Strong Economic Data Boosts Bullish Sentiment in Oil Markets

The stronger-than-expected performance of the US economy has boosted oil prices to their highest level this year, not many analysts were expecting a 3.3% GDP growth in Q4.

Continuous Houthi strikes in the Red Sea and surging product freight rates have added impetus to the bullish cause, and even China’s timid reaching out to Iran to rein in the Yemeni attacks failed to scale back geopolitical tensions. With Brent breaking through the $80 per barrel threshold and reaching $82 per barrel, prices cleared an important psychological barrier.

White House Asks China to Help with Houthis

According to the Financial Times, the White House has asked China to help rein Houthi rebels attacking commercial tankers in the Red Sea as two Maersk container ships were targeted this week despite US warship escorts.

TMX Pipeline Eyes April Start.

Canada’s $23 billion Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline is set to begin line fill by the end of this quarter, with first commercial flows starting from April and ramping up to full capacity by December, easing oil sands’ huge double-digit discounts.

UAE Mulls African Oil Expansion.

The government of Uganda has chosen an investment firm from the UAE, led by a member of the Dubai royal family, to build a 60,000 b/d refinery in the country after a deal with an international consortium fell apart in 2023.

UK Waits for World’s Most Expensive Nuclear Plant.

French nuclear developer EDF announced that the construction of the UK’s Hinkley Point C nuclear plant will cost an extra $13 billion, taking the total to $46 billion, and will be delayed by several years to at least 2029.

US Refiners Seek Limits to Fuel Credit Market.

US oil refiners have asked the Biden administration to restrict participation in the US renewable fuel credit program (RINs), claiming the current EPA mechanisms allow any person to participate, paving the way for manipulation.

Chinese Jet Fuel Demand to Hit New Highs.

Chinese jet fuel demand is expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels over the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations, hitting 860,000 b/d, as Chinese travelers are expected to make 80 million domestic flights over that period.

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