Category Archives: Energy

US Gasoline Crashes To 50c – Lowest Since 2001 – Amid “Unprecedented” Demand Collapse

Gasoline futures in New York fell as much as 13% to 50.00 cents a gallon, the lowest level since the current contract started trading in 2005.

The previous gasoline contract last traded that low in 2001…

All of which means Americans – on average – except Californians – can expect gas-prices at the pump to plunge below $2/gallon very soon

Energy prices slid toward this multi-decade low on plunging demand due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis, and as prospects for a OPEC-Texas production deal faded.

“The government is taking a ‘whatever it takes’ approach,” said Marshall Steeves, an analyst at IHS Markit.

That doesn’t change the fact that demand destruction is going to continue. There are still so many unknowns on the demand front. The duration of this economic shutdown is so uncertain that it’s making me believe the bottom may not be in yet.”

As Bloomberg notes, the prospects for the oil market remain bleak with more nations going into lockdown to tackle the virus. At the same time, supply is surging. The chance that either Saudi Arabia or Russia will back down from their price war seems remote, with President Vladimir Putin unlikely to submit to what he sees as the kingdom’s oil blackmail, according to Kremlin watchers.

Even if crude demand recovers to normal levels by the middle of the year, 2020 is still on course to suffer the biggest decline in consumption since reliable records started in the mid-1960s.

“We are now looking at a scale of surplus in the second quarter we probably never have seen before,” said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at SEB.

Until now, the biggest annual contraction was recorded in 1980, when it tumbled by 2.6 million barrels a day as the global economy reeled under the impact of the second oil crisis.

Source: ZeroHedge

Collapse Review

We just witnessed a global collapse in asset prices the likes we haven’t seen before. Not even in 2008 or 2000. All these prior beginnings of bear markets happened over time, relatively slowly at first, then accelerating to the downside.

This collapse here has come from some of the historically most stretched valuations ever setting the stage for the biggest bull trap ever. The coronavirus that no one could have predicted is brutally punishing investors that complacently bought into the multiple expansion story that was sold to them by Wall Street. Technical signals that outlined trouble way in advance were ignored while the Big Short 2 was already calling for a massive explosion in $VIX way before anybody ever heard of corona virus.

Worse, there is zero visibility going forward as nobody knows how to price in collapsing revenues and earnings amid entire countries shutting down virtually all public gatherings and activities. Denmark just shut down all of its borders on Friday, flight cancellations everywhere, the planet is literally shutting down in unprecedented fashion.

Source: by Sven Henrich | Northman Trader

So What Will Europe’s Oil Majors Look Like at $35 a Barrel? Morgan Stanley Has Run the Numbers

After the bloodbath caused by Saudi Arabia’s decision to ramp up output, European oil companies at first blush look enticingly cheap.

The Johan Sverdrup oil field in the North Sea, west of Stavanger, Norway, Getty Images

The dividend yield in BP, for example, is a mouth-watering 9.35%, according to FactSet Research. For perspective, the yield on a British 10-year gilt is 0.27%.

But with oil prices so low, how could BP possibly afford to pay such a dividend?

In a note to clients with little in the way of commentary, Morgan Stanley ran the numbers on what European major oil companies would look like with Brent crude at $35 a barrel.

Probably the most jarring numbers are the dividend cover at that level.

Equinor this year could cover just 1% of its dividend versus its previous estimate of 93%, according to the Morgan Stanley calculation of life at $35 a barrel.

The best positioned is OMV, which can still cover 107% of its dividend at $35, down from an estimated 198%.

BP’s dividend cover falls to 54% from 107%; Shell’s drops to 72% from 115%; Total’s goes to 62% from 125%; Eni’s drops to 57% from 87%; Repsol’s falls to 79% from 123%; and Galp’s drops to 52% from 115%.

Stock buybacks for the European major oil companies would drop by two-thirds on the Morgan Stanley numbers.

Source: by Steve Goldstein | Barron’s

Saudi To Grow Production, Starting A Price War

This comes as demand has been slashed due to the coronavirus outbreak

Prince Abdulaziz, energy minister of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia will increase its oil output next month to more than 10 million barrels per day, following talks between OPEC and its allies which failed to come to an agreement.

KSA has cut its oil prices drastically, more than it has in 20 years, with discounts to buyers in Europe, the Far East, and the US meant to draw more refiners to Saudi crude rather than other crude oil suppliers.

Bloomberg reported that Saudi Arabia has privately said it could raise production to 12 million barrels per day, citing anonymous sources.

