Best in Energy – 19 July 2022

Crude’s physical tightness contrasts with recession fears¹

Germany’s chemical makers cannot cut gas further

Japan buys its most expensive ever LNG ($BBG)

China’s LNG imports set to drop in 2022 ($BBG)

China’s power generation at record high ($BBG)

U.S. labour market indicators are diverging ($WSJ)

EU calls for immediate gas consumption cut ($FT)

U.S. gasoline consumption fell in second quarter

¹ Physical crude markets are prompt cash markets and reflect the balance of production, consumption and inventories now. Financial markets reflect expectations about how production, consumption and inventories will evolve over the next 6-12 months or so and are anticipating a recession in future. There is only one price of oil. But near-term shortages are consistent with anticipating future surpluses as a result of an economic slowdown. The current strongly backwardated market structure implies oil is in very short supply right now (which has been evident from large and persistent inventory draw downs) but is expected to be more plentiful in 6-12 months time (as a result of an economic slowdown dampening oil consumption). The price structure embodies the cyclical behaviour of production, consumption, inventories and price levels:

LONDON temperatures continue to rise with the temperature at Heathrow reaching 36.3°C on July 18 up from a high of 30.6°C on July 17, with a further build in heat expected today:

U.K. POWER GRID is relying heavily on gas-fired generation to meet demand during the heatwave. Combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGTs) have been supplying around 50% of total domestic generation in recent days:

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Best in Energy – 8 July 2022

[MUST READ] EU still vulnerable to Russian gas cuts this winter

German landlord cuts heating to limit bills and gas consumption

U.S. manufacturers start to idle on higher energy costs ($BBG)

U.K. transmission operator’s investment pathway to 2030

Africa’s governments face fuel price protests ($BBG)*

South Asia hit by Europe’s rush for LNG ($WSJ)

Big nickel short position broke the LME ($BBG)

U.S. gasoline consumption fell in second quarter

* Sharp increases in the cost of food and fuel have often acted as the trigger for unrest. In eighteenth century England, increases in grain prices as a result of bad harvests or war frequently led to local disturbances, usually targeting bakers, grain merchants and government storehouses, with magistrates often calling in soldiers to restore order. Fuel riots were less common but a sharp rise in the price of coal would normally trigger a parliamentary inquiry to investigate monopolistic practices and hoarding. Food and fuel price rises were always seen as politically sensitive and a potential threat to public order (“The Coal Industry of the Eighteenth Century”, Ashton and Sykes, 1929).

U.S. PETROLEUM INVENTORIES including the strategic petroleum reserve fell -1 million bbl to 1,678 million bbl last week. Stocks have fallen in 78 out of the last 105 weeks by a total of -440 million bbl since the start of July 2020. The most recent week saw an increase in crude inventories (+2 million bbl) but depletion of gasoline (-2 million), distillate fuel oil (-1 million) and jet fuel (-1 million).

The drawdown in fuel stocks in the week ending July 1 is likely associated with the impending public holiday on July 4, which will have seen inventories pulled forward from the primary distribution system of refineries, pipelines and bulk terminals (where they are recorded) into the secondary system of retailers and local fuel suppliers as well as end-users’ own storage tanks (where they are not recorded). It largely reversed a big build in gasoline, distillate and jet fuel the week before as stocks were pre-positioned ahead of the holiday demand:

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Best in Energy – 6 July 2022

India limits gasoline and diesel exports

China issues new fuel export quotas

EU relaxes oil sanctions on Venezuela

Global LNG: trade report and statistics

U.S. recession indicators mixed ($WSJ)

Qatar is big winner from gas war ($FT)

BRENT’s front-month futures price fell -$10.73 (-9.5%) on July 5. The decline came on a day with little new information about production or consumption but traders seemed to anticipate a higher probability of an economic slowdown. In percentage terms, the decline was the third-largest since July 2020 and 4.1 standard deviations away from average since 1990:

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Best in Energy – 21 June 2022

China power generators relying on lower-quality coal

White House considers suspension of U.S. gasoline tax

Russia becomes top crude oil supplier to China in May

U.S./Germany sign firm LNG export agreement ($WSJ)

Australia’s power shortage will spur more rooftop solar

Iron ore prices fall on China’s building downturn ($FT)

United Kingdom addicted to currency devaluation ($FT)

China scrutinises Musk’s dual-use technologies ($FT)

