Best in Energy – 8 June 2022

U.S. president invokes defense production act to accelerate energy transition

(see also official statements on insulation, heat pumps and fuel cells)

Governments rethink intervention in energy markets

La Niña threatens to disrupt U.S. energy and agriculture

China’s leaders focus on transport and logistics (trans.)

U.S./Venezuela relations start to thaw ($BBG)

U.S. RETAIL GASOLINE prices have climbed to an average of almost $5 per gallon, the highest after adjusting for wages since June 2014, when Islamic State fighters were threatening to capture the giant oilfields of northern Iraq. Wage-adjusted pump prices are in the 92nd percentile for all months since 1994, up from the 60th percentile in December 2021 and the 53rd percentile in June 2021:

U.S. ROAD FUEL prices are rising even faster than crude benchmarks, resulting in an increasing premium first for diesel and now gasoline, as refineries prove unable to keep pace with demand from freight hauliers and private motorists:

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Best in Energy – 6 June 2022

Texas grid anticipates record electric load this week

OPEC⁺ and the growing gap between rhetoric and reality

U.S./Saudi rapprochement forced by rising oil prices ($FT)

Argentina struggles to boost Vaca Muerta shale play ($FT)

Germany’s policy conflicts over LNG expansion ($FT)

Africa’s shortage of local crude oil refining capacity ($FT)

MISO’s generation reserve could fall very low this summer

MISO prepares for power shortages and demand reductions

Russia/Ukraine war will reshape global energy flows ($WSJ)

TEXAS ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION has increased at a compound rate of +1.70% per year over the last five years, notwithstanding the pandemic and recession in 2020. Electricity sales to end-users in the state totalled 433 TWh between April 2021 and March 2022 (the latest data available) up from 398 TWh between April 2016 and March 2017:

U.S. PETROLEUM INVENTORIES including the strategic petroleum reserve depleted by another -5 million bbl to 1,681 million bbl in the week to May 27. Stocks have fallen in 74 of the last 100 weeks by a total of -436 million bbl since the start of July 2020:

U.S. EAST COAST DISTILLATE stocks fell by another -0.6 million bbl to just 21.0 million bbl in the week to May 27. Regional distillate inventories are now -23 million bbl (-52%) below the pre-pandemic five-year average and the supply position shows no sign of improving:

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Best in Energy – 1 June 2022

The United Kingdom has a two-day public holiday on Thursday and Friday to celebrate the sovereign’s platinum jubilee, so Best in Energy will resume on Monday.

OPEC ⁺ explores suspending Russia allocation ($WSJ)

Russia prepares to re-route oil from Europe to Asia

India’s private refiners benefit from cheap Russian oil

India’s record renewables output eases coal shortage

Africa pushes back against emissions hypocrisy ($FT)

U.S. retailers attempt to resist price increases ($WSJ)

Global diesel and gasoline shortage raises prices ($FT)

U.S. residential use of air-conditioning reaches 88%

OPEC’s spare capacity and market stabilisation

EUROZONE manufacturers reported a further slowdown in growth last month as rapid inflation and the war between Russia and Ukraine took their toll. The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index slipped to 54.6 in May (65th percentile) from 55.5 in April (74th percentile) and 63.1 in the same month last year (100th percentile):

EUROPE’s gas futures summer-winter calendar spread from July 2022 to January 2023 is moving deeper into contango as inventories rise at the fastest rate on record alleviating some concerns about filling storage sites:

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Best in Energy – 27 May 2022

White House articulates strategy towards China

U.K. announces windfall tax on oil and gas firms

Europe protects households from energy prices

EU runs into problems negotiating Russia oil ban

Offshore drilling experiences cyclical recovery

U.S. hot economy has unwanted side effects ($FT)

Thailand/Vietnam explore rice cartel ($BBG)

Space-based solar power – how realistic is it?

BRENT’s six-month calendar spread is moving into an increasingly steep backwardation again as traders anticipate a growing shortage of crude. High margins for diesel and gasoline are encouraging refineries to maximise crude processing which is intensifying the downward pressure on already-depleted crude inventories:

U.K. DIESEL and gasoline inventories depleted further in March as late-cycle tightness was intensified by the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and some panic-buying by consumers and road haulage firms. Diesel/gas oil stocks were at the lowest seasonal level since 2014 and before that 2006:

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Best in Energy – 26 May 2022

U.S. central bank cannot drill for more oil ($BBG)

China’s coal  use falls even as production rises

India to continue importing cheap Russian crude

India sources more coal imports from Indonesia

EU/Russia find compromise over gas payments

LNG market grapples with multiple uncertainties

Urban heat islands in Europe

U.S. PETROLEUM inventories depleted by -5 million bbl to 1,686 million bbl last week. Stocks have fallen in 73 of the last 99 weeks by a total of -432 million bbl since the start of July 2020:

U.S. DISTILLATE inventories increased by +2 million bbl to 107 million bbl last week – the second consecutive weekly increase. Stocks have probably reached their seasonal low and are rising as normal at this point of the year as refineries boost crude processing to make more gasoline. But they are still at the lowest seasonal level for more than 15 years:

U.S. DISTILLATE inventories on the East Coast (PADD 1), where shortages have been most acute, fell by another -1 million bbl to 22 million bbl last week:

U.S. GASOLINE inventories fell -0.5 million bbl to 220 million bbl last week – the lowest seasonal level since 2014:

