Today’s price action has been a case of sell the rumor, buy the (bearish) fact, as the affirmation of a gargantuan crude build from today’s weekly EIA report has stoked some buying interest. All we can suggest is that last night’s API print took the sting out of today’s number, while a surprise draw to gasoline seems to be pulling crude higher by its bootstraps. Hark, here are five things to consider in oil and energy today.
1) It has been announced today by Eni that production has started at the Cabaça South East field in Angola, as part of the East Hub Development project. The field is expected to boost production from the project to 150,000 barrels per day. It will also add to Eni’s production volumes from the West Hub project, which is already producing and exporting crude via the N’Goma FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading).
According to our ClipperData, the N’Goma FPSO loaded just over 70,000 bpd last year. Angola has 13 FPSO load points operating offshore Angola, in combination with two export terminals. in terms of exports, we have seen export loadings from the OPEC member pull back in January, down about 100,000 bpd from October’s level; this is in line with its commitment to cut 78,000 bpd of production.
Asia accounted for the lion’s share of Angolan exports last year, with half of all exports heading to China. North America and Europe are 2nd and 3rd in terms of destinations; combined with Asia, they account for 92 of all export volumes.
2) Acquisition activity continues apace in the Permian Basin. After two sizable acquisitions in January – Noble Energy’s $2.7 billion purchase of Clayton Williams Energy and Exxon’s $5.6 billion purchase via stock (plus another potential $1bln) of 275,000 acres from the Bass family – a $2.8 billion purchase of assets by Parsley Energy has just been announced.
It is Parsley’s second deal in the Permian in less than a month, adding 71,000 net acres to its portfolio, bringing its total acreage up to 227,000 acres. There were $28 billion of acquisitions in the Permian Basin last year, triple the amount in the prior year. With just the three aforementioned deals, we are already up to $12 billion, and its only early February.
3) Today’s weekly EIA report was fairly surreal, with a 13.8 million barrel build to U.S. oil inventories. The majority of this build, some 10.9mn bbls, was seen on the U.S. Gulf Coast, amid an increase in imports. This has propelled U.S. Gulf Coast crude inventories to a record high of 267.6mn bbls.
Despite high inventories across the board, refinery runs continue to outpace year-ago levels. Refinery runs only fell by 54,000 bpd last week, holding 383,000 bpd above year-ago levels.
5) Yesterday we discussed how renewables should account for 40 percent of the power generation mix in Europe by 2035. The chart below shows that Germany is already leading the charge on this front, through the ramp up in wind and solar power to offset its shift away from nuclear energy. During this transition period, however, coal has stepped up to fill any supply gaps, being the leading source for power generation last year.
Germany is about to embark on a new round of wind power auctions, which are set to lower German power prices. Retail power prices have soared in recent years, as consumers have been footing the bill for subsidies via feed-in tariffs to boost the share of renewables in the generation mix.
The next phase is to put fixed annual volumes of wind and solar power up for auction, with 20-year supply contracts up for grabs at a guaranteed price. Allocating these contracts via an auction system means that by encouraging low bids, German consumers finally see a price break in their utility bills. Six pilot auctions of utility-scale solar power in Germany have already helped to lower prices by more than a quarter since 2015.