U.S. oil and energy stocks were indicated sharply higher across the board Monday, and providing some upside support for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, after a series of weekend drone attacks on two key Saudi Arabian facilities lifted crude prices to their biggest single-day gain in more than two decades.
The weekend attacks, which U.S. officials have pinned on Iran, target the Abqaiq processing facility and the Khurais oil field, two key pieces of Saudi infrastructure that comprise around 5.7 million barrels of the Kingdom's daily output, a figure that represents around 5% of total daily global demand. President Donald Trump said the U.S. could tap its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, if needed, in order to maintain consistent supplies, while Riyadh said it would rely on 188 million of domestic crude stockpiles.
"If production can be restored quickly, we'd expect oil prices to rally several dollars as the market prices-in increased geopolitical risk," said Credit Suisse analyst lead by William Featherston. "
"However, if Saudi Arabia requires an extended period of time to restore production, we would expect prices to spike in order to thwart demand, as spare capacity is insufficient to offset the sustained loss of (around 5 million barrels per day). "
Marathon Oil (MRO) - Get Report shares surged 10.55% to $14.04 while Chesapeake Energy Corporation (CHK) - Get Report , which had forecast 2019 production of between 485 million and 505 million barrels of oil and gas last month, was up 14.8% to $1.99 each as investors bet that elevated crude prices would support higher free-cash flows that could lead to near-term investment growth.
U.S. oilfield services groups Halliburton Co (HAL) - Get Report and Schlumberger ltd (SLB) - Get Report were rising 7.4% and 5.65%, respectively, by mid-afternoon while GE-controlled Baker Hughes (BHGE) - Get Report was up 3.13% at $23.43 each.
European oil majors were also active, closing higher on the Monday session as BP plc (BP) - Get Report paced the FTSE 100 in London with a 4% gain and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) followed suit with a 2.53% advance. France's Total (TOT) - Get Report ended the session 2.5% higher in Paris.
Brent crude contracts for November delivery, the global benchmark, were seen $8.31 higher from their Friday close in New York and changing hands at $68.53 per barrel, after reaching as high as $71.95 per barrel earlier in the session, a near 20% gain that marked the biggest single-day spike since the Gulf War in 1991.
WTI contracts for October, which are more tightly linked with U.S. gasoline prices, were marked $7.55 higher at $62.40 per barrel after trading as high as $63.34 at the start of the overnight session.
The Energy Department estimated last week the U.S. has around 416 million barrels in excess commercial crude stocks, while the SPR holds around 645 million barrels. In total, the two figures represent around two months worth of typical U.S. demand.
"Hedge funds turned net-buyers of commodities for the first time in eight weeks as the trade war de-escalation helped drive a significant amount of speculative buying in energy and copper futures," said Saxo Bank's head of commodity strategy Ole Hansen. "Gold, the safe-haven metal, suffered its biggest week of selling since April while the platinum net-long jumped to a 17-month high. The biggest change was in natural gas where a late US heat wave drove the price up resulting in bearish bets being cut in half."