WTI Under $70/Barrel

Good morning,

It’s been a wild ride this week again for crude oil prices.  This past week we had Secretary of the Treasury announce that waivers will be granted to countries who might need waivers on Iranian crude purchases.  The decision contradicts the hardline stance taken by Trump a month ago when he left the Iran deal.  The news caused prices to tumble.  The EIA announced that crude supplies increased last week, but the news was overshadowed by news that Saudi Arabia and Russia held a quick conference call outside of the OPEC parameters to not increase production as quickly as the market is anticipating.  And then yesterday Saudi Arabia announced that exports were going to drop a bit in August.  All this back and forth is carving out a price around $70/barrel for WTI.  The next floor for WTI is $64/barrel and I’m just not sure we are going to see that happen.  I am still long on crude since I changed my position a month ago.  I believe that we are in a temporary dip.  As earnings come out, all energy companies continue to pull back on investment for exploration.  The potential for crude to really break out in price next year is looking stronger.  The only events that would really push crude down big would be the collapse of a stock market or slowing of a major economy.

Retail prices in gasoline and diesel fuel continue to slowly ease.  I expect prices to hold at current levels and maybe decrease a little, but not much.  If you are planning on taking a trip yet this summer, I would use today’s gasoline price as an average.

Propane prices have started to increase as inventory levels are not building as quickly as we would like going into winter.  Please make sure to get your propane tank filled this summer.  We are at the lowest price of the year.  Also, we highly recommend that you contract for propane next year.  I am very bullish on propane prices for this coming winter.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to give us a call.

Best regards,

Jon Crawford

Crude Oil Living in Bizarro World

Good morning,

Crude oil started off the week where we left it last week.  All information seemed to be pointing to higher prices.  In addition to supply tightness, Libya announced a pipeline going offline on Monday taking even more crude oil out of the market with no date of return.  And then on Wednesday, the U.S. reported a 12 million barrel draw in crude oil inventory.  I have not seen a number over 10 million barrels in years.  These factors are some of the most bullish news for crude prices in weeks.  Although Saudi Arabia and Russia are reporting to bring more crude oil to market, it will take time.  And then Trump announced that maybe he will offer waivers on Iran imports.  And then Libya “mysteriously” fixed its terrible pipeline problem in one day.  And even further, the U.S./China trade war took a new turn.  Regardless of this additional news, not much changed in the crude oil supply.  In fact, I thought by Wednesday morning, I would be writing that WTI crude prices were going from $75/barrel to $80/barrel.  Instead, WTI fell…yes fell… to almost $70/barrel.  The largest one day drop in years.  Myself and others are scratching our heads.  Refined products fell over 10cents/gallon as well.  I feel like we are living in a Seinfeld “Bizarro World”: down is up, and up is down.  For now, I’m sitting back waiting to see if we can truly unwind prices back to the original support price of WTI at $64/barrel.  My thought is that we will not fall that far, but in “Bizarro World”, your guess is as good as mine!

Refined product cost dropped for both gas and diesel.  I expect to see prices at the pump start to go down a little.  But who knows with these market conditions.  We could take off again higher next.  For now, volatility is the name of the game.

Although crude prices have dropped over 6%, propane prices have not.  I believe that propane has carved out a floor.  Basically, traders are saying with these prices that no matter what happens to crude, prices can’t go below current levels.  If propane drops any further, traders would be better off exporting all propane instead of storing for winter.  Summer fill is in full swing.  We also released next season’s heating contracts.  Please call now and have your tank filled at the lowest price of the year, and lock in your cost for next season.  I am still calling for propane prices to increase this heating season.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to give us a call.

Best regards,

Jon Crawford – Pres.