Oil drillers bet three-month crude rally nearing end


May 16, 2016 (LBO) – Oil drillers are betting a three-month rally in oil prices is coming towards an end, with inventories running at all-time highs.

West Texas Intermediate oil, the benchmark U.S. crude, has gained more than 75 percent since hitting a 12-year low in mid-February, Bloomberg reported. Brent Crude was trading at 47.80 dollars a barrel on Monday, off a low of 27.88 dollars in January.

Oil output has, however, slowed down in recent months.

U.S. output dipped to the lowest since September 2014, according to the Energy Information Administration, and inventories shrank for the first time in more than a month, although stored supplies are close to the highest since 1929.

Reports say energy companies from EOG Resources Corp. to Chesapeake Energy Corp. are using financial instruments such as futures, swaps and collars to guard against another fall in prices.

“They’ve been getting more and more active in hedging ever since the first initial jump,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC in New York. Oil producers “appear to be drawn to this market as everyone tries to stay alive through the downturn,” he said.

In western Canada, raging forest fires closed in on Alberta’s vast oil sands, and in Nigeria, militant attacks on oil installations operated by Shell and Chevron Corp. prompted evacuations and the shutdown of some production.

“The failure to rally on bullish news was a bearish indicator, at least for a handful of sessions,” said Tim Evans, an energy analyst at Citi Futures Perspective in New York.

“We’ve been rallying for months so the question is, ‘Are we in the middle or late stages of the rally?”’