During the lengthiest government shutdown in United States history, prioritizing fossil fuel development continues to take precedence for the Trump Administration. An estimated 800,000 federal workers went without paychecks however the administration has still found ways of moving forward for “energy dominance.”
British Petroleum (BP) has announced the discovery of two new oilfields in the Gulf of Mexico and has approved a $1.3 billion expansion of its Atlantis three oil field. The new expansion will include eight new wells to the existing offshore oil and gas platforms and they are speculating that it will increase production by 38,000 barrels per day by 2020. The expansion comes nearly a decade after BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster that caused more than $60 billion in damages to the region.
The U.S. and China conclude their two-day trade talks in Beijing today with President Trump tweeting this morning “Talks with China are going very well!” This tweet and word that China had their top trade official, Liu He, attend the talks early this week have boosted equity and oil markets along with it as February WTI trades higher today to $49.42/barrel despite growing U.S. oil production.
Another commodity trading year is upon us and New Year’s resolutions across the western hemisphere are cloaked with purpose and resoluteness. Many have vowed to exercise more, eat healthy and save money. Even though only about 8 percent of these New Year’s resolution ambitionists persevere with their said goals, it is nonetheless a feeling of excitement and optimism of what might be. Market participants in the energy sector are most likely seeking that same sensation of excitement for less volatility and more stable prices, more clarity in supply/demand across the globe, transparency with trade talks/tariffs, pellucidity with Iran sanctions and possibly a reverse course in actions to avoid a further global slowdown or even a recession. If, however, the first 2 trading days of 2019 for the WTI futures contract for February delivery price action is any indication of what lies ahead, we are in for more of the same rollercoaster ride of uncertainty, high volatility and event risk price movements. The first trading day of the year brought on an intraday range of $3.43 a barrel or a 7.18% intraday move. Today, as of 12:30pm EST, we have already seen a 4.51% move or a $2.14 a barrel intraday trading range.