There are a trillion reasons why OPEC plus wants to drive up prices. Mainly because it had been reported that OPEC plus lost over a trillion dollars due to the pandemic. Most OPEC plus producers view it as their right to drive up prices to get that money back and with the U.S. shale sector being held back, they will probably make that back and then some.

Iran sanction relief looks further out in the future if at all. Reuters reported that, “Oil prices rose on Tuesday, settling at the highest in more than two years after the top U.S. diplomat said that even if the United States were to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, hundreds of U.S. sanctions on Tehran would remain in place. That could mean additional Iranian oil supply would not be re-introduced into the market soon.

“I would anticipate that even in the event of a return to compliance with the JCPOA (2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), hundreds of sanctions will remain in place, including sanctions imposed by the Trump administration,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. Brent crude rose 73 cents, or 1%, to close at $72.22 a barrel, the highest it has settled since May 2019. U.S. West Texas Intermediate oil rose 82 cents, or 1.2%, to settle at $70.05 a barrel, highest since October 2018. Blinken is looking at the reality of the situation and saying even if we do get a deal, there’s a long way to go,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “All those people expecting a flood of oil are going to be disappointed.”

The United States told Iran on Tuesday that it must let the U.N. atomic agency continue to monitor its activities, as laid out in an agreement that has been extended until June 24, or put wider talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal at risk. Barriers to the revival of Iran’s nuclear deal remain ahead of talks due to resume this week between Tehran and world powers, four diplomats, two Iranian officials and two analysts told Reuters. So the oil market that expressed optimism that Iran’s oil would hit as demand ramps up this summer might know be faced with a looming shortage. With China still in maintenance there may be some time to adjust but not much.

S&P Global Platts reports that crude throughputs at China’s independent refineries in eastern Shandong province fell 1.3% month on month to 2.38 million b/d — or 10.05 million mt — in May, marking a 14-month low amid heavy maintenance despite refining margins have risen, according to data from local energy information provider JLC June 9. Regardless, China needs oil and is already feeling the impact of skyrocketing commodity prices. Get ready for more support from self-imposed “peak oil” production.

The Wall Street Journal reports Royal Dutch Shell PLC said it would accelerate its efforts to cut its carbon emissions in the wake of a Dutch court ruling last month ordering the oil giant to take more drastic action. In a post on LinkedIn on Wednesday, Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said Shell disagreed with the ruling and still expected to appeal the court’s order to curb emissions by 45% by 2030, but would nonetheless rise to the challenge of doing more. “Now we will seek ways to reduce emissions even further in a way that remains purposeful and profitable. That is likely to mean taking some bold but measured steps over the coming years,” he said.

In February, Shell set out plans to gradually reduce its oil output and expand in areas including electricity and biofuels. Other big oil companies have also pledged to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and invest more in low-carbon energy amid growing pressure from activists, investors, and governments. Good luck with that and another reason why the globe is headed toward an oil price shock.

The Energy Information’s Administration is predicting that gasoline prices will moderate and fall. I do not agree.

The EIA reports on the 2021 April–September summer driving season, “we forecast U.S. regular gasoline retail prices will average $2.92 per gallon (gal), up from an average of $2.07/gal last summer. The higher forecast gasoline prices reflect higher crude oil prices and higher wholesale gasoline margins. Wholesale gasoline margins have risen as a result of relatively low inventories and rising gasoline demand. Margins also temporarily widened because of outages on the Colonial Pipeline.

These developments caused U.S. average regular gasoline retail prices to reach a monthly average of $2.99/gal in May, peaking at $3.03/gal on May 17, which were the highest monthly and weekly prices since 2014. We expect that prices will average $3.03/gal in June before falling to $2.76/gal by September. The drop in forecast retail gasoline prices reflects our forecast that gasoline margins will fall this summer in response to rising refinery utilization. For all of 2021, we expect U.S. regular gasoline retail prices to average $2.77/gal and gasoline retail prices for all grades to average $2.87/gal. Higher prices and more gasoline consumption would result in the average U.S. household spending about $570 (38%) more on motor fuel in 2021 compared with 2020.

Natural gas is breaking out as global demand is surging! So much so the world will have to rely more on coal. Oh boy! Where are those windmills when you need them?

My summer outlook is still for sharply higher prices. Look to get hedged and stay hedged as we have significant upside risk. U.S. shale could have saved the day but with restraint by producers, lack of capital, and the new fossil fuel stigma, we expect Americans to be paying for climate policies in a big way and quickly.

Thanks,
Phil Flynn

 

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