The dual black swan events of the COVID-19 pandemic and oil price war have created a unique analytical opportunity within petroleum products. As oil prices crashed, natural gas prices have largely remained unchanged due to the markets in which the commodities are used. Transportation which is the main use of oil has almost entirely stopped, whereas electricity generation and heating, the destination for most natural gases has remained similar to pre-2020 levels. Such modifications to consumption caused markets to go haywire and commodity prices to crash. With crude production cuts now occurring at a faster pace than anticipated and states lifting restrictions, supply and demand dynamics for liquids compared to natural gas has changed since April. As the United States begins returning to normal, an update to these commodity market assumptions is in order.
The worst of the coronavirus induced oil crash seems to have bottomed out as storage inventories saw fairly dramatic drawdowns in the final weeks of May, a reversal of events from the past several months. Such relief may be all but eliminated in the ensuing week as an influx of nearly fifty million barrels of foreign crude oil is about to reach the U.S. Gulf and West coasts. The volume of incoming crude may offset most of the production cuts generated by domestic operators and extend low oil prices until the inventories can be worked back down.
The dual black swan events of 2020 have thrown supply and demand far out of equilibrium but with China purchasing crude again and various parts of the United States starting to open back up, global oil demand is beginning to return. As the world begins to recover to pre-pandemic levels, market forces will support the shift back towards equilibrium just like the shift we are currently seeing in China.
Speculator sentiment towards future pricing of commodities can create a wedge between regional and benchmark prices even though they are based on the same supply-demand principles. As long as financial markets continue to buoy WTI futures, these price spreads will continue to widen.
The dual black swan events of the COVID-19 pandemic and oil price war have created a unique analytical opportunity within petroleum products as the strip price for natural gas is showing larger percentage increases than crude or NGLs because the market is pricing in the assumption that continued electricity demand will not fall as quickly as the oversupply of natural gas.
Eagle Ford Basin | March 2020 Field Overview The current WTI price is $25.88/bbl. A heavy shale play, the Eagle Ford basin is located east of the Permian, stretching from
Eagle Ford Basin | February 2020 Field Overview The current WTI price is $31.27/bbl. A heavy shale play, the Eagle Ford basin is located east of the Permian, stretching from