WTI $42.50 +27c, Brent (October) $49.19 -44c, Diff $6.69 -30c, NG $2.80 +1c

Oil price

Brent expired on Friday and is a touch easier this morning, it has fared better than WTI which is nearly a buck off today at $41.79 showing a two dollar fall from this time last week. The Baker Hughes rig count showed a rise in oil rigs for the sixth successive week, albeit by only two units but still the fall has definitely been arrested. The CFTC data showed that net long positions in WTI actually fell on the week by 21,250 lots to 225,843 lots.

Two other things have cropped up, firstly the advocates of US oil exports are feeling a step closer to their goal at the moment as the US Commerce Department has announced albeit quietly, that it intends to approve oil trade with Mexico. The man to read up on this is the eminent Dan Yergin who eloquently makes the case for ending the export ban. Secondly the Iranians continue to keep the pressure on Opec and oil markets by saying at the weekend that ‘Opec production may hit a record after sanctions are lifted’ which is fair comment if you merely add Iran’s potential to current output but it’s not as simple as that for a number of reasons.

The summation of all that is still undeniably bearish particularly if you add the other factors such as refinery outage, now added to by an Exxon unit down and of course Labor Day is only three weeks away and the charts particularly for WTI look awful…

Lamprell

As you will know Lamprell has been very much a favourite since it was obvious that Jim Moffat really did know how to get to grips with the mess he inherited and in only two years he has not only turned around the company but restructured it in what is a difficult market place to say the least. From a nadir of 61.25p the shares saw 178p when others in its sector were being decimated and even now are around 130p.

So, the announcement on Friday that he was to retire in June 2016 after three years in the post of CEO was a significant disappointment as I genuinely believe that his plan for Lamprell is only part completed. Although he is staying on until next year, the company has announced that John Kennedy is to become ‘Executive Chairman’…

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