This comes as demand is slashed due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Source: by Carla Sertin | Oil & Gas Middle East

These Are The Banks With Most Energy Exposure

With energy junk bonds crashing

… amid a (long-overdue) investor revulsion to the highly levered energy sector, much of which is funded in the high yield market, as crashing oil prices bring front and center a doomsday scenario of mass defaults as shale companies are unable to meet their debt and interest payment obligations, investor focus is shifting up the funding chain, and after assessing which shale names are likely to be hit the hardest, with many filing for bankruptcy if oil remains at or below $30, the next question is which banks have the most exposure to the energy loans funding these same E&P companies.

Conveniently, in a note this morning looking at the impact of plunging interest rates on bank profitability, Morgan Stanley also lays out the US banks that have the highest exposure to energy in their Q4 loan books.

Dominos Are Falling – China Shutdown To Crush India’s Already-Crumbling Economy

The supply chain shock emanating from China to other Asia Pacific countries and Europe, could become a major headache for India.

Bloomberg focuses on how an industrial shutdown of China’s economy has already had a profound effect on India’s economy and could get worse.

Pankaj R. Patel, chairman of Zydus Cadila, said prices of medicine in India have exponentially jumped in the last several weeks, thanks to much of the medicine is sourced from China.

The Indian pharmaceutical industry is experiencing massive disruptions that could face shortages starting in April if supplies aren’t replenished in the next couple weeks, Patel warned.

Manufacturers in China have idled plants, and at least two-thirds of the economy is halted. Some factories came online last week with promises of full production by the end of the month, but for most factories, their resumption will likely be delayed. This will undoubtedly lead to medicine shortages in India in the coming months ahead.

A new theme is developing from all this mayhem – that is the reorganization of complex supply chains out of China to a more localized approach to avoid severing. But in the meantime, these complex supply chains in India and across the world will experience massive disruption caused by the shutdown. All of this points to ugly end of globalization:

Pankaj Mahindroo, chairman of the India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), said the wrecking of supply chains in China could soon have a devastating impact on India’s smartphone production. 

Mahindroo represents companies including Foxconn, Apple Inc., Micromax Informatics Ltd., and Salcomp India, warned the “impact is already visible… If things don’t improve soon, production will have to be stopped.” 

Already, the production of iPhones and Airpods has been reduced in China because of factory shutdowns.

The closure of Foxconn plants in India would be absolutely devastating for Apple. 

Apple produces iPhone XR in India. If the production of affordable smartphones is halted or reduced, the Californian based company could see full-year earnings guidance slashed. 

Mohnidroo said if things don’t improve in the next couple of weeks, smartphone factories in India could start running out of “critical components like printed circuit boards, camera modules, semiconductors, resistors, and capacitors.” 

A spokesperson for Xiaomi Corp.’s India unit said alternative sourcing attempts are underway to mitigate any supply chain disruption from China. 

Even before all of this, India’s economy is rapidly decelerating into an economic crisis. 

Former Indian Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha warned several months ago that the country is in a “very deep crisis,” witnessing “death of demand,” and the government is “befooling people” with its economic distortions of how growth is around the corner. 

Supply chain disruptions are moving from East to West. It’s only a matter of time before production lines are halted in the US because sourcing of Chinese parts is offline. The disruptions of supply chains is the shock that could tilt the global economy into recession. 

Source: ZeroHedge

Walmart Sues Tesla Over Solar Panel Fires, Claims SolarCity Purchase Was A Bailout

Until now, the general public was only aware of the remarkable ability of Tesla cars to spontaneously combust, that is at least when they are not smashing into random things while on autopilot. It now appears that Tesla’s solar panels (some may be unaware that several years ago, Elon Musk tried to unsuccessfully pivot Tesla into a solar power company as well as that’s where a few billion in government subsidies were to be found) are just as combustible.

On Tuesday, Walmart sued Tesla, after its solar panels atop seven of the retailer’s stores allegedly caught fire, alleging breach of contract, gross negligence and failure to live up to industry standards. Walmart is asking Tesla to remove solar panels from more than 240 Walmart locations where they have been installed, and to pay damages related to all the fires Walmart says that Tesla caused.

Walmart said it had leased or licensed roof space on top of more than 240 stores to Tesla’s energy operations unit, formerly known as SolarCity (which was basically a bailout by Elon Musk for Elon Musk who was also the largest SolarCity shareholder), for the installation and operation of solar systems. But as of November, fires had broken out at no fewer than seven of the stores, forcing the disconnection of all the solar panel systems for the safety of the public.

The breach-of-contract suit by Walmart, which was filed in the state of New York, alleges that: “As of November 2018, no fewer than seven Walmart stores had experienced fires due to Tesla’s solar systems-including the four fires described above and three others that had occurred earlier.” The fires resulted in evacuations, damaged property and inventory.

