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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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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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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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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Is The Sun Setting On The Solar Boom?

The U.S. solar industry is expected to see its expansion significantly curtailed this year after installing record capacity in 2016, marking the first annual decline in installations for the industry. A new report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) raises some question marks for the trajectory of the solar industry. In the second quarter, the U.S. installed 2.38 gigawatts of new solar PV. A decent performance, but with two quarters in the books, the industry is only on track to install 12.4 GW of new capacity in…

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The Most Bullish Oil Report This Year

Despite the huge uncertainties related to the two massive hurricanes that hit the U.S., the global oil market looks tighter than it has in a long time, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. Global oil supply fell in August for the first time in four months, the IEA said, a result of a dip in OPEC’s oil production, combined with refinery maintenance and sizable outages from Hurricane Harvey. World oil supply fell by 720,000 barrels per day (bpd) in August compared to July, a significant decline that will aid in the…

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Hurricane Irma’s Wrath Weighs On Natural Gas

Hurricane Irma has left millions of people without power in Florida, a critical situation that could take a painfully long period of time to sort out. Estimates vary, but some 9 million people lost power during Hurricane Irma, according to the CEO of Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest utility. As of Monday, an additional 1 million people lost power in Georgia and South Carolina as the remains of Irma moved north. Florida Power & Light has already begun restoring power, but as of Monday, there were more than 3.6 million customers…

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How OPEC Was Hurt By The Hurricanes

Hurricane Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm early Monday, although it is still bringing floods and damage to much of Florida as it makes its way north, leaving millions without power. As for the oil market, the impact of the storm will be felt almost exclusively on demand, with little to no effect on crude oil production or refining. Goldman Sachs estimates that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will leave a huge dent in oil demand, an effect that will be felt across the world. The two storms will lead to a reduction in global oil consumption by…

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