Aug 9, 2019

Oil demand growth hasn't been this slow since 2008

Photo: Yegor Aleyev/TASS via Getty Image

Global oil demand growth from January through May was the slowest for that period since 2008, and the "situation is becoming even more uncertain" as the U.S.-China trade fight heats up, the International Energy Agency said Friday.

Why it matters: Its closely-watched monthly report provides fresh evidence of how the global economic slowdown is weighing on oil markets. Prices are at their lowest levels since January, despite tensions in the Middle East that typically put upward pressure on the market. "Economic woes hold sway over geopolitics," it said.

But, but, but: Crude oil prices moved up back up somewhat on Friday, "supported by expectations of more OPEC production cuts," Reuters notes. The global benchmark Brent crude was trading above $58-per-barrel on Friday morning.

Where it stands: The IEA again trimmed its overall demand growth forecasts for 2019 and 2020. The Paris-based agency now sees oil demand growing by 1.1 million barrels per day this year and 1.3 million barrels per day next year.

  • "The outlook is fragile with a greater likelihood of a downward revision than an upward one," the report notes.
  • The increase of 520,000 barrels per day in the January through May stretch was the weakest in 11 years.

What they're saying: "Economic recession risk and further escalation of the U.S.-China trade war are key concerns in the near term," the consultancy Rystad Energy said in a note.

  • "Oil prices are swept up in stock market and commodity losses due to rising concern about trade disputes, the health of the global economy and weak oil demand," IEA's report states.

Go deeper: The IEA's case against peak oil demand

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Trump seeks political gain from low gasoline prices

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Saturday that drivers should "Enjoy the low gas prices over the Labor Day weekend!," yet he inaccurately characterized U.S. energy markets in the same message.

Where it stands: Per AAA, the average gasoline price nationally is $2.58, the lowest level heading into the Labor Day holiday since 2016 (but quite similar to 2017 levels).

Go deeperArrowAug 31, 2019

Bahamas island faces oil spill after Hurricane Dorian

Freeport, Grand Bahama on Sept. 5, after Hurricane Dorian. Photo: Adam DelGiudice/AFP/Getty Images

Oil seeped from storage tanks on Grand Bahama Island on Friday following storm damage from Hurricane Dorian, the AP reports.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Amy Harder: The oil spill is a stark and tragic reminder of the risk we face by using polluting and inflammable energy types, which are inherently more dangerous in extreme weather than, say, wind turbines.

Go deeperArrowSep 6, 2019

Alaska's cloudy crude oil future

Data: U.S. Energy Information Administration; Chart: Axios Visuals

BP's decision to offload its Alaska holdings highlights the uncertainty around whether the state — once at the heart of U.S. production — will ever regain its crude mojo.

Why it matters: Hints of the answer will come when the Interior Department sells leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as soon as this year, after a 2017 GOP tax bill opened the region following decades of political battles. It could hold over 10 billion barrels of oil in a state where the oil industry is a large part of its economic well-being. But, environmentalists strongly oppose drilling in the ecologically sensitive region.

Go deeperArrowAug 29, 2019