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.

Happy 4th of July!

Good morning and Happy 4th of July!

We hope that everyone had a safe and enjoyable 4th of July celebration.  A special thanks to Steve Krueger, Steve Krueger II, and Emma Carpenter for helping in the Pardeeville Parade yesterday.  The day was hot, but we had a great time handing out candy and koozies!

The markets are choppy due to a short week of trading.  I will update more next week.  Please call now for your summer fill on propane and sign up for your 2018-2019 heating contract.  Information is available and being mailed out this week.

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

Best regards,

Jon Crawford – Pres.

 

Crude Prices Hit With Triple Whammy

Good afternoon,

Well, as I wrote since the last pull back in crude prices, I’ve stated that some key issues needed to play out in order for us to gain a potential predictable direction for crude prices.  Unfortunately, a triple whammy of events struck this week causing a massive gain in crude prices.  And I can safely say that the prediction for prices is now higher for the remainder of the summer.  OPEC has only decided to add an additional 1M barrels into a market that many believe is undersupplied by as much as 2-2.5M barrels.  The analysis caused crude prices to spike, especially WTI as the action puts more pressure on U.S. crude production.  Then on Tuesday, Trump announced that he would not ease into allowing countries curtailing their Iranian crude purchases starting in November.  He called for “absolute zero” purchases.  The action caused a massive spike in crude prices, more so in WTI due to the additional pressure on U.S. production.  And then today, the EIA inventory report posted a massive draw of over 9M barrels in crude inventory.  The announcement caused crude prices to rally hard once again, with WTI prices closing in on less than a $5/barrel spread to Brent.  WTI has closed in from over an $11 spread to Brent, to now just under $5.  The closing of the gap will greatly affect futures pricing for refined products here in the U.S.  Basically a 10-15 cent/gallon premium has just been added into the market.  I hate to bring bad news, but high energy prices are going to be here for some time unless Russia and Saudi Arabia greatly increase their production capacity.  The U.S. is pretty much at max production capacity and any supply disruption is going to have major upside consequences on market prices.

In local retail news, I would expect to see summer gasoline prices to stay around $2.75/gallon and diesel prices to stay above $3.00/gallon.  Unfortunately with all the events of this week, crude prices will not be able to unwind fast enough to offer relief in prices this summer.

Propane prices are also starting to take off.  We are still at the lowest price of the year and I highly suggest that all customers fill their tanks now.  We also have released our next season’s heating contract pricing.  We suggest that everyone contract their propane for next year given all the supply and geopolitical issues in the market.  Please call the office to schedule your summer fill and lock in your heating contract.

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

Best regards,

Jon Crawford – Pres.

OPEC Under Delivers… 2018-2019 Propane Heating Contracts Released!!!

Good morning,

The big news at the end of the week was the OPEC decision to put an additional 1M barrels of oil back on the market.  The decision is very vague and many countries will not be able to increase their quotas due to constraints.  Therefore, Saudi Arabia and Russia will be able to probably increase greater than announced.  Some believe the total volume will only amount to about 700k barrels which underwhelmed the market.  The markets reacted very strangely.  WTI Crude Oil soared over $3/barrel, while BRENT Oil traded about half as much.  In addition, BRENT is now starting to sell off which is easing the gap in price between WTI and BRENT.  China is working on ways to purchase more oil from Iran once the sanctions take place, and the overall trade war environment is putting the markets in a holding pattern.  Basically, the algorithms of the oil market are all over the map, and quite frankly, not much makes sense right now.  I think we will have to wait at least a week for more details to emerge before we can start to predict where all this is heading.  This week’s market is the perfect example of what happens with computer traded commodities and pre-programmed “sells” and “buys”.  Also, the US oil rig count dropped one last week.  If our production is starting to peak, I would not be surprised if we see these prices hold for the remainder of the year.  Last week our inventory also showed a massive draw in crude oil inventory but the equivalent build in refined products.  So basically, we just refined a lot a crude and put products into storage.  This was surprising considering we are in high demand season.  In other words, strange things are afloat and I’m just going to sit on the sidelines with my popcorn for a bit.

In local retail news, prices of gasoline and diesel are slowly dropping.  With the recent move on Friday, I’m not sure how much lower the prices will go, but at least they are not going up.  I expect, like with crude, more predictability in a week or so.

Propane prices have remained very stagnant during this crude price upheaval.  Right now, our board price is the lowest of the season and we recommend that everyone fill their tanks in the next two months.  Also, we have released propane heating contracts for next season!  Please call the office now for summer fill pricing and fill out your contract for next season!

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

Best regards,

Jon Crawford – Pres.