Phil Flynn is writer of The Energy Report, a daily market commentary discussing oil, the Middle East, American government, economics, and their effects on the world's energies markets, as well as other commodity markets. Contact Mr. Flynn at (888) 264-5665
Oil prices are on the move as tension and rhetoric grow between the US and North Korea and bullish oil inventory data. As oil risk premium will rise on war fears, we also must acknowledge the great oil rebalancing as US oil inventories plunge by a near record 6.451 million barrels. This comes as US oil production fell by 7,000 barrels a day and the sense that even as the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) tweaks upward production forecast, the growth, along with OPEC production cuts, is going to fall short of global oil demand growth. US refiners are surging to 96.3 percent of total capacity, the highest since August 2005 to meet surging global demand.
The large drop in US inventories is showing clearly that OPEC production cuts are starting to work. Even as reports show that OPEC production rose to 32.87 million barrels in July according to their own data, it just seems to be keeping up with explosive oil demand growth. We had a big drop in Gulf Coast oil supply as US crude imports fell by 491,000 barrels a day. US fuel demand also has risen by 2.38% over the last month and an even with US shale oil production, we are having trouble meeting OPEC barrel for barrel as the cost of shale is now unsustainable under $50 a barrel.
Despite the talk by some producers that they can make it under $50 a barrel, the facts do not bear that out. John Kemp at Reuters said that U.S. shale producers need a WTI oil price around $50 per barrel to break even, according to an analysis of financial statements for the second quarter. Fifteen of the largest shale oil and gas producers reported total net losses of $470 million for the three months between April and June when benchmark WTI prices averaged $48.00 per barrel. Total losses were down from $3.7 billion in the first three months of the year and $7.4 billion in the same period in 2016, according to earnings statements published in the last week.
Kemp writes that shale companies have staunched the losses thanks to a combination of cost cutting, improved efficiency and the rise in oil prices. But there is considerable controversy about how high prices need to be for shale producers to cover all their costs and earn a return for their investors. Kemp says that some firms claim they can break even and even make large profits with benchmark WTI prices below $50 or even $40 per barrel. Yet it remains unclear if these figures apply to full life-cycle costs (including overheads) and all the parts of all the shale plays, or just the most productive sweet spots.
Harold Hamm, chief executive of Continental Resources CLR.N, a large shale producer in North Dakota and Oklahoma, has said prices need to be above $50 to be sustainable. He says that prices below $40 would cause drillers to idle rigs again. Kemp correctly says that some shale producers have lower breakeven prices than the average, and some higher, but the sector seems to need around $50 to grow production profitably. Empirical evidence suggests Hamm’s figures are roughly correct, with shale producers making small losses just under $50 per barrel. Readers of the my daily Energy Report are on top of this as we warned traders to not put too much faith in shale.
Gasoline demand fell week over week leading to a surprise increase in US gasoline supply but still US demand is near a record high! Gas prices may rise but that is reflecting better economic growth and more spending power by consumers so don’t get down in the dumps. Gas supply was up by 3.42 million barrels.
That is being reflected in rising distillate demand as well. US manufacturing is making distillate demand great again! I love when oil prices are being driven higher by economic growth! That growth may rescue some shale guys and save some oil jobs!
Natural Gas prices are also rising as the weather gives us one more blast of summer! Weather could also impact the entire sector as Mexican production is being impacted by Tropical Storm Franklin and two other waves that may, next week, impact production.
Questions? Ask Phil Flynn today at 312-264-4364
A Subsidiary of Price Holdings, Inc. – an Employee Owned Diversified Financial Services Firm. Member NIBA, NFA
Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results. Investing in futures can involve substantial risk of loss & is not suitable for everyone. Trading foreign exchange also involves a high degree of risk. The leverage created by trading on margin can work against you as well as for you, and losses can exceed your entire investment. Before opening an account and trading, you should seek advice from your advisors as appropriate to ensure that you understand the risks and can withstand the losses.
The information and data in this report were obtained from sources considered reliable. Their accuracy or completeness is not guaranteed and the giving of the same is not to be deemed as an offer or solicitation on our part with respect to the sale or purchase of any securities or futures. The Price Futures Group, its officers, directors, employees, and brokers may in the normal course of business have positions, which may or may not agree with the opinions expressed in this report. Any decision to purchase or sell as a result of the opinions expressed in this report will be the full responsibility of the person authorizing such transaction. Reproduction and/or distribution of any portion of this report are strictly prohibited without the written permission of the author. Trading in futures contracts, options on futures contracts, and forward contracts is not suitable for all investors and involves substantial risks. ©2017
Your best chance to prosper can only be found on the Fox Business Network! Are you in this gold and oil move? Well you might have been. Find out why we are moving. Get my report on gold and my Summer Solstice, the turning point for oil report. Call me at 888-264-5665
SubscribeReceive daily summaries of all Market Insights blog posts.
Enter email below.
Most Recent Posts