Is Saudi Arabia’s Oil Strategy Working?

The IMF estimated that Saudi Arabia will need oil prices to trade at about $70 per barrel in 2018 for its budget to breakeven, a dramatic improvement from the $96.60 per barrel it needed just last year. Saudi’s improvement is the most dramatic out of all the Middle Eastern oil producers, and it also suggests the combination of austerity, cuts to wasteful subsidies, new taxes and economic reforms are starting to bear fruit. The improvement is all the more important because Saudi Arabia and its fellow OPEC members are restraining output as…

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Can $60 Oil Last?

Brent is back at $60 for the first time in more than two years, but the big question is: Can crude hold onto its gains? Oil prices firmed up in recent weeks, but held back from key resistance points—roughly $60 per barrel for Brent, and around $55 per barrel for WTI. Oil traders were reluctant to test the upper limits of the “shale band” at $60, a threshold that has repeatedly forced traders to liquidate their bullish bets or get burned. Top analysts argue that it would take something really significant to allow oil to break above…

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The Rise Of The Petroyuan

China is aiming to overthrow the U.S. dollar as the currency of choice for the oil market, a move that could have far-reaching consequences. Since the 1970s, the oil trade has almost entirely been conducted in U.S. dollars, even when buyers and producers are not American. The ramifications of the dollar-denominated oil trade are immense: Because oil is priced in dollars, there is huge demand for dollars, lending the U.S. economic and strategic power.   Beijing hopes to challenge the dollar by setting up a futures market with its own currency,…

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Iraq Seizes Kirkuk, Briefly Knocks 350,000 Bpd Offline

Oil prices spiked on Monday after Iraqi forces seized the oil fields around Kirkuk, which had largely been under Kurdish control since 2014. There were conflicting reports as of Monday, but oil supplies from the region may have been disrupted, although perhaps only temporarily. The military maneuver by Iraqi forces comes as retaliation for the Kurdish independence vote staged a few weeks ago, a move condemned by Baghdad, as well as the governments of Turkey and Iran, both of which have their own Kurdish populations. Iran closed border crossings,…

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IEA: “Era Of Expensive Renewables Is Over”

After a record breaking year in 2016 for solar PV, the IEA overhauled its forecast for the next five years, significantly raising the projected growth profile for renewable energy. In its new report, Renewables 2017, the IEA argued that it now sees renewable energy as a serious global force, increasingly taking market share away from coal and natural gas. The Paris-based energy agency cited 2016 as a watershed moment, a year in which 164 gigawatts of new renewable energy capacity came online around the world, more than triple the amount of new…

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What Really Killed The Oil Price Rally

The oil market gained a lot of momentum in August and September, and Brent flirted with $60 per barrel toward the end of last month. But suddenly, oil prices have pulled back from their recent highs, and could head lower unless some bullish data emerges. The recent rally—unlike other rallies over the past three years—has been underpinned by substantial improvements in the underlying fundamentals. Global refined product stocks are just a bit above the five-year average, having drained significantly in recent months. Crude stocks are…

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Trump Waives The Energy Market’s Least Favorite Law

Under tremendous criticism, President Trump waived the Jones Act to aid in the response to the disaster in Puerto Rico, just days after refusing to do so. The Jones Act is a nearly century-old law that requires goods shipped between two American ports to use U.S. ships. The law has long been relevant to the oil and gas industry, raising the cost of moving fuel between American ports, but the series of hurricanes over the past month have demonstrated the widespread costs of the protectionist measure, particularly as it relates to disaster response.…

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Oil Prices At A Ceiling, Or Just Getting Started?

Oil moved back into bull market territory this week, with Brent prices jumping to a more than two-year high at $58 per barrel. A confluence of events has given a jolt of optimism to oil prices, with market sentiment at its most positive arguably in years. The proximate spark from earlier this week was the Kurdish referendum, which raised the specter of a sizable supply outage when Turkey threatened to cut off Kurdish oil exports through its territory, and Baghdad joined in by calling for an international boycott of Kurdish oil sales. So far, there…

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Kurdish Vote Won’t Spark A Sustained Oil Price Rally

Turkey and Iraq have stepped up the pressure on Kurdistan after the semi-autonomous region of Iraq voted for independence. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to block Kurdish oil exports through Turkish territory, while Baghdad called for an international boycott of Kurdish oil sales. The Kurdish people appeared to have voted overwhelmingly for independence on Monday, pending final results. But the Kurdish Regional Government has said that the vote, which won’t be recognized internationally, will be a starting point…

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What Happens If Trump Trashes The Iran Nuclear Deal?

U.S. President Donald Trump trashed the Iran nuclear deal at the UN last week, sparking speculation about whether he intends to pull the U.S. out of the deal before a key deadline by mid-October. The U.S. president needs to recertify the agreement every three months, with the latest deadline coming up on October 15. There’s speculation that this time around, President Trump won’t issue a recertification, a move that could trigger the withdrawal of the U.S. from the international accord, with far-reaching consequences for U.S.-Iranian…

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