Walmart’s inspectors additionally found that Tesla “had engaged in widespread, systemic negligence and had failed to abide by prudent industry practices in installing, operating and maintaining its solar systems.’

Walmart also claimed that “Tesla routinely deployed individuals to inspect the solar systems who lacked basic solar training and knowledge and also alleged that Tesla failed to ground its solar and electrical systems properly, and that Tesla-installed solar panels on-site at Walmart stores contained a high number of defects that were visible to the naked eye, including loose and hanging wires at several locations, and which Tesla should have found and repaired before they led to fires.

It gets better: according to the suit, Tesla’s own inspection reports revealed “improper wire management, including abraded and hanging wires,” as well as “poor grounding” and “solar panel modules that were broken or contained dangerous hot spots.”

To state the obvious, properly designed, installed, inspected and maintained solar systems do not spontaneously combust, and the occurrence of multiple fires involving Tesla’s solar systems is but one unmistakable sign of negligence by Tesla,” Walmart said in the suit. “To this day, Tesla has not provided Walmart with the complete set of final ‘root cause’ analyses needed to identify the precise defects in its systems that caused all of the fires described above.”

Walmart said the first fire broke out at a store in Beavercreek, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton, in March 2018, and two more fires occurred at stores in California and Maryland in May of that year. While Tesla disconnected the panels at Walmart’s request that same month, it wasn’t enough to stop fires from occurring, and another blaze broke out in November at a store in Yuba City, California.

Ironically, the lawsuit comes at a time when Tesla has been trying to salvage its collapsing solar business; on Sunday, Elon Musk announced in a string of tweets which reeked of desperation that customers in some states can now rent Tesla’s residential, solar rooftop systems without a contract. The offer is available in six states, and will cost customers at least $50 a month (or $65 a month in California). And although Musk touted the ease of cancelling a rented roof at anytime, CNBC noted that the fine print on Tesla’s website mentions a $1,500 fee to take out the solar panels and restore the customer’s roof.

There is a reason why Tesla is basically giving the spontaneously combustible solar panels away: In the second quarter, Tesla installed a mere 29 megawatts of solar, a record low for the company in a single quarter. In its heyday, Tesla’s solar division (formerly SolarCity) installed over 200 megawatts in a single quarter.

But wait there is more.

As if allegations of shoddy quality control, dismal workmanship and overall blatant lack of professionalism weren’t enough, Walmart also “went there” and in the “explosive”, pun not intended 114-page lawsuit, piled onto a long-running controversy according to which Tesla bailed out a failing SolarCity in 2016 when it purchased the company for $2.6 billion (Elon Musk was also the biggest shareholder of SolarCity at the time, while Tesla’s Elon Musk bought out SolarCity in a gross conflict of interest), with WalMart highlighting the familial ties between Tesla and SolarCity as the underpinnings of a flawed merger that allegedly produced shoddy craftsmanship and led to fires at seven Walmart stores.

“On information and belief, when Tesla purchased SolarCity to bail out the flailing company (whose executives included two of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s first cousins), Tesla failed to correct SolarCity’s chaotic installation practices or to adopt adequate maintenance protocols, which would have been particularly important in light of the improper installation practices,” Walmart claimed in a suit that is sure to draw regulators attention to the 2016 deal that should never have been allowed. As shown in the diagram above, SolarCity co-founders Lyndon Rive and Peter Rive are Musk’s cousins, while Musk was the largest shareholder of both companies.

So already facing a slumping stock price from dozens of lawsuits and investigations, store closings, delayed loan repayments and the departure of key executives, CNBC notes that the Walmart suit lands at a particularly difficult time for Tesla and Musk. Specifically in regards to SolarCity, Musk was slated to be deposed earlier this month in a complaint brought by shareholders over the deal.

The name “SolarCity” shows up 46 times in the lawsuit, which alleges the company had a failed business model, stemming from a goal to speed up revenue growth at all costs.

“Walmart’s experience bears out Tesla, Inc.’s and Tesla’s inability to turn around and bail out the solar panel operations acquired from SolarCity,” the suit says.

* * *

Walmart is asking a judge to declare Tesla in breach of contract, order the company to remove the solar panels from all of its stores and award damages equal to its costs and consulting fees in connection with the fires.

Tesla shares fell as much as 1.7% to $222.70 as of 6:45 p.m. in after hours trading. The stock is down 32% this year.

The case is Walmart Inc. v. Tesla Energy Operations, New York State Supreme Court, New York County; Index No.  654765/2019.

The full lawsuit is below

Source: ZeroHedge