How to Buy Crude Oil: What to Look For
Now that oil prices are dropping to their lowest level since August of 2008, there is little reason to buy more oil.
The price of a barrel of crude has been hovering around $50 per barrel for more than a year, and it has averaged $40.80 a barrel since the end of March, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
And for the most part, there’s been little sign of a major rebound in oil prices in recent weeks.
Brent crude, the world’s benchmark, has fallen below $60 a barrel, and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is currently pumping out just shy of 3 million barrels per day.
Oil prices have plunged in recent months as a result of falling production, rising geopolitical tensions, and a global glut.
While crude prices can drop, many analysts believe that the drop is primarily due to supply constraints that are forcing oil producers to cut back on the amount of crude they’re producing.
If oil prices stay low, that would mean that demand for crude would continue to grow, and would lead to a more severe decline in the price of crude.
In fact, the price collapse that has occurred over the past several months has caused prices to jump significantly.
According to data from the Energy Information Agency, prices for Brent crude have increased by a whopping 6.6% since April.
That’s more than double the gains that oil markets saw in 2016 and 2017.
Oil producers have also been increasing production in the wake of low prices.
The US is pumping 1.8 million barrels of oil a day from its Bakken shale oil fields.
The Organization of Petroleum Exports has been pumping 4.4 million barrels a day for the past year.
That means that the average price of Brent crude has increased by almost 10% since mid-April, according a Reuters report.
“Crude prices were high in 2016 as a whole, but there was a significant amount of uncertainty in oil markets prior to the election,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.
“So we were seeing a lot of volatility and price increases, and this has caused the market to adjust to these conditions.”
The fact that the price has risen so dramatically is largely attributed to the oil producers’ desire to increase production.
In 2016, there were about 1.3 million barrels being produced per day in the US, according the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
That is about three times the amount produced in 2017, when oil prices were around $35 per barrel.
“The production boom is probably the most important factor in the rebound in the past two years,” said Kevin Hassett, chief market analyst at S&P Capital IQ.
“Demand is a lot higher than we had anticipated, so the price is going to have to continue to rise to keep up with the production.
That has to happen.”
The recent downturn in oil demand has also led to a spike in production by US oil producers.
“It’s kind of an overreaction,” Hassett said.
“We were expecting that we would see an increase in production.
Instead, it was a big boost.”
Oil producers may be ramping up production at a faster rate than usual, but that doesn’t mean the oil market is in for a repeat of 2016, according Toi-Ann Muldoon, senior market analyst for oil analyst Price Futures Group.
She noted that the US was not in the midst of a “crash” in oil production, so there’s not much of a shortage.
“I don’t think the demand is really in decline,” Muldoons said.
Instead of the US producing more oil, it’s producing less.
This is something that’s not sustainable, so producers have to cut production to keep prices high.
That could mean the production boom may be ending in 2017.
As for oil prices, there could still be a chance for a rebound in crude prices, but it won’t come anytime soon.
“This is not the year we see a rebound, as prices will continue to drop,” Hasseth said.