LONDON, March 8 (Reuters) – Forget spot prices. The
truly remarkable story in the oil market is what is (not)
happening at the back end of the futures curve.
Front-month Brent futures prices have climbed almost $17 per
barrel (15.6 percent) since the start of the year. And prices
for oil delivered in December 2015? Well they have risen a whole
$3.35 (3.6 percent) (Chart 1).
LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) – Premiums for Brent
delivered over the peak summer driving season have fallen nearly
50 percent over the last three trading sessions, implying that
refinery demand is starting to fall away as prices climb.
The premium for ICE Brent delivered in May rather
than June has slumped from a high of 87 cents per barrel
on March 1 to just 49 cents on March 6, according to Reuters
data, with somewhat smaller declines for the Jun-Jul, Jul-Aug,
and Aug-Sep spreads (here).
LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) – China’s growing demand for
imported oil, coupled with the development of new oil and gas
supplies in North America, is set to transform the international
security situation in the Middle East over the next 20 years.
That is the inescapable conclusion from an arresting slide
in a presentation given by Maria van der Hoeven, executive
director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), at a seminar
on the future of energy in Mexico City on Feb. 29.
LONDON, Feb 29 (Reuters) – China is destined to play a
decisive role in the effectiveness of sanctions against Iran,
and the possibility of eventual military confrontation.
But the country’s attitude towards nuclear enrichment and
regime change has gone mostly unexamined by the
western-dominated media and think-tanks.
LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s
convoluted policy on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from
Canada to the U.S. Gulf is less an exercise in smart politics
and more an increasingly incomprehensible demonstration of
everything wrong with the administration’s energy policy.
White House policy on energy might (charitably) be described
as consisting of two strands: (1) focus on the long-term
transformational potential of clean energy technologies like
wind and solar power while acknowledging the need to develop
more domestic gas and oil sources in the short-term and keeping
quiet about coal; (2) get re-elected by taking the symbolic
question of Keystone off the agenda until after November.
LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – U.S. and EU sanctions on
Iran’s crude oil exports and its central bank were not supposed
to affect either the volume of oil available or its price,
provided markets reacted “rationally”.
That was the conclusion of an influential report on the “Oil
Market Impact of Sanctions Against the Central Bank of Iran”,
circulated by sanctions advocates at the Foundation for Defense
of Democracies in Washington.
LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Soaring oil prices and the
loss of exports from South Sudan, Syria and Iran pose awkward
questions for investors and policymakers.
Last year, a similar surge following the outbreak of the
Libyan civil war eventually resulted in the flash crash on May 5
and the decision to release emergency stocks by the United
States and other members of the International Energy Agency
(IEA) on June 23.
LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) – “I have reached a tipping
point,” Commissioner Scott O’Malia told an open meeting of the
U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Feb. 23,
“and can no longer tolerate the application of such weak
standards to analysing the costs and benefits of our
“Our inability to develop a quantitative analysis, or
develop a reasonable comparative analysis of legitimate options,
hurts the credibility of this Commission and undermines the
quality of our rules.
LONDON, Feb 23 (Reuters) – The combination of surging
oil prices and weak currencies is subjecting Europe’s economies
to a classic oil shock, which will add to the region’s economic
woes in 2012.
So far, strong currencies have blunted the impact on the
United States, China and Japan. But the magnitude of oil-price
rises, coupled with an expected recession in Europe, will
probably cause growth to slow in these economies as well by
LONDON, Feb 22 (Reuters) – The loss of oil supplies
from South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Iran satisfies all the
conditions for member countries of the International Energy
Agency (IEA) to release crude and products from
For the time being, the agency seems content to wait,
relying on offers of extra crude from Saudi Arabia and its Gulf
allies to make up shortfalls left by Iran and other countries.
The spring maintenance season, when refineries’ crude
consumption is traditionally weakest, buys the agency time to
see if Saudi Arabia can fill the gap.