Energy Report: Sucking It Down

China is still sucking down oil yet oil struggles as vaccine safety concerns rise.

Reuters reports that "China resumed storing crude oil in the first two months of the year with almost 1 million barrels per day (bpd) being added to inventories in January and February, rebuilding stockpiles after a rare drawdown toward the end of last year. China's demand as well as Indian oil demand has been the driver of oil markets but also demand optimism as the market expects that we will see oil demand to come back to pre-COVID levels quickly as the world gets vaccinated but now there is a fly in the ointment.

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The Daily Mail reports that "Portugal and Spain have joined 18 European countries in suspending the use of the AstraZeneca COVID jab over unproven fears it causes blood clots. The moves come despite scientists and the European Medicines Agency dismissing fears over clots, with warnings that the pausing of inoculations was 'reckless' and would have 'consequences’. Thirteen European countries have now suspended their use of the shots altogether, while another five have black-listed specific batches despite reassurances from the UK, the WHO, and the manufacturers that the jab is safe. The reports have rattled the oil markets that have been betting that the amazing comeback in global oil demand was going to continue. The concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine now push the ball further away from the goal line. India saw 26,000 new COVID-19 cases was the highest in nearly three months.

Oil is also struggling as U.S. refiners struggle to bounce back from the Texas power crisis. Expectations of another crude build is holding us back. Still, big draws in gasoline are expected as U.S. gasoline demand has been rising. Don't look for a big break at the pump and we are starting the countdown to those summer-time gas blends. Hey, at least summer is coming!

The market will also focus on U.S. Production. Joe Biden’s executive action to allegedly combat climate change, including blocking new leases for oil drilling on federal lands and waters, ordering a review of fossil-fuel subsidies and other measures to overhaul U.S. energy is making it clearer that U.S. oil and gas investment is not welcome. Of course, that does not mean that the demand is going away overnight. It probably will not go away for decades if ever. Yet it does mean that U.S. energy costs will go up as we will rely on more imports of oil from foreign sources. OPEC is gladly willing to fill that void but at their own pace and their own price by retracing production so U.S. consumers can have the pleasure of paying a huge price to save the OPEC cartel and oh yeah, the planet. 

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