Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Wow 2!

Further to yesterday's blog about Canadian oil, during the evening the price of WTI plummeted well into negative figures.  Most of this is actually a technical issue - yesterday was the day for completion of futures contracts and when people had to take actual possession of the oil (rather than just trading it).  The problem is that there is not sufficient oil storage, and so people with a contract where they had agreed to take oil had nowhere to put it - so they needed to dump it on people who could take it.  At any price.

Hence the collapse.  And why Brent crude did not collapse in the same manner - people have sufficient storage.  For now.

The market is still in Contago - where the price for future product is higher than the price for immediate delivery.  Normally this leads to people buying ahead of need and storing - which both drives up the price today, and lowers the price in future.  For now the future oil price still seems to be somewhere in the $20s.  Storage is getting very full.  We don't have any real clarity on when things will get back to "normal".

So, expect more fun and games in future.  Realistically, expect oil producers to start shuttering facilities that they think can be (more) easily shut down and then re-started.  I expect that to mean shale oil and fracking rather than offshore, but I'm not an expert.

No comments: