The Quiet Bull Market in Oil


Brent on Monday closed up 3.8%, at $59.02 a barrel, its highest settlement since July 2015, while USA crude futures settled almost 23% above this year's low of $42.53 a barrel on June 21.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan repeated a threat to cut off the pipeline that carries 500,000-600,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude from northern Iraq to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, intensifying pressure on the Kurdish autonomous region over its independence referendum. Nigeria will be prepared to cap its crude production when it has stabilised at 1.8 million barrels per day, he said.

Crude oil input to refineries fell around 3 million barrels a day, or 17 percent, below normal in the three weeks to September 15, curtailing production of distillates and gasoline. Let's go over why oil price have returned to bull market territory.

Oil prices soared on Monday after major oil producers said in a meeting in Vienna, Austria, that the global market was well on its way towards rebalancing.

US West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery rose $1.56, or 3 per cent, to settle at $52.22 a barrel, the highest since April.

Demand from China has been a crucial driver of the return to above $55 a barrel prices as the world's second largest economy builds its strategic petroleum reserve.

OPEC and its partners are considering extending the reduction agreement to beyond March 2018 when it is due to expire.

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Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst for the PRICE Futures Group in Chicago, said in an emailed market report the bullish sentiment that followed the storms won't last for long. Taiwan (中油) will increase domestic gasoline and diesel prices on Monday by NT$0.3 (US$0.009) and NT$0.4 per liter respectively, pushing prices at the pump to a near seven-month high.

OPEC has now achieved its goal of flipping Brent crude's market structure into so-called backwardation, said Francisco Blanch, head of commodities and derivatives research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

"Nigeria is ready to reduce production at the level of 1.8 million barrels per day and join the agreement once it reaches the target", he was quoted by Russian news agency Tass as saying.

"But the force of Harvey upended the global oil market, creating financial incentives for refiners to ramp up production instead of shutting down", he said.

OPEC/ NON-OPEC Cuts: Despite market doubts, it is clear that after some time that the historic OPEC/NON-OPEC production cuts have helped balance the global oil market and has succeeded in reducing the oil glut.

Current OPEC compliance with production cut plans remains above their historical average, and it usually takes between two to three quarters for inventories to normalize after the cuts. The goal of the agreement is to reduce global oil reserves to the average level of the last five years.