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Weekly Petroleum Status Report 11/3/2017

Another week, another big draw in Primary Oil stocks…down 6.2M bbls last week despite a pretty big decrease in exports.

After peaking at an all time high of nearly 1.7B bbls in February, US inventories of Primary Oil (Crude+Gasoline+Distillate+Jet Fuel) have declined in 35 of the last 38 weeks for a total decline of 183M bbls. That’s good for a weekly draw of 4.8M bbls a week, though over the last 4 weeks that decline rate is averaging 7.7M bbls/week.

Inventories are now at just 1.502B bbls and of the ~250M bbl glut we can see that over 70% of it has now been cleared out of US inventories….despite a new record in US production and Primary Oil consumption(Gasoline+Distillate+Jet Fuel) edging up just 1.5% in the last 52 weeks.

The change, as we have discussed is in Exports… While we still import a lot of crude from around the world, and our refineries are turning it into product…and exporting it back out to the global market. Just comparing 2016 to 2017, product exports are up 221M bbls (through 44 weeks) and crude exports are up 131M bbls.


Opec is still behaving, though they have stabilized at around 2.7M bbls/d… dips to 2.0Mbbl/d, or spikes to 4.0Mbbl/d. It’s still edging up a bit, but if they can hold it steady here I’ll keep believing them…for now.

Gut Feeling

As I write this, WTI is steady¬† ~$57…seemingly not impressed…or depressed ūüôā with the report. My thesis since the beginning of this major drawdown has been that we could see $60 oil around the end of the year if the drawdowns continue. Well…they have continued, and at a much steeper pace than I would have guessed. Without a doubt, we will see $60 oil in 2017 if the drawdowns continue at the latest pace…or even at half of the latest pace….and that’s even without any more drama out of Venezuela or the Middle East.

That said…I still have a few big unanswered questions….this 351M bbls of crude and products we exported this year…where is it now? If it went to new markets and was promptly consumed…that’s bullish no doubt, but if it just went to less visible non-US storage tanks,¬† and this huge US storage drawdown is just a mirage, get ready for a few more years of pain once the gamers rush to cash back out.

The second big question has to do with US shale….they’ve been running on fumes…or at least no profit for years now, yet here we are with US production at a record high….built up with wells drilled for sub $50 oil. Will $60+ bring a new flood, or are they getting close to being tapped out? Regardless of the price of oil, you always drill your best locations first….and for years now…what tens of thousands of the best locations have been drilled, fracked, and are now in steep and terminal declines.¬† At some point, the very real technological gains will hit a wall and US production will start to fall…will that be at 10M bbl/d….15M bbl/d or somewhere in between? When and where?

Finally…just looking at the numbers for the week…exports of crude and products were down about 13M bbls last week….the lowest since the hurricanes. Maybe it’s just a one off….we’ll have a better idea next week, but if exports are not sustainable at this pace, then neither are the inventory draws we have been seeing.

**My updated Excel Dashboard  with a few decades of historical data can be downloaded for free if you would like to follow along at home. Enjoy! EIA_PETROLEUM_MASTER_FILE(11-03-2017)

Reliant Secure¬ģ 24 plan= How to lose $1300

I hate Gimmicks, unfortunately, for the most part nearly every single electric provider in Texas, or at least my region seems to be resorting to silly gimmicks to make their plans look cheap on the state “” website. Various tricks are used…primarily minimum usage fees, credits for hitting thresholds, and a few even simply charge you a fixed fee¬†for everything up to 2,000 KwH…then an outrageous price for every KwH over that. If you use over 2,000 in a month, you get screwed, and if you use under 2,000 you get screwed, but if you can manage to nail 2000 on the dot you might just get a pretty good deal.

I am going to pick on Reliant because they are one of the biggest names, and because they sent me a mailer promising a $600 bonus cash for switching to them. “Get a Low Price and a Big $600 Bonus*” says the mailer. $600 is a lot of dough, and the advertisement was short on details, so of course I had to dig a little deeper. The bottom line is, it is a 2 year plan with a fixed rate of about 11.6 cents per Kwh. Now…that may not seem too high for some areas….but my old plan just ended and I ended up signing up recently with Discount Power…a 3 year rate lock at about 7.6 cents a kwh…..though they did have a 2 year plan at the same rate.

Of course, there is no $600 cash back, but now you can see why Reliant can offer such a silly gimmick…their per KwH price is 53% higher(11.6 vs 7.6)….no wonder they had to add the * disclaimer after the “Get a Low Price”. Pencil that out, say you average 2,000 KwH per month over 24 months x 4 cents extra per….and your price is $1,920 more….but then let us back out the generous $600 “gift”, and the total cost is $1,320 higher over 2 years, or $55 a month. If you want to donate an extra $55 a month to Reliant by all means go for it.

Of course, your results may vary depending on actual usage, zip code etc….and as noted, Reliant is far from being the only provider playing gimmicky games….in fact most are worst in my opinion because they make it so complicated you have to build an excel model just to figure out your likely cost. Fun for me maybe, but just sneaky tricks to most.

So Kuddos to Discount Power for resisting the urge to use gimmicks to screw over their customers. If you like to play games and waste a lot of time constantly monitoring your hourly electric usage, I’m sure you can probably find a gimmicky plan that you can play and pay a little less. Just remember…always start with the Texas¬†web site for links to the best deals…and be careful out there….it’s been my experience that every single power provider in Texas is just waiting for your contract to end so they can double your price….so you basically have to switch or get screwed….that’s why I prefer the longer contracts….who has time to play these silly games every few months?


**Whoops…spoke to soon….it looks like Discount Power also has some Gimmicky plans…like this one…the Easy-12…which has a very low rate¬†of 6.6 cents per KwH for your first thousand, then over 16 cents for anything over that…so the more you use, your average gets pulled up with it. Now obviously…for some users this may not be a bad deal….but if you live in Houston, the odds are your electric needs in the summer are about 3X winter demand, and the odds of you nailing 1000 KwH a month consistently are pretty close to 0. Good luck out there and be careful….looks to me like there are no good guys :(…