The United States has joined the United Nations and Libyan government’s investigation into the potential brokering of an unlawful sale of Libyan oil by General Khalifa Haftar. The rebel general reportedly traveled to Venezuela to discuss oil contracts to raise money for his Libyan National Army (LNA) through the sale of crude oil. Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) is the only legal entity allowed to market Libyan crude as a result of sanctions given by the United Nations during the country’s civil war.
The U.S. Gulf Coast was hit by Tropical Storm Cristobal yesterday, causing offshore oil production to shut down by almost 24%, equating to more than 430,000 barrels per day. According to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), this was a 140,000 barrel per day improvement compared to June 9th. Occidental Petroleum, BP, and Shell were some of the companies who evacuated employees ahead of the storm. There were a total of 188 platforms and rigs evacuated by those operators. Since the last update, 61 of the 643 platforms had still been evacuated in the Gulf of Mexico. Cristobal battered southern Mexico and shut down ports over the past week, before moving through the Gulf of Mexico and depositing heavy rainfall from Louisiana to Florida.
As some countries begin measures to reopen and try to get back to somewhat of a normal routine again, Brazil is still fighting the spread of COVID-19. At least five oil producers have registered coronavirus cases among their employees and contractors at facilities located off the coast of Brazil.
The OPEC meeting that concluded today in Vienna ended with ministers approving productions cuts for the first quarter of 2020. The cuts for OPEC+ will be increased from 1.2 million bpd to 1.7 million bpd. A 500,000 bpd cut should be painless for the organization as they are currently at over-compliance with the cuts as a group. Saudi Arabia has been carrying a large portion of the cuts to compensate for the group’s non-compliant members including Iraq, Russia and Nigeria. The group is now tasked with divvying up the cuts and enforcing the members compliance with the cuts.
Ecuador’s government was forced out of the capital, Quito, by violent protests earlier this week. The country is already in an uneasy state with the vulnerable economy that has been battered by lack of public transportation and blocked roads. These violent protests stem from President Moreno’s decision to cut subsidies which led to an extremely sharp increase in gas prices. Gas prices in Ecuador have increased up to 120%. Due to these protests, the state-owned energy company Petroamazonas was forced to stop production after the fields were taken over by people not affiliated with the organization. The government has also deployed the army to key locations to safeguard the nation’s resources.
It has been a wild Monday for traders after President Trump tweeted yesterday that the United States will increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports, which, is casting doubt on the likelihood of a successful U.S. and Chinese trade deal.
Oil prices are taking a breather today after Wednesday’s strong rally due in large part to the gasoline inventory draw and low production levels in Venezuela.
WTI failed to settle above $60/barrel yesterday and President Trump’s tweet warning OPEC on high oil prices may be taking the wind out of the bull’s sails.
Chevron and ExxonMobil highlighted an aggressive strategy for drilling in the Permian Basin over the next five years to their investors this week. Exxon is aiming to increase production to 1 million barrels per day while Chevron is targeting an additional 900,000 barrels per day, all by the end of 2024. The presentations from both companies exemplify a growing trend in the region that has made the United States the world’s top producer of oil and natural gas.
WTI oil prices rose Monday morning to $56.94/barrel due to a barrage of bullish headlines which puts this year’s oil rally north of 22% and climbing.