Today, April 21, reports from a number of different sources are pointing to lower oil production–which will mean higher oil prices. Even from current levels.
And oil prices are significantly higher in the past three weeks. At 3:00 p.m. New York time today U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate traded at $103.44 a barrel, up 1.61% on the day. On April 11 West Texas Intermediate traded for just $94.29 a barrel.
First, Bloomberg columnist Javier Blas posted today that satellite imaging that tracks natural gas flares from Russia oil wells “suggests” that Russian oil output is down 10% from its pre-Ukrainian war levels. Russian oil production has fallen in April with the monthly average heading to 10 million barrels a day, its lowest since September 2020.
More production losses are in the pipeline (so to speak) as Western refiners and traders walk away from supply contract expiring in coming weeks.
Second, OilX, an energy consulting group, using NASA satellite imaging estimates that output fell earlier this month to a low of 9.76 million barrels a day. On average, Russia pumped about 10.2 million barrels a day in the first two weeks of April. That represents a big drop from the 11.1 million barrels a day of February, before the impact of the invasion of Ukraine, and the 11 million of March.
Third, also on April 21, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate announced production figures for March, with liquids volumes missing targets by 181,000 barrels a day and falling from February levels by 38,000 barrels a day. Norwegian natural gas production, on the other hand, exceeded targets for the third month in a row.
If you’ve been thinking of selling your oil stock hedges because of recent weakness in the sector, my advice is “Don’t.” I think we’re looking at another round of gains from these positions in coming weeks.
Today, April 21, as of 3 p.m., all my energy hedges in my Jubak Picks and Volatility Portfolios were trading lower. ConocoPhillips (COP) was down 3.84%. Cheniere Energy (LNG) was down 0.71%. Equinor (EQNR) was down 4.00%. Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) was down 3.88%. And the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) was down 3.06%. Recent pick, liquified natural gas startup Tellurian (TELL) was down a big 10.33%.
Full disclosure: I own shares of Tellurian in my personal portfolio.