Oil prices held onto last week’s gains Monday morning as Saudi Arabia and Russia favour extending the oil production pact past March 2018. Brent crude had gained 0.5% by 08.35 AM GMT to trade at $60.74/bbl, while at the same time WTI had gained 0.2% to stand at $54/bbl. The spread between Brent and WTI has widened to $6.75/bbl, the widest in more than a month. With Oman crude at $58.31/bbl Asian buyers have a continued interest in lifting US crude volumes, especially since volumes are predominantly light crude or condensate.
Speculators in the US lifted their net managed money position by 15.8 million bbls as longs rose 9.67 million bbls, while shorts were trimmed by 6.13 million bbls. Longs currently stand at 375.4 million bbls, while shorts have declined to 140.52 million bbls, bringing the net speculative position at 234.88 million bbls.
Producers closed numerous positions last week, both short and long. Longs dropped by almost 19 million bbls w-o-w, likely on the back of profit-taking. Similarly, non-performing shorts of 15.83 million bbls were closed the previous week. The net short producers’ position stands at just 71.33 million bbls currently the smallest cumulative short position since December 2014. March 2017 saw the net short positioning of producers almost touching 300 million bbls.
The fleet of active rigs in the US rose by one unit last week to 737 units. Despite the overall addition of only one rig, the breakdown showed interesting signs. Drilling rigs in Texas rose by five units to 441, suggesting that the Permian and Eagle Ford basins will likely continue to drive US shale production. Conversely, North Dakota saw the removal of two rigs, with the fleet in the state now at 49 units.
The Oil Research Team
Supply Chain & Commodities Research