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A world awash in cheap crude

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 08.45.23From an article by Malcolm Berko published 14 February 2015 by under the headline:

“Berko: Oil prices bound to rise again”

The enormous implosion in oil prices has left the globe awash in cheap crude. And the highly paid, brilliant oil analysts at Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, UBS, JPMorgan, etc., never saw it coming. Never in a million years did they believe that oil would trade at $40 a barrel or that there’d be excess production of between 1 million and 2 million barrels a day. Smart traders are searching for storage solutions to warehouse the overflow and competing among themselves to lease tankers that can store crude at sea. Meanwhile, shipbrokers and agents who match lessors with lessees are having a dandy time leasing very large crude carriers, or VLCCs, which can hold 2 million barrels.

A similar strategy occurred in 2008, when crude prices imploded from $146 a barrel in July to $37 by Christmastime. As prices collapsed, traders continued buying crude rather than selling it, and then they warehoused the excess and waited for prices to return. They were as right as a button; before the 2009 year had closed, crude prices were $85 to $90 a barrel, and traders had nearly doubled their money. Now the big oil traders (e.g., Koch Industries, Mercuria Energy Group, Vitol, Royal Dutch Shell, Trafigura and Gunvor Group) are doing it again. Daily tanker rates for VLCCs have doubled, to $90,000 a day, and traders are competing for land-based tanks to store their crude.

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