Oil and gas explorations remain sluggish and failing to rebound as expected. At $40+ a barrel and positive market indicator would historically promote conditions for the industry to recover, however there has been no indication of a recovery to speak of. The new normal seems to be a slim, budget conscious, and efficient industry soup to nuts.
As many of us are focused on our plans for the Thanksgiving holiday, we need to be aware of market-moving headlines in December that could create a volatile price market – similar to last year. Let’s review some of the events which could present an opportunity to take advantage of market movement and protect your fuel budgets.
The Midwest continues to see the effects from the recent month of March floods and is causing ethanol to be near its highest basis level since 2014. While prices go up and barrels are trapped in the country’s interior, it’s causing the U.S. coasts to suffer from a biofuel shortage.
On December 26th NYMEX low traded at $1.6205 per gallon. Since then, the price has moved higher to $0.27 per gallon moving ever closer to the $2.00 mark.
This week the U.S. was not only faced with a polar vortex but the price of oil is on track for short-term gains with a possible spike in prices we saw last November. There are a few contributing factors to the recent boost that are highlighted below.
With constant fluctuations in price, fleet owners are becoming much more conscious of their fueling spend. Some may shop around to find more cost effective supply options, while others are looking at newer technologies to increase fuel efficiencies. Most of us have seen smart phone applications for everything it seems, but now trucking companies are more regularly looking into newer apps as a fuel optimization solution. Two companies in particular are setting the standard for over the road truckers in this category.
Many disruption scenarios can occur when a hurricane hits the U.S. directly. Whether it hits the Gulf Coast refineries and off shore oil rigs, New York Harbor refineries or the Carolina’s where there isn’t an energy infrastructure presence but a high density of population. I had the pleasure to meet with one of our experts, Mike Dombroski, Commercial Sales Account Manager to discuss in more detail how to better prepare and what could happen to fuel prices if you’re not ready.
On Saturday OPEC and non-OPEC producers agreed to raise production by 1 million barrels per day (bpd). Perhaps more important than that, they agreed to return to 100% compliance of the previously agreed upon production cuts of 1.8 million bpd. Production was lagging from struggling countries, i.e., Venezuela, Angola and Libya which effectively equated to a production cut of 2.8 million bpd. Most notably, Reuters reports that Venezuela has been pumping more than 500,000 bpd less than its target. So, let’s clear up the math. OPEC and its non-OPEC partners are effectively saying they are going to be ramping up production by 2 million bpd, 1 million to make up for lost compliance and 1 million in additional capacity. How are the markets reacting? The Brent-WTI spread is getting slammed.
On May 22nd we were hoping for a market correction prior to the holiday weekend. On that day the front month NYMEX RBOB contract settled at $2.2636. Climbing from May 2nd, close @ $2.0803. A whooping $0.18 price move inflicting severe pain on your local gas station distributor leaving retail gasoline margins negative in some markets and begging the question, who wants to blink first and raise prices?
Oil prices are lower this morning sparked by increasing trade war fears between China and the U.S. after President Trump sought to impose another $200 billion worth of tariffs yesterday.