Bank of America makes case for oil prices above $100 per barrel

The odds of an oil value spike this 12 months are a lot greater than the prevailing consensus available in the market, in line with a brand new report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The oil market has been tightening quickly this 12 months, attributable to OPEC+ cuts taking provide off of the market, outages in Iran and Venezuela, and a slowdown in US shale. But forthcoming rules from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) might present a further jolt, significantly as international inventories decline towards the backdrop of a tightening market.

“Now, with distillate inventories at the low end of the range, we see an analogy to 2007/08 when the world run out of diesel refining capacity,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch wrote in a be aware on April 12.

“Back then, as Saudi Arabia lifted heavy crude manufacturing to fulfill rising international demand for distillates, diesel-to-bunker gasoline spreads blew out and so did light-heavy crude spreads. An analogous scenario might develop over the approaching months as ship house owners quickly up their distillate burn to transition out of excessive sulphur into extremely low sulpur bunker gasoline because of the new IMO2020 guidelines.”

There are essential variations between right now and the worth spike of 2008, Bank of America notes, together with better spare capability in 2019, a further 1.1 million barrels per day (mb/d) of refining capability set to return on-line, and the expectation that US shale might shortly add provide in the occasion of greater oil prices.

“Still, unlike the gradual tightening in diesel markets of 2007/08, the world faces a major one-off jump in distillate demand,” Bank of America argues, referring to worldwide rules on marine fuels set to take impact firstly of 2020.

The guidelines decrease the restrict of sulfur focus in marine fuels from 3.5 % to only 0.5 %, which is able to pressure shipowners to change away from heavy gasoline oils. Instead, the options embrace scrubbing expertise and a better use of low-sulfur fuels, together with distillates.

Bank of America says that the rules might push up distillate demand by 1.1 mb/d year-on-year, which comes on prime of the 0.5 mb/d annual pattern development charge, and in addition on prime of the cyclical excessive throughout winter. Higher distillate demand might push up crude oil prices as refiners race to flip crude into distillates.

“About 60 percent of the average crude barrel can be turned into distillate with the right refining toolkit. But that figure drops below 50 percent for heavy oil, potentially curbing supply,” Bank of America wrote.

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