Publications: Notes at the Margin

Kleptocratic Energy Policy: Ugly Consequences; IMO 2020: Signs of Change; New Saudi Oil Minister (September 9, 2019)


This report focuses on three issues. In the first, we continue our commentary on the impacts of the White House’s kleptocratic energy policy. In particular, we focus on President Trump’s discovery that his decision to exempt small refineries from Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements could cost him the votes of Iowa farmers and perhaps the 2020 election. He has promised to respond to this news soon. A policy reversal could threaten the refining industry, petroleum marketers, or even global crude prices.


In the second part, we examine the emerging signs of the IMO 2020 market effect. The data are beginning to indicate a 2007/08-type adjustment. This development will affect price spreads and the bidding for light sweet crude, particularly for Nigeria’s Forcados. Some commentators are also talking about very high diesel prices for trucks, as we often have. However, the speculative push has yet to be seen.


Finally, we comment on the implications of Saudi Arabia replacing oil minister Khalid al-Falih with Prince Abdulaziz.


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