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The Energy Report: Can’t Keep Them Down

Published 05/29/2024, 09:36 AM

Despite some of the most challenging inflationary conditions in many Americans' lifetime, it seems you cannot keep that American Spirit of adventure down. Oil markets are coming back from a big uptick in US consumer confidence that surged to 102% according to the Conference Board. That was accentuated by a record amount of air travelers and a surge in gasoline demand from the USA, the world’s leader in travel. A report from the UN World Tourism Organization said that the US regained that title from China. OPEC Plus will at the very least reaffirm voluntary cuts with the outside of and extension and perhaps announcement of compensation cuts.

Oh, sure we saw a report from the International Monetary Fund that raised their forecast for China's economic growth to 5% from 4.6% which today if offsetting concerns about Chinese oil demand. The market has been disappointed with reduced refinery runs in China for plastics production and their manufacturing, but domestic demand remains strong. The IMF suggested that that China’s economy has exceeded their expectations and now with China’s biggest cities rolling out major easing of conditions for homebuyers, that could support the economy even more not to mention more oil demand as well.

Now if we look to India there are more reports and suggestions that India’s demand for oil and natural gas are going to absolutely surge in the coming months and years. S&P Global raised its outlook for India’s economy to positive from stable and this of course means that their growing appetite for oil and natural gas is going to grow. That will create a very tight global market later in the year and price might not matter.

Petroleum Economist says that even with oil surges to over $100 a barrel, it’s possible that India’s oil demand will continue to grow. The Petroleum Economist is saying that India is expected to register steady growth in crude oil consumption during 2024 given its ability to shrug off relatively high prices.

Analysts and officials believe prices would need to rise significantly and for a sustained period of time to start really hurting demand. The data so far this year backs up this assertion: there has already been solid growth in demand for crude oil and finished products during the first four months of the year despite prices being well above $80/bl.

There seems little to fear in terms of demand destruction. From January to April, India’s appetite for oil has barely been quelled. Consumption increased by 4.8% during that time compared with the same period. And it is not just oil. It is India’s demand for natural gas. Reuters is reporting India’s natural gas demand will surge 7% on stronger demand for industrial demand fertilizer.

Side issues that seem to be supporting are reports that the Buzzard oil field in the North Sea is experiencing a temporary production outage that will reduce oil production maybe by as much as 60,000 barrels of oil a day.

Political risk factors are also rising and inexplicably there are reports that the Biden administration is standing up for Iran and their nuclear program. It’s almost as if like the Biden administration wants Iran to get nuclear weapons. The New York Post reports that, “The White House is begging Britain and France not to formally rebuke Iran over the theocracy’s growing nuclear program. Administration officials have been pressuring the US allies and other European nations to vote against censuring Iran at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) board of governors next month, diplomats close to the discussions told the Wall Street Journal.” The US is also preparing to abstain from the IAEA vote, the diplomats added, with some suggesting censure could further destabilize Iran following the death of its president, Ebrahim Raisi, in a May 19 helicopter crash.” If I were the Biden administration, I wouldn’t worry about that. I think Iran could use a little destabilizing myself. Then they maybe they couldn’t use their increasing oil revenue that has exploded under the Biden administration to fund terror groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthi rebels who attacked more ships in international waters.

The other concern of course for oil and natural gas is going to be the weather. Hurricane season is starting and already the National Hurricane Center has its eye on the potential of the development of storms as we start the hurricane season June 1st. Yesterday the National Hurricane Center was monitoring three tropical waves, yet they do not seem to be developing into anything yet. Weather in the Atlantic is very conducive for the possibility of an early start to the hurricane season. We’ve already seen the weather conditions cause havoc with the slew of tornadoes.

Fox Weather is reporting that powerful thunderstorms rocked the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex on Tuesday, leaving more than 800,000 utility customers in the dark as severe weather barreled across the region and produced baseball-sized hail, hurricane-force wind gusts and significant damage in several communities.

If your power is out, can you change your electric car? Anas Alhajji gave us an electric car update by pointing out that Toyota (NYSE:TM) EV sales increased in Q1 by a whopping 86% year over year!!!  That 86% = 1,617 cars! Whoopee! At that rate maybe the Biden administration’s billion-dollar car charger can actually meet that type of demand.

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