The Energy Report: Fear Strike Out

Pump Jack, Oilfield, Oil, Fuel, Industry, Petroleum

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A wild evening of risk on and risk off as the market fear cages had a significant test and geopolitical events are on the cusp of our worst nightmares. Now the market must decide whether the tensions are closer to the beginning or closer to the end.

Oil popped and dropped after it was reported that Israel responded to Iran’s attack on their country with a missile strike or drone strike or a combination of both. The early indications seem to suggest a limited response by Israel, perhaps in an attempt to not escalate the conflict but is already being criticized by some in Israel as a ‘weak” response” and calls for more significant action. Iran overnight also seems to be downplaying the attack.

The Wall Street Journal reported that “The strike targeted the area around Isfahan in central Iran, one of the people said. Iranian media and social media reported explosions near the city, where Iran has nuclear facilities and a drone factory, and the activation of air-defense systems in provinces across the country after suspicious flying objects were detected. Much remained unclear about the extent or the impact of the Israeli action. State-run news agency IRNA said Friday morning that its reporters hadn’t seen any large-scale damage or explosions anywhere in the country and that no incidents were reported at Iran’s nuclear facilities. Flight restrictions imposed overnight by Iran were lifted in the morning.” This came after Iran was already seeking to lower tensions.

Bloomberg News reported that Iran is prepared to de-escalate tensions with Israel provided that it agrees to stop further military moves against Tehran’s interests, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said at the United Nations. “Iran’s legitimate defense and countermeasures have been concluded,” Amirabdollahian told the UN Security Council Thursday. Israel “must be compelled to stop any further military adventurism against our interests.” If not, he said, Iran will “give a decisive and proper response” that will make Israel “regret its actions.” So after some pretty dramatic moves and the risk on markets such as bonds, oil, and gold, we seem to be pricing in that the worst may be over the rumors that Israel was going to hit Iran hard after the Passover holiday and talk of two other attacks on Iran being canceled seems to suggest that at least for the near term, the worst may be over.

Yet will it be enough to believe that this is over going into the weekend? It’s very possible that they will retaliate again. So, the fears of some of the worst-case scenarios of a major oil disruption seem to be on the back burner at least for now. I guess Iran can go back to celebrating the fact that they just saw their oil exports hit a new six year high yesterday according to the Financial Times giving the country an extra $35 billion dollars that they can spend on more global terror groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthi rebels.

The Iranian state media reported that the air strike by Israel’s Air Force was targeting their 8th tactical air base of the Iranian Air Force. The attack was near some of their nuclear facilities. According to the reports coming out of Iran, none of them were damaged and its business as usual. So, I guess that means that their secret nuclear weapons program is still ongoing. Oops I forgot, it’s supposed to be a secret.

No secret that the Biden administration did turn a blind eye to Iranian sanctions in the hope of reinventing the Iranian nuclear deal but at the same time now they need that oil if they’re going to win the election. The Biden administration now is in another desperate attempt to please the environmental base and is now restricting drilling and mining in Alaska. The Biden administration says they took steps to limit both oil and gas drilling on public lands and conserve 30% of US lands and water to combat climate change. The Interior Department finalized a regulation to block oil and gas development and 40% of Alaska’s National Petroleum preserve they say in an attempt to protect habitats for polar bears and Caribou and other wildlife in the way of life for indigenous communities. Biden also said that he was proud that his administration was taking action to conserve more than 13 million acres in the western Arctic.

Many experts believe that Biden’s action is going to jeopardize our future not only for oil and gas production but also for the production for the type of minerals that we would need if Biden is ever going to have a chance to achieve his dream of electrifying the US transportation fleet. By restricting mining but increasing the demand for metals, Biden is going to make the US more dependent on other countries for our economy to survive. This is not a good long-term strategy for U.S. economic growth nor is it a good strategy for the average American family.

For commodity traders, we’re seeing some great volatility and great opportunities to try to pick up some big moves. This means the volatility in commodities isn’t just in your normal risk assets where we’re seeing explosive moves in cocoa, coffee as well as industrial and precious metals. Be prepared to play both sides of the market but hedges should use sharp breaks to lock in hedges. Because after the dust settles and the geopolitical risk goes away, the underlying fundamentals for food and industrial and precious metals is that supplies are just too darn tight.

Natural gas, after a bearish report, is attempting to rise from the ashes. There is a possibility and the market is hopeful that production cuts and reductions of drillings of wells would stop the bloodletting.

Yesterday Market Watch reported that the Energy Information Administration on Thursday reported a weekly increase of 50 billion cubic feet in domestic supplies for the week that ended April 12. On average, analysts had forecast a climb of 44 billion cubic feet, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights. Still with some base of seeing natural gas prices at historic lows there will still be more pain for the producers.


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