Month: September 2020

The Slide in Supply: Why Oil Supply is Lower than You Think

When the coronavirus pandemic destroyed global crude oil demand, supply was slow to respond until dramatic actions were taken. Now, with demand picking up at a rapid rate, supply is again being outpaced by its counterpart drawing down crude oil inventories around the world. While global forecasting agencies and oil companies alike predict slow demand growth to pre-pandemic levels, the supply picture will continue to lag behind well into the foreseeable future.

Gavin’s Gamble

This week, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced California will phase out the sale of all gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 in a bid to lead the U.S. in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging the state’s drivers to switch to electric cars. As California pushes to phase out hydrocarbons and make the switch to renewable energy sources, they have experienced electricity shortages that have left hundreds of thousands of customers without power. So, how does the state expect to power all the homes AND vehicles in the state within the next 15 years without reliable power?

Consumer Demand and Refinery Run Recovery

COVID-19’s impact on the aviation industry has been significant, but the decrease in demand for jet fuel is a only drop in the crude oil bucket. With the media focusing so much of their attention on jet fuel decimation, market participants are associating this fact to the overall global demand picture. Until the media’s portrayal of oversupply in processed aviation fuels is corrected, the negative demand outlook for the oil industry as a whole cannot be fixed.

Predicting The Impossible

On September 5th, Saudi Arabia cut its official crude selling price to Asia and U.S. buyers in an attempt to “boost global demand” all while U.S. crude oil inventories are seeing drawdowns at historic rates. In addition, the Russian Oil Minister announced on September 18th that global oil inventories are in decline and yet the world’s main oil forecasting agencies, analysts, and companies are pessimistic about oversupply creating a grim oil demand outlook. Clearly forecasting oil demand in 2020 is becoming a seemingly impossible task and has the world’s best scratching their heads.

Crude Drawdowns and Price Disconnects

As crude oil demand was decimated at the start of the global coronavirus pandemic, storage around the world began to rapidly fill causing commodity prices to tank. The supply and demand imbalance was corrected when producers came together to make global production cuts thus stabilizing prices. When economies began to restart and consumers began to leave their homes, demand started to climb to outpace supply. As storage levels began to fall, prices remained constant but when there was a tiny inventory build at the beginning of September, prices went into a freefall highlighting the growing disconnect between free market principles of supply and demand and emotion driving the actual price of crude oil. Instead of following commodity principles, pricing has become largely influenced by market sentiment.