Crude's March madness

March 20, 2015 07:48 AM

We are now into March madness. Not the basketball thing--but refinery maintenance season when refiners are retooling and getting ready for the upcoming summer driving season and rebuilding those much beloved summer time blends of gasoline.

It is also the time that both oil and gas prices bottom from a seasonal perspective, so if you believe the contango, the attempt to move back into bear market territory may be premature. On top of that, today we have the April West Texas Intermediate Crude expiration and if they can't take out the $40-a-barrel price today, it most likely will not happen. The combination of the contango, the situation where the May contract is trading at around $180 premium to the April, and the fact that refiner demand will start ramping up should support us.

The Genscape's Thursday number should also support us a bit as it seems that the supply surge into Cushing, Okla., may be leveling off. According to Genscape, from Friday to Tuesday Cushing added 1.3 million barrels of supply. If you measure from Tuesday to Tuesday they added 2.2 million barrels.

The oil markets are also going to obsessed with a potential oil deal. Expectations are that Iran will add 1 million barrels of oil per month and oil bears will say this will be another reason why oil prices will keep falling. Bloomberg reports that Gulf nation, with track record of building huge amounts of floating storage, is using tankers once more to accumulate about 30 million barrels that can be released swiftly when sanctions are eased.

The truth is that while Iran has a lot of oil in storage, sanctions will only be lifted slowly over time. It will take Iran some time to get production back up, regardless. We may also see other OPEC members cut back to allow OPEC oil back into the market as it is understood that a member should be allowed to pump its quota.  

About the Author

Phil Flynn is a senior energy analyst at The PRICE Futures Group and a Fox Business Network contributor. Phil is one of the world's leading market analysts, providing individual investors, professional traders, and institutions with up-to-the-minute investment and risk management insight into global petroleum, gasoline, and energy markets.