EIA’s report showed an unexpected build of 6.8 million barrels

Recap: The oil market opened 42 cents lower following Tuesday afternoon’s release of the API report, which showed an unexpected build in crude stocks of 3.7 million barrels.  The market posted a high of $66.90 before it breached its previous low and continued to trend lower, finding some support over the $66 level.  The crude market later breached that level and continued to sell off on concerns of softening demand from global trade tensions and the fear of a contagion effect related to Turkey’s financial problems.  The market extended its losses even further upon the release of the EIA’s weekly petroleum stock report, which showed an unexpected build of 6.8 million barrels, compared with expectations of a draw of about 2 million barrels.  The oil market extended its losses to $2.53 as it posted a low of $64.51 by mid-day.  The September WTI retraced some of its losses in afternoon trading and settled down $2.03 at $65.01.  The October Brent contract settled down $1.70 at $70.76.  Meanwhile, the product markets also settled in negative territory, with the heating oil market settling down 3.83 cents at $2.0904 and the RBOB market settling down 3.67 cents at $1.9974.      

Fundamental News:  Iran’s Oil Minister, Bijan Zanganeh, will attend the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee meeting in Algeria in September.  The Iranian Students’ News Agency reported that his goal in attending the OPEC/non-OPEC committee meeting is to maintain Iran’s oil market share.  The meeting is scheduled to take place six weeks before US sanctions on Iran’s oil industry are due to take effect.  The JMMC is chaired by Saudi Arabia and is due to meet on September 23rd.  Iran is not on the committee, which includes Russia, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Algeria and Venezuela.  

Bloomberg reported that crude imports to the US Gulf Coast fell by 26,000 bpd to 2.37 million bpd in the week ending August 10th. 

Fitch Solutions raised its average Brent forecast to $75/barrel in 2018 and $82/barrel in 2019.  WTI prices are seen at $70/barrel and $75/barrel in 2018 and 2019, respectively. 

Libya’s Sharara oilfield is producing 260,000 bpd after the restart of a control station that had been closed due to the kidnapping of two workers.  Station 186 was restarted on Sunday amid tightening security and was producing about 50,000 bpd, about half of its normal capacity.

IIR Energy reported that US oil refiners are expected to shut in 319,000 bpd of capacity in the week ending August 17th, increasing available refining capacity by 45,000 bpd from the previous week.  IIR expects offline capacity to fall to 133,000 bpd in the week ending August 24th.

Chinese oil importers are not buying US crude as they fear Beijing’s decision to exclude the commodity from its tariff list in a trade dispute between the two countries may only be temporary.  Thomson Reuters Eikon ship tracking data showed that not a single tanker has loaded crude from the US bound for China since the beginning of August, compared with about 300,000 bpd in June and July.  To replace US oil, China has been turning to the Middle East, West Africa and Latin America. 

An analyst at Facts Global Energy stated that Venezuelan imports of gasoline could continue to fall as the country’s economy worsens. 

The head of oil products research at Energy Aspects said if Venezuela sells gasoline at international prices, the country could reduce smuggling significantly and ultimately reduce imports. 

Early Market Call – as of 8:20 AM EDT

WTI – Sep $65.19, up 18 cents

RBOB – Sep $1.9906, down 70 points

HO – Sep $2.0970, up 65 points

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