for Brent futures
The spread between benchmarks Brent and WTI has widened recently, a reflection of a sharp increase in U.S. shale production this year at a time when OPEC is cutting back.
Widespread hedging among U.S. producers and OPEC increasing its volumes even as some members deal with unexpected supply cuts have the potential to cap prices, or possibly bring about another leg downward.
Regulatory turf wars, disputes over the eligible crudes for physical delivery, and a sharp downturn in trading in a number of markets in the region have delayed the opening of China's crude benchmark.
Oil prices all along the curve have taken major hits. The futures curve may be underestimating risks from both geopolitics and deferred investment, or the rapid descent of the curve could in fact indicate the market is in for longer-term structural weakness.