pumped 10.488 million bpd in June, up by 458,000 bpd from their self-reported figure for May, OPEC sources told Reuters.

At 08:23 a.m. EDT today, WTI Crude was down 0.78 percent at $72.37, and Brent Crude traded down 1.23 percent at $76.44. At 11:39am EDT, the WTI benchmark had rallied and was trading up 0.88% (+$0.64) to $73.58—although still down week over week, while Brent traded down 0.47% (-$0.36) to $77.03 at that time—also down week over week.

The steady upward climb that U.S. oil production has been on throughout 2018 appears to have leveled off at 10.900 million bpd, where it has hovered for four weeks now.

At 6 minutes after the hour, WTI was trading up 1.14% at $73.77, with Brent trading down 0.30% at $77.16.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • Neil Dusseault on July 06 2018 said:
    I've been trading commodities in the futures market for over 18 years now, and WTI for about 10 years...and of all I've been a part of and laid witness to, crude oil is by far tipped in the favor of oil bulls.

    Let's be honest: As the world's most actively traded commodity (no, not futures product--that title goes to the E-mini S&P 500), crude oil is easily the most manipulated market of all. There is constant jawboning on behalf of OPEC and investment banks (such as Goldman Sachs). Therefore, traditional commodity speculators who rely on both technical analysis and the fundamentals are in big trouble with this market as chart formations and data from various weekly reports mean little compared to the overall sentiment given from geopolitical events.

    It must be nice to be an "oil bull": WTI went from $26.05/bbl in February 2016 to more than twice that by this time of year in 2016. Also since February 2016 WTI has now almost tripled in price. Considering Tuesday's high of $75.27 means that WTI is up more than $30/bbl since this time last year (that's an approx. 70% increase).

    I always find it interesting how regardless of what the monthly non-farm payrolls (jobs report) says, WTI always rises (e.g., if the numbers were less than expected--WTI goes up because of a weaker dollar based on the report, whereas if the numbers were more than expected--WTI still goes up claiming more jobs = more demand). The same is true for whether or not the Federal Reserve decides to raise interest rates--either way, WTI always goes up.

    Even this week, with a surprise build in inventory and an increase in rig count data, WTI avoids lowering in price and constantly stays near session highs until it eventually makes a new high all the way until the close. Short-covering is allowed on any "down" day for the markets, as though international law forbids prices from STAYING down, but on every day WTI is up, never does such a thing as "long unwinding" occur.

    As a member of the middle, middle-class here in the USA, quite frankly I'm tired of continuing to pay more and more for the same amount of gas etc. not because of inflation, but because my demand for oil to get to and from work, my daughter's daycare, and the grocery store means I must deserve to be punished. If Trump truly was concerned about high oil prices, then he would do what then-president George W. Bush did in July 2008 (following all-time highs of almost $150/bbl on WTI, adjusted-for-inflation = higher than the oil embargo during the 1970s): He mandated that the margin requirements on WTI be raised considerably, and look at what happened by early 2009--the WTI back into the $30s/bbl.

    I just want every oil bull to remember two things:
    1) To invest in WTI, the current margin requirements are approx. $3,250/contract. Since each contract = 1,000 bbl that means that those in the market that determine the price of this global commodity pay about $3.25/bbl or less than 8 cents a gallon. Let that sink in for just a minute.
    2) Ultimately, you're not helping the U.S. oil sector (like many people I know of here in Texas) nearly as much as you're helping members of OPEC+. Remember 9/11. Recall who is among the largest importer of arms...and don't forget--all those hard-working folks that you think you're helping in the U.S. will never enjoy the life of an average citizen of U.A.E. or Kuwait--which holds the world's strongest currency (1 Kuwaiti dinar = between 3 and 4 USD).
  • Louis on July 06 2018 said:
    Well put, put and not too much bull in that one.
  • Jonathan on July 06 2018 said:
    When WTI hit 72.14 and walked all day to 74 it was again clear the banks own oil pricing and when they see it fit to run down it will, but not the open market.

    It's a shame Nymex and cme stand by while this stuff plays out. They really should cap these banks ability to buy 10k+ contracts a day because their funding allows pricing manipulation that isn't merited. If you or I could do such a thing we would be kicked out of the system and sent to prison for price manipulation.

    The front month is clearly overbought, check the spreads. China economy is not doing well. China is getting sanctioned more and more by heir biggest customer and leading Iran oil purchasers met in Vienna today to agree to keep buying Iran oil.

    Yet price went up $2 and never retraced.

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