WTI $51.64 +85c, Brent $57.87 +$1.30, Diff $6.23 +45c, NG $2.51 -2c

Oil price

If you add Easter into the equation the oil price went up last week by a modest 5%, but on the week's trade only the late rally on Friday pushed crude into positive territory. The reasons are a bit samey, the Iran settlement news is losing traction with every day that passes, now not only is an immediate withdrawal of sanctions expected but apparently IAEA inspections not welcome without which there is no deal. Accordingly, markets are now not pencilling in any Iranian crude arriving any time soon.

The second piece of positive news on Friday was a decent rise in the number of rigs lost last week after two rather pathetic figures. The overall rig count was down 40 at 988 and oil lost 42 to 760 which did just enough to give the bulls a few hours in the sun. What they haven't worked out yet is that despite the number of rigs halving since October the US production is still 9.4m b/d….

Having said all that the CFTC data is showing that 'specialist market operators' are calling the price up, last week saw the biggest rise in long positions since 2011. A rise of 52/- lots to 225/- lots is big and the two week rise is 43%, somebody is certainly taking a view. I would change the word from specialist to speculatory and without wanting to be a Jeremiah, say that we are still far from out of the woods.

Finally we all like an interesting fact and the EIA often provide them for me. It seems that they are predicting that average US household spend on gasoline in 2015 will be $1,817, the lowest level for a decade and a massive $700 down on 2014, don't tell me that the falling oil price isn't having a material impact…

FOGL / Argos

Readers of the blog will know that I have been highly sceptical of Noble's desire (ouch!) to drill another well in the South Falklands Basin this year, commitment has been less than obvious, a question I asked at the Capital Markets Day on the 3rd of March. So it comes as no surprise that there is a change to the drilling programme as the team down south defer the second well, this will apparently give them more time to assess the results of…

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