Extension reflects OPEC’s shortcomings

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As OPEC’s latest meeting concludes in Vienna, just a glimpse at the charts below helps explain why the cartel’s production cut deal has been extended for another nine months: it hasn’t worked so far.

For all the talk of near-perfect compliance from OPEC, we have consistently highlighted how the cartel has kept global markets well-supplied, as apparent production cuts have not been reflected through to broad-based and consistently lower exports.

We discussed last week how U.S. oil imports from OPEC were holding up. Deliveries to the U.S. in May have now lifted above year-ago levels, meaning OPEC deliveries have been higher than year-ago levels for every month of this year, up 11 percent on aggregate:  

US flows from OPEC.jpgThis theme of stronger imports into key demand regions is playing out across the board. As our ClipperData illustrate below, OPEC flows into China continue to outpace year-ago levels. China is the leading destination of OPEC barrels, and imports into the largest emerging market are up over 13 percent compared to the first five months of last year:

China imports from OPEC ClipperData May 2017.jpg

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According to the FT, India’s minister of petroleum and natural gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, said the country is evaluating buying crude from other sources other than OPEC – such as the U.S. – given the potential supply threat the cartel poses to its energy security.  

This threat comes via both lower future supplies due to current global underinvestment in new projects, as well as immediate price volatility caused via OPEC production cut compliance / non-compliance.

India imports approximately 85 percent of its crude from OPEC. Ten producers from the cartel have delivered crude to India so far this year, with Saudi Arabia and Iraq slugging it out to be the leading supplier. As our ClipperData illustrate below, after lagging year-ago levels in January and February, deliveries have been higher in the last three months. This is reflective of relatively stronger Indian imports versus year-ago levels as much as anything.  

India imports from OPEC ClipperData May 2017.jpg

Mexico is the leading non-OPEC supplier of crude to India, delivering