Crude: It’s a leap year!

Welcome to leap year 2018! Ok, I know what you are thinking, you have not heard that it's a leap year. Well, 2018 is not a traditional leap year, but it will be a leap year for crude. Oil struggled this year as the market failed to be convinced that the combination of OPEC and Non-OPEC production cuts and strong global demand could reduce global supply. They falsely thought that shale oil production could offset record compliance to cuts. Instead of a global oil glut in 2018 we are going to be seeing the effects of the biggest supply drain in history. Yet, the real story in 2018 will be near record global oil demand growth. We are seeing more evidence of that overnight.  

China reported that its oil inventories fell 3% by 26.15 million tons last month, putting China oil supplies at their lowest level in seven years. China also raised their import quota for next year, signaling to the market that China oil imports next year should set another record. Yet, it not just China that should see record imports. India and the European Union should see record imports as well. 

Last Month, India's fuel demand rose 6.2% compared with the same month last year. Consumption of fuel, a proxy for oil demand, totaled 17.41 million tons, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the oil ministry showed. Gasoline demand was 4.8% higher from a year earlier at 2.12 million tons.

We also saw another big drop in U.S. crude oil stocks, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API). The API reported another massive six million barrels drop in crude supply, lead by a 1.3 million barrel drop in Cushing, Okla. That was the sixth drop in a row. What tempered some of the bullish impact from that drop was a reported 3.1 million barrel increase in gasoline supply and a 2.8 million barrel increase in distillate supply.

Still, the record pace of supply drain is not just a U.S. situation. It is a global situation making for the tightest oil market we have seen in almost 10 years. Get ready for oil to leap in 2018. This will be a main topic when I speak at the Orlando Money Show in Febraury. We will go over this outlook and the shale outlook. The misperception on oil and the bad data will come back to haunt us in the new year. While we were so focused on the glut we forgot to look for new sources of oil and that has led to less oil being discovered than at anytime in history. 

In Orlando, we will also cover the underinvestment threat in oil. We are already seeing the early impact from the investment pullback and we will continue to see it as the pulback in investment has cost us over 10 million barrels a day of future oil production. That is like one of the worlds major producers going out of business. No, I am not talking about Venezuela--that is another story.

Geo-political risk factors are on the rise and that could see an even tighter market situation in the New Year. Today we will get two for one. We will be getting both the Energy Information Administration (EIA) supply report on petroleum and natural gas. Both reports should be bullish.