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 is on the verge of an upside breakout as the oil trade is expecting that, at the very least, OPEC plus Russia will continue with production cuts at its Joint OPEC-Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) meeting on Thursday. Those hopes have been inspired by new Saudi oil minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman saying he intends to maintain production curbs as part of an agreement with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
The market also expects that he will do more than his predecessor Khalid al-Falih to try to raise oil prices ahead of the Saudi IPO, Mr. al-Falih’s major failing was to not get oil to the price Prince Bin-Salman and his father the King wanted. So, if Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the first member of a royal family to hold that role, wants to avoid the same fate as Khalid al-Falih, he better start calling Russia with a plan to announce a bigger production cut on Thursday.
In the meantime, there are reports that Iraq, the biggest cheater in the OPEC cartel, is now ready to reduce its crude oil production next month. Iraq’s oil minister, Thamer Ghadhban, said “We are committed to the agreement to reduce production.”
Oil is also gearing up for another bullish American Petroleum Institute (API) report. While Hurricane Dorian no doubt will start messing with the data, we are still expecting a pretty sizable draw. Private forecasters are reporting at least a 700,000-barrel draw at the Cushing delivery hub and U.S. oil imports into the Gulf should drop dramatically from last week’s pre-storm surge. We are looking for crude oil supply to fall by 3 million barrels. Products, as luck would have it, will fall by 3 million barrels as well.
More talk of shale pullback and fiscal discipline should lower U.S. shale production expectations. Decline rates are rising, and rig counts are falling, not painting a pretty production outlook. Oil demand drops in the U.S. have not happened and talk of falling global demand looks to be more overstated than understated. Demand in China stays strong and may get stronger with more economic stimulus on the way. The ECB may also add stimulus juicing up more oil demand.
Natural gas still riding the oppressive heat down South. The Nat gas injection this week should be 83bcf.
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