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Best in Energy – 24 May 2022

U.S. president’s statements on Taiwan

Biden insists no change in Taiwan policy

U.S. Northeast distillate fuel oil shortage

U.S. Northeast home heating oil reserve

White House examines diesel release

Russia’s crude oil increasingly stuck at sea

LNG flows set to shift from Europe to Asia

Russia’s oil production declines ($BBG)

Amazon to sublet excess storage ($WSJ)

Sri Lanka raises fuel prices sharply

Iran/Venezuela increase oil cooperation

U.S. household finances strong at end 2021

U.S. EAST COAST distillate fuel oil inventories have fallen to just 22 million bbl compared with a pre-pandemic five-year seasonal average of 43 million bbl. Regional inventories have depleted to the lowest level since records began in 1990, leading to intense upward pressure on regional fuel prices:

U.S. DISTILLATE prices have been at a record premium to crude but the shortage is increasingly bleeding into gasoline inventories and prices as well as refiners try to boost output of diesel and jet fuel:

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Best in Energy – 23 May 2022

U.S. president ends strategic ambiguity on Taiwan

India cuts fuel taxes and boosts subsidies

Russia ends gas deliveries to Finland on pay dispute

Global refiners in dilemma whether to boost capacity

Electricity supplies are stretched worldwide ($BBG)

Saudi Arabia reiterates commitment to OPEC+ ($FT)

Fuel tax cuts are poor response to high prices ($BBG)

BRENT’s six-month calendar spread has increased to a backwardation of more than $13 per barrel, up from just $3 in early April, as traders anticipate planned EU sanctions on Russia’s petroleum exports will intensify the global shortage of crude oil and refined products:

U.S. RIG COUNT rose by +14 to 728 last week, with the addition of +13 rigs targeting oil-rich rock formations and +1 rig targeting predominantly gas-rich rock. The number of rigs drilling for oil has risen by +404 from its cyclical low in August 2020 but is still -107 below the pre-pandemic level:

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Best in Energy – 17 May 2022

China’s coal futures liquidity dries up

Texas generators tripped and strained grid

Iraq tries to retain Western oil investment

New traders handle Russian exports ($BBG)

Central bank emergency liquidity provision

FOOD PRICES and famine in ancient Rome:

“The price of grain is linked essentially with the concept of ‘famine’. As in the modern world, so in the ancient, ‘famine’ is a concept with class and financial connotations. The lowly and the poor in society had no reserves either of food or money and therefore suffered immediately as a result of a rise in the cost of basic essentials. The rich and upper classes on the contrary rarely experienced actual hunger during a famine because of their financial resources and even private grain reserves. If the shortage of grain persisted, the rich might suffer economically by having to use more of their wealth, or their own grain, but they did not starve. The poor did, not necessarily because there was a total lack of grain available, but rather because the current price of grain had risen beyond what they could normally afford to pay, whether because of crop failure, hoarding or speculation by dealers.” ― The Corn Supply of Ancient Rome, Rickman, 1980

U.S. GASOLINE and diesel prices are much higher than would be expected based on the price of crude alone, reflecting the shortage of refining capacity. Once increases in wages are taken into account, however, the average gasoline pump price of $4.44 per gallon this month is well below the peak of $6.17 per gallon in June 2008. In real terms, prices are only in the 81st percentile for all months since 1994:

Best in Energy – 16 May 2022

China’s coal output rises sharply in Jan-Apr

China utilities to rebuild coal stocks ($BBG)

U.K. gasoline and diesel sales start to fall

EU hurries to rebuild depleted gas inventories

EU explores emergency price cap on gas ($BBG)

Climate pressure tempered by energy security

EU/Ukraine steel trade disrupted by war ($FT)

Texas grid appeals for electricity conservation

South Africa increases load-shedding blackouts

EU backs down on rouble gas payments ($BBG)

Remote workers balk at return to office ($WSJ)

CHINA’s coal production climbed by almost +12% in the first four months of the year compared with the same period in 2021, as the government ordered miners to maximise output to reduce the risk of electricity shortages and cut dependence on imports from Australia:

U.S. TRANSPORTATION SERVICES (freight, post and passengers) prices increased at an annualised rate of almost +47% in the three months from January to April – as the supply chain remained under pressure and fuel costs surged after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed in response:

U.S. CONSUMER SENTIMENT has weakened sharply this month and has fallen to levels consistent with a recession in the past:

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Best in Energy – 6 May 2022

[MUST READ] Xi recommits to zero-covid strategy (trans.)

China’s transport problems caused by virus control (trans.)

EU power pricing under scrutiny ($EF)

EU softens planned Russian oil embargo

India to re-open marginal coal mines

U.S. SPR presents plan for partial refill

U.S. oil and gas firms boost expenditure

Russia/Ukraine war is spreading ($WSJ)

DISTILLATESHORTAGES are pulling up crude spot prices and calendar spreads as refiners maximise crude processing to meet demand for freight and manufacturing fuel:

U.S. FINANCIAL CONDITIONS are tightening rapidly as investors and intermediaries anticipate higher interest rates and a slowing economy. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s national financial conditions index – derived from 105 indicators covering risk, credit and leverage – shows conditions are the tightest since the first wave of the pandemic in 2020, and before that 2016 and 2012. The adjusted index, which attempts to isolate purely financial rather than real-economy factors, is the tightest since 2020 and before that 2011:

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