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Michael Kern

Michael Kern

Michael Kern is a newswriter and editor at Safehaven.com and Oilprice.com, 

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Brent Could Climb to $95 as Bullish Sentiment Builds

Bull

As bullish sentiment continues to build and Brent settles comfortably above the $90 mark, oil prices look set to continue to climb this week.

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- German industrial production finally broke through the cycle of gloom after it posted a 2.1% increase in February, well above the consensus expectation of a 0.5% rise month-over-month.

- Although Germany’s manufacturing is still below its pre-pandemic levels, the surprise hike in activity fuelled this week’s copper rally and reinforced the expectation of the ECB cutting rates from June onwards.

- In contrast to actual figures, business sentiment in Germany remains sour as the S&P Global PMI index dropped as low as 41.6 in March, from 42.5 in February, suggesting the country’s manufacturers don’t necessarily share the optimism.

- Europe has been the laggard continent in terms of rising commodity demand as oil demand keeps on trending flat, electricity demand has now declined for two consecutive years, and steel production has fallen to its lowest level on record. 

Market Movers

- UK-based oil major Shell (LON:SHEL) and Saudi Aramco (TADAWUL:2222) are reportedly vying for the LNG assets of Pavilion Energy, a trading firm set up by Singapore’s Temasek, in a deal that could be worth 2 billion.

- UK oil major BP (NYSE:BP) is reportedly nearing an agreement with Anglo-French upstream firm Perenco to divest its Amherstia, Cashima, and Immortelle gas fields in Trinidad and Tobago.

- French energy major TotalEnergies (NYSE:TTE) has postponed a final investment decision on its Papua LNG project to 2025, saying more alignment would be required with engineering contractors.

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Brent crude futures have established a firm footing over the $90 per barrel mark and not even a brief opening for a potential ceasefire in Gaza managed to pull it lower. Mexico cutting oil exports will ensure bullish sentiment continues to build in the coming weeks, with further directionality set by the US and Chinese inflation numbers this week, potentially even paving the way for a climb closer to $95 per barrel. 

LNG Prices Keep Calm Despite Strong Asian Buying. Spot LNG prices in Asia have been rangebound in recent weeks around $9 per mmBtu despite higher-than-usual buying from China and Japan as European LNG imports are set to drop to a 7-month low of 8 million tonnes on high gas inventories. 

Mexico Keeps on Cutting Oil Exports. Having withdrawn 436,000 b/d of crude oil exports in April, Mexico’s state oil firm Pemex intends to cut its May exports by 330,000 b/d. The country has refrained from declaring force majeure on its supply contracts despite stretched crude production. 

Guyana Struggles to Launch Its Gas Bonanza. Whilst Guyana’s oil production has been surging recently, its $1.9 billion gas-to-power project is running at least six months behind schedule, with operator ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) forced to halt 400,000 b/d of production for a month in Q3. 

Iraq Mulls Restart of Idled Pipeline. The restart of Kurdish crude exports to the Turkish coast is unlikely to materialize anytime soon, but Baghdad is repairing the 350,000 b/d Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline destroyed by ISIS in 2014, potentially re-routing some of its exports as soon as next month. 

Hedge Funds Embrace the Bullish Mood. Portfolio investors purchased the equivalent of 37 million barrels in key oil-related futures and options in the week ending April 2, with net length in Brent now standing at 300 million barrels whilst the outlook on WTI is more cautious, at 208 million barrels of net length.  

Nigeria’s Fuel Woes Bubble to the Surface. Nigeria’s national oil company NNPC is reported to owe $3 billion to fuel traders in the African country as the reimposition of fuel subsidies makes retail sales a loss-making business for the NOC, with payments taking more than 130 days to come through. 

Shell Mulls Delisting from London Exchange. UK-based energy major Shell (LON:SHEL) is reportedly looking at all options including switching its listing from London to New York, saying that if the European valuation gap doesn’t improve by mid-2025, the company could make a move. 

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Fierce Pipeline Dispute Moves to FERC. US midstream firm Energy Transfer (NYSE:ET) has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to look into the activities of Williams Cos Inc., saying it builds interstate pipelines without approval whilst the latter claims ET is blocking other operators from building new projects by not allowing them to cross existing pipes.

Guinea Is Running Out of Electricity. The African country of Guinea is facing an electricity market collapse as the state-owned utility firm announced it would deepen power cuts as energy sources get depleted, stemming from extremely low hydropower generation as well as breakdowns at thermal plants.  

Copper Bulls Are Riding High Again. The three-month LME copper benchmark contract reached $9,450 per metric tonne for the first time since January 2023 as a steady inflow of hedge fund investments keeps the bullish momentum going, buoyed by improving manufacturing data from the EU. 

Panama Canal Water Levels to Rise. The Panama Canal Authority indicated that water levels in the Gatun Lake should gradually increase from the end of May as the rainy season takes over in Latin America, with drought-heavy El Nino conditions giving way to La Nina, bringing more rainfall. 

Leaking Gulf of Mexico Pipeline to Restart Soon. The Main Pass Oil Gathering (MPOG) pipeline has successfully undergone a line integrity test and will be restarted soon after transportation was halted for more than six months, shutting 61,000 b/d of offshore production, following a November spill. 

Floods Prompt Russian Refinery Shutdown. Russian oil company Forteinvest shut its 135,000 b/d Orsk refinery in southern Russia because of unprecedented flooding on the Ural River, halting ongoing maintenance works as its product stocks would be enough to cover 10 days of regional fuel consumption.

By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com

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Leave a comment
  • Mamdouh Salameh on April 09 2024 said:
    If Brent crude oil price could rise to $95 a barrel, it could also rise to $100.

    Judging by the solidity of the fundamentals, the robustness of demand and tightness of the market and with China’s economic growth this year and its soaring crude imports, I can see Brent even touching $100 this year and that without the impact of geopolitics.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

Leave a comment




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