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WTI Oil prices rebound due to supply disruption and inventory decline 

May 15, 2024

Key Points: 

  • WTI crude futures approach $79 per barrel following disruptions in Canada’s oil sands production and a larger-than-expected decline in US crude oil inventories. 
  • OPEC+ exceeded production limits by 568,000 barrels per day, however such overproduction aligns with demand increase for 2024 and 2025 

WTI oil supply chain disruption in May 2024

WTI crude futures showed a marked recovery, heading toward $79 per barre. This price movement is partially due to wildfires in Canada that have posed a significant threat to the country’s oil sands industry, capable of producing 3.3 million barrels per day. This disruption has raised concerns about supply constraints, prompting a rally in oil prices. 

Adding to the upward pressure on prices, industry data indicated a substantial decline in US crude inventories. Last week saw a decrease of 3.104 million barrels, surpassing expectations which had forecast a draw of 1.35 million barrels.

This decline is a critical factor in the current price dynamics, as lower inventory levels typically signal higher demand or lower supply, pushing prices upward. The market now awaits the official data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), which could further influence oil price trajectories. 

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OPEC+ members exceed production  

Concurrently, the latest OPEC report revealed that OPEC+ members pumped an additional 568,000 barrels per day last month, exceeding their production limits.  

Despite this overproduction, OPEC remains optimistic about the future of global oil demand. The organization projects demand increases of 2.25 million barrels per day in 2024 and 1.85 million barrels per day in 2025. These projections suggest a robust recovery and growth in oil consumption, which could support higher oil prices in the medium to long term. 

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Potential outcomes for oil in short-to-mid term 

Given the current market conditions, two possibilities could unfold: 

  • Bullish case: The Canadian wildfires continue to hamper production leading to a sustained increase in oil prices due to tightened supply. Further, should the official EIA data confirm the substantial inventory draw, it might reinforce the bullish sentiment currently driving up oil prices. 
  • Neutral or bearish case: The overproduction by OPEC+ could counterbalance these factors, potentially stabilizing prices if this trend continues and global storage capacities are not overly strained. 

Supply disruptions, inventory levels and OPEC’s production decisions remain key drivers of oil price movements. As these factors unfold, traders can seek out market direction and trading opportunities in the oil sector. 

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