OPEC’s gamble to cut production to shore up prices has not worked out the way members thought it would, but the cartel cannot be faulted for not trying. The inadequacy of its policy in the first part of 2017 means that OPEC will do whatever it takes during the second half of the year to achieve its goals.
Are Recent U.S. Crude Draws the Result of a Normal Seasonal Decline or a Delayed Effect of OPEC’s cut?
Crude stock draws are not out of the ordinary for this time of the year, but it appears that some OPEC members restricting supply has begun to bite the U.S. market.
North Dakota is looking to manage its resources and finances prudently to keep as much damage from oil price volatility at bay and develop longer-term sustainable growth through deeper economic diversification.
It’s groundhog year for the OPEC cartel, which has been unable to structurally shift fundamentals and prices in its favor since the price collapse in mid-2014, and it is reliving its catch-22 scenario with competing producers.
The recent increase in floating storage is an ominous sign that the OPEC cuts may not balance the market, and it also poses a threat to the ambitious drilling campaigns by U.S. shale companies that are still recovering from the price crash to below $30 in early 2016.
One solution to reducing dependence on imports would be to build pipeline capacity connecting the Bakken area to refineries on the East Coast.
Although some hold onto bullish sentiment, traders are skewed toward a downside or rangebound bias in the near term—OPEC has lost credibility, the large inventory overhang persists, shale’s resurgence and a rising rig count continue, and the spat over Qatar didn’t affect the market. None of these factors should change anytime soon.
While oil and gas supplies have yet to be significantly affected by the current spat surrounding Qatar, it could escalate tensions in the region, home to a majority of the world’s oil reserves, and lead to deeper geopolitical instability.
With domestic production rising and OPEC reducing sales to Asia, the U.S. has taken advantage of shifting market conditions by shipping more crude to customers overseas. The U.S. exported an eye-opening 900,000 b/d of crude during Q1, with volumes going to 24 different countries.
In the aftermath of the 2014 price fall, producer countries have had to reevaluate policy and economic strategy while contending with a persistent glut that may dampen prices for some time, further undermine their budgets, and possibly cause domestic strife.