December 18, 2020

December 18, 2020
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  • WTI is up 12c to $48.48/Bbl, and Brent is up 8c to $51.58/Bbl
  • Oil is headed for its seventh consecutive weekly gain and is currently trading near its ten-month high
    • Positive sentiment has centered around news that U.S. congressional negotiators are closing in on a $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus package, which should boost short-term demand
    • Strong demand in China and India has helped push prices higher as both countries snap up crude cargoes on the spot market. Data released by both countries this week showed that their refineries were operating near full capacity as transportation fuels rebounded sharply
  • Joe Biden announces cabinet picks to help administration tilt focus to combat climate change on “day one”
    • President-elect Joe Biden has selected former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm for Secretary of Energy, North Carolina environmental regulator Michael Regan for Environmental Protection Agency administrator, and Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico as Secretary of the Interior, according to Reuters
    • AEGIS notes the picks are very progressive. If Republicans hold the Senate, Biden will be forced to pursue his aggressive “de-carbonization” agenda through regulations and executive orders
  • Goldman Sachs lifts its target oil price to $65/Bbl for end-2021 (GIR)
    • Goldman’s base-case forecast has tight oil production currently at 8.7 MMBbl/d, rising to 9.1 MMBbl/d by the end of 2021. Output will only grow to 10 MMBbl/d in 2022, still below levels reached in 2019
    • “Oil is a vaccine trade right now with robust demand seen in the 2H2021 as more people resume flying”, according to Goldman’s head of commodities, Jeff Currie
  • Natural gas is up 4.3c to $2.679/MMBtu
  • U.S. working gas in storage reached a three-digit withdrawal last week for the first time this winter season
    • Storage declined by 122 Bcf to 3.726 Tcf for the week ended December 11, according to the EIA
    • The withdrawal was in line with both the median and average survey of Bloomberg economist survey of a 122 Bcf withdrawal
  • The combination of cooler weather and an exacerbating gas supply crunch in Asia has sent spot prices for LNG soaring (Reuters)
    • Prices have moved high enough to kill off demand from companies from Pakistan to China who have cancelled LNG tenders
    • “Buyers with no alternatives are now paying top-dollar for prompt cargoes in January,” said Chong Zhi Zin, a director at IHS  Markit
    • Prices for cargoes delivered in January were estimated to be about $12.70/MMBtu, up a $1.60 from the previous week, according to Reuters
    • Front-month prices had risen to six-year highs of above $13/MMBtu earlier this week before rolling to the February contract, according to traders

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