WCS Discount Dips As US Demand For Alberta Crude Oil Increases
The oil space has been on a rollercoaster ride since 2015 began, but it seems it may be making a comeback. According to Scotiabank's Patricia Mohr, with WTI at around US$59 to $60, the WCS heavy oil price should be US$52 in July.
The oil space has been on a rollercoaster ride since 2015 began, but it seems it may be making a comeback. Scotiabank's Patricia Mohr said in this month's Commodity Price Index that "[w]hile global economic conditions remain lackluster and financial markets volatile, international oil prices have lifted off bottom and supply disruptions in Western Canada's 'oil patch' have pushed up domestic netbacks." The bank's Oil & Gas Index saw a jump in May and June as the discount on WCS crude oil off WTI narrowed significantly. Specifically, the discount on WCS heavy oil dipped to its lowest level since April 2009 as US demand for Alberta crude increased, a trend Mohr expects will continue into July. "The discount on WCS heavy crude at Hardisty, Alberta has dropped from US$11.86 per barrel in May to US$8.57 in June and is currently US$7.44 for July deliveries," Mohr states in the report. As mentioned, that's the lowest since April 2009, and marks a mere 12.5-percent discount compared to the normal 20 percent. According to Mohr, with WTI at around US$59 to $60, the WCS heavy oil price should be US$52 in July. She believes that price will "still [be] challenging for most producers, but [will yield] positive margins for low-cost SAGD bitumen projects." Investment opportunities in Alberta oil Mohr isn't the only analyst who's been talking lately about oil in Alberta. Last week, Auspice Capital Advisors put out a research note that explains why the crude oil market in Alberta, the only market in the world currently in backwardation, presents opportunities for investors. Backwardation happens when oil futures are expected to be priced lower than the oil spot price — that bodes well for investors with long-term exposure to oil, as it means they won't lose money as the market rolls over time. "Positive roll yield. They earn to hold and roll the exposure. As such if they have a view of a rising oil price, this will enhance that return versus detract from it," Auspice's note states.