Tensions in the Middle East rose again over the weekend after reports indicated that four oil vessels were “attacked” or “sabotaged” at the mouth of the Persian Gulf near Fujairah Emirate, just outside of the Strait of Hormuz. The United Arab Amirates (UAE) stated that the damaged ships were two crude oil tankers owned by Saudi Arabian shipping firm Bahri, one fuel bunker barge flying a UAE flag and Norwegian oil products tanker owned by Thome Ship management. These reports are still largely unconfirmed, but come as no surprise given the recent rhetoric and geopolitical tensions facing the region.
It has been a wild Monday for traders after President Trump tweeted yesterday that the United States will increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports, which, is casting doubt on the likelihood of a successful U.S. and Chinese trade deal.
Oil prices are taking a breather today after Wednesday’s strong rally due in large part to the gasoline inventory draw and low production levels in Venezuela.
WTI failed to settle above $60/barrel yesterday and President Trump’s tweet warning OPEC on high oil prices may be taking the wind out of the bull’s sails.
Chevron and ExxonMobil highlighted an aggressive strategy for drilling in the Permian Basin over the next five years to their investors this week. Exxon is aiming to increase production to 1 million barrels per day while Chevron is targeting an additional 900,000 barrels per day, all by the end of 2024. The presentations from both companies exemplify a growing trend in the region that has made the United States the world’s top producer of oil and natural gas.