SOUTHEAST ASIA’s gross refining margin for making gas oil from Dubai crude has climbed to a record $70 per barrel, up from $7 a year ago, as fuel supplies for freight and manufacturing remain at 14-year lows:

EAST CHINA’s temperatures have been 2-5°C higher than the long-term seasonal average since the middle of June, straining power supplies in the Lower Yangtze region and the provinces just to its north, including Jiangsu, Henan and up to Shandong:

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Best in Energy – 17 June 2022

White House mulls export gasoline and diesel controls ($BBG)

Australia threatens export controls on coal ($FT)

U.S. energy secretary to talk with oil refiners

Australia’s power generation shortage eases

Qatar/China negotiate joint ventures in LNG

U.S. power prices forecast to rise

U.S. GASOLINE prices at retail level and adjusted for wages are now at the highest since 2013. Wage-adjusted gasoline prices are in the 94th percentile for all months since 1994, up from the 60th percentile at the end of 2021. At this level, demand destruction should be evident within the next few months:

FREEPORT LNG’s prolonged disruption is expected to reduce exports from the United States to Europe significantly and tighten the European gas market. Reduced pipeline flows from Russia are likely to worsen the shortfall.

The premium for gas delivered in Northwest Europe rather than at Louisiana’s Henry Hub next month has more than doubled to €109/MWh up from €50 on June 7.

Europe’s summer-winter calendar spread from July 2022 to January 2023 has reverted to a backwardation of almost €3/MWh from a contango of more than €14 on June 8 as traders anticipate the market will be tighter:

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Best in Energy – 16 June 2022

U.S. central bank raises interest rate by +0.75%

US/EU concern about insurance sanctions ($FT)

White House complains about refining margins

U.S. refiners respond to president’s letter

EU/Russia gas flows fall sharply

Australia’s electricity market suspension

Australia appeals for power conservation

China to centralise iron ore buying ($FT)

Biden team divided over economy ($WSJ)

U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE increased its target range for the federal funds rate by +75 basis points to 1.50-1.75%, the largest increase since 1994. In real terms, monetary policy has become increasingly stimulative because inflation has risen faster than rates. The real interest rate had fallen to -5.25% in May 2022 compared with -3.75% in May 2021 and +0.38% in May 2019. The large rise was designed to signal the central bank’s determination to bring inflation under control as well as to start making real interest rates less stimulative:

U.S. PETROLEUM INVENTORIES including the strategic reserve depleted by -3 million bbl to 1,682 million bbl last week. Inventories have fallen in 75 of the last 102 weeks by a total of -435 million bbl since the start of July 2020. Stocks are at the lowest seasonal level since 2008:

U.S. DISTILLATE INVENTORIES rose by +0.7 million bbl to 110 million bbl last week. East Coast stocks increased by +1.2 million bbl to 27 million bbl. But total stocks remain -27 million bbl (-19%) below the pre-pandemic five-year seasonal average. Although inventories have started to accumulate seasonally the deficit is not narrowing because refineries cannot make enough fuel to rebuild stocks:

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Best in Energy – 13 June 2022

Reuters has launched a new twice-weekly newsletter called Power Up curated by my talented colleague David Gaffen. It covers all Reuters’ top energy stories. If you would like to receive it, you can add your email to the distribution list here: https://www.reuters.com/newsletters/reuters-power-up/

Oil price shock to persist into 2023 ($BBG)

Oil prices expected to rise further ($FT)

U.K. government orders fuel price inquiry

U.S. refinery processing likely to accelerate

U.S. Midwest at risk of blackouts for years

Food versus biofuel – land competition ($FT)

U.S. TREASURY yield curve between two-year and ten-year notes has flattened again in response to faster inflation. Traders anticipate the central bank will have to engineer a harder landing for the economy to bring price increases under control:

BRITAIN’s economy has started to contract as surging inflation hits household and business spending. Real output fell or was flat in four of the five months between December and April. The other major European economies, which publish data with longer delays and less frequency, are probably also on the leading edge of a recession:

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 – 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 – 30 May 2022

Russia threat to respond to sanctions with output cuts

Global oil flows re-route around Russia sanctions

U.S. seasonal gasoline prices highest since 2012

EU struggles to agree Russia oil sanctions

India’s coal shortage to worsen

Iran seizes two oil tankers ($FT)

EUROPE’s gas storage is filling at the fastest rate on record, and now holds above-average volumes, as utilities try to accumulate inventories ahead of a possible shut off of imports from Russia next winter, and high prices attract heavy LNG inflows away from Asia while discouraging industrial consumption:

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