Oil risk factors rise

The world Is watching and so is oil as the death toll rises in the streets of Iran, where the people revolt against a terrible economy and the lack of any real freedoms and rights. At least 19 people were reported killed in street protests in Iran, while President Hassan Rouhani on one hand defended their right to protest but on the other hand warned he would show "no tolerance" for those who incite unrest. Many arrests have been made and the government of Iran says it may seek the death penalty, for what they say are crimes against God, in demonstrations that have gone on for over five days.

President Trump tweeted that”Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration. The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food and for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!”

The uprising in Iran is just another risk factor in a global oil market that is tightening. Strong global demand and shale oil production that is falling far short of what the Energy Information Administration keeps telling us it is. Reports from the Texas Railroad Commission is telling us that Texas shale oil production has been stagnant and not rising as the production decline rate year over year is taking its toll. Total oil stocks are down a whopping 135 million barrels just since April even as U.S. oil production is supposedly at a record high. Bad data is becoming a bigger risk as underinvestment has led to the least amount of oil discoveries in 70 years and the global oil replenishment rate ratio fell to 11% this year, down from more than 50% in 2012 according to a new report. That is a dangerous situation, especially because of the over estimates of shale oil output.

ETF reports that this has led to the lowest ever volumes of oil discoveries in 2017, Rystad Energy said last week. While the low level of discoveries is not an immediate threat to global oil supply, it could become a threat 10 years down the road, according to Rystad Energy.

In 10 years’ time, U.S. shale production may peak, at least according to OPEC that sees shale peaking after 2025, although the cartel has conceded that U.S. tight oil has defied previous forecasts and has increased production more than initially expected and will continue to do so in the short term.

This year has seen less than 7 billion barrels of oil equivalent discovered globally, a volume as low as last seen in the 1940s, Rystad Energy has estimated. What worries analysts the most is the fact that this year the reserve replacement ratio–the amount of discovered resources relative to the amount of production–was a mere 11%, compared to 50% in 2012, Sonia Mladá Passos, Senior Analyst at Rystad Energy, said.

The other ongoing risk is Venezuela. An explosion over the weekend that hit Venezuela’s largest refinery was an accident waiting to happen. Deferred maintenance and bad management as the Venezuelan government stole money and failed to do even the most basic maintenance for the facility according to sources.

Reuters reported that a former oil minister excoriated Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in a newspaper column on Sunday, accusing the leftist leader of behaving like biblical King Herod and plunging the oil-rich nation into economic devastation. Rafael Ramirez, who was the all-powerful head of the oil ministry and state energy company PDVSA for a decade, has long been a rival of Maduro. In recent months, Ramirez has grown increasingly critical of Maduro’s handling of a fourth straight year of recession that has triggered malnutrition, widespread food and medicine shortages, the world’s steepest inflation, and a surge in emigration. A furious Maduro ordered Ramirez to resign as the nation’s United Nations ambassador in New York last month after an article entitled the “The Storm” was perceived as an attack on his government.

We haven’t even got to the cold. Wicked winter weather is causing a surge in oil and natural gas and coal demand. Demand for coal burns hit three-year high causing to temporarily put it above natural gas as the top s U.S. power sources. There are reports that they were shortages of natural gas in Northern Alberta county under state of emergency due to natural gas disruption. The report said that large parts of northern Alberta was under a state of emergency over the weekend due to low natural gas pressure and system outages.

The Energy Report has kept our bullish outlook and we still believe that the double bottom at $26 a barrel was a generational low. Despite all the bearish hype that the market had last year and bad info this year oil looks poised for a big move. Make sure you are hedged! I am hearing from many folks still that were under-hedged last year and are now paying the price.