Forget OPEC, China Controls Oil Prices

China

 

U.S. shale has taken a lot of headline space recently as the biggest headwind for oil prices and the highest stumbling block for OPEC’s efforts to prop them up by cutting production. Yet, there may be another factor that could bring down oil prices as soon as next year…

China has been building a strategic crude oil reserve for the last decade, but the size of that reserve remains undisclosed, with analysts making estimates based on China-bound cargoes and satellite imaging. Continue reading

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve Is Slowly Dying

 

Forty years ago, in the wake of the Arab oil embargo that made the United States acutely aware of just how dependent its economy was on imported crude, the government set up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in a bid to make sure there were no repeats of the painful shortages the embargo caused.

Now, there are about 700 million barrels in the SPR. The U.S. is producing 9.42 million barrels daily, as of the week ending August 4th, a figure that is set to continue rising as shale producers keep on pumping more. Imports as of last week averaged 7.8 million barrels daily, with the four-week average at 8 million bpd. This means that the SPR holds crude oil equal to 40 days of local production plus imports. Continue reading

U.S. Returns Fire in Saudi Arabia’s Oil War

One day after Saudi Arabia declared war on U.S. oil producers by lowering prices in an attempt to dump cheap crude in the United States (US) market, the White House and private oil companies responded.  White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the U.S. is monitoring the global oil supply and demand situation but has no comment on whether it might look at replenishing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Then, later in the day, the Wall Street Journal reported that BP is going to export ultra-light crude without the permission of the U.S. government in a move that not only starts to breakdown the US export ban, but also is a direct challenge to OPEC and other producers for market share.  Both of these developments temporarily gave support to the petroleum complex, but it still was not enough to overcome the perception of overwhelming supply and Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda’ s prescription against the disease deflation. Continue reading

Obama aims oil weapon at Putin but will he pull the trigger?

Depleting your oil ‘savings account’ might not be the wisest idea when you are both one of the largest consumers of oil in the world and not one of the largest producers.

Oil prices are on the brink of possibly their biggest correction since the global financial crisis after Vladimir Putin’s gamble to use Russia’s crude as a political weapon backfired spectacularly on the Kremlin.

A potent energy superpower, Russia had thought that it could use its status as the world’s largest oil producer and biggest exporter of natural gas through cross-border pipelines to intimidate and quite literally bully Western powers into submission over Ukraine. Continue reading