MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude futures settled higher amid signs that the continued reopening of economies in the US and Europe could bring balance to oversupplied oil markets in coming weeks, reported S&P Global.
NYMEX July WTI settled USD1.10 higher at USD24.35/b and ICE July Brent climbed 64 cents on the day to finish at USD36.17/b. Front-month WTI and Brent was last higher on March 10.
Oil demand outlooks continue to improve as more state and local governments ease restrictions on non-essential travel and trade aimed at slowing the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
"Crude prices continue to benefit from a relative smooth reopening of the global economy and as the oil market appears on target to reach balance next month," OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya said.
Restrictions on non-essential travel and trade have been eased or lifted in all 50 US states as of late last week, though major metro areas, including Los Angeles and New York City, remain on lockdown.
Japan on Tuesday formally ended its national state of emergency, according to media reports, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that non-essential shops in England could reopen on June 15.
Refineries in China, generally considered as a model for post-lockdown economic recovery, have increased throughput and some have suspended product exports as domestic demand rises.
NYMEX June ULSD settled up 88 points at 99.08 cents/gal and June RBOB was up 1.07 cents at USD1.0489/gal.
NYMEX WTI has surge 170% from month ago levels, and is approaching levels where some US producers may see value in starting shut-in production, potentially capping further upside price movement.
If crude stabilizes in the USD30s/b, producers should be able to not only bring back selected wells they deem economic but even drill and complete new ones for future production, analysts said.
"I think starting in July we could see a lot of the shut-ins (wells) start to come back," said Bernadette Johnson, vice president of market intelligence for data provider Enverus. "The order in which this works is that demand (for oil) has to come back, which allows refiners to buy more crude, start ramping refinery runs and sell more gasoline and diesel. Then shut-ins come back on line."
But according to Commerzbank's head of commodity research, Eugen Weinberg, it is questionable whether the latest price rise will already help the US shale oil sector in any decisive manner in the short term.
"Its financing problems simply appear too great: the research company Rystad Energy estimates that leading companies would probably need to write off just shy of $40 billion at present. Rystad believes that up to 250 firms in the sector could therefore be driven into insolvency by the end of 2021 if oil prices do not recover any further," he said in a daily note. "Consequently, the response of shale oil companies to the latest upswing in prices is likely to be only muted, for exploration, drilling and commissioning of oil wells require start-up funding," he added.
As MRC informed previously, global oil consumption cut by up to a third. What happens next in the oil market depends on how quickly and completely the global economy emerges from lockdown, and whether the recessionary hit lingers through the rest of this year and into 2021.
Earlier this year, BP said the deadly coronavirus outbreak could cut global oil demand growth by 40 per cent in 2020, putting pressure on Opec producers and Russia to curb supplies to keep prices in check.
We remind that, in September 2019, six world's major petrochemical companies in Flanders, Belgium, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and the Netherlands (Trilateral Region) announced the creation of a consortium to jointly investigate how naphtha or gas steam crackers could be operated using renewable electricity instead of fossil fuels. The Cracker of the Future consortium, which includes BASF, Borealis, BP, LyondellBasell, SABIC and Total, aims to produce base chemicals while also significantly reducing carbon emissions. The companies agreed to invest in R&D and knowledge sharing as they assess the possibility of transitioning their base chemical production to renewable electricity.
Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 557,060 tonnes in the first three month of 2020, up by 7% year on year. High density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) shipments rose because of the increased capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim. Demand for LDPE subsided. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market was 267,630 tonnes in January-March 2020, down 20% year on year. Homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers accounted for the main decrease